As we enter 2019, I’ll share my thoughts on a question I’m asked a lot: Will radio survive – or is it just old-school media?
Well, the answer is yes – and yes!
Localism around the world
I was asked recently “With all the music apps around, will they not kill local radio?” A listener can listen to their favourite music in any music app. But why would they want to? Sure, a certain percentage will, but the majority will listen to their local stations for popular music and for hyperlocal updates.
Localism – one of radio’s key strengths – is also one of its greatest weapons in the new media landscape. New media has raised the bar on content and information, but localism is radio’s secret survive-and-thrive weapon. New media companies have recognised the importance of localism – even Facebook and Pandora offer local targeted advertising. But radio can do both local advertising and compelling, local content better.
The quality of content will be a big decider of radio’s future. It has to be innovative and it has to be different. (And, if it’s not local, it has to at least be locally relevant). Information can be sourced on plenty of mobile devices but personality content that is unique and compelling will keep listeners coming back to radio.
Major population will always prefer to be entertained than to entertain themselves. And from the few that instead prefer to do the entertaining, listener-driven content will grow, increasingly originating online. And out of that will be born an opportunity: many future radio (and television) personalities will be born of backgrounds started online. Hand in hand with that, on-air personalities will be held more accountable for their online results, as well as their on-air ratings.
Emerging revenue opportunities
For radio to not just survive, but flourish, our top priority needs to be creating greater advertising demand. Should the medium concentrate on national or direct (local) revenue? Integration with other media such as outdoor, television, and social media is a great opportunity for radio to do well in the future.
Radio sales people have already become marketers instead of traditional spot sellers, consulting on creative, execution, admin, social media, and new and emerging mobile media opportunities. Radio stations and groups will have to be the one-stop shop and offer turnkey solutions for clients updating their web sites and social media. This is already happening – and radio needs to always stay ahead, seizing the next emerging revenue opportunity.
New technology – Threat or opportunity?
The outlook for radio is stronger than ever. Radio will be delivered to consumers in more ways than ever before. While new technology could be seen as a threat, even now over 70 percent of all music listening is from radio. And, of course, mobile devices will soon feature a chip, so listeners can access their favourite station on their phone or tablet. In the next few years, this will become available on all mobile devices – it will be ubiquitous.
Radio’s digital future – whilst it has been a slow birth – will help the medium. Radio, like all other media, is looking to maximise the digital opportunity. Radio is the perfect companion for social media and mobile media, giving radio greater scale, and the ability to put together cross-platform solutions.
Innovation will always drive the future of radio. Technology will lead the way by growing radio’s audience and will open up new sources of revenue. Radio, unlike newspapers and magazines, has been quick to adapt to the digital environment and will continue to explore new innovations and revenue opportunities.
Are you part of the solution – or part of the scenery?
And where will radio be in the future? Well, that depends on you, working at a local station or at a network. You have the power to help be a part of the solution for radio moving forward. Radio Mirchi is on the same path right now.