Vadim Belyaev takes a look at this audio platform in 2020.
Media has evolved at an incredibly fast pace over the last century and in particular within the last decade. The world has gotten smaller through its digitization since the widespread use of mobile devices. This could lead one to conclude that radio has lost its relevance. I believe there is still a valuable place for this channel within today’s vast, ever-fluctuating and developing media platforms.
- Radio Has Stood the Test of Time
We were introduced to television around 100 years ago. At the time, media moguls worldwide insisted it would end the radio era. It didn’t. Radio is still being used and incredibly widely for many reasons, including as a trusted news source.
The amount of consumers tuning into radio has actually increased in the last few years. For example, when it comes to advertisements, radio figures have jumped from 2016 to 2019. According to a survey put out by Edison in 2020 entitled ‘Share of Ear,’ audio listening is made up of 44 percent of AM/FM radio with a further 17 percent use by streaming AM/FM audio.
- Valued News Source
Eighty-six percent of 25–54 year-olds choose one of three media platforms for their news source; radio is one of them. Internet audio streaming has a 17 times lower reception than AM/FM radio. A survey undertaken in Tanzania found that 83 percent of individuals got their news information from radio broadcasts. (Source: http://www.africafocus.org/docs11/tan1104.php)
· An Advertising Platform
Business owners who choose radio to advertise their products/services are much more able to target a specific audience. This is especially true in the case of local radio stations and/or some specific radio programs. According to the Radio Advertising Bureau, radio ads drive online behavior in search. More than 2,000 local radio commercials within 6 different categories were studied by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), revealing that an average of 29 percent was lifted in Google search activity. Timing made a difference too; during the day it was highest and second highest was morning drive time.
· Advertising Affordability
For those looking to place an ad, radio is a far less expensive option than TV. First, the actual cost to advertise on radio is significantly lower than putting one on the TV. Second, added expenses such as hair, make up and clothing are negated. Third, no professional preparation class/course is needed ‘how to appear in your ad’/branding.
There are — around the world — approximately 44,000 radio stations in operation.
While the digitization of media has been popular among youth and middle-aged individuals, the senior community has not followed suit. Radio for older people is a bonding experience and has resulted in the establishment and maintenance of incredible and necessary community ties, which is hugely beneficial for those who feel isolated. Radio hosts often stay in their positions for many years, building up a rapport with listeners and becoming almost a trusted member of their family/community! During uncertain times and seemingly never-ending changes, this constant is most welcome.
We have become so accustomed to letting the media create the pictures for us when telling a story that many of us have forgotten how to do it ourselves. With radio, we do just that, letting our imagination can soar. According to Music Editor Jon Pinnow:
“A well-told story — whether on the radio or around a campfire — engages a listener’s imagination to fill in details and bridge gaps. In that way, listeners help make the story. It’s a collaborative process that requires some theater of the mind.” This sentiment was echoed by Government Reporter Allison Sherry on her work at CPR Radio station. She said:
“Before coming to CPR, I never had to think about sound as part of my reporting. I’ve found that sound can convey the emotions of a story much better than words alone.”
Versatility and Accessibility in the Digital Era
Radio can be accessed anytime, anyplace. The same argument could be made for other mobile devices but it is not true for driving and other multi-tasking undertakings. With downloadable radio apps, this media platform has proven it is not losing its status in the world’s increasing digitization.
- Its Randomness
These days we are inundated with choices. We select one song after another. We choose which podcast to tune into, etc. The element of surprise has all but been completely diminished with the immediacy of the digital revolution. I truly believe this is coming back for us and — once you find a radio station in line with your musical preferences — then you can enjoy music you like but with an added element of surprise.
In conclusion, while there exists today a whole slew of media platforms available to the consumer, radio still has much value to offer. I plan to keep on listening and will certainly be one of the celebrants at the next for World Radio Day (WRD) scheduled for February 2021. Join me!
(A Russian-based financier, Vadim Belyaev has a variety of interests, including radio media platform, having hosted his own show in 2006.)