Several Sydney radio station ratings have fallen, according to surveys released last week.
Over the years, there have been constant debates about whether radio is dying and with ABC dropping 1.9 per cent, 2GB dropping 0.9 and 2DayFM dropping 0.4, the future of radio has been questioned.
Podcasts, named after the iPod, have either been a useful tool for radio professionals, or a burden because anyone outside the radio industry can podcast their work, putting a dent in radio listener ratings.
Statistics on Time.com show only one in six Americans have listened to a podcast within the past six months. Despite common belief that podcasts receive high audience ratings, the podcast audience represents only five per cent of the broadcast audience.
“I don’t think podcasts are [killing radio]… I don’t listen to podcasts. I don’t know how many people listen to podcasts but none of my friends talk about podcasts… when you jump in the car, who listens to a podcast… it’s a hard one,” 2DayFM’s Shazam Top 20 host, Angus O’Loughlin, told The Newsroom.
However, 2DayFM’s Assistant Music Director and announcer, Alex Louran, had a different opinion.
“Podcasts have helped further promote radio content and have become a strong extension for many brands. Podcasting has created more fans and engaged many more listeners,” he told The Newsroom.
Radio stations have used podcasts more of a supplement for radio, rather than a replacement especially when listeners can’t tune into live radio shows. Internet radio audiences are growing because of its portability and accessibility.
A recent study done in the UK and published on PodcastingNews.com found 39 per cent of people now listen to radio programs that they never listened to before thanks to podcasting.
However streaming sites such as Pandora and all-podcast radio stations have been seen as more of a threat to the radio industry. People can now freely listen and download the music they want, when and where they want and therefore, the number of people tuning into the radio for music has decreased.
The first company to do an all-podcast radio station was Infinity. When launching this new technology, CEO of Infinity Joel Hollander said: “We’re creating a new way to let a lot of people participate personally in radio – sharing their feelings on music, news, politics, whatever matters to them… I also think this is going to be a really interesting way to develop new talent.”
Over the past decades, radio has faced its challenges with the inventions of the television, Internet and iPod. However it would be difficult to find a radio station now who haven’t embraced these changes.
Mr Louran thinks it is important to have an online presence through social media sites such as YouTube and Facebook, because they are all ways to get noticed now in the industry.
Radio is accessible in so many places these days and social media sites engage the listeners even more by keeping them up to date with the latest issues, competitions, promotions and music.
“Radio will never die… because we’re the fastest medium so if there’s a bushfire, newspapers can’t get it out till the next morning, Channel 10 news can’t get it till 5 o’clock but we can instantly get on the air and tell everyone instantly. If a song drops, we can have it instantly on the air… nothing will ever be as quick as radio can be,” Mr O’Loughlin said. – Reported and photographed by Lauren Yeates