Even with the growing importance of SMS and online contact, the FEBC Audience Interaction report for 2014 tells us that the majority of audience contact came in the form of phone calls in Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Russia. In fact, Cambodia received even more calls in 2015 than in the previous year, more than half coming from men. Most callers are using cell phones.
“Family FM has helped me to trust God more. I really feel like I can understand people better when I hear them call in and share their thoughts during the different programs…I also hear about Christian’s problems during the program, ‘Heart of Prayer’ and then we are able to pray for each other.” Nu Mat, Takeo Province, Cambodia.
Phone contact with radio stations is an important aspect of broadcasting around the world, making radio the most personal form of mass communication.
Seiil, a broadcaster on FEBC Kyrgyzstan’s Bishkek station, said, “Often we continue talking with listeners over the phone after the broadcast. They often are ashamed to talk about their very personal failures and problems on the air. Forgiveness is such a foreign concept for most people here. Forgiveness and salvation in Christ is the only hope for our listeners.”
Eila Murphy, FEBC International’s PAR team leader (Programming, Audience Relations and Research) shared her recent experience with live listener calls and reflected on how important it is to manage these calls well.
“Not long ago, I realised how meaningful listener phone calls can be while observing a live music program at the FamilyFM studio in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was apparent how important it is to have a good phone connection, a good ear and good situational sense to answer these phone calls in the midst of a live program. In this instance, callers ranged from a little girl to adult working men. The radio announcer needed sensitivity to know how to respond.
“At the same time as running the live program, the program host was filling in the listener information on the computer screen.
“In the system being used, when the phone rings, a blue ball on the computer program screen indicates if it is a new caller; the screen shows the phone number, and the announcer fills in the name, and adds other information, based on the call, such as location, occupation, possible church affiliation etc.
“Not all the fields are filled in on the first call; other information about the caller can be added on subsequent calls. For example, if a caller phones in to another program the system will indicate that he/she called the music program earlier. The announcers in other programs will have access to more details about the caller, enabling the radio staff to get to know them as they respond to various live programs.
Phone calls are one way of being in touch with our audience. Whatever means our audience uses to contact us, it is always worth nurturing and doing it well as this is how they will sense that we love and care about them.”
Our own Larry Podmore has been involved with FEBCambodia as it works with local computer programmers to build this audience data collection platform.
Thank God for the skill and experience of people to implement technology in His name. Thank God for all our listeners and callers and the people they can talk to about FEBC!