How You Can Tackle the Three Largest Digital Trends for Radio in 2018

Posted by Symon Edmonds

Dec 7, 2017 11:58:53 AM

With the holiday season nearly upon us, we are also now looking towards 2018. All the holiday and year-end hustle and bustle going on at your radio stations can make it easy to lose the forest for the trees. Keeping that in mind, we wanted to take a step back and take a look at what your radio stations should be focusing on in digital in the new year. Pexels_photo-374777.jpeg

Here are the three largest digital trends for radio in 2018 and how your radio stations can adapt to them.

The rise of voice-activated devices:

We’re sure you’ve heard it before. Voice-activation was one of the biggest trends in radio for 2017 and will continue to impact the industry all throughout the new year.

The evidence is all there. In fact, 18% of all households already own at least one voice activated device. Also, according to a recent Jacobs Media survey, 1 in 5 of people surveyed said that they plan to buy a smart speaker during the 2017 holiday season either for themselves or as a gift. On top of this, Apple is expected to release its own smart speaker, the HomePod, in early 2018. Case in point, all signs point to increased smart speaker ownership for the new year.

Radio stations can now create their own “skills” on Amazon’s Alexa. For instance, you can set up an Alexa skill that makes it so when a listener tells the speaker to “Play B101.5”, it will play your station. However, these skills have to be claimed much like website domain names. If there are multiple stations called “B101.5”, only the first station to claim this skill will be able to use it. With that in mind, it’s important to act quickly and claim the skill for your station.

Voice-activated devices also give radio an opportunity to win back listenership in the home, as these devices are often placed in listeners’ kitchens and bedrooms. With an increasing number of consumers not having radios in their homes, your stations can’t afford not to be on board with the voice-activation trend. At SoCast, we offer a solution to get your radio stations on voice-activated devices. Talk to one of our Digital Specialists to learn more.

The continued rise of podcasting:

Another huge trend for radio this year, podcasting will continue to have a tremendous impact on the industry through 2018. In fact, 67 million Americans listened to podcasts on a monthly basis and this number continues to grow.

So, what does this mean for radio?

It gives radio a new opportunity to connect with its audiences. With the rising trend of podcasting, radio stations can leverage their brands to get their listeners tuning in to their on-demand audio content as well. Podcasts can give your on-air personalities more freedom to discuss topics that they are passionate about (such as their favorite new artists or events in the media) and allow you to deliver content to your listeners even if they miss your live broadcast.


So, get out there, start planning a podcast, develop a distribution strategy, and use podcasting as a new way to connect with your listeners.

Check out this blog post to learn more about how you can connect with your radio audiences via podcasts.

The ongoing rise of mobile devices:

This one should not be too surprising. How many people do you know who are glued to their smartphones, checking it multiple times per hour even when out for dinner with friends?

We’ve known that mobile has been impacting radio for awhile now. Additionally, mobile device usage surpassed that of desktop computers in 2016 and mobile advertising is projected to grow 17% annually until the end of 2021. However, has radio really done everything it can to take advantage of this trend?

In the SoCast 2017 Digital Trends in Radio Survey, only 27% of broadcasters reported using mobile ads to generate digital revenue.

Clearly, there is some sort of disconnect here. Radio needs to do a better job of getting people to connect with its audiences in mobile and monetizing that channel.

In order to connect with audiences in mobile, radio needs to establish habits for listeners to use their apps. Just having streaming is not enough. Having ‘sticky’ features that keep people coming back will help increase your app retention. Some of these sticky features include:


  • In-app texting for song requests and birthday shoutouts
  • Push notifications that users can subscribe to such as news and sports updates that will bring them back into the app
  • An alarm clock so that listeners can wake up to your morning show and not the basic alarm on their phones, like so many of them do

Need to get a new mobile app for your radio stations? Click here to speak with a SoCast Specialist and we'll get you started.

All in all, there are many things in digital that will impact radio in 2018. However, these are the three that we believe you have the most power to take advantage of as a radio broadcaster.


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With that in mind, are you doing everything that you can to grow your radio stations in digital in 2018? You need to be taking advantage of all these opportunities and more if you expect to connect with your audiences in digital and increase digital revenue at your stations. Talk to a SoCast Specialist today to learn how you can grow your brands in digital.

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