Panic is too big a word. They’re getting nervous, that’s for sure. Less listeners tune in, so the flagship is heading for stormy waters – or worse a sand bank. They’re trying new formats for the NOS Radio Morning Show, which is great. But I wonder, shouldn’t they also focus on different ways of reaching out to listeners?
Everybody is suffering from declining numbers. Inevitable, with so many options at hand. It’s not just the endless frequencies and websites, but also new pick and choose opportunities and -most importantly- the customization of getting news.
BBC Radio 4 started something fascinating in that last category. Their PM show literally asked the listeners: Okay, you tell us what news you want to hear.
Share what you know is their new mantra, where bloggers can add questions, knowledge, information, criticism to the PM-blog. On Saturday it all comes together in a 24 minute compilation. It’s like Frank Sinatra calling out to his audience. Okay, what do you wanna hear, and I’ll sing a great tune to it.
I’m not saying this iPM thing is the way to go. Listening to it I felt the authority of news makers and news bringers was slipping away. But that’s probably the point. Listeners aren’t running away, they just need to be engaged. We radio makers need to open our eyes to seek their ears.
Below, the running sheet for the iPM show (bbc.co.uk)