Can the radio make a comeback for internal communications?

I am not sure if the inventors of radio believed that it would outlive them and some generations thereafter. With rapid advances in technology and delivery of news and entertainment, especially with the advent of television, most people believed that death of the radio was imminent.

But in recent times, not only has the radio made a remarkable resurgence but it is well alive and kicking especially in India. We are familiar with the FM radio which is often a refreshing companion in traffic and commutes. We have community radio stations that marketers use to their advantage to communicate with local audiences especially in the rural areas.

But, there is still one untapped area which has some amazing, yet unexplored potential – radio as an internal communication medium to build brand ambassadors in your company.

Companies have for long deployed traditional methods of communication with their employees through emails, posters, intranets, brown bag meetings and town halls. Today, with workforce dynamics changing drastically, these methods are often ignored or considered wasteful.

There are a few reasons for this:

  • Most people at the workplace receive an average of a 100 emails every day and communication from the HR or management often is ignored
  • Posters and other physical forms of communication are not considered environment friendly and often a waste of resources
  • Most millennials prefer receiving information at their workplaces rather than gathering at forums where communication is often one way

In the context of these changes in behavior, radio can indeed become your preferred form of communication. Programs can be created on a preset frequency, advertised on the intranet and streamed through either the intranet or a dedicated app on the mobile phone.

One company that I know of uses the radio to welcome new employees to the workplace doinga quick interview with them. The radio enables week, competitor information and general news. Further the channel is used to showcase achievers outside the workplace – people who have done something interesting like adventure sport, travelled or just excelled in a little known hobby. The company also uses the radio   for the management to speak to employees on a weekly basis and get feedback – a ready pulse. So everyday there are about 2-3 hours of preset programs interspersed with music, company jingles and other information – typically campaigns on workplace safety, regulations and the likes.

Broadcasts can also be archived on the intranet and listened to later. On factory floors, it can be broadcast through loudspeakers, either continuously, or at predetermined time slots. Music it has been found, if played mindfully can be a great workplace productivity enhancer and relaxer. Lunch time can be a great  time to communicate to employees.

Another advantage of this medium is the ability to stream simultaneously in many different languages. This is a great benefit for companies who have their plants or offices at more than one location, and deal with a diverse workforce that speaks multiple languages. Typically, a case in India which has more than 20 official languages!

Of course, the pessimists believe that radio could be a workplace distractor, especially for jobs that require a high level of concentration. Although by and large one may argue - so are coffee breaks and water cooler chats.

Radio is undoubtedly your best answer if you aspire to connect with the NextGen workforce in a manner of their seeking. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to add power to your internal communication and employee engagement.

Know more about the platform they have fallen in love with:

  • Nielsen 360 report states - 94% of online Indian consumers are hooked on listening to online streaming channels for 20 hours per week on average.
  • There are 159m radio listeners in India compared with 176m internet users, according to a study published by KPMG.
  • Over 64% population in India listens to FM Radio every day - AZ Research report.
  • Edison Research has found that 85 percent of listeners hear the entire show, or most of it on online podcasts.
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Peter Yorke is Founder and CEO at Yorke Communications Private Limited, an organization that builds content marketing programs for both internal and external audiences. He has over 29 years of experience in branding, corporate communications, marketing, high-tech public relations, training and strategic communications consulting.

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