Broadcasting, Radio, Advice

What is Compelling Radio Station Content?

One of the biggest questions you need to answer when creating your own radio station is "What is compelling content?" This is, perhaps, the most important quality of excellent radio programming.

However, while this is an important question, it is crucial to not only ask this general question, but also ask it of your specific niche. So, if you have a country pop station, for example, you need to also ask yourself "What is compelling content for a country pop station and audience?" This may seem like the same question, but thinking about compelling content generally and specifically to your niche are 2 very different things that produce distinct thoughts and outcomes.

Generally speaking, compelling content in the context of radio programming is audio entertainment that is fresh, unique, and in a perfect world, makes you think. Even more simply put, compelling content is the stuff that keeps your audience listening. It may inspire your audience to respond or act, internally or externally. Or perhaps it just provides them with a background to tune out and relax.

Creating great compelling content throughout radio comes down to one thing: telling an excellent story. In talk radio, this is pretty organic since a narrative arc is the crux of a great interview or discussion segment. However, with music, a great playlist incorporates the ups and downs of a good story through song selection featuring different moods and tempos through both lyrics, tonal qualities, and instrumentation.

Having this general understanding of compelling content is incredibly important. But, if you just run with that understanding, you might totally misunderstand what compelling content is within your niche.

That's where asking yourself the more specific question regarding compelling content comes in. If you round out your understanding of compelling content by brainstorming compelling content with your niche, then you can be sure you are reaching your audience and the content is truly resonating with them. And, this thought process grounds your expectations and thoughts, as well as your content, so that you aren't getting too caught up with the phrase "compelling content," which is extremely ambiguous.

So, some things to think about regarding "What is compelling content for (insert niche here) station and audience?" are:

  • What would move my audience emotionally?
  • What are my audience's needs and how can I satisfy them?
  • What music fits on my station and what can I do to keep the music fresh?
  • How can I interact with my audience and then feature entertaining bits from those interactions?
  • Who could I interview and what unique questions could I craft?
  • What kind of schedule should I run and how can I ensure I communicate it with my audience?
  • How can I communicate my life and let my audience get to know me?
  • What kind of news and other topics should I talk about that relate to my audience?
  • How can I make my audience feel included and like they are friends?

These are just a few questions to ask yourself when rounding out your interpretation of compelling content for your radio station. Of course, there are many other questions and thoughts that might pop into your head on how you can deliver tailored compelling content, so let your mind wonder.

With your station, you are the best judge as to what is compelling content for you, your station, and your audience. So, don't get too caught up in how ambiguous "compelling content" is, take with you an understanding of compelling content generally and tailor it to your station. There's no need to overthink it, just be creative and confident in your understanding. And, don't forget to learn more about your audience as time goes on to better understand what compelling content is for your audience. If you continue to learn about and evolve with your niche and audience, you are bound to deliver compelling content and thus value.

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Article Image: Eric Nopanen via Unsplash.

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About Michelle Ruoff

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania