My final year thesis was an audience research which measured the listenership of select radio stations in Ibadan and one of my key findings was that radio listeners are not necessarily loyal to radio stations but that they are loyal to radio presenters to a considerable extent.
However my qualitative research showed that when a popular radio presenter leaves a radio station, it is not only the station that loses listeners, the presenter also loses a significant number of his audience. The study was carried out in 2013.
You will recall that Edmund Obilo left Splash FM sometimes ago for inspiration FM (I hope I’m right). Despite how much I loved Edmund’s programmes and wouldn’t miss his shows on Saturdays, somehow somehow, I lost track of his programmes that period. I thought I had it programmed at the back of mind that Saturday mornings are for Edmund but it actually took an extra effort for me to find out his new station and even at that, I couldn’t just keep up with him in another radio station.
I remember noticing Ronke Giwa’s absence on Splash FM too. It was recently when she was appointed GM of Vintage FM that I heard about her again. Before Ronke, It was Hakeem Kareem, former HR and news analyst on Fresh FM that was managing the station. In fact it was becaus Hakeem that promoting Vintage FM heavily on his Facebook page that I got to know about the station.
This morning, news broke that babatunde Saheed, Role model, Adeshina Jagunmade, Paj 1 and Akinwale Fasasi, all of Fresh FM have left the station. I am aware that Role model has a travel agency, a business that he has leveraged his popularity on radio to grow. For me, the new station that Mr. Babatunde Saheed went to will likely be his retirement station unless he probably starts his own station later. Role model style as far as I’m concerned is not unique and honestly it will easy for his audience to get a replacement for him.
The fact is that unlike before, there are now so many contents, especially online, competing for the attention of different audiences, and radio listeners are not an exception.
My advice to radio presenters is that they build their brands to a very formidable one before they move from their present station to another one. Brand building is mostly achieved online these days because of how all forms of media have converged on the internet.
As a presenter, ensure that you understand how social media support broadcasting. If possible, consult a digital marketer or social media strategist to assist you so that you grow your followership to a formidable level. For some it’s Facebook that will work for them, for some it will be Instagram while others will find their space on Tiktok.
The interesting thing about social media is that it is an amplifier and it is a revealer. If your content is rich, it will announce you to the world and vice versa. You can also announce your programme schedule on your social media platforms. That way, you can convert some of your online audience to offline audience.
I will also suggest to radio station managers that one of the major factors (after competence) that should be considered in hiring a presenter for a radio station should be a strong online presence especially for a new radio station. If a presenter’s brand is strong enough, people will want to follow him to his new radio station.
Radio presenters should also try to do an external audit and find out if people get value from their programmes? Some presenters don’t do any research before going on air. They just go and freestyle. Even if it’s just music presentation or an interview programme, your still need to do some research.
How dynamic is your presentation? Some radio presenters have been using the same style of presentation since they started the work till this moment? It is such that their regular listener is asked to mimic them, the listener will get it word for word.
Meanwhile as a growing presenter, don’t be too eager to move especially if you are in an established brand. And if you are moving, let it be for the right reasons. Your priority should be a work environment where innovation is allowed and you are allowed to grow your skills and brand. Except you are a established as a brand, money should not be your priority.
If because of money, you move too early to a new station already populated by bigger OAP’s, you may not have the space to showcase your potentials and consequently go into professional extinction. When you have taken your time to horne your skills and build your brand in a work environment that supports your growth, then you can start negotiating for higher pay in any radio station of your choice.