Engaging Your Audience With Your Audience

Dave Charles – ByrnesMedia

Engagement is about getting your audience involved in your show.  It’s about using the best of social media and capturing the best bits on air as part of the station’s ongoing dialogue with its audience. 

Now is also the time for radio to embrace some new production values that engage the audience on their turf.  For years we’ve used listener requests, shout outs, street segments, artist grabs and internet bits, especially from YouTube, to enhance our shows.

Twitter, Facebook and texting are current forms of active listener engagement beyond radio. It’s time to put both together now.  To achieve this, you need to work with your on-air talent to integrate comments and listener conversations that will add more engagement to live shows. 

Some stations have good on-air systems to capture callers and voice bits.  Voxpro by Audionlabs has one of the best systems.  Check them out on (audionlabs.com).  This excellent system allows you to record all voice bits, edit them and put them into a category and file for use whenever your talent needs them. Some of these clips are not time dated so they can be stored for future use.

The art, however, is not the recording and editing of these live bits and putting them into files, but in how they are integrated into the live on-air shows.  That’s what needs to be developed.  PD’s and talent alike need to work together on the styles and variations.  Believe me, there are endless ways to roll them into a live break.  Every talent will have a different approach to using them.  The key is to start your talent moving in this direction now.

The art is in experimenting with this concept. Everyone may have a different approach. So rule one is to keep an open mind and keep the clips simple until you get a feel for this new engagement approach. 

If you use these clips as part of your rap, you’ll add more listener presence to your show which will make you sound like you’re a part of your listeners’ conversations.  The real difference is that it sounds like your talking with your listeners and not at them. This is the highest form of involvement.  As more listeners hear their bits on air, the more they will talk about it with their friends.  We all know how important it is to create good word of mouth.

Not all talents will have the production and editing skills required at first. This is an acquired skill that can only be developed with practice.  The trick is to edit out the right segments of the clips from the raw conversations and put them in a file order that can be easily accessed and used.  This also means proper labelling so you can easily find them.

The best way to begin is to use no more than two voice clips within a live talk break.  Script the structure of the bits indicating where the voice grabs will be placed allows the talent to keep the break on track. 

Ryan Seacrest and Maura on Virgin Radio Toronto are very skilled at using listener and artist grabs to add engagement to their shows. Listen to them on the net to get a sense of how effective this new engagement can be. Quality of the cuts is also essential.

It’s time to replace some of the station’s cluttered ID’s and production with listener engagement bits.  Some stations are over cooked and over produced. Over produced stations have TSL problems because they are too hot and too cluttered.

Let’s talk about how to use this new tactic to develop listener engagement. I believe you need to explore listener engagement as a show priority.

Contact Dave Charles at ByrnesMedia toll free at 1-866-332-1331.