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The Ways Social Media Affects How We Interact with Radio

Photo of Tyler Sox Tyler Sox 04/12/2012

I recently joined a local community radio station to help launch a programme around gaming and films, and have learned first hand the crucial role social media plays in making shows and presenters accessible to their listeners.

Historically, a listener’s real-time interactions with radio shows were limited, to social-media-crisis.htmling or calling stations directly. Although many radio talk shows are based around the premise of listeners calling in, this can cause bottlenecks from the volume of users trying to get through to have their opinions heard.

Ever since social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have grown in popularity, broadcasters have been embracing these mediums as a means to increase listeners, enrich their experiences and improve overall engagement with shows.

While most radio programmes still encourage listeners to call in, many also advertise their Twitter handles and Facebook fan pages as a means of contacting them during shows. They can then incorporate these interactions within their presentations, dedicating segments to reading out the messages they have received, often in real-time. In addition to this, social profiles offer presenters the opportunity to share additional media related to shows, including pictures and video.

One of the most important ways radio uses social media is to have a continued presence in listeners’ everyday lives when not broadcasting. One station that does this particularly well is Talk Sport. Each show has its own Twitter profile run by presenters, where news and views continue to be posted daily even when off air.

In the case of the community radio station, social media is playing a key part in advertising and building an audience, while offering presenters a medium to share media and get new show ideas.

For me this is an example of how one of the earliest forms of entertainment media has adapted and survived to maintain its relevance in the modern age.