Building Digital Capacity

Building resilience in Community Radio

Building resilience in Community Radio

The audio landscape is changing

It is almost 100 years since Radio was first introduced to wirelesses, living rooms, cars and ears around Australia in November 1923. Today, radio content no longer lives in the simple, linear capacity of the AM and FM bands. With people increasingly turning to digital platforms and podcasts for their audio content, radio stations have the challenge of keeping up with their audiences. While the audience pool may have become exponentially bigger, they have never been harder to find.

Angela Stengel's Content Marketing tips

Unlike their commercial counterparts, community radio stations do not have deep pockets to fund the evolution of their digital selves. Often staffed by volunteers and funded through memberships, scant government grants and donations, they sit in the middle of a Venn diagram of scarcity. When money is tight, keeping the lights on and the signal powering can become the priority, eclipsing time for lateral thinking and innovation on every level. 

Skills to pay the bills

Introducing Radio Promo, a project designed in partnership with City of Sydney and the Community Media Training Organisation (CMTO), designed to help community radio stations in Sydney retool with digital skills and best practice to thrive in this disruptive media landscape. 

We turned to some of Australia’s best digital, marketing and content minds to develop an 8-part online program, delivered through the CMTO, to help Sydney’s community radio stations turn their content into more sustainable revenue streams. 

The Program

1. Digital Marketing - Greg Hall, National Marketing Manager for Young Henrys expands on how the digital marketing realm is now completely interwoven with real-life.

2. Content Marketing - Angela Stengel, head of Content Ideas Lab at ABC, shows us how to leverage radios wealth of content and storytelling to a wider audience.

3. Owned: Your Channels - Lena Nahlous, Executive Director of Diversity Arts Australia and host of The Colour Cycle podcast, shows us how community radio has the power to affect real change.

4. Earned: Shares - Elaine Lalchand, Digital Marketing at The Digital Picnic, dissects the best ways to get your content onto these platforms and how to keep your audience engaged and hanging for more. 

5. Paid: Advertising - Tiani Chillemi, Audience Development Specialist at Pubblico!, demonstrates the different ways you can grow your audience and convert people who already like what you do into paying subscribers.

6. Analytics - Tiani Chillemi, Audience Development Specialist at Pubblico! walks you through the two most important metrics you should be following in a practical guided tour. 

7. Membership and Donation - Rebecca McLean Chan, Donor Executive & Joshua Forward, Digital Marketing Manager at Sydney Theatre Company, believe there’s always room to kick your donor strategies up a notch.

8. Sponsorship - Molly Condon, Partnerships Manager at Frankie magazine, suggests lateral thinking to create the best sponsorship deals.


Free samples

Radio is a content-rich medium and converting this wealth into cold hard cash is where the true skills come into play. 

Greg Hall’s top 3 tips for creating quality digital marketing:
  1. Your content has to have a purpose. Just throwing something on social media because you haven't for a couple of days isn't good enough. You've got a second to grab someone's attention as they’re on the infinite scroll.
  2. Make sure it's relevant to your audience. Have a clear understanding of who you are as a brand. Listen to your audience and make sure your content is relevant to them. 
  3. Staying true to your values is the most important thing. 
How to create a successful donor program:
  1. Make sure you’re barking up the right trees, that you’re dedicating the right time to the right people. 
  2. What works for the local Children's Hospital will not necessarily work for you! Ensure your messaging always aligns with your culture, branding and your data-driven fundraising practice.
  3. Storytelling is the most important part of fundraising. 
Angela Stengel’s content marketing tips:
  1. Know your audience. Stop and think about how you're trying to reach before you do anything else! 
  2. Once you know your audience, know your platform. Make sure you understand it, and if you don't, perhaps it's not the platform for you. 
  3. Stay really passionate about the content, the stories and the people - because that's actually at the heart of what you're all trying to do. 


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By Rabia Lockwood