In 2011, Unesco declared 13 February as World Radio Day. It’s recognised and celebrated across the world as one of the first and most widely used broadcast platforms, and for its powerful role in amplifying voices and bringing people together to have important discussions and conversations that take our world forward.
This year’s theme for World Radio Day is “Radio and Peace” and aims to highlight the role radio has played in cutting through the noise of the current and impending global conflict. If and when used professionally, radio can be used as a medium to neutralize heated situations through thoughtful conversations and information sharing, as Unesco states:
“Radio can indeed fuel conflict but in reality, professional radio moderates conflict and/or tensions, preventing their escalation or bringing about reconciliation and reconstruction talks.”
This year marks 100 years since radio was first introduced in South Africa – as an experiment. It was used as a propaganda tool by the white government against black audiences, but later expanded to black audiences to express and hold conversations in indigenous languages. Radio remains one of the most widely used platforms across the world. A 2022 survey showed that 69% of surveyees aged 15 years and older listen to the radio weekly. Furthermore, 94% of the surveyees 15 years and older own a radio, while 64% reported listening to the radio at home on a non-radio device.
So, while the internet forges ahead with podcasting becoming the new big thing that people with the means are vying for, radio remains one of the go-to sources for news, information and live commentary.
The SABC is the leading broadcaster in South Africa and is home to 19 radio stations, broadcast in all South African languages. According to the 2022 listenership report from the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa, the top five radio stations with the highest listenership are Ukhozi FM, Metro FM, Umhlobo Wenene FM, Lesedi FM and Motsweding FM.
Read: Something new for SABC viewers: a 24-hour news channel in all local languages
Despite its position in the industry, it needs to keep up with the trends charging ahead. One that we cannot ignore is podcasting.
When the modern internet emerged, a host of wonderful things came with it: messaging services, social media, live streaming television and radio and of course, podcasting.
Podcasts are different from radio in that they are not live broadcasts. The production and delivery are fundamentally different, because podcasts are pre-recorded, edited and then uploaded onto platforms such as Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Sound Cloud etc., for audiences to download or listen to whenever they have the time. Some are paid for and others are free.
Radio’s format is wider and live.
With 100 years of radio behind us and plenty more years to go, radio will continue to take different shapes and forms. Unfortunately, we can’t tell what will become of radio in the next 50 to 100 years, but media and radio pundits are predicting a greater uptick in podcasting. Here are some habits of podcast listeners to tune your audio work to. Courtesy of Buzzsprout.
- There will be a significant uptick in podcasting in 2023.
- Listeners will most likely follow social media brands.
- The average listener subscribes to around six shows.
- Around 80% of average listeners listen to all or most of every podcast episode they start.
- Avid listeners consume an average of 11.2 hours of podcasts a week.
- Avid listeners are attracted to content with video, and will most likely subscribe to a premium streaming service.
- Podcasts are discovered on YouTube predominantly.
Whether you’re into the traditional radio format when you’re on the go, or podcasts while you’re relaxing on your own, the “radio days” are here to stay.