How Digital has Given Birth to Radio 2.0

By Atul Razdan, National Programming Head, 92.7 Big FM

Saying that it is the best time to be alive in human history probably sounds clichéd, but then again, clichés are there for a reason. We are living in times where everything from a hair-pin to a refrigerator is delivered to us with a single tap of a button. We are living in times where people can communicate from anywhere in the world at a negligible cost. The digital era dawned upon us just as silently as it continues to redefine our everyday lives. Every industry, every sector is gripped by the digital wave and radio is no exception. Every radio channel today has a digital extension where they re-connect and re-engage with millennial and the digital-first generation.

The Blast from the Past

In the era gone-by, Radio was seen as a medium for one-way communication where the only interaction between the RJ and the listener happened during a call for a song request by the listener. That scenario is poles apart from today’s time where listeners interact with RJs during on-ground activities, on various social media platforms and go on to discuss even their personal lives with them on-air. The evolution of the medium within the last decade has outpaced the growth witnessed through the advent of radio up until the arrival of the digital age.

Radio- The Ultimate Media Survivor

Being one of the most traditional mediums of mass communication, one would have imagined phrases like ‘Death of Radio’ or ‘Good-bye Radio’ making headlines on the internet. On the contrary, radio has not just managed to survive but has in fact thrived in the digital era. Instead of getting caught in the battle of new media v/s traditional media, radio seamlessly found itself marrying new media to re-engage with its customers on the digital medium. So while radio is still very much relevant on your car stereo on your way to college or work, you are also re-connecting with the same channel on engagement driven platforms like social media. By gathering insights about you on digital platforms, radio channels are curating unique shows on their channels tailored to your specific interest.

Radio beyond Music

With communication becoming interactive over time, Radio holds far more significance beyond being just associated with music. RJ’s who were earlier only known by their voice have now come closer to their listeners thanks to digital platforms. RJs now have a face attached to their popularity and are active on social media platforms engaging listeners in their day-to-day life. Radio channels are able to create a new layer of communication by reaching out to their listeners through integrated campaigns that get amplified on the digital medium.

Engaging Story- Telling Format

Today, a campaign is almost lifeless without a digital presence. The medium is a hotbed of consumer engagement that is waiting to get unlocked and that happens with story-telling forming the core of every brand campaign. For Radio, story-telling has been a core genre and Radio is moving more and more towards digital story-telling and it is proving to be one more viable way to connect brands with consumers.

Varied Demographics

The strength of radio is that it can reach even to the remotest of places. And in the digital age, it has only got better and bigger. Leveraging the reach of digital platforms today that have a varied set of demographics, the radio sector has evolved in getting to know the persona of its audience on their likes, interests and the content they like to consume. The viewer’s preference helps create original and innovative content even for the radio space which eventually drives the engagement quotient on air. The on-air and online synchronisation of content helps amplify the buzz on the activity reaching out to a larger audience at once.

The Game Changer

Personally I don't see any sign of worry about FM radio being turned-off even in this era. It may never happen; instead it will only grow further with the digital boost. In a generation where everyone is a 'media maker' or 'content producer', it is however of equal importance for this sector to use the digital platforms for alternative content placement and stay connected with its audience.

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