7 Free Radio Ideas for 2014

By James | Posted 100 days ago
Feature Article
Most people spend Boxing Day battling the sales or consuming mass amounts of sports on TV, but me, I drop my wife off at the shopping centre and have a few thoughts over a long black.

This morning I was thinking about how radio could be different in 2014 and the Albert Einstein line “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” came to mind.

If you’ve worked with me before you might recognise some of these from conversations or proposals gone past. They all ended up in the “crazy ideas” bin, so feel free to take them if you like, these ideas are all yours.


Take the studio outside of the studio

24 hour outside broadcasts. The studio becomes a mixing desk and the program director unplugs the microphone. If someone is on the air talking, then they’re at the “scene of the crime” broadcasting live.

The high horse of the quality broadcasting studio is great, but what if your news guy is live from that crash that just happened for the 2pm bulletin, then one talent is hanging out with the families at that massive local park checking out what they’re doing and making a quick package out of it then your other talent is on a yacht for the Sydney to Hobart, or something absolutely crazy that breaks all the rules of radio but makes it more local than it’s ever been.

Actually interactive radio apps

Radio apps really suck, like, they are really bad.

If your radio station app doesn’t allow me to send a sound bite of my opinion, a video of that crash that just happened, a “text message” of feedback or to vote on a poll, why does it even exist? I can listen on the hundreds of other radio apps.

Also, the producer that’s producing the show on air right now should be able to put the poll up and receive the soundbites or other content. If an engineer or “web guy” needs to be involved you’re not doing it right.

Get with the podcasting times

Two points on podcasting: Get podcasters on your station, get your station on podcasts.

Firstly, there are some amazing podcasters in your very city. In Melbourne hundreds of thousands of people listen to some of the city’s little known comedians on podcast. Even my and Steve’s podcast the “Thing Committee” has been listened to over 350,000 times. Those kind of numbers on commercial radio would warrant ears being raised. But on podcast it’s the normal. Our podcast isn’t even “popular” with those kind of numbers.

Secondly, you’ve got some really talented people in your building and they might not be hosting breakfast. Almost everyone in the station has been behind the mic, or would like to be, so why not workshop some niche shows they could produce on a weekly basis, record in the spare studio and put out on the station website. Imagine the possibilities!

You’ve got the resources and the skills, so why not do it?

Talk radio for “kids these days”

I’m 32, male and I experienced a terrible thing the other day: I ran out of podcasts. All of the podcasts I had subscribed to, I’d listened to the most recent episodes. I was on the way back from Maleny for an afternoon wedding and my rationing of my mobile data had reached that “two days left and 300MB” stage. I had no more speaking left to listen to.

I tuned into the talk stations and those particular presenters on that day felt way out of my care-factor space. They were people who bitched and moaned about “kids these days”.

Here’s a tip: some “kids these days” like to listen to talk radio but we resort to podcasts to listen to our peers because the old fuddies on the radio quite often leave us with a sour taste in our mouth.

Open up the boys club

There was a segment on 4BC Breakfast last year, and for many years previous I assume, where a local identity joined the show every morning and talked about something interesting.

I didn’t grow up in Brisbane but now call it home and I legitimately wanted to know who Obie was and why he had a segment every morning. And I worked there.
Obie’s probably a great bloke but I listened every morning and could never figure out who he was or what he did.
Listeners want to join the boys club, but we’d like an invitation.

Recycle your radio content

That piece that you spent all day producing for that comedy segment is probably really good. Why can’t that get some airtime later on, over the next 6-12 months, 5-20 times? Package it up and keep it in the can.

Here’s the key though: when you play it back don’t apologise about how it’s something old. Back yourself, just play it with no apologies. If it’s good content then it’s got legs for months.

Be useful on Facebook

There’s enough memes on Facebook to keep everyone busy for years. Here’s what’s lacking: actual useful information and entertainment.

The greatest void on the Internet today is in original, relevant, relational, quality content.

Yep – what you do on air is missing online. You can connect the dots right?



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