Media and the Single Life

The new Sex and the City film comes out next week. I will watch it. I will enjoy it. But I will also feel a niggling sense of mourning, for how willing the four heroines ultimately were to surrender their single-but-fabulous image.

The trend for celebrating coupled-up bliss over the single life carries right across the media. There are the obvious culprits; articles and radio items advising single people on how to find love. But there are more subtle examples: travel articles aimed at families, columns about the trials of domestic life, news articles offering statistics on the quality of life of couples versus singles.

Celebrating Choices

While choosing not to marry or have children is still a minority choice, the minority that choose to take this path is growing and media coverage needs to reflect that. It does do this to a certain extent, but it corrals single people into special sections, one-off feature articles or segments in radio stations. But the voices of single people need to become integral to all media coverage.

There are various ways to weave the single life throughout the media. For example:

  • Travel articles for the solo traveller
  • More profiles of single people (ex. Miriam Meets on Radion 1)
  • Practical pieces about socialising as a single person.
  • Personal columns that offer a humorous birds-eye view of the single life.
  • News articles revealing statistics about the benefits of single life.
  • Products and services tailored to single people.
  • Celebrations of the different types of single, men, women, gay or straight, permanently single or newly single.

Win-Win for Singles and Media

Giving single people a voice will help them feel more accepted and included in the media. As a result, they’ll be more likely to be loyal to a magazine, radio programme, TV programme or newspaper. Journalists will appreciate the opportunity to look at life from unusual angles and to include viewpoints that add richness to their coverage, They will derive satisfaction from knowing that their coverage is reaching out to new audiences.

Spin-Off for Business and Advertising

Creating media coverage that appeals to single people isn’t just aspiration. It can bring in revenue, for the media and for businesses. This is a powerful demographic; it is growing and it has a lot of disposable income. If you have a business with a product or service which appeals to this demographic, you can pitch it to the media, outlining its benefits for their audiences. The media itself will benefit because its coverage will help advertisers tap into a lucrative market.

What’s Your View?

This blog represents my own views as a single (as in not married) person who has chosen not to have children. If anyone can point me to examples of positive media coverage of the single life, I’d be happy to explore them.

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Talk to Joe: The Power of Radio as a communications Tool

People responded to the recent death of top Irish broadcaster Gerry Ryan as they would to the death of a close friend. When you think about it, this is hardly surprising. He talked to them every morning, laughed with them, shared their pain, helped them find solutions to their problems. just as a good friend would. In turn, they laughed at his jokes, raged at him and praised him to the skies.

Intimate Medium

This is the power that radio has in our lives. More than any other medium, it is a constant companion to us as we go about our daily business. As I write, Morning Ireland presenters are delivering the latest news in calm, measured tones. What is it that makes radio so special? Relationships. Top broadcasters form a relationship with their listeners and communicate with them as if they were the only person in the room. The listeners return that loyalty by listening and contributing in large numbers.

Voice and Words

For a top broadcaster, their voice is their instrument. They know how to exploit its range to create a strong emotional impact. Depending on the story they’re discussing, they speed up, slow down, drop their voice to a whisper, or boom through the speakers. They are performers. On a technical level, a good broadcaster speaks at a pace and volume that ensures no word is lost. They can break a concept down to its simplest form, so it’s easy for listeners to understand.

The words a broadcaster uses are  different from those used by print or online journalists. They are every day words, the words of the street. Our words. The formal words used in print articles just don’t work on radio. They’re too bulky. Instead, broadcasters paint word pictures with simple, bold brush strokes, using slang to add colour.

Overcoming Nerves

A lot of people are a little afraid of radio, because they think of all the thousands of people listening. There is also the fear that they cannot undo what they have said. If you’re due to appear on radio, the best way to overcome those nerves is to remember that a radio interview is really a one to one conversation, with someone who’s drinking tea in their kitchen, driving the kids to school or working in an office. A good broadcaster will further ease your nerves, making you feel as if you’re just having a cosy chat. And your words will have an immediate impact on them that they wouldn’t have anywhere else.

Also, remember that the less you worry about how you will sound, the better you will sound. Time is usually tight on radio programmes, so it helps to get an indicator of the topics that will be covered in your interviewr to make sure you can get your message across in the shortest possible time. But if you try to plan every word you’ll say, you’ll end up sounding scripted. It’s important to be flexible, so you can handle any question that comes up. You’ve been invited onto the show because you know what you’re talking about. That passion and expertise will come across.

Direct Communication

But radio gives you a chance to talk to your audience in a direct way, as if you were sitting across from them. Next time you’ve got an event, a book or a business to promote, why not consider a radio station talkshow or businses programme? Radio is a valuable resource, just waiting to be tapped into.

By its nature, radio