People across the world rely on radio for the latest political news. In the UK and Africa, radio stations play a vital role in informing the electorate before D-Day. But does your station do it well?
Radio stations must understand the demand for political updates and work with elected officials to provide relevant, impartial news in a timely manner.
The Nigerian, Kenyan and Zambian elections of recent years were a good example of well-covered, informative political broadcast journalism. In 2017, the UK conducted its General Election where some of the worlds most renowned political journalists informed the nation of the battle between the Conseratives and Labour.
But how can your radio station deliver winning election coverage?
Provide a platform
Providing a platform for discussion with candidates and party leaders is important. This gives your station an opportunity to grow your listenership during the canvassing period. Clyde’s Nigerian client 92.7 KU FM, Benin has state-of-the-art digital broadcast studios. During a political studio interview, video footage is captured and instantly edited to be shared online minutes later. This is called ‘Visual Radio’. Audio soundbites can also be captured and used in on-air promos to invite your listener to return for more outwith political broadcasts. Both visual radio and audio soundbites receive significant engagement online; boosting the reach of the station beyond traditional FM listening and infiltrates the timelines of social media platforms.
Always consider this… it could be someone’s first experience of your station whenever you publish a clip.
Know and research the election laws.
The rules and laws surrounding an election are different in each country. Understanding your rules locally is vital to delivering knowledgeable, reliable and legal coverage for your audience. This also provides you with an opportunity to educate your listeners. Election laws are the foundation for how parties could take shape in government; which candidates can run for office; what the procedures are for election crimes and violations; and often most importantly, which boundaries make up different local regions in the country.
Question what others won’t.
Don’t take anything for granted. Candidates will promise many things, as well as quote numbers and statistics to back them up. Check facts for your audience. Check even further complexities, such as, where has the party’s election funding come from? Is it an election law violation? Are voters who cannot read catered for in the ballot? Are some ballots implementing restrictions on voting based on different tribes, religions or gender? Are people being charged a fee to register? Your audience will thank you.
Show as little emotion as possible during your on-air coverage.
In the build-up to an important national election, the community is brimming with emotion. Some of Clyde Broadcast’s clients take broadcasts outside the studio and broadcast from press conferences or campaign rallies. Others undertake the huge operation of providing overnight coverage of election night at every count in their local areas. These reporters broadcast live using the Comrex Access OB kit. If the candidate or party is winning, there is sometimes a party atmosphere. Here, it is important not to get caught up in the moment so that your station could appear part of their campaign.
Listeners will often choose the station with the highest quality coverage. Your listeners need information about the parties and their intentions and up-to-date, in-depth news about the election process as it happens. Do they get this from you? By ensuring you do all of these things, voters will tune in to hear your station’s balanced, insightful and compelling coverage.
If you would like to enquire about the technology behind successful political radio programming near you, contact us by clicking here and one of Clyde’s broadcast consultants will be in touch to help.