Picture: Leo Wieling/Unsplash
Picture: Leo Wieling/Unsplash

The nature of radio presenting is evolving at a rapid rate. Technological advances are resulting in additional engagement mechanisms. Combine this with changes in skill sets, and it soon becomes apparent that the industry needs to rethink its talent management approach and the way to utilise on-air personalities best to engage audiences and provide value to marketers.

Broadcasters can no longer just be presenters with a good voice. Instead, they need to be compelling, engaging, multiskilled as social media influencers, content providers, storytellers and brand ambassadors, and able to have an impact on their community.

A recent FM Redzone event in discussion with the National Association of Broadcasters, moderated by TILT chief creative officer Arye Kellman, focused on how marketers can leverage and utilise radio stations and their presenters more efficiently, and looked at the evolution of talent in radio.

The lockdown last year proved the enduring quality of radio, including its ability to be a credible voice in a time of much disinformation. “In a time of trauma, listeners tuned in to trusted presenters,” said Ultimate Media co-owner John Walls at the event. The most obvious value of radio is that it reaches 90% of the SA population. Digital and social media, valuable as they are, don’t come close to this, and even TV does not have the same reach.

Good broadcasting is ultimately about a connection between the radio presenter and the listener, said Anthony Soglo, business manager at Fortune Combo (Radio 2000, SAfm and Lotus FM). This is something advertisers are beginning to take advantage of as they use radio talent to amplify their messages to their audiences.

Asked why brands would choose to work with a radio station rather than a social media platform if both had similar followers or listeners, Hulisani Ravele, a radio presenter on 947 Weekend Breakfast, pointed out that the complexity of the reach is very different. She said there was room for the two to co-exist.

Jacaranda FM radio presenter Martin Bester said there are very close parallels between social media and radio. For both platforms, content remains king. Radio, however, has the added benefit of constantly reinventing itself to remain relevant.

Walls said it is time to stop thinking about radio in the traditional sense and instead to start seeing it as part of an audio strategy. Given that a listener revolution has taken place, radio stations need to adapt themselves to different listenership patterns. They need to talk to brands about their audio strategy and help them take advantage of the various listening behaviours.

The next Redzone digital event will focus on the science behind snacking and on delicious marketing tactics for 2021. It will take place on May 27 at 9am.

Click here to register.

The big take-out: Good radio depends on good content, and talent really is key.

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