His look at the state of the medium across Europe comes up with some positive, and surprising, results.
“In virtually every audience survey in Europe radio listening is up,” he writes. “Not simply up, but at record levels.” He continues:
“In the last 30 years we’ve seen an absolute explosion of radio channels and stations. Within the 44 countries in the UN definition of Europe… there are roughly 15,000 broadcast radio outlets, about one for every 50,000 people. Ten years ago there were half as many.”
Why should that be? Hedges offers four reasons for radio’s success: technology, programming, marketing and management. And in a lengthy analysis, he explains how the interaction between them works so positively.
He also takes on board the rise of the internet and its beneficial effect.
Internet radio is certainly on the rise but it’s not driven entirely by the technology strand. The technology necessary for internet radio has existed for a couple of decades. All that’s necessary is bandwidth. Internet radio has, as they say, a million fathers; part marketing, part programming and part management. The biggest driver of internet radio is completely external, radio listeners discovering a new level of interactivity, which was promised by DAB, now an orphan.
Radio owes a lot to Steve Jobs and Apple. When the iPod and iTunes changed the way people consumed music radio broadcasters were finally released from the bondage of the music industry. In the last five years radio broadcasters have put more stock in performance and communication with people. The arrival of social media portals – Twitter, Facebook and others – has only enhanced the intimacy radio broadcasters share with their listeners.
Essentially, his message is that radio is a first-class example of participation between broadcaster and audience. So with the separation of the radio station setting the listen’s schedule radio listening continues to rise. New outlets continue to come on stream. You can tap into this boom and use it to publicise your brand or vistor attraction. You can harness the power of radio to connect with your costumer base with a medium they are completely at home with.