Accessing audiences through radio and podcasts

Since I started work on the OPAL project way back in 2008, I’ve been a fairly regular guest on BBC Radio York. In the early days this was to talk about the projects that I was working on, but in the last few years my appearances have broadened to talk about stories in the news. I know that many of my colleagues feel a bit daunted by the prospect of speaking on live radio, but I just tend to imagine I’m speaking to my family and friends, explaining what I’m up to in my usual enthusiastic style.

I think researchers can often overlook local radio as a way of ‘getting the message out’ to audiences who might not read newspapers, attend talks or other outreach events, read social media etc, and I’d really recommend engaging with your local radio station (and there are many out there!) as a way of communicating en masse to ‘the public’. You will probably find that they are very keen to have your input on your area of expertise, and may well ask you to come back to speak on related topics. If this is the case, you need to know what you feel comfortable talking about. Are you only happy talking about your specific area of expertise? Would you mind talking about your subject area more broadly? Or, as has been the case with me, are you happy to get up at unearthly hours of the morning to review the newspapers and end up talking about topics as diverse as women in science, soap vs. shower gel and the Eurovision Song Contest?

Whichever you go for, it can be a rewarding experience, however daunting it might feel initially. And it may well lead onto other interesting experiences, for example, I’m now a regular guest (ok we’ve only made two) on the Talk on the Wild Side podcast which is much more in my area of interest, talking about UK wildlife https://soundcloud.com/talk-on-the-wildside. Have a listen and see what you think. The latest is all about the Signs of Spring.

spring-316535_1280If you’ve been involved with local radio, I’d love to hear your tips for other researchers, please add them in the comments below.

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