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Calling All Local Radio Stations: How to Stand Out and Appeal to Local Listeners


The British public has always had a soft spot for local radio. While the big names like BBC Radio, Kiss and Classic FM continue to dominate the radio waves, there is ample room for radio stations led by the local community.

Running a local radio station is no easy feat – but there are certain advantages when it comes to marketing and a few things that local radio stations can do to spice up the way they connect with their audience.

Being creative and community-oriented

While some marketing strategies are unique to local radio stations, some others will work for any broadcaster – as long as they get creative enough to do something that attracts attention. Creating a regularly updated blog on WordPress is a safe way to connect with listeners. And forging unusual partnerships is another way to achieve that. Reaching out to another local or regional radio station to cross-advertise may sound counterintuitive, but it works in terms of expanding your listener base. Running competitions together and tying into segments focusing on similar music genres is a great way to promote radio shows.

Heart Radio took it one step further and partnered up with affiliated Heart Bingo, which features on the best bingo sites across the UK. The bingo site is well-known for its appealing and fun player promotions, while users can listen to Heart Radio while they play. For local radio stations, partnering up with local businesses to provide promotions or make sure that customers are tuning in when using their services is an out-of-the-box way strategy that could yield great results.

Play to the strengths of being a local

Research by Ofcom reveals that listening to the radio is a popular pastime for UK listeners, as 89.6% of respondents said they tune in once a week or more. 63% of Brits prefer music-focused providers, while 38% opt for radio stations that are primarily speech-based and 16% have tuned in to podcasts. In order for a local radio station to stand out, they must have a clear focus of what they will be offering their listeners. For those going for mainly music-based radio shows, it might be more efficient to focus on a couple of genres and do it right, rather than providing a medley of various sounds.

This will help the audience know what to expect when they tune in. And no one knows what the locals want to listen to better than someone from the community. Local radio stations have the advantage of knowing the communities they broadcast in, so they can tap into the potential around them. Running a regular segment that showcases local bands and artists is a great way to reach out to a predominantly local audience and generate hype. For those that aim to be primarily speech-oriented, focusing on local news is a great way to stand out from national broadcasters. A local radio station is all about community – and it should build on local needs and tastes.

So, reach out to your local cafes, pubs, even hairdressers! A local radio station embedded in the local community has the best chance of truly flourishing.


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