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6 June 2024

Bauer Media at Tuning In North

Bauer Media’s session at Radiocentre’s Tuning In North 2024 focused on audio’s ability to connect with audiences and why the nation needs it now more than ever, headed by Bauer Media Audio’s Creative Chief Operating Officer, Claire Foster, and joined by Hits Radio presenter Gemma Atkinson.

Claire opened the session by talking about the power of connection and joy and its significant impact on our lives and how without it, it can be devastating. She noted how much of a serious issue it currently is ‘with 62% of people feeling overwhelmed in their lives and two thirds currently feeling disillusioned with the world, up 20% since 2019’.

She said: “We’re raising the Covid kid generation, the work-from-home-alone generation, the more-frequently-connected-to-our- phone-than-our-family-and-friends generation, which is impacting our moments of joy. This sparks the important question; ‘what is this all about and are we simply just existing?’”. Claire went on to state that it’s a “subject that media companies must take seriously, and more importantly, take action on”, noting how it’s not an easy task with one third of our lives spent on social media.

With media owners and advertisers operating in an increasingly digital world, what can we do to make a difference? Claire focused on four key elements: Human Connection, Authenticity, Personality and Trust, stating that our audiences seek these four simple characteristics out, which if done right can build strong connections and bonds. In the current changing media landscape, which will only become increasingly more artificial, what we do and what we offer will become more and more important.Citing the recent Hits Radio rebrand as a best-in-class case study that proves the power of connection, Claire explained: “We saw a great opportunity to connect with a youthful, family-first demographic and deliver a product they can connect with”. Showing the new Hits Radio ad campaign – which sees presenters Fleur East, Sam Thompson and Gemma Atkinson going out in and spending time with local communities and businesses – Claire tied up her section by stating that “creating connection via media is an artform in itself”.

With the new Hits Radio TV ad being the perfect introduction, Gemma Atkinson then took to the stage to expand on what connection means to her, providing insight into how she brings joy to millions every weekday.

Asked if audio connects with people in a different way to other mediums, Gemma agreed that whether people are waking up with the breakfast show or finishing their working day and tuning into drivetime, “managing your audience and knowing what they want to listen to and feel’ deliver what people want at that time is key.”

“Relatability is key; letting people know regardless of your background, your jobs, age, we’re all going through the same stuff” she added, noting how important it is to be relevant and authentic to connect with audiences.  Radio presenters need to seem like listeners’ good friends that they can always listen to, which is something that Gemma has clearly mastered the art of. She in fact confessed that, along with her co-host Mike Toolan, they often forget they’re on-air broadcasting and often need reminding that the ‘red light’s on’. If that’s not strong evidence of radio presenters being authentic and showing their personality, then what is?