Dear Radio Manager; How Not To See 'Shege' In 2023
Congratulations! You made it to 2023! In spite of the turbulence you faced in 2022. You made it through the long recovery from the economic shock of COVID-19, the astronomical hike in diesel prices, the drop in advertising budget from media agencies.
You made it through the revenue drop, budget cuts, staff loss and other principalities and powers that plague this industry.
That you're still here means you're strong, resilient and a miracle worker.
Another year is here and I know you're wondering what the year 2023 will bring. Will it be more of the same hustle or will it come with its own brand of madness? Will you still be chasing after ad buyers, hustling to be included in campaigns as you wonder how to boost depleting staff morale while recycling tired radio content?
If you're a radio manager in Nigeria, you already know what the regular issues are; so how do you plan to overcome them?
If you don't want to see ‘shege’ this year, here are important steps you must take
REVIEW YOUR CONTENT
It’s time to take a hard, critical look at your content. Every show, segment, live or recorded, in-house or independent programming. All must be reviewed. That a program is long running doesn't mean It's still successful. Remove stale content, switch anchors without sentiment and get rid of dead weight when you have to. Your audience has grown. So should you.
STRATEGIC CONTENT DEVELOPMENT:
Finding sponsorship for programs can be a hassle and a herculean task especially for new stations. So how will you break even this year if you haven't managed to secure big campaigns from the media buyers yet? Create programs around subjects that are funded by international donors. Issues around social justice, gender equality, climate change, anti-corruption, education, health among others are some of the most funded by International donor agencies and your media organization can be in a very prime position to access those funding if you create well researched programs addressing those areas. So get your pitching game in order this year!
INVEST IN TEAM DEVELOPMENT:
Just in case you haven’t noticed, the digital revolution has hit the media industry and broadcast media organizations that are not on that wave are quickly being rendered irrelevant and obsolete. If you want to stay in the game, expose your staff to a variety of training opportunities, from online courses to e-books and guides to help your broadcasters improve their abilities and adapt to the new media ecosystem created by the digital revolution.
Elevate your broadcasters this year by investing in training that will teach them how to add background and context to the news, as well as to fight misinformation and disinformation.
This is the year to have a staff development budget, this is the year to partner with media training organizations (like BRMC), this is the year to focus on capacity development.
INVEST IN PUBLIC RELATIONS
While you can manage some parts of your own publicity, you’ll need professionals to help craft strategy, structure messaging and manage your station’s reputation. Like any business, you have a target market and the right PR strategy will help you build relationships with organizations and brands that will resonate with your listeners. Good PR will also bring authority and authenticity to your station’s image.
BRANCH OUT; GO DIGITAL:
I can’t say this enough; if you are going to be relevant this year, you must invest in the digital revolution. It starts from creating a brand new team; THE DIGITAL CONTENT TEAM: With a content strategist, a multimedia content producer, social media manager and a web developer on the team. YOUR DIGITAL TEAM IS NOT ONE PERSON! Don’t be cheap as tempting as it may be. You can hire multi-skilled people, but no one should have to work more than dual roles. It’s not enough to pay lip service to creating digital content. You must also provide the tools for the team to work, so get ready to purchase all the hardware and software needed for that department to function.
REVIEW YOUR MUSIC LIBRARY
Music is the life blood of radio and a healthy, updated and robust library will keep you on top of your game this year. It's time to ditch the bad habit of recycling the same top 10 tick-tock hit songs. It's boring and lazy.
UPDATE YOUR STATION’S IMAGING
Your station IDs, Liners and Sweepers are how you establish brand identity on air. it's how you distinguish yourself and if they are old and overused, they become boring. It's worse if your audience can identify the voices of broadcasters who are no longer staff of your radio station, but whose voices are still used in your sweepers. Keep it fresh.
INVEST IN MENTAL HEALTH CARE:
Yes you read right. Broadcast journalism is tough on mental health with very few breaks. Help your staff prevent burn-out this year and provide a safe space, a healthy work environment and make provisions for regular check-ins with a mental health professionals. If you want to get the best out of your team this year, you must actively care about their mental health.
There’s certainly more to discuss, but I’ll save the rest for my media managers meeting. (winks) Anyway, I hope these few points help steer you in the right direction as you navigate the industry this year.
Have a truly productive and profitable 2023!