Earlier this week I visited the CIPR’s Public Relations Show 2013 at the Business Design Centre in Islington. While there I had a very interesting conversation with an executive from one of the broadcast monitoring companies.
She told me that her clients, almost all of them PR Consultancies with blue chip clients, were only really interested in national network TV coverage on programmes like BBC Breakfast and The One Show. Even national radio seems to have low priority for them and local broadcasting simply isn’t on their radar screens.
I find this attitude disturbing but not all that surprising. While PR consultancy staff and their clients are watching BBC Breakfast over their cornflakes, the opinion formers are listening to Radio Four’s Today programme which tends to set the agenda for the rest of the day’s news coverage across all media.
For those of us in public sector communications, local TV and radio stations are a very important method of communicating with target audiences. Local programming on ITV is perhaps not quite as extensive as it once was, but there are still worthwhile opportunities for getting the message across. I’ve worked successfully on a couple of occasions with Inside Out, the current affairs slot which has different regional editions across the BBC’s regions in England.
Local radio is, of course, a must for anyone working in local government communications. Most local stations, both BBC and commercial, have community action teams who are usually keen to work with Councils and their partners on a variety of campaigns. Over the years I’ve used local radio on issues such as tackling anti social behaviour, keeping the streets clean and increasing library usage.
With local city TV stations soon to be launched in the UK for the first time, there is every opportunity for public sector bodies to work with local broadcasters on local content for local audiences.