internet-picAs a community radio volunteer blogging in its many forms and guises has become a vital add-on for my show, At the Local.

At the Local broadcasts once a week on 4ZZZ 102.1 FM in Brisbane and profiles community events and organisations. There are always so many amazing stories that we don't have time to tell during our 1 hour slot. And that's precisely where a blog can come in handy.

Why blogs work

You are on radio, so you love to talk, right? Well writing a blog is just like talking to your audience on the radio, only better.  You can use pictures, audio, video and you can interact with your audience through the commenting feature.

The other awesome thing about blogs are links, they are those different coloured & under-lined words that lead you off into the wonderful world wide web, but just make sure your reader doesn't click away from your page!

How do you shift your show to the web?

There are so many options on the net for blogging, podcasting and social networking its hard to know where to start.  I always think the best starting place is with your existing audience, if people are listening to you on the radio chances are they've looked you up on your station's website; searching for an elusive face to match to your voice.

Start with the station website

Community radio station websites are often a bit outdated, not regularly updated or may actually be uber-sophisticated marketing tools. It all depends on what your station is capable of sustaining with volunteer labour and skills.

Many stations have just one person looking after the internet, so user-generated content is brilliant for stations to integrate into their sites, that way the announcers become responsible for updating content, and its doesn't all lie with one person.

So start by checking out what spaces are available to you on the station website as an announcer

- Can you contact the station's tech coordinator?

- Can you log into the station website and post your own content?

- Is there a program guide?

- Can you put up your profile?

- Can you post your playlists?

If you can post things about your show on the station website go ahead and get access and post-away. But make sure you check with the station management about the dos and don'ts for the station site. Remember the main station site represents the station as a whole, so you want to fit in with that.

If you can't log into the website yourself, that doesn't stop you having a profile for your show on the net, it just means you need to work a bit harder.

And be sure to talk to the tech coordinator and ask them to link your own blogs back to the station website!

Some great station user-generated content:

4ZZZ FM in Brisbane

RTR FM in Perth

Bay FM in Byron Bay

In my next post on Blogging and Community Radio I'll explore ways of podcasting and streaming your show...

How does your station use its website to interact with the audience? Share your stories in the comments!