Making waves on radio
With social media grabbing all the headlines these days, it’s easy to forget just how important radio remains in Irish life. 85% of us tune into a radio station every day and the average listener takes in a daily helping of just under four and a half hours of music and talk.
Morning Ireland remains the big daily national radio show, attracting an average morning listenership of 450,000. The next most popular show, Liveline, is one whose popularity has grown consistently in recent years – almost 428,000 people tune in every day. RTE shows such as Drivetime, the Marian Finucane Show, the Business and Miriam Meets make up the rest of the Top 10 shows. Indeed, RTE shows, including those on 2FM, continue to dominate the vast majority of the Top 20.
The star performers for the independent broadcasters such as Today FM and Newstalk include their breakfast and drivetime shows. The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show and Ray Darcy’s mid-morning show are the only two non-RTE shows within the Top 20. The station’s drivetime shows are also strong performers, with the Last Word and the Right Hook attracting audiences of 174,000 and 130,000 respectively.
Whether it’s for a jobs announcement, a report publication or a consumer product launch, being able to productively engage with the presenters and producers of these shows is an extremely valuable skill.
There is a very long list of considerations to be taken into account before pitching up a news story – too long for a blog post. What are outlined below are some of the more pertinent matters worth thinking about before you pick up the phone or press that send button:
- Be relevant – there is no more point pitching in a story about new jobs to the producers of a sports show than there is calling Morning Ireland with news of an FMCG product launch. Only the biggest stories of the day and some human interest/good news stories make Morning Ireland. With a bit of tenacity and smart thinking, a news story with a more niche technology or entertainment angle will find a home on the technology or entertainment section or slot of a major show or on a show specifically dedicated to the area.
- Timing makes a difference – Just as most people’s working day is broken down into routines, so is that of shows’ editors, producers and presenters. Knowing the production cycle for shows is vital if a story is to even make it to the daily or weekly editorial meeting for serious consideration.
- Creativity counts – the volume of material that those working in the media receive every day is already very high – hundreds of press releases and emails are received by the newsdesks of the national stations. So, a little bit of creativity in the headline or title line of the email can help to make the difference between your email being deleted or being read and then making the show. Also, write in plain English and avoid jargon.
- Good performers help – while many of us do tire of hearing the same talking heads on the radio week after week, there is a simple explanation for why this happens – shows like to feature articulate and knowledgeable commentators when covering a story. This is why media training for an organisation’s spokesperson can be invaluable.