The importance of commercial radio brands was demonstrated at Radiodays Europe today by Real and Smooth Group PD John Simons.
Speaking on the future of radio, John showed delegates graphs on how commercial radio competes with the BBC.
For example, BBC Radio 1’s main commercial competitors are Kiss and Capital, and together they come close to matching audience share.
However, when grouping together Heart, Real, Smooth and Magic as competition for BBC Radio 2, the commercial stations are a long way of matching Radio 2’s 15 million listeners.
The tables were turned when comparing BBC Radio 3 with Classic FM, as it’s the commercial station which comes out on top.
There was a similar table for BBC Radio 5 live vs talkSPORT, although the BBC wins with a bigger audience.
Paul Robinson, former Head of Strategy at BBC Radio, introduced the rest of the panel – Dagmar Reim, RBB Berlin, Stefan Moller, AER, and Annika Nyberg, EBU.
The speakers commented on radio’s relevance in a competitive market. Digital broadcasting was a particular focus, with Stefan Moller discussing radio’s multiplatform future and Annika Nyberg promoting the EBU’s eurochip campaign.
Coming form the host nation, Dagmar Reim also provided the audience with the historical background of German radio.
The four speakers were cautious about the industry resting on its laurels. If radio wants to maintain its position it must produce unique content and strong journalism, expore new revenue streams and remain in-tune with its audiences.
“It’s all about trust,” says Cilla Benkö, Director General, Sveriges Radio, Sweden. If you have the trust of your audience it is very difficult for your competitors to harm you, she concludes.
Benkö also thinks the future of radio requires broadcasters to go to the listener, rather than expecting the listener to come to the radio station. “Our content is available for whoever wants to use it, even our competitors… I’m sleeping with the enemy” says Benkö.
“Radio is there, just like tap water. Ready to be used” said Director of Radio, NDR Germany, Joachim Knuth.
He believes the future of radio lies in strong independent journalism. He highlighted a number of recent examples from Germany where radio has set the agenda for public debate.
“Radio is a progressive medium and the key to our future is innovation,” said Jan-Willem Brüggenwirth, Director General, Radio 538, the Netherlands.
In the Netherlands the industry is embracing the DAB+ format. Mr. Brüggenwirth believes radio can convert from analogue to digital over a ten year period.
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