PSA: 4 Tips for Expanding Public Radio Reach

Public radio stations are great at sharing other nonprofit organizations’ news. But when it comes time to literally sing their own praises? Total unsung heroes, as in radio silence.

Public relations is an approach to sharing news of a public radio expansion.
Katalinas Communications assisted RDV with a public relations campaign focused on increasing awareness of two new stations.

And just because you have a radio broadcast does not automatically mean that listeners will know about it and tune in.

Radio Delaware Valley recently worked with Katalinas Communications on a public relations campaign focused on the acquisition of two new radio stations – one in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and the other in southern New Jersey.

The underlying question: How do we let people in the greater Philadelphia area know that we’re here? For RDV, we focused solely on a media coverage approach to get the word out. However, there are several other worthwhile options that I also suggest.

1. Be where they are

To ramp up total listenership across a multitude of channels, the best approach is to find your potential listeners where they’re at. Radio stations have demographics for the type of listeners, such as age, gender, and interests. That data can tell you a lot about where your people are each and every day. Is it Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube? Is it online news sites, blogs, or podcasts? Knowing where they are – and being there – is key.

2. Talk the talk

Now that you’re in your potential listeners’ favorite hangouts, are you speaking to them? In other words, are you sharing content and communicating in a way that resonates with them? For some, that may mean a video-focused approach. For others, it could mean something altogether different. Think about how you chat with a close friend. There’s shorthand and not everything needs to be spelled out. That’s the level of comfort you want to have in communicating on your audience’s preferred platforms.

Radio Delaware Valley broadcasts from local community events, including the Hatboro Moonlight Memories Car Show.
WRDV representatives attend the Hatboro Moonlight Memories Car Show.

3. Meet the community

Who doesn’t like to meet radio personalities and pick up free branded bumper stickers, pens, and chip clips in the process? Community days, car shows, parades and other local events are great ways to meet and interact with prospective listeners – as well as the movers and shakers in a new coverage area. Each interaction is another opportunity. Be prepared with a short elevator pitch about the station, its programming and what offering or service you hope to make available to the community.

4. Reach your market

Public relations, and ultimately media coverage, especially in conjunction with social media shares, is a great way to introduce your station to a new base. To be successful, first define your market. In other words, which media outlets report on your station’s coverage area? For Radio Delaware Valley, there were several distinct markets Katalinas Communications identified. While all part of the Delaware Valley (which is massive – spanning four states and millions of people), drilling down on specific areas led to success in having our story picked up throughout markets in Montgomery County, Pa., Bucks County, Pa., New Jersey and nationally.

Not sure how to tell your nonprofit organization or business story? Contact Theresa Katalinas for a no-obligation consultation. Prior to founding her public relations agency in 2014, she worked for more than a decade as a multi-media reporter and editor. Katalinas Communications serves a number of nonprofit and local government organizations throughout the greater Philadelphia area.

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