What local radio “station” reaches an audience of 1.2 million people each year, features some pretty wild sound effects, and generally makes you just want to dance? We’re talking about our own Indianapolis Zoo’s “Zoo Radio,” an audio loop that plays on Zoo grounds. This initiative combines the best of both worlds - something entertaining for Zoo visitors and another channel that the Zoo can use to educate its audience on important issues.
Zoo Radio launched in 2009 with the goal of giving visitors a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes here at the Zoo and helping them gain a better understanding about our conservation efforts. It’s all wrapped into fun animal information mixed in with some upbeat tunes. Zoo Radio includes music, animal sound files, conservation news, a “green” minute giving tips about “going green,” and keeper interviews.
The green information supports the Zoo's position on sustainability, a concept that the Zoo maintains for itself, and the green tips provided via Zoo Radio are simple and easy ones that anyone could initiate at home. Angela McColgin, the Zoo’s Visitor Program Specialist, who has produced Zoo Radio for the last three years, says one of the most rewarding parts of her job producing Zoo Radio is getting to hear keepers’ stories not only about what they do, but why they love it. We hope that's the result for our guests, too, as they learn more and learn to love the animals they encounter at the Zoo. There's a famous quote by Baba Dioum that conservationists often cite: “In the end we will conserve only what we love. We will love only what we understand. We will understand only what we are taught." Zoo Radio is just one of the tools that can be used to support those important concepts.