Over the years Radio has provided many benefits for the local community, and in the UK radio stations like BBC and local commercial stations have captured the imagination of listeners with every manner of phone-in program. From sporting, to general debate about local issues, phone-ins engage with the community.
The Current Situation
Wherever you are in the world today, you can adjust the dial on your radio to find a local phone-in discussing all manner of pressing issues. One of Britain’s most popular phone-in presenters is Venessa Feltz, and she thinks Radio is a particularly effective medium because of the immediacy and power of the human voice.People love to hear other people speak, and to voice their own opinions. Even if the listener does not actually phone the radio station up, they will still have their own opinion formed in their heads and so have engaged in a topic. In written format, such as newspapers or magazines, the comment is dead as soon as it is printed. But radio allows live comment, and unlike television there is only what is being said to focus on, there are no other distractions. One of the reasons why radio phone-ins are so powerful is that the format is almost like a confessional, TV does not have the same power.
And it is not just local radio that has the dominance over phone in’s, one of Britain’s biggest national radio stations, Radio 4, has been broadcasting Women’s Hour since 1946. And as part of this lengthy show there has always been phone-ins.
The issues on national radio are slightly different, as they normally address large general topics rather than when the refuge collectors are emptying the town’s bins after a bank holiday. The issues could be political or about the nation’s crumbling transport system. But it is still amazing the topics that people are quite happy to talk openly about on air. It seems the advice they need for their issues far outweighs as sense of embarrassment.
Phone-ins can be a lifeline during certain events, such as the tragic death of Princess Diana. Radio phone-ins up and down the country let people air their sentiments to others. It was a massive outpouring of grief that a nation had to get off its chest. It was a similar phone-in held by Radio City in Liverpool that let a city mourn after the Hillsborough football disaster where ninety six fans lost their lives.Radio is a powerful medium and has been with us for so long, it was a portal into the world long before TV or the internet and is still going strong. In part two of this blog we continue to see what benefits radio phone-ins bring to the world.