Go local or go home

Radio is a cornerstone of our media landscape, yet the number of listeners is dwindling. This is the grim conclusion Kim Olsson, programme developer for Swedish Radio, comes to. It requires radio stations to adapt and offer content that speaks to a globalised audience – and what better way to find a niche yet unexplored than to focus on topics that other platforms can’t quite replicate. That is, highly localised topics which speak to the audience directly.

At first glance, it might seem difficult to extract actual content from smaller communes. May I introduce: Stine Thorsgaard Kjaer. She works for the Danish tongue twister of a station TV2 Østjylland, which just so happens to focus on a minuscule part of the already rather small country. This fact does nothing, however, to stop the station’s creative juices from flowing. Case in point: They turned a local drug smuggling gone wrong into a fairly well-produced podcast. There’s stories lurking everywhere.

Chris Burns is Head of Audio and Digital for BBC England and phrases the present-day goals of radio as follows: “At the heart of it is authentic storytelling and we need to make sure to use of all the platforms available to us”. In every community there can be found stories, people and emotions that are unique to their community – all in their own way. A local radio station is able to pick up on all of those and broadcast them to people who care.

Throwing it back to Germany, Georg Rose of Radio Wuppertal fame finally transports the visitors to the crisis zone of the so-called Ruhrgebiet area. Due to a lack of unity among its inhabitants “going local” is easier said than done. And here we learn this panel’s final message: There’s limits for everything, even for going local.

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