Understanding the Future of Radio from Industry Insiders

Posted by Victoria Barbosa

Oct 23, 2014 10:00:00 AM

3269308813_cbc7a9f734_zRadio industry experts are a unique group of broadcast insiders. The majority have told a story of beginning their career in a station and slowly working their way up. Rolling up their sleeves and taking on several broadcasting positions, they foresaw and eventually witnessed the impact that the digital shift would have on the industry. Love it or hate it, the question of how to move into radio’s inevitably digital future has been a long-standing question with no one answer, especially for traditional media.

Our experts are now leaders of the industry that have helped spur the progression of radio towards an integrated digital future.

To get a better idea of what the future of radio looks like, let’s break down some of the discussions that our experts are having regularly.

Perception Vs. Reality

The radio industry’s reluctance to change is attributed to two common factors: the perception of what radio should be, and the reality of what it is and will become. Radio’s roots stem from a live and local force that consumes the devices of billions of radio listeners today. However, a station’s content can travel much further than its airwaves. Jeffrey Smulyan, Chairman of the Board of Emmis Communications, advises that in “…every smartphone made, billions of them have FM radios. We just need to get them turned on. We need to change the perception.”

The perception and reality of radio is in the hands of the listeners. Although audiences may use other audio options on their smart devices, the demand for radio remains. Retaining loyal radio listeners will depend on the industry’s ability to cater to their audience’s listening habits and needs. The way Clive Dickens, Director of Southern Cross Austereo frames it is: “We have to drive, we have to cook, we have to work […] Therefore listening to something, whether that’s music or radio […] is always going to be important for the human psyche.” Radio content must not only be relevant to listeners, but delivered to them effectively.

New Opportunities

Increased Audience Listenership

Fred Jacobs, President of Jacobs Media explained the importance of the relationship between radio’s social media interactions and overall audience listenership in the Jacobs Tech Survey 10 radio industry report: “Even from a social media standpoint, we have the importance of acknowledgement […] one thing we’ve learned from our new tech survey is that there is a percentage of the audience that absolutely says if you acknowledge me, I will listen to you more.”

Insights that Drive Radio

Understanding your audience is just as important as their understanding of your radio brand. Chris Duncombe, Director of New Media at Corus Radio explains the significance of demographic insights, and how it is a necessary inclusion to radio’s strategy.

Custom Experiences for Listeners & Advertisers

Opportunities are endless on both the content side for consumers and the promotional side for advertisers when there is a wealth of data about listeners. Chris Duncombe elaborates that radio should be nurturing fans, sparking engaging conversations, and looking to integrate with the audience’s common social landscape.

It’s imperative for radio brands to critically analyze their place in the industry, what they’ve done to develop so far, and whether or not it’s working. Whether you’re up to speed on the latest digital radio trends or still need to wrap your head around a social media strategy, don’t take the backseat in the drive towards digital growth.

Learn About New Radio Trends in 2014/2015 Download the Infographic Now!


Topics: Future of Radio

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