Radio is considered to be one of the oldest mediums in the media industry. Even though it’s a medium often associated with the past in popular culture, it continues to thrive in the Internet era. Why is this the case?

media update’s Adam Wakefield spoke to Anthea Danckwerts, brand marketing manager for Mediamark, to find out why radio as a medium continues to thrive.

Mediamark recently hosted three radio workshops. Why host radio workshops?

Radio remains an important role in a brand’s integrated marketing strategy, as well as in the Mediamark portfolio. With the rise of millennials and digital first staff in agencies and clients alike, Mediamark saw the need to educate the market on the benefits.

The ‘In The Know Now’ platform was developed to help both seasoned professionals and young talent to develop the skills and expertise they need to thrive in this changing environment, with 2017 a year of profound change in terms of media research.

The new RAM and Establishment Survey will force seasoned and new media professionals to reorientate themselves in terms of their understanding of the composition of the South African population, as well as its media consumption habits.

Why is radio such a powerful medium, even in the age of social media?

Storytelling has become a game changer, along with branded communication becoming more customer-centric, allowing people to connect and resonate with the brands. If you think about it, radio is the ultimate storytelling medium – and always has been.

It can take listeners on a journey by using emotion and excitement; this is exactly what connects radio to consumers. It is not just content – it’s content built around a carefully crafted story. Any good radio presenter worth their salt will tell you how long a show takes to plan. Even something that sounds completely spontaneous is usually carefully scripted.

Radio was also the first social media platform. Remember live call-ins? Radio is one of the most innovative and multichannel mediums around, embracing new technologies before many of its competitors could even spell ‘Twitter’.

Many of the radio brands we sell on today have a digital first strategy, which means that they see how content will be distributed and consumed on mobile and other applications before on-air is dealt with.

Presenters are highly skilled in the social media space, and many of the radio brands and personalities have incredibly robust followings, meaning that radio stations can continue the conversation with listeners way beyond the ‘dial’.

It remains a trusted companion and, with high traffic levels, a driver’s best friend, despite having other technologies available to us. South Africans are still addicted to radio; whether its music or talk. Ironically, it is very often radio that will drive social media engagement.

How has podcasting changed the radio landscape?

Radio has always been obsessed with how to package its amazing content for listeners to enjoy in their own time, or if they have missed it. Podcasts and digital strategies have allowed radio to do just that. In an age of snackable content and content on demand, it is imperative that all radio brands follow suit.

It hasn’t changed the landscape – it’s been a natural evolution and complements the on-air product. Live, on-air content remains king, and the relatively low numbers of podcasts versus live broadcast attest to this.

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