Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Radio 'Going Green' in Copenhagen

I’m in Copenhagen right now and it feels like the ‘place to be’ as the world’s leaders, and media, descend for final few days of the COP 15 Climate Conference. It seems every TV and radio reporter possible is here and every second person is carrying some sort of recording equipment.

From a ‘media operator in Denmark’ perspective, it’s great to have such a big event on your doorstep. The creative and ‘fun’ possibilities are massive. (Yesterday, the afternoon host at Radio 100FM talked to the gym instructor at the hotel where Arnold Schwarzenegger is staying to discuss his morning workout routine!!)

But how does a music radio station reflect upon the reason that the conference is taking place and bring the rather massive issue of Climate Change to an audience who tune in mainly for a diet of ‘fun’ and inoffensive pop songs?

At Radio 100FM we felt it was important to present the issues in a palatable and mainstream way. So throughout the duration of the conference, we’ve been running some imaging giving ‘tips for living a greener life’ which are presented by kids... or as they’re referred to on air, “The next generation of Radio 100FM listeners...”.

We also developed a series of short features called “The Green Minute”. These try and explain some of the big issues in a simple, conversational and easy to digest package, which is, you’ve guessed it... 60 seconds long. So things like De-forestation, Carbon Trading and Renewable Energy are all summarised and explained in these features which run in every daypart across the station. Naturally, we’re recycling lots of the content!

Add in some topical ‘Top of Hours’ welcoming the world to Denmark plus some other 'green' sweepers, and pretty soon you’ve tapped into the vibe and have introduced the whole climate change issue to a very mainstream audience, reflecting the significance of the event.

This is backed up with some good online content that is written with the brand in mind (i.e. not too detailed and not too ‘newsy’). And the final touch... change the station logo to a special climate change / green logo for the duration of the conference. (It's normally blue).

I believe all radio stations should try and reflect big events happening in their country / their ‘patch’, regardless of how it fits with their brand. There are many ways to do this and here in Denmark, we’ve just used a few of them.

When you work in an industry that mainly entertains people and plays pop songs, it’s nice to occasionally feel that you’ve done a little bit to introduce some weighty issues of global significance to a section of the public that may have not previously thought about them a great deal. The fact that their favourite music radio station is talking about climate change, may in a tiny way, help to bring the issues to an even wider audience across Denmark.

Now it’s up to the politicians to do their bit!

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