LBC gets boost from Brexit coverage

LBC: Nick Ferrari hosts the breakfast show
LBC: Nick Ferrari hosts the breakfast show

LBC claims the fallout from the EU referendum has "got more reaction than at any time in our history" with a surge in calls from listeners and some of its videos getting millions of online views.

James Rea, the managing director of LBC, said social media had "turbo-charged" LBC’s video views in the last six months with many of the radio station’s biggest interviews now being live-streamed on Facebook Live.

The presenter James O’Brien’s monologue on the death of Jo Cox got 3.3 million views and his critique of The Sun’s Brexit "scare-mongering" had 1.9 million views. Katie Hopkins’ view about opposing a second EU referendum had 1.7 million views.

Rea described the last few weeks as "an extraordinary, remarkable" time for news with the Brexit referendum, Conservative and Labour party leadership battles and a slew of dramatic foreign news, including police shootings in the US, a terror attack in Nice and an abortive coup in Turkey.

"It was what LBC was invented for," Rea declared, adding that social media and online video had given the news radio station "the opportunity to take things up another notch and become cross-platform".

He said: "The EU referendum fallout is getting more reaction than at any time in our history. The number of calls has been phenomenal."

He maintained that at certain times "there hasn’t been a free line into the building" for listeners to call in with their views.

"We have had to bring in extra producers," he said. "There’s been such a thirst for information on both sides of the debate. On-air, we’ve got opinionated presenters and that’s where it’s got going online." 

Rea claimed LBC has been "the most engaged UK radio brand on Facebook and Twitter" as a result of the EU referendum and its monthly reach on Facebook roughly trebled to 30 million in June compared to earlier months in the year.

He said online video content often worked well if it was a "40-second sound bite" but longer clips were also popular. "It depends on how compelling that piece of content is," he explained.

Rea said it was important to put content on social platforms. "We can’t wait for audiences to come to us," he said. "Our content can bump into them on whatever platform or device they’re using."

LBC does not make money out of its social media and online video news clips directly but uses its reach to sell advertisers sponsored video and native ads that can be distributed on social.

LBC’s owner, Global Radio, faces increased competition from talkRADIO and talkSPORT as their parent company, Wireless Group, is being bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News UK.

"We welcome the competition," Rea said, adding that the £220m acquisition shows "commercial radio is in very good shape".

Other news brands have got a boost from the EU referendum, with some newspapers enjoying a circulation rise of 20% on the weekend after the Brexit result.

The latest quarterly Rajar listening figures for UK radio stations are released in August.

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