Why the ‘old’ medium is making a media comeback with DAB and drive-time
Radio is dead. Long live radio…or so we thought. For many years radio broadcasting in the UK was considered to be something of fading relevance and popularity. With the technological onslaught of first the television and then the rising importance of computers and the internet, the humble radio seemed to have been surpassed in terms of entertainment potential. It appeared that radio was dying. But radio fought back.
With the advent of digital radio (DAB), the popularity of radio, both national and local, has grown on a steady upward curve. DAB provides crystal-clear audio quality and national coverage, and without trying to sound like an advert, really is much better than the traditional analogue signal. In the same way that television was revolutionised with a digital signal, DAB is successfully emulating this success with radio, by providing a much wider range of stations, as well as better quality.
DAB usage is becoming ever more prevalent within the UK. More people than ever are buying DAB radios, with an estimated 58% of the population either owning, using or having access to one. The internet has played a significant role in this resurgence in popularity as many stations choose to stream their signal over the web, making it even easier to access, particularly at work.
The rise of celebrity has also not gone unnoticed by the radio world. Stations, particularly those with larger budgets are ever more prevalently employing the services of various ‘celebrity‘ broadcasters, ranging from the recently ousted Jonathan Ross on BBC Radio 2, to former Spice Girl Emma Bunton, now a regular on Heart FM. This has in turn attracted many new listeners to radio, whilst simultaneously fueling ratings wars between stations. The element of competition implores many stations to seek out an ever larger ‘name‘ for their primetime shows at Breakfast and ‘Drive time’. This is particularly evident in larger cities and national shows.
So, has the internet actually bolstered the radio star? It has certainly helped – with the exposure of many DAB channels on the web, as well as increased accessibility. The social networking revolution has also aided radio: with so many people connected and able to share their thoughts and opinions on a show they help to promote it. So far from ‘killing the radio star’, the internet, along with the use of celebrity, and well respected broadcasters and new innovations such as DAB, streaming and podcasting, are actually strengthening it. The radio is alive and well. Long live radio.