“We all choose to live and shop locally, in geographic areas that suit us and that are convenient to our life stages and lifestyles”, or The Local Imperative is the key to knowing why local radio is important to locals, said Niswani Binti Ahwang.
Local radio provides localised information that isn’t on mainstream news, that focuses on bringing the community together by focusing on local issues. Malaysia is a culturally diverse country that consists of listeners who are familiar with different dialects, slang terms or languages. RTM has 24 state and district-based radio channels that focus on regional issues. Local radio assists the local community in understanding what the government wants them to know, overcoming the language barrier. Unique programming in local stations, broadcast different content to appeal to reflect the local listeners’ point of view that is more localised and focused compared to local news.
Kelantan FM is the local state radio that generates the highest revenue among other local radio stations managed by RTM, which proves that the local radio scene is still thriving in Malaysia. Besides national radio, RTM includes live listening and podcasts of their local radio stations on their website, as well as their apps where users can tune in live or download podcasts to listen on the go.
RTM has incorporated the usage of AI in their radio stations. Traxx FM, RTM’s English radio station, uses AI for translating and voiceovers in documentaries where locals are speaking in their local dialect.
Besides having local content, Niswani mentioned hyperlocal marketing as crucial to local radio. Hyperlocal marketing targets a very specific audience in a local area and is more likely to target potential customers in a budget-friendly way. This marketing strategy also optimises business opportunities for locals, as Niswani shows the statistics of RTM’s advertising revenue in local radio, as Kelantan FM shows the highest advertising revenue from January to August 2023.