Blog Post

How to Maximise Radio Broadcast PR Opportunities in 2024

There has been much change in the world over the past 12 months, from troubles in the Middle East, economic turmoil back at home, and even talks of a new COVID variant heading our way.  Amongst all this however, one thing has remained consistent – radio; and it is stronger than ever! 

According to the latest RAJAR figures, which published its quarterly summary of radio listenership recently, 88% of the UK population are now listening weekly.  That’s 49.5 million UK adults.  Of course, this is great news for agencies and companies wanting to get their brand and key messages on air.  But how do you make the most of broadcast PR opportunities in 2024.

Commercial Radio is where it is at!

We can’t deny it, there is a lot of love for commercial radio right now.  In fact, the latest RAJAR audience figures show that commercial radio has enjoyed an additional one million weekly listeners compared to 3 months ago.  The rise to 39.1 million compared to 38.1 million 3 months ago seems to be continuing a trend too.  3.5 million extra listeners have tuned  in to commercial radio in the past 5 years. That’s a lot of ears for your brand mentions and key messages.

It should be said that commercial radio has enjoyed significant investment over recent years.  The days of lost pet features and request shows are long gone!  Now, stations such as Heart and Greatest Hits Radio employ some of the biggest names in the business, offer audiences big money competitions, and deliver it with industry-leading sound and a polished output.  In fact, commercial radio has changed so much, it is now leading the way.

Take Heart Breakfast.  What used to be a 33 individual local Heart Breakfast shows across the country, is now one national show hosted by Amanda Holden and Jamie Theakston.  They are so popular, it has become the UK’s biggest commercial radio breakfast show, overtaking even BBC Radio 1 at breakfast time.  The show is all about fun and celebrities, so for the right spokesperson and story, this could be a huge PR opportunity for your broadcastcampaign.

Amanda Holden and Jamie Theakston

 

The Takeaway For Your Broadcast PR Campaign

The biggest takeaway for your broadcast PR campaign is that radio is definitely here to stay in 2024.  We see it as the biggest broadcast PR opportunity in 2024. Sure, stations are facing more and more competition from the likes of social media, podcasts and other digital channels, but just as video did not kill the radio star, technology is even less likely to do so.

If anything, new ways to listen to radio is only increasing its popularity, and opening up stations to bigger audiences.  For instance, in the latest RAJAR listenership report, 31% of audiences say they now listen to live radio via a Smartphone or Tablet at least once a month.  13% use catch up radio or the ‘listen again’ function, which opens up your brand mention and key messages to be heard again and again.

Speech Radio is Trusted

One of the key legacies of the pandemic was that when it comes to getting trusted news, speech radio comes out on top.  Well-known names, delivering news in an approachable and easy to understand style is one of the reasons we switch on the radio in troubling times.  The great news for your broadcast PR campaign is that this level of trust seems to be continuing well into 2024.

Take BBC World Service, who offer a global take on the daily news cycle.  In the UK alone, their weekly listenership has just risen from 940,000 listeners per week to 1.072 million.  Likewise, LBC, once a local news radio station for London, now a national station which promises to “lead Britain’s conversation”, has grown from 745,000 to 810,000 listeners this quarter.

Meanwhile, Talk Radio, the radio arm of Talk TV, reports their highest ever weekly audience figures.  725,000 listeners per week tuning into the thoughts and views of presenters such as Jeremy Kyle, Trisha Goddard and Mike Graham.

Jeremy Kyle, Tricia Goddard and Mike Graham

It’s also worth noting there is a big appetite for different styles of news reporting right now, something still quite new to the UK.  Similar to Fox News’ “tell it like it is” approach in the States, GB News launched in June 2021 to much cynicism from media critics.  Fast forward to 2024 though, and the radio offering of the channel has grown at the fastest year-on-year rate, up 32% on last year to 194,000 weekly listeners.  While the station won’t be the best fit for all clients, a strategically placed spokesperson on the right show could yield great results for your broadcast PR campaign.

We Still Love Local Radio

When planning a broadcast PR campaign, clients tend to put a lot of emphasis on national television and radio, and with good reason.  With huge audiences and sometimes wider appeal, a broadcast PR opportunity here can seem very attractive.  That said, there is still a place for local radio within a campaign strategy.

Local radio tends to attract more loyal audiences, listeners that trust their presenters and come back time and time again.  These presenters tend to live and work in the same area as their listenership meaning there is a greater element of connection and familiarity versus a presenter sat in a studio far away.  It is this loyalty that makes brand mentions and key messages resonate more deeply.  With this in mind, it is no surprise to see stations such as Nation Radio South Wales report their highest weekly reach of 185,000 listeners in their latest RAJAR release.

Likewise, the recent addition on regional programming to BBC local radio, there have been some significant increases to audience at some sites too.  BBC Radio Wiltshire for instance has grown from 77,000 weekly listeners to 89,000 this quarter, with BBC Coventry and Warwickshire rising to 64,000 from 56,000.

Meanwhile, 12,000 new listeners have made the switch to BBC Radio Kent, taking the weekly reach of the station to 142,000.  Local radio also offers the opportunity to offer up local case studies and local stats too, perfect if you want your broadcast PR campaign to target an audience in a specific region.

two radio studios

What this might mean for PR

The biggest takeaway for your broadcast PR campaign is that radio is definitely here to stay in 2024.  We see it as the biggest broadcast PR opportunity in 2024. Sure, stations are facing more and more competition from the likes of social media, podcasts and other digital channels, but just as video did not kill the radio star, technology is even less likely to do so.

If anything, new ways to listen to radio is only increasing its popularity, and opening up stations to bigger audiences.  For instance, in the latest RAJAR listenership report, 31% of audiences say they now listen to live radio via a Smartphone or Tablet at least once a month.  13% use catch up radio or the ‘listen again’ function, which opens up your brand mention and key messages to be heard again and again.

Meanwhile, speech radio will always be popular in times of need, which is apparent in the listenership success of LBC, BBC World Service and Talk Radio.  Audiences don’t always want to read news on a screen or through a newspaper, they want real people to tell them the news in a conversational and authentic way.  Tapping into this desire is a huge broadcast PR opportunity. It can help grow trust, awareness and recall of your brand.

Finally, as commercial radio gets bigger and better, it may be time to revaluate any preconceived ideas of the format and look to see the benefit to your broadcast PR campaign.

How Can Shout Communications Help with Your Broadcast PR Campaign?

Shout! Communications is a team of broadcast PR professionals with decades of experience creating and leading broadcast content for national radio and TV. As well as being broadcast PR experts, we think like the broadcast producers we used to be. We know what broadcasters want, and more importantly, what they don’t want. We keep on top of industry trends so we always know where best to place you or your client.  To learn more about how we can help you with radio and TV media relations, as well as media training,  contact us today.

Or call 020 7240 7373 or email Hello@shoutcommunications.co.uk.

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