By Andy Beaubien, BPR
One of the hottest topics in media circles these days is the amount of time that an average individual consumes media each day. Various studies show that the total amount of daily media consumption has levelled out in recent years. In other words, the consumer has simply run out of time for media.
Twenty years ago, this would not have seemed like a big problem for radio broadcasters. In those days, our share of media consumption was most commonly divided into three basic categories – TV, radio and print. Today’s media consumption choices have expanded exponentially. In addition to TV, radio and print, the list now includes Internet surfing, podcasts, audio and video streaming services, blogs, interactive services such Twitter and You Tube. Radio is forced to fight with all these media options for every minute of available consumer time.
Radio now finds itself in a battle to simply sustain the amount of radio listening it once had. The idea of increasing time spent listening to radio (or to a particular radio station) is almost a thing of the past. What can radio broadcasters do to stay top of mind with media users? Perhaps the most obvious answer to this question is to take listening and listeners from other broadcast stations in the market. We have been doing this for decades and some of us are better at it than others. Nevertheless, increasing reach and market share has never been more important. The survival of a 10th ranked station in a 10 station market is now more difficult than ever.
Another option for radio is to quit ignoring the reality of diverse media platforms and to embrace the idea that the only thing that we do differently from other media outlets is broadcast our audio programs on the FM and AM bands. It is time that we realize that our experience and expertise in producing high quality audio programs gives us a great advantage in the competitive media world.
Radio station websites are no longer afterthoughts or part-time projects but rather our gateway to reaching a far wider audience than radio broadcasting can offer. Blogs and other interactive programs offer us a more efficient and effective way of communicating interactively with the market than ever before. Even in less developed markets, listening to radio via the Internet is shifting radio consumption away from broadcast media (FM and AM) to listening on station websites and radio aggregators.
Last but not least, podcasts are rapidly growing in popularity. In the US, over 50% of media consumers now claim to be podcast listeners. The range and variety of podcasts is truly extraordinary. Virtually every topic imaginable now has its own podcasts. Everything from politics to religion, sex, home improvement, personal relationships, science and history now has podcasts devoted to these topics.
If your station is not playing an active part in Internet-based media resources, the only question that remains is “Why not?”