Jacaranda FM MD Deirdre King. Picture: Supplied
Jacaranda FM MD Deirdre King. Picture: Supplied

Like most media platforms in the current economic environment, radio is facing its fair share of challenges. One of its biggest is to obtain sustained revenue growth, as advertising spend is not increasing though media options have grown exponentially. Also, younger audiences are less inclined to use radio as their first choice of audio or source of new music.

Each of these challenges, says Jacaranda FM MD Deirdre King, is an opportunity for radio to grow beyond its traditional scope and incorporate emerging platforms into its content and advertising mix. For Jacaranda FM, in particular, the challenge is to convert its large digital audience – at present the largest in the country, with over a million online streams a month – into a revenue stream.

“Radio has been gifted with a unique opportunity to reinvent itself,” King says. “Each station has a finite time frame to come out of the Covid crisis with a new and more loyal audience, deliver increasingly innovative products and exhibit real agility.”

What Covid-19 has revealed, says King, is a new way of delivering content. Audiences are looking for something real that they can connect with, and radio offers the necessary authenticity and companionship as well as a sense of community and belonging that the real-time engagement between presenters and audience provides.

As consumer sentiment continues to shift, the need to prioritise the right message at the right time – and to the right audience – will become increasingly important. Which is why, says King, adaptive messaging is becoming so essential. Advertisers and marketers will need to work with media that have real relationships with audiences rather than being merely “connections to traffic”, as this will shape messaging that has particular relevance to specific audiences.

Before joining Jacaranda FM in May this year, King was GM of brand experience and crisis communications at Nando’s for the India, Middle East and Africa region. Prior to her time at Nando’s she was head of marketing and communications (Africa) for The Walt Disney Company.

the big take-out:

Radio has an opportunity to grow beyond its traditional scope and incorporate emerging platforms into its content and advertising mix.

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