Radio is an exciting entertainment medium. When it first began to be used, about one hundred years ago, it was actually meant for communication purposes; it helped bring people and countries together in times of war.
BBC radio was even chartered with the goal to improve society. Now, radio has become more entertainment-based, as a means of listening to your favorite music or morning radio shows.
Even though podcasts seem to have taken the world by storm, and in this day and age, people can listen to whatever song they want through various streaming services, the people of the UK still love radio. In 2018, 89% of the adult UK population (15+) tuned in to the radio each week for an average of 21 hours. Per week.
Why is that? Why is radio still alive? In the UK, UK consumers have been slow to move over to other forms of media consumption, such as online or app-based.
There are a few potential reasons as to why this is. Keep reading for four solid reasons why radio is not dead in the UK.
1. Radio is Free
One strong plus about radio is that it’s free! Unlike many streaming apps or services, radio is completely free to listen to. It doesn’t require need you to pay any kind of monthly subscription service, which has become even more pricey. Even Spotify has upped prices in the past.
This free cost to listeners is because radio makes money from advertisements, so they don’t have to charge viewers to listen. Because radio is very advertiser-friendly, they will most likely not be going anywhere anytime soon. Radio allows advertisers to reach broad audiences when people are generally out of the home, usually in the car, shopping, or out running errands.
These activities are the perfect time to advertise to people; when they are out shopping and more likely to add something to their list.
2. Radio is Easy to Understand
Probably because of its long history, the radio medium is effortless for most people of all ages to understand. There is no having to download an app or sign up for a subscription service. All one has to do is tune in to a particular station!
Radio is also less demanding of its listeners. Because radio is full of more general content, without any story arcs or narratives, the radio audience can jump in and out without missing a beat. Radio does not have the issue that, unlike some podcasts, viewers feel like they have to go back and listen to older episodes to catch up and be on the same page. There is no feeling of missing out.
Unlike TV, which requires both visual and auditory focus, radio only engages your aural senses. This engagement makes it easier to multitask while listening to the radio, such as driving, running errands, cooking, working in a shop, etc., than watching TV and doing these things.
Finally, the radio presenters tend to do a great job of cultivating an engaged audience; they tend to feel like friends to regular listeners. They become local celebrities in a sense.
3. Radio is Readily Available
Radio is very convenient! Just hop in your car, tune to your station, and go!
Many people really enjoy listening to the radio on their morning commute to work, either for the variety of music or for the various breakfast shows. In fact, in 2018, AM/FM radio was one of the most popular forms of radio consumption in the UK. There is always an exciting morning show available to listen to in the morning.
Even though portable radios are not as popular anymore with smartphones, almost all cars, even new cars, still have an AM/FM radio in them. So they are not going away anytime soon.
In addition, radio is adaptable. There are many radio apps available for those who either don’t have a car or prefer to listen to the radio on an app on the go. Radio apps also allow you to access more radio stations from different locations, other than what is just available in your area. Radio is also available to listen to live online for people who don’t have a smartphone.
If you do have a smartphone, never fear, for some phones even have an FM chip built-in! Samsung phones in the USA and Canada released after 2018 have an unlocked FM radio chip. Unfortunately, Samsung phones sold in the UK don’t usually have an FM chip, which means you can’t listen to FM radio without Wi-Fi.
If you can’t listen to the radio on your phone, you can listen to the radio on your Amazon Alexa! All you have to do is ask her to play your favorite radio station, and the best part is she’ll play both local and national radio stations.
4. Radio is Diverse
There are radio stations for all types of music, news information, and talk shows. There is truly something for everyone.
Radio is also appealing across demographics, drawing listeners from all ages, genders, and ethnicities, as shown by 2019 data from Nielsen Audio.
Radio shows have a broader audience than podcasts, for example. Podcasts tend to be on a very specific subject, in order to attract a niche audience. With its established, well-known format, radio can support broader audiences well. Radio shows generally promote general content and advertisements through their morning shows.
Radio stations also play and promote what is popular, which helps them support a larger audience.
Is Radio Still Alive? Final Thoughts
How we consume entertainment content has changed over the years, but radio has still remained a solid force in the industry and is very much alive.
If you have any more theories on why radio is not dead, please feel free to pop a comment down below! We’re always looking to learn more about where you think radio is headed or if it will still be relevant in the future!