From day one, interacting with listeners has been a key part of radio. In a session filled with audio clips Paula Szuchman and Emily Botein from WNYC told us how bringing listeners into audio content builds real communities and remains an important part of their business model.
The session started with a moment of reminiscence, remembering those days when listeners used to send letters to stations complaining about how the weather was reported in the broadcast. Times have certainly changed, with digital interaction taking over and boosting the potential for engagement. However, interaction with listeners can take many forms and gor far beyond content itself.
Botein explained how listeners get involved and help improve their participation in the content. For “10 Things that Scare Me”, WNYC started receiving audio clips properly formatted, as listeners had already understood how content was put together.
Engaging with listeners beyond audio was the next step, as Szuchman showed a shared Google Document that allowed listeners to become an even greater part of the show. “The station’s content becomes the listeners’ content – ours is theirs” – listeners get more involved because the show matters to them even more.
It is a two-way street. As money is needed to continue to produce quality content, getting listeners onboard plays a key role in keeping the ball rolling. After all, as Szuchman noted: “the best business model is right in front of the media – it’s the audience”