RMIT public relations students have collaborated with radio station JOY 94.9 to raise the station’s profile within the local community.
For many years community radio station JOY 94.9 has been the voice of Melbourne’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex or queer (LGBTIQ) community, covering important issues and broadcasting a mix of entertaining music.
Faced with increased competition from commercial networks and fragmented audiences as listeners desert traditional radio stations for online streaming services, JOY 94.9 needed to reach new audiences with a fresh new identity for daytime programming.
The station needed a daytime brand that would not only reflect its uplifting music programming but also reflect the uniqueness and diversity of the community it represented.
Final year students in the Bachelor of Communication (Public Relations) tackled the issue as part of a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) project.
Investigating JOY’s competitors and researching the organisation’s history and values helped students develop a way to communicate a new daytime brand to volunteers and listeners.
The students’ solution came in the form of the "Your Voice" initiative, a strategy that unified the diverse line-up of daytime programming but still allowed JOY to use the personal stories of volunteers as a key element of the station’s brand.
The strategy encouraged programmers to record unique station identifications featuring personal stories about what JOY meant to them.
A "Your Voice" competition was also devised giving young LGBTIQ people the opportunity to talk about an issue they were passionate about on air – this helped attract new volunteers and fresh ideas to JOY.
Students then ventured out into “gaybourhoods” identified by JOY, recording vox pops with the community. This provided JOY with on air content from listeners keen to share their thoughts on the station.
Justin Rogers, lecturer in the Public Relations program, said that working with real world clients enables students to learn about sectors or issues they may not have been aware of previously.
“Working with JOY helped students realise the power of communication to create positive change.
Through this project students have applied skills in strategy, internal communication and community relations and have seen firsthand how their work and application of strategic communication concepts can result in benefits for a client.”
The "Your Voice" initiative is currently been implemented and can be heard on JOY 94.9 FM.
Story: Wendy Little