SLIEMA, Malta — The Coronavirus pandemic is hitting economies hard across the globe and people have seen their lifestyles put into question. As a natural reaction to the crisis audiences are resorting to broadcast media and the web.
The electronic convergence, a process started way back in the 1990s, is today not only a 21st Century reality but also the tool and a refuge for people switching to working from home. And/or staying indoors as part of official recommendations aimed at stemming the spread of the virus.
Radio and TV have been the main beneficiaries, but not without some surprises. A recent Malta Broadcasting Authority survey showed that the Maltese did not watch as much television as they had done in March of this year, the peak of the first Covid-19 wave.
While television audience figures went through the roof during that month, the MBA’s July survey results have revealed there has been a hefty drop of 20.8%. In contrast, during the same month Maltese radio listeners continued to increase by 7.4% when compared to March’s figures.
Radio and TV news bulletins retained the largest following. Audiences then opted for drama, discussion and current affairs programs on TV, and music, newspaper scans and religious programs on radio. Hardly startling given the impact from the pandemic on people’s daily lives and the need for information.
Bay Radio, One Radio and Vibe FM have remained the most popular radio stations on the Island. Public entities Radju Malta and Magic Malta stood at 5th and 6th places with audiences of 9% and 5.3% respectively.
Understandably perturbed by the results, Public Broadcasting Services, which run both Radju Malta and Magic Malta as well as Radju Malta 2, are mooted to be in the process of a major overhaul of their radio setup.