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Opinion: Local Radio is Loud Both On-air and Online

During the lockdown, the important role that local radio plays in communities around the country stood out. It also played an important role for many brands, writes Peter Smyth.

As a highly trusted source of “always on” information that provided an important connection for homes with their local and national communities, local radio really proved it mettle since Lockdown and beyond as an important bridge between brands and the audiences they target.

Local radio is loud, both on-air and online, adding share and building revenue. That’s the message that many brands embraced during the Lockdown period. For instance, with no access to Cinema and OOH activity virtually non-existent because of tough travel  restrictions, brands found themselves considering new forms of media which, for them, were untried (or certainly had not appeared in their plans in any significant way for quite a while).

Local radio was one such example. For some brands a laggard on media plans and added when spend was nearing completion, the second quarter of this year has seen a major shift in perspective.

During the Lockdown period, this influential local access platform was finally given the opportunity to show itself as a brand builder that could deliver new, sustainable, market share and generate an uncommon level of engagement with consumers.

It also demonstrated its multi-dimensional credentials and that, in addition to a 20 or 30 second commercial,  there were other ways that the medium could to bring a brand message to life – all it took was a degree of creativity and vision.


IRS+ Research commissioned prior to the pandemic explored the connection between radio and online. It confirmed the positive impact of local radio when it comes to the bottom line and generating new revenue.  Taking three different brand scenarios – an online fashion destination, a premium skin care brands driving its digital sales and a local, well established business, the research indicated the following:

  • Radio significantly increased web performance across all metrics including sessions, new users, transactions and revenue.
  • It delivered a site traffic boost of between 10% and 150% achieving positive impacts on revenue of almost 20% (and that’s before adding in any Covid impact multiplier as more of us were home listening to radio).

As the IRS+ commissioned research shows, radio offers brands a creative and cost-effective opportunity to drive consumers online, maximising their e-commerce sales.

Take what happened to online shopping for instance. The e-commerce movement is finally reaching the majority and late adopters. It’s also opening up a new demographic for online shopping (55-64-year olds).  Although growth is not expected to continue at current rate, brands must be prepared for new consumer behaviours.

To conclude, we help brands build authentic creative connections with communities through the power of local radio. With our IGNITE range of Ready to Go options we can offer promotions simultaneously across multiple communities and act as a considerable digital boost to an overall radio campaign via highly effective, targeted activity. In addition to Sponsorships our 15 local stations offer a platform for contextual work across four content platforms – educational, community, CSR and expertise.

As brands have discovered, local radio has never been more versatile.


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