The action of needing to go out and meet your listener, breathe the same air as them, physically go out and do what they do daily, started the second someone had the idea that radio needs to be mobile.
This month the 5FM Drive team, led by Nick Hamman launched their sixth edition of the heritage tour, a series of outside broadcasts that focus on showcasing the country’s top (and perhaps some “not so top”!) destinations.
“In 2017, myself and the producer of our mid-morning show, Hamman Time, discussed the need to further cement our position as broadcasters of a national radio show,” explains Hamman.
While 5FM is based in Johannesburg, its national footprint reaches the entire country. “The aim was to get out on the road and meet audiences where they are, helping to reinforce 5FM’s legacy as the country’s leading youth radio station, but also getting to know those we speak to more intimately,” says Hamman.
The Heritage Tour was born. But that was 2017. What has changed since then and why the need for new editions of the Heritage Tour?
The need is easy says Hamman. “More interesting people to meet, more awesome things to see!”
He adds that while the world has changed since 2017 the point of doing these tours is the same. “To meet the listener where they are, sitting with them around the same table, gaining valuable insights and telling their stories.”
What is different is that the tour has evolved incorporating the many tips and techniques learnt from years of heritage tours. “But it’s never a copy-and-paste process. We’re all about evolving, reaching and engaging, so fresh ideas and using new tech to your advantage are vital to the content creation process,” explains Hamman.
With some elements of radio’s immediacy being replaced by data and smartphones, embracing these platforms and becoming the youth’s main point of reference has become paramount in the survival and growth of radio stations like 5FM.
“Although many see the smartphone as a threat to radio, 5FM’s technical and production team see it as its saviour, an amplifier of what we do,” says Hamman.
Using new tech, such as Cleanfeed and Podcasting mixers, 5 Drive utilises a simple 4G data stream to connect remotely to the studios in Auckland Park, from literally anywhere in the country with a plug point.
Hamman explains that creating radio for a “Tik Tok generation” has developed the show into a content churning machine, with Heritage Tour being a case study of how 5 Drive continuously adapts and operates today. “Short links, new topics every 10 minutes, downloadable and streaming App-based content are just some of the highly effective tools in impacting and truly moving our audience.”
The touchpoints of this year’s Heritage Tour are to deliver world-class, multichannel content to existing and new listeners – on-air, online, through social media, through the 5FM App as well as through the face-to-face engagement that’s at the very heart of the tour.
The goals of the Tour are to build audience, to keep them listening for longer, and to solidify 5FM’s reputation as the best youth radio station in the country. “This year we have also incorporated this year’s theme of “Roots of Wind, Earth, Water and Fire” in the paid-for client-based content,” he explains.
“The philosophy is to merge with existing conversations around heritage and culture and use the 5 Drive Heritage Tour to promote the people, places and hidden gems that make South Africa a great and remarkable country,” Hamman adds.
The 5 Drive Heritage tour will be running until 30 September, stopping in all nine provinces, with a total of 20 consecutive outside broadcasts. Listeners can follow the tour on-air, online, across all social media channels, as well as via the 5FM App, available for iOS and Android.