Magic Radio DJ Emma B: how community creates impact with audio

DJ Emma B: how community creates impact with audio

Radio’s live format creates unique bonds between listeners and presenters, resulting in a genuine feeling of community that can drive positive outcomes — for the good of audiences, radio stations, and the brands they collaborate with.

This was the conclusion reached when Alex Baker, Kerrang! presenter and head of creative strategy at Bauer Media, sat down for a fireside chat with Magic Radio DJ Emma B at Mediatel’s Future of Audio Europe event.

Watch the video or read a summary below:

Baker quizzed Emma to find out how, in her more than two decades of radio experience, she creates authentic audience relationships. She broke it down into three parts: context, audience, and collaboration.

“Context is understanding moments in time,” said Emma. “Understanding where we are … those zeitgeist moments … the humour that’s filling the ether … keeping yourself connected with every day. So that is as much knowing who’s just been chucked out of Love Island as it is that new sauce that everyone’s buying in Asda … As a presenter, if I can’t talk about that, if I can’t convey that I am part of the same world, that I understand that concisely, then I’m someone that no one can relate to.”

As for audience, Emma — who found fame as a BBC Radio 1 DJ, winning awards as the host of Sunday Surgery — emphasised the need for an instinctual, rather than solely data-led, knowledge of what they are doing and tailoring content around it.

She explained: “Understanding your audience is knowing what people are doing at certain times of the day. Is it the school run? Is it that moment in the afternoon in the office where everyone’s having a slump around 3 o’clock?”

When it came to the final of her three components, she added: “Collaboration between commercial teams, and advertising partnerships, and working with all the different parts that help me deliver your message out on air is really crucial. There’s nothing more frustrating than coming into a campaign and having no input, not being able to comment or say, ‘Oh actually, this person emailed in or texted in last week and said this, maybe you could include that?’.”

To give an example of how to build an authentic relationship with the audience in a way that is meaningful for them, Emma pointed to Magic Radio’s recent Menopause Month, which followed research from Bauer Media that revealed 72% of women felt there was a culture of silence around the subject. Radio, by its nature, was the ideal format for breaking through that silence.

She explained how Menopause Month came about: “A massive part of our audience are either perimenopausal or menopausal, and I think because of the trust we have with our audience and that caring, supportive nature that we have … it felt like we could do it. And we’re a music station, we don’t do things like this very often, but we worked so hard.

“There’s been a lot of celebrity-based information, there’s been a lot of celebrity-based delivery, there’s been a lot of celebrity influencing and I think we really wanted to take another approach, which was to get experts — so straight out the mouths of experts — and put that together with real women’s voices and get some real stories.”

Menopause Month demonstrated the community-building power of radio in a way that was meaningful for both the audience and for Emma: “The vast majority of [the content] was real women’s voices and the response was amazing. Amazing to hear people say, ‘That’s me too, that’s happening to me too.’ And I think that doing it that way, finding that emphasis with real women’s voices, really took the barrier away and the fear away from people getting involved.”

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