Be Locally Relatable

How many times have you heard you need to sound local?  But what does it mean to air talents and news anchors?

Radio talent need to develop a deeper connection with their audience. In programming meetings and talent coaching sessions, we review with air talents how to sound local and how often they should provide locally relatable information—at least twice an hour.

Relevant Content

For local newscasts, local crime stories, city government actions, local sports scores, and the current temperatures are shared for various local communities.  Research tells us this doesn’t resonate with listeners as “local.”  What’s needed is relevancy.  Being “local” addresses what your audience is thinking and feeling.  Having a human connection is very powerful in building your brand.

Today’s radio landscape includes hundreds of stations utilizing syndicated personalities, out-of-market voice trackers, and satellite programming. We can seize the “local opportunity” and set the station apart from competitors lacking local focus.

By producing programming that connects directly with the community, the station forges critical ties with the people who listen, and this better serves the station’s advertising clientele.  Unique local content complements and helps define your station’s image, building your brand in the community.

The New “A-I”

How do you develop a local content action plan?  In the new world of AI (Artificial Intelligence), use your Authentic Ingenuity to create great radio and rejuvenate your programming.

  1. Local programming deepens your station’s connection with your community and increases the station’s value to your listeners.
  2. Unique station content should embody the core values of your station.
  3. Search for content that provides a sense of your community and enhances your community ties.
  4. Identify your core listeners; list their attributes and interests. Consider listener advisory focus groups to mine current interests and ideas.
  5. Eavesdrop on people when shopping and listen to what your local community is saying. Find stories that you can use on the air.
  6. Search social media to find what people are commenting about and use some of their comments for on-air content. What are people talking about on the Nextdoor site?
  7. Live talents should solicit listener interaction, especially in the morning.
  8. Review the top national stories and brainstorm how they can be localized.
  9. Stage “street” promotions that give the station top-of-mind awareness in the market. Recruit interns and part-time personnel to make the station appear visible and locally involved where the audience and potential audience frequent.
  10. In your next programming meeting, introduce a rep from the Chamber of Commerce or BBB to discuss locally what’s new and unique. Consider a “pop quiz” to start the meeting and demonstrate the need to know more about your market.  Display localisms on your website.

We live in a great city!  

Recommendation:  Several times an hour, tell listeners something fun or interesting to see or do in your local area.  Not just PSAs, but talk about a new hiking trail, dog park, art exhibit, farmer’s market, new store coming to town, a fun place to take kids, an easy drive to a scenic park or lake, etc.  The goal is to sound local and create interesting content that connects with listeners.

Pic designed by stockking for

John Lund is President of the Lund Media Group, a radio programming, broadcast consulting, and research firm with specials in all mainstream radio formats.  Leave a comment below or email him at

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top