Tuesday, 6 February 2007

How 'Green' is your Station?

Radio stations are always looking for new angles... new ways to connect with listeners and the psyche of the town, city or nation they broadcast to.

One story which caught my eye this week is the classic rock station WARW in Washington. It's been renamed 94.7 The Globe, and has refocused its efforts to become a 'green' radio station. Let's just clarify some of it's green credentials first...

It's now using renewable energy to power its transmitter; Low voltage lighting throughout the studios; Employees committed to being more 'green' at work etc...

And on air / events... It's giving information to listeners about more environmental issues; It's having an annual Earth Day concert; It's encouraging recycling and tree planting etc..

OK - so this alone won't save the earth from a nasty end. But the concept is a really interesting one. Environmental issues used be fringe and shunned by the mainstream. But now they are more pressing than ever before and gain more mainstream coverage than ever before. Big companies are adopting more and more green policies.

Only the other week, Marks and Spencer announced that it would spend over £200 Million to become carbon neutral by 2012 and issued a 100 point plan to go green. They call it Plan A (because with the environment, "There is no plan B")

The point is, that if M&S, that bastion of conservative British-ness and the embodiment of middle England is taking this seriously, is it something that radio stations in the UK should investigate?

I'm not suggesting that we go as far as 94.7 The Globe, but connecting with listeners regarding green issues serves 2 purposes. First, it shows that your radio station is in touch with what many of them are thinking or feeling regarding the environment. And second, it actually does the 'green cause' a world of good by having another mainstream outlet (your radio station) adopt the messages.

So what could stations do? 'Green' postitioners about the station being environmentally friendly or carbon neutral (if it is of course) may work? When getting new station vehicles, get some hybrid cars instead of the cliched 4X4's and then promote on air the fact that you made that choice. Short (and entertaining) promos encouraging recycling may help. Or you could even send your ground patrols / street crews to recycling plants on a Saturday morning and give stickers / merchandise to everyone who comes down to recycle.

I'm sure there are lots of other ideas, but as green issues become even more mainstream, the concept of connecting with your listeners who care about the environment is a very strong one. Why not be the first station in your market to take the initiative?

Oh, and you might just help in saving the planet too!

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