Every day, cometh the hour, millions of fingers across the country synchronise in a swift and familiar symphony. With the execution of one perfect note, the kitchen isn’t such a silent place first thing in the morning, the road isn’t as long for the driver alone with his thoughts, or for the public transport commuters weaving their way through rush hour traffic.
But it’s not an alien concept that’s at play, it’s not even a modern convenience or the latest sleek, smart, sexy must-have appliance. It’s the oldest medium there is of bringing one voice to many and it’s still the one that connects us daily to the country we live in and the people we share it with.
But can radio survive in this digital age, whilst also using digital to its advantage?
“Yes it can and arguably more so than any other nation with every medium at its disposal, because Ireland remains dedicated to radio with 83% of us tuning in to a licensed service daily. In fact, the radio product is so well woven into the fabric of our nation that our consumers are using a multi-platform approach to consume our audio and digital outputs”, says Deborah Carpenter, head of solutions & insights with Communicorp One.
“Compare this to 5 years ago where both stations and sales-houses approached radio as a one dimensional medium that connected with our audiences only through the audio output. Now we see commuters using apps, office workers connecting with radio through web players and our audience consuming our digital content daily on various platforms throughout the day,” she says.
But how does radio use digital to its advantage?
“It’s an interesting question because whilst other media needed to embrace digital to create a space in the new media landscape, radio did not necessarily have the same time sensitive issues of moving from traditional media to digital and this is primarily attributed to audience consumption habits,” she says.
“Unlike press, whose traditional distribution channels were in decline due to a change in audience consumption habits, radio’s traditional FM output did not suffer the same attrition rate and digital consumption of radio is still at 4%. This afforded radio the space to approach digital with an audience-first mind-set; something that informed and educated our digital strategies.”
Kiela Brodigan, digital content director with Newstalk.com, is spearheading the digital strategy for the station and how it informs its content product across all channels.
“Newstalk has always been about delivering great content. The recent shift in the media landscape has given the brand immense opportunity to get this content out to more people, on more devices in formats that fit their lifestyles and schedules. By investing in the development of audience insights and understanding consumption patterns, Newstalk is delivering enhanced content across a multitude of devices and formats, be that podcasts, news reports or long reads on our website or mobile app to native video on our social channels.
“Digital has enabled us to have an always on approach to content and to engage with our audience in a meaningful way. News, sport and business and technology are the cornerstones of our content strategy. Why? Because our audience has told us that’s what they want. The competitive advantage Newstalk has is the way it is delivered; informed, entertaining, innovative and always on. Digital allows us to amplify our content and reach new audiences. It’s an exciting space to be in for a thriving media brand like Newstalk,” he says.
It may be as much a part of nation’s psyche as talking about the weather, but radio can truly survive in this digital age. Perhaps the only way to ride out a storm is to brace oneself to the strongest pillar – thus by using digital to its advantage, radio can remain relevant, audience-driven and futureproof our medium.