Picture: 123RF/TZIDO
Picture: 123RF/TZIDO

Digital and social media platforms may be prevalent, but radio is the personal medium of choice for many SA consumers. With its ability to generate frequency of exposure for advertisers as well as deep engagement it should be an essential part of the marketing mix. 

There are a host of reasons why radio remains so successful despite the changing media landscape. For one, it’s emotive and intimate. Think about how listeners react when a favourite presenter is removed from the air. Studies of the brain continue to prove that auditory connections have a profound and memorable impact. The voice heard over the airwaves during the daily commute becomes that of a trusted companion. It’s because radio engages people’s emotions that it’s a great medium for ad placement.

In addition, radio is live, engaging consumers here and now. Its immediacy is what makes call-to-action messaging work for many radio advertisers.

The current advertising environment calls for integration, and another plus for radio is how well it plays with other media platforms. That’s essential when media consumption takes place across different devices and channels throughout the day.

One of the greatest benefits of radio is its capacity to allow real-time conversation and interactivity. Whether it involves social media engagement, phone-in competitions, opinion polls or the broadcast of a major event, radio creates powerful ways for brands to have authentic, real-time engagements with consumers. Smart marketers are using it to weave their content in a way that seems unscripted to the listener.

The big take-out

Despite the rapid digitisation of media platforms, radio remains a firm favourite with consumers and is unparalleled in terms of reach and frequency.

The impact of creativity is highest when left to the individual’s imagination.  We have to question why radio remains advertising’s ugly stepchild when its only limitation lies in the minds of the creators and copywriters. It’s time to challenge our creative mediocrity and fulfil the medium’s potential.

Radio’s accessibility – particularly in the case of regional and local broadcasters – is an advantage for advertisers. The engagement with the “on the ground” communities these stations create brings the brand into their personal space. 

It is also the most captive of all mediums; listenership patterns indicate that peak-time listening has been extended way beyond traditional morning and afternoon drive times. Astute media buyers are taking advantage of uncluttered high-reach time bands.

South Africans continue to consume radio as a primary medium of choice. It offers a ubiquitous multichannel experience, as it recognises the rapidly transforming media landscape as well as changes in consumer behaviour. By future-proofing itself beyond the FM band radio has earned a rightful position in every media mix.