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606 tackles social media

Steve Bowbrick Steve Bowbrick | 17:13 UK time, Thursday, 4 February 2010


Social Media Week: day four

Jo Tongue is the senior producer responsible for 606, so she's in the thick of the network's interaction with listeners and she's in charge of an important chunk of 5 live's sport coverage. So we couldn't leave her out of this survey of 5 live's use of social media. She answered our questions about social media on 606.

How do you use social media on the programme?

Facebook and Twitter act as essential tools for listener interaction during the show and throughout the week on the biggest issues in football. Facebook leans towards the 606 message boards while Twitter gives listeners a chance to link in football news through external sites. We also use listener posts as on air content to add to or generate more discussion. We also use it to post pictures of presenters, outside broadcasts and the pre-match meal (i.e. the production team eating chocolate). Spoony also writes a weekly blog which reflects on issues we talk about during the show. All these formats give listeners an opportunity to continue the debate once we're off-air.

What are you getting out of it?

Mainly on-air content - but it's also way of talking directly to our listeners as they access Facebook and Twitter on their phones at matches, on lap tops, or while at work. We can communicate directly with our listeners in way that is different to when they call up the show and we can communicate with them during the week as opposed to just the few hours we are on air.

What are the listeners getting out of it?

It gives the listeners a chance to feel included with the show - especially if they do not want to appear live on the show. They can talk directly to the 606 team and each other. If they don't want to call up the show they can still discuss issues instantly and dont need to wait until we come on air. For example, this week at the end of the transfer window our Facebook site was buzzing with gossip. Our listeners love predicting scores on Facebook so we've just started giving a shout out to anyone who gets a corrent score - in the old "Lawro predicts" style.

How have the listeners responded?

606 social media has become a mini family. The Facebook page especially has its own community. We provide a forum for discussion in an arena that is less daunting than being on live radio but adds content to our output.

What isn't working?

We aim to tweet and post on Facebook from grounds when we manage to get out of the office and go to games but reception is often so hard to find. That means it's never been as immediate as i would like. I presume our listeners have similar issues?

Any fears surrounding social media? Editorial concerns? Security worries?

We have disclaimers on our Facebook and twitter sites stating that "the Comments and images on those pages do not represent the views of BBC Radio. They are reactively moderated - if you wish to report anything inappropriate, please email: 606@bbc.co.uk" But it's hard to moderate the pages 24/7 as we are a very small team.

Any special challenges/bonuses in using social media on a sports programme as opposed to a news programme?

Not really - editorially, it is slightly less sensitive.

How does listener interaction through social media sites compare to traditional methods like texting and emailing?

It's more transparent and open. Also text and email tend to be more statement led. On social media our listeners can interact with each other as well as ourselves instead of just 606 uniquely.

Why point listeners to external sites like Facebook and twitter? How is that a good use of licence fee money?

It allows for greater inclusion for listeners/followers - more options available, especially for something so interactive as 606. The Facebook and Twitter sites are aimed to drive listeners back to the programme - we use their comments on air and everything relates to generating better content for the on-air show. The pages also help the listeners feel part of the programme- a phone in show is completely listener dirven and social media is just another way for people to communicate with us.

How important is it for 5 live to embrace social media?

Very. Especially if we want to attract a bigger and younger audience. It's a great way to attract people to the programmes, to build our profile and branding and to drive people to listen to the on-air content.

How do you hope to use social media in 2010?
Increase its importance to the 606 brand and to interact more with the 606 message boards.

Steve Bowbrick is editor of the 5 live blog



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