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“When we pull together as an industry we are pretty unstoppable”

What happens when radio broadcasters in your country put their competitive differences aside and join together to share the same message? George Butler, Lucy Barrett and Mark Cunning discuss how powerful station collaboration can be. 

Mark Cunning, CEO & Content Director at iRadio, knows how powerful radio is - coming back to the Spiderman quote “with great power comes great responsibility”. When it comes to ‘responsibility’ it is important to put differences aside and create a cause which stations can collaborate on, regardless of previous rivalry. This cause needs to be emotive, work across the country and work across all ages. In Ireland, radios came together to commemorate ‘Sound of 16’ which was the first ever broadcast from the 1916 Rising. They also worked collaboratively on Swim Ireland during drowning prevention week. 

George Butler and Lucy Barrett, from Radiocentre, united 500 commercial, BBC and community stations for ‘Mental Health Minute’. A minute of audio to spread a message about Mental Health to the whole nation. They made history with the first time these stations had ever come together before. They also got the British Royal family involved - no easy feat. 

“It was a moment of radio history but we couldn’t have imagined the power we had. Particularly with the pandemic around the corner” George Butler

Since 2018, the Mental Health Minute, has become an annual event - including the 2020 minute which fell in the pandemic. The reaction people have had to the message of 'you're not alone’ George described as ‘overwhelming’. Realistically it’s more than a minute, there is a lot of production around the minute as well as social media, presenters talk around the minute and it is covered on the news - it’s resonance was astounding for people. It trended worldwide and helped many people across the UK. 

5 tips to creating something similar - find a unifying theme, get partners on board, find universal appeal and embrace collaboration. 

As George notes:

“When we pull together as an industry we are pretty unstoppable”