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Social Media’s Role in Radio Growing

Two surveys conducted years apart reveal emerging trends, uses

A recent survey from public relations services firm News Generation shows emerging trends in how radio stations are integrating social media into their newsgathering operations.

The survey is the second of two, the first having been conducted in 2009 regarding the then relatively new Twitter and Facebook websites. Survey participants were newsrooms from radio stations in the top 50 markets.

Overall use of social media (Twitter and Facebook) in the newsroom more than doubled, from 45% in 2009 to 96% today.

Of note are the changing opinions towards social media’s place in the news.

In 2009, 30% felt that keeping pace with technology and social media built listener loyalty and kept them tuned-in throughout the day. Now, 65% feel it helps break news faster, 58% believe it enhances listenership and 62% feel its use provides another broadcast medium.

One trend that has receded over the years is the use of “citizen journalists,” whose use in the radio newsroom for providing leads (56%) or information (34%) dropped 25% since 2009.

Not surprisingly, 100% of newsrooms surveyed said they did not think social media would ever completely replace mainstream media.

The collective opinion showed social media as a means to gain an advantage in the newsgathering process; to make a good story better or get the exclusive scoop on a breaking event. The two media work side-by-side, giving listeners what they want in the format they desire most.