The secret to achieve a growing radio industry could be as simple as this

I wrote this in London while getting ready for Next Radio. It’s a positive radio conference with an uplifting feel; you’ll now find many of the sessions online, free, on the Next Radio website.

Go to a radio conference in the US or Canada, and there won’t be very many smiling faces. There’s a general feeling in the US and Canada that radio is managing decline. But in other countries, radio is behaving differently.

The UK commercial industry has grown, over the past year, by 5.2%. It’s now a US $887m market.

Australian commercial radio has grown too — over the past year, metro stations growing 3.8% to a US $573m market (and there’s more from the regions, too).

Commercial radio in Finland is growing, too. Their figures are harder to decipher, but July grew by 6.6% over June; and June grew by 17% over May. The market’s comparatively small at about US $93m — but it’s doing better than the UK if you bear in mind Finland’s small population.

These aren’t the stories you hear from the US and Canada; and I’m often asked why.

It’s not an easy answer.

The UK’s seen relaxation of some regulations, and has a strongly multiplatform market (with AM/FM listening at under 50%). Brand consolidation has been an important part of the industry, as has national broadcasting.

Australia’s regulation has historically been quite relaxed, too, but it isn’t particularly multiplatform. Brand consolidation has occurred here as well, with great swathes of radio stations losing their heritage callsigns in favour of more straightforward national branding.

Finland has rejected digital radio, so isn’t multiplatform to any great extent. Much of radio is national, though there are a good number of local stations too. There’s no particular story of brand consolidation either.

So — at first glance, there’s nothing in common particularly to these markets. Except, I think, there is. And it’s probably rather more simple than you’d think.

… read on at

Originally posted by James Cridland at Medium
23rd September 2018

Join asi at the 2018 International Radio & Audio Conference in Athens on 7th November