Have you noticed the attention to community radio lately?
A January 6 article in The New York Times declared, “As Low-Power Local Radio Rises, Tiny Voices Become a Collective Shout.” Kirk Johnson writes, “What low-power urban radio creates, believers say, is a sense of community,” and, with changes in net neutrality, “‘If it gets harder for independent media to stream online, the low-power FM [LPFM] stations will become even more important,’ said Todd Urick, a radio engineer who helped lead Common Frequency.”
Just two days later, Kevin Parks wrote at ThisWeekNews.com (Columbus, OH), “Low-Power Radio: New Station Serves Immigrants.” LPFM Solidarity was abuzz with ideas about how to leverage this newfound interest.
LPFM advocate Ernesto Aguilar followed up these stories with a piece in Radio World highlighting efforts of even more stations, including WERA, saying, “Takoma Park, Md.’s WOWD(LP) and Arlington’s WERA(LP) are literally a train ride apart, but together offer their region some high-quality shows. What you will discover with these intriguing stations is how each involves a diverse range of voices from the area. Living in the establishment media shadow of Washington, D.C., these LPFMs’ programming is a beacon of joy.” Beacon of joy—that’s us!
Now’s a great time to let people know we are here!
In that spirit—and because I fear AIM and WERA may be Arlington’s best kept secrets—I wanted to share some of the tricks and tools I’ve learned for drawing attention to the great programs offered on 96.7FM and Comcast channel 69 and Verizon channel 38:
Facebook: Creating a page for your show gives people an easy place to find your programs or related articles and see or hear your work. You don’t have to use Facebook personally to use it for your show: think of it as a free website with a very large potential audience. Share links to your shows with other Facebook groups that might be interested to help extend the reach of your program.
Twitter: Learn the handles and hashtags of your guests and the topics you cover. Use them to attract new audience members who share those interests. I landed an interview with ensemble members from Second City with just one tweet!
Instagram: For radio, an image-based social medium may seem counterintuitive, but you can create an image for anything, and Instagram is where younger audiences are. If you want them to pay attention, go to them!
Canva: Speaking of images, you can create terrific graphics for free using Canva.com. Create logos, Facebook event cover pictures, images to go with your tweets, anything you like. No expertise needed.
Business cards: Old school, but they give people something to take home with them. Let people know you have a show, where they can find it, and how they can reach you when they want to know more.
Swag: I’m just starting to experiment here, but wouldn’t it be great if people all over our community were walking billboards for AIM and WERA? I’ve got a “Choose to Be Curious” hat and coffee mug. I’m thinking about what else.
What’s worked for you? How do you get your message out? Share what you’ve learned on the AIM Volunteer Networking Facebook page!