In last year’s Sept/Oct edition of RedTech magazine, Graham Dixon wrote about a recent study from Rai (Radiotelevisione Italiana), the Italian public service broadcaster, about the future of radio and the transition to ‘audio.’ It is a significant and thorough work; its only limitation at the time was that it was only in Italian. Rai has now published an English version — ‘Audio & Sound Ecosystem.’
In the preface, the EBU’s Director General, Noel Curran, says radio “is at its defining moment.” However, far from being a portent of doom, he emphasizes that radio is a “flexible medium” and therefore undergoing dramatic change, which is exciting and challenging. He also outline’s the EBU’s essential four principles for ‘future radio.’
Here are a few excerpts from the preface to the English edition, which the EBU will release in the first week of February. We will publish the full preface in the March/April edition of RedTech magazine.
“Consumer behavior is unrecognizable from just a few years ago as radio listening migrates from analog to digital channels. So, talking about what’s next for radio seems redundant when we’re already in the middle of huge change. The whole idea of ‘radio’ has already been redefined. The key now is how we harness developing innovations in audio to ensure the medium continues to thrive.
Radio continues to be front and center of changing listening habits because it responds so well to new and changing technologies.Noel Curran, EBU Director General
“Radio continues to be front and center of changing listening habits because it responds so well to new and changing technologies. In the past few days, I’ve streamed radio stations on my laptop, listened to radio news on my smart speaker, and downloaded topic-centered podcasts to listen to when or if I get a spare moment. The need for news and information — delivered in a human voice — is stronger than ever.
“The roles of radio organizations are challenged on two fronts: on their music programming by streaming platforms that offer a limitless music catalog and on their speech programming by the podcast market, which covers many topics and can create innovative formats, to be listened to at a time to suit the audience.
“If we’re going to safeguard radio as a medium for the future, we have to ensure our content is represented on all relevant platforms so that we’re in control of distribution and that we get audience credit — and audience retention — for where the richest content and best user experience is.
“It has been said that ‘audio isn’t going away, it’s everywhere’ — and while the means of distribution will change as technologies are refined, I’ve no doubt that the medium itself will continue to adapt and grow. The future is in good shape — and this publication will be crucial in helping us get there.”
RedTech will publish a link to the publication when Rai releases it next month.