Why radio is still cool.
Radio is cool.
I said it.
We’ve all seen hundreds of infographics telling us why Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and friends are the cool kids on the block.
But we always forget little, old radio.
Often viewed as a poor relation in PR and advertising, radio is actually more like the quietly confident cousin that treads its own path.
It’s not in total decline like people think.
It is actually doing really well.
Total analogue radio listenership is up in the UK, year on year.
Over 91% of the UK population now listen to radio at home, work or on transport.
And it is starting to transform itself as a category.
There are hundreds of new digital radio stations emerging all the time.
Some of them now have more regular listeners than traditional FM radio stations.
And the type of stations being created are themselves creating new audiences.
An example is style-setter, Tyler Brule, who has recently launched Monocle24.
It broadcasts a mix of business, culture and design with a curated international playlist – all under the Monocle brand.
And it is sponsored by Rolex.
I think that’s pretty cool for a radio station.
The truth is though, that radio has always been a very powerful media.
It can engage on a deeply emotional level that other media just can’t.
It can make you laugh, cry or even burst into spontaneous song (we’ve all done it late at night on a motorway somewhere!).
Yes, commercially radio may have struggled in recent years.
2011 saw a £5M decline in revenue across the UK.
But that doesn’t really paint the full radio picture.
Change is coming.
This is the first year that the radio industry will monetize ‘paid-for’ product placement and PR interviews, opening a raft of opportunities for brands and agencies alike.
Many more stations will launch ‘listen again’ services, providing added value to what has traditionally been a ‘moment in time media’.
We’ll be seeing more podcasts, downloads, tagging and other innovations coming through thanks to digital innovation.
And with in-car wifi and streaming being talked about as serious reality in the next five years; we may just see an unprecedented jump in radio listenership on the not too distant horizon.
So if you think you know radio, maybe it is time to think again.??
As it is pretty cool indeed.