We conducted a survey of radio stations in September of 2012, and it confirmed that stations are still committed to more in-depth explorations of topics important to their local communities. One hundred percent of the 25 stations surveyed provide a public affairs or longer form community talk shows in their programming. But those shows operate very leanly with only two people, on average, gathering news and information for their shows. In fact, more than a third (36%) have just one person performing this role.
The central focus of these programs is local issues and newsmakers. When asked what they preferred in terms of content, 52% (13 out of 25) mentioned that they like local newsmakers and interview topics whenever possible. Forty-eight percent (12 out of 25) rank health or medical as their number one topic, with public policy or politics following at 28 percent (7 out of 25). Other topics mentioned include: current events, “smart living,” worthy causes, and consumer-relevant business.
The majority of stations would still like to drive their show content by conducting interviews themselves. When asked if they would like pre-recorded ten to fifteen minute interview segments with questions for stations to insert, 32 percent (8 of 25) said they would find this useful, while 68 percent prefer to take the time to interview guest to get what their show requires.
The takeaway from this survey is that while stations told us that they like “guest driven interviews,” they are always interested in “knowing about resources to help” their programs. For media relations professionals, getting to know the stations you’re pitching and finding out their programming preferences when offering guests is the key to success. If you want to know what they’re looking for, all you have to do is ask. That’s what we try to do, and we always find their insights illuminating.