The Jacaranda FM team and their extended community received a heartwarming vote of thanks from their general manager, Kevin Fine, on Thursday, 30 May.

Fine emphasised both the digital and face-to-face interaction the station prides itself on. “The fact that we are able to make such a conscious contribution to the people around us is an important part of our social fabric, and I know that you, as the listeners, appreciate it because you are a part of it all the time,” he says in a Jacaranda FM podcast.

Over the past couple of years, it has become evident that radio stations are incorporating various digital components to their production process — such as Snapchat channels or hosting Instagram live stories. But what is important to note is that radio is firmly rooted in its traditional function to be a companion during long drives or short commutes.

The role of a radio station is no longer limited to being a news outlet and an entertainment platform — a lot of the work is behind the scenes. When the microphone is turned off, hosts need to find new ways to interact with their listener.

The call for digital and multimedia communication is now, and Fine recognises this. He says the station has the “biggest YouTube channel for radio”. Now, you’re probably wondering what in the name of traditional broadcasting is going on here, right?

Well, according to “For musicians and artists, these radio stations act as a discovery platform, [providing] consistent commercial airplay that accompanies significant record sales, and generating public performance royalties for the artist.”

Great, but what’s in it for radio stations beyond that? It doesn’t have to stop there.

Radio stations like Jacaranda have infiltrated and rightfully claimed their space in the YouTubeverse. Live streaming and video uploads allow listeners to put a face to a voice — and that makes the relationship between radio presenter and listener more special.

But YouTube isn’t the only social channel Jacaranda is utilising. Watching your favourite radio host acting silly and having some light-hearted fun on Snapchat makes them more relatable.

This kind of interaction has the potential to break boundaries and create less distance between the person on air and the person listening to the show. Martin Bester and his breakfast team are a great example of how Snapchat makes for some good social media visibility. This promotes a culture of relatability because listeners can relate to the team’s antics.

For example, the team’s pranks are always caught on camera. Positive and fun updates are just as newsworthy as political or financial discussions on-air.

The shift to incorporate digital caters to the evolving listenership who demand a holistic radio experience and this includes social media interaction beyond the radio booth. Digital includes everything from website uploads, online podcasts and social media engagement.

Radio is an invaluable communication platform and it continues to find innovative ways to remain relevant. Businesses have always recognised the value of radio advertising, but now radio stations are beginning to realise the two-way street benefits beyond funding from advertising by trading directly.

“We ourselves are an accelerator of businesses ... We [don’t] want you to just bring advertising to us but we actually want to partner with businesses,” says Fine. Jacaranda FM mall is a prime example of digital, broadcasting and business intersecting.

“The most important part in a tough economy ... in this beautiful country that we love ... is that we want the best for it and, as a station, we are very grateful for the amount of trust people put in us.”

”Because of that, we want people to see us not just as someone who provides great entertainment, music and information, but we want you to trust us as a consumer champion and that’s why we created the mall.”

It comes as no surprise that Fine has commodified Jacaranda FM since his appointment as general manager of the station. He has a background in broadcasting, brand management, brand activation, community development and entrepreneurship proving that top tier radio management requires a vast skill set.

This serves as proof that the need for extended involvement beyond managerial responsibilities is important for a radio station as the radio industry evolves into a commercial space where trading and broadcasting go hand in hand. According to Fine, “Jacaranda FM is [a] family and community of entertainment and business at the same time.”

Listeners are at the centre of the radio industry, and the fact that ensuring their experience and interaction with the station is constantly enhanced is what sets Jacaranda FM apart from the rest.

Is there a place for radio in business interactions beyond advertising? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

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To gain some perspective on the traditional shift radio has made since its early days, check out our article, Liberty Radio Awards: Meet the youngest nominees from RX Radio.