Laura-May Coope, Co-founder and Manager of Social Life, BBC, United Kingdom, urged radio broadcasters to derive maximum benefits from social media by inviting their listeners and fans in making them feel special and valued, creating emotional connections, and offering them rewards.
“Let them play, edit, remix and own parts of what you do using social media”, Ms. Coope told participants who attended the Pre-Summit Workshop on Radio and Social Media on 25 May 2015 in Kuala Lumpur. The one-day seminar was co-organised by AIBD, Radiodays Europe and RCS.
Ms. Coope worked for BBC Radio 1 in rebranding the station for five years, contributing towards making it the biggest radio station on social media in UK.
She cited some examples of programmes that have used social media platforms successfully. Among them were the Eurovision Song Contest which had huge social spaces run by a community of fans, and Radio 1 Breakfast Show that invited dedicated fans to come out with creative ideas who can be part of the program.
“It’s about being creative and not about the ego of traditional broadcasters. We must ensure people are involved in some way in our radio programs,” she pointed out.
In transforming BBC Radio 1, she said that the biggest hindrance was to convince managers and staff to learn more about social media and make it an integral element of the radio shows.
She also said that peoples’ consuming and sharing habits have changed dramatically, and for radio programmes to thrive in the fast changing digital era and growing interconnected world, broadcasters need to experiment and test new concepts.
“Be brave and find the engagement with listeners and fans,” she added.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Chang Jin, AIBD Director, urged radio broadcasters to maximise the opportunities social media offers such as marketing programmes, expanding audience reach, spreading their message, networking and gaining knowledge.
“Radio professionals must find ways to adapt to the challenges of the new landscape created by social media” he said.
Innovative developments in radio in Asia
Another speaker in the workshop was Mr. Steve Ahern, Broadcasting Consultant from Australia, who gave an overview of social media developments in Asia- Pacific.
He cited innovative developments happening with radio in Asia that may impact the future direction of the industry.
One example is BFM Radio in Malaysia, a business station that has successfully pushed their programs into social media platforms.
He said the station mixes music, some funny talents and discussion on financial issues that have increasingly expanded audience reach.
“No traditional broadcaster works with this station, but the network and its talents have come out with innovative and interesting features, landing them as one of the top radio broadcasters in the country”, he said.
Also in Malaysia is im4FM radio station, which is run by young people. Mr. Ahern said the station focuses on youth issues and concerns, doing more than what traditional radio stations do.
Another example is RED FM station in India which has adopted a cheeky and irreverent approach to programmes. He said the station has become popular.
In his presentation, he cited the case of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India who has rapidly acquired a fan base on the social-media network, becoming the second most-followed world political leader on Twitter after U.S. President Barack Obama.
Known in India as Mr. Social Media, the Indian leader tapped social media to win an election. Every week, the Indian leader gets to interact and chat with his constituents through a radio programme.