Whilst overall radio listening remains strong, all radio sees challenges from both average hour declines and the fight for listener’s attention. A challenge presented by the global technology companies Google, Amazon, Spotify and Apple. For Helen, public service broadcasters are also facing regulatory challenges from Government. She feels that some of their demands are needlessly diminishing their stations, something that’s to the detriment of their listeners. She also feels that the BBC’s independence is intrinsically linked to the audience’s trust.
For BBC radio they’ve evolved from just concentrating on consumers listening to content to a broader “listen, watch, share” strategy. Whether it’s video or shortform content, Helen’s radio stations are adapting material to the different demands of their individual audiences.
In the future the BBC will offer a more tailored radio experience for listeners a personalised station for each listener looking at what they like, where they are and what they’re listening on. It will bring together all of the radio station’s content with music and news.
Cilla Benkö (Director General, Swedish Radio) felt that radio has two challenges to meet the needs of today and win the battle of tomorrow both globally and on digital.The big difference, she saw, was that we now need to be ‘chosen’ by listeners. For a radio station to be ‘picked’ it has to focus on the audience concentrating on identifying needs and behaviours – alongside radio’s regular focus on understanding age and gender – as well as focusing on the content. For Swedish Radio, this has resulted in looking at three pillars terrestrial, online (and added extras) and listener interaction on social.To stay connected, radio must embrace shifts in technology, and cherish the unique relationship it has with its audience.