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Highlights from RDE 2011

During the two days conference in March there were 40 sessions about radio´s future, presentations of new research and sharing of best practices regarding innovating programming and new business models.

Among the speakers were Tim Davie, Head of Audio and Music, BBC, Sharon Dastur (Programme Director Z100/Clear Channel, USA) and Daniel Domscheit-Berg, former Wikileaks spokesperson.

One of the themes was radio´s future in mobile phones. Speakers came from Google, Nokia and other companies within the mobile phone industry.

Other speakers were Dennis Clark (Producer, USA), Clive Dickens (Absolute, UK), Rosario Pellecchia (Radio 105, Italy), Cilla Benkö (SR, Sweden) Morgan Davy Serrano (NRJ, France), Els Van de Sijpe, (VRT, Belgium), Paula Cordeiro (Researcher, Portugal), Jeremy Mcvean (Austereo, Australia) and many, many more. In all there were nearly 100 speakers in the four parallel programme tracks.

Have a look at the program overview!

Radio is important in crisis
Radio is important, especially in times of crisis. In her opening address Ingrid Deltenre, the Director General of the EBU, pointed to our colleagues in Japan. They are proving the value of broadcast radio in view of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami last Friday.
   Deltenre hopes Radiodays Europe will inspire the industry, a hope mirrored by AER president Alfonso Ruiz de Assín. He believes a conference by Europe for Europe is good and emphasised the need for the industry to cooperate and work together for the future.

Radio must play catch-up to secure its place in the new media world
What was interesting is how far the different speakers were in communicating a single vision going. The BBC's Tim Davie and SBS's Bente Klemetsdal led the way in recognizing that the world has changed and radio must play catchup if it wants to secure it's place in the new world.
   Davie was proud of much of the BBC's success, but the key thing radio had to realize was that whilst its reach may hold up, hours declines would change the nature of the industry. A fact dismissed by Christopher Franzen, German media investor. He seemed much happier to exist in an FM-only world without perhaps acknowledging that in five years that maybe somewhat wishful thinking.

Z100 focuses on great talent
Sharon Dastur, Z100 programme director, captured her audience at Radiodays Europe just by being there. Commercial radio stations across the Western world look to Z100 in New York in awe, and wanted to learn how Z100 has managed to stay on top for over 25 years. - We have chosen to stay true to our format. Focus on our great talent, like Elvis Duran in the morning and the 'mayor of Hollywood' Ryan Seacrest at mid-day, says Dastur.

Stephen Nolan can speak with anyone

In Northern Ireland recently, a bomb was found. A three-year old was standing beside it. At BBC Radio Ulster’s The Nolan Show, a caller said he hoped the child would be blown up. “Would you put him on air?” was the challenge from the host to the audience at Radiodays Europe. 
   12 time Sony Award winner Stephen Nolan hosts a morning talk show every weekday at the BBC’s regional Northern Ireland station. He was one of the three European radio personalities called in to discuss their shows in front of Europe’s premier conference for radio professionals. And yes, he not only put the caller on air, but spoke to him for 40 minutes.

Dennis Clark: Know your target listener!
Delivering a successful show is much more than having a great figurehead. Dennis Clark talked about focusing on the elements to make your breakfast show bulletproof. For Dennis the key aim is direct all your attention at appealing to your target listener. For them you must consistently deliver listener benefits and always drive appointments to listen - appointments that you always keep! The show also needs the material to ensure that it always becomes "top of mind" for listeners so the show becomes the first choice.

Ulla Svensson: Recruit talent different from yourself!
Ulla Svensson from Swedish Radio talked about the need to get real new talent, rather than just replacing older talent with newer versions of themselves and not to just 'employ ourselves' again'. Ulla spends a third of her time asking people different from her about who's a good storytellers and, like a journalist, tracks them down to see whether they would work on-air. Her test is to get them "to tell a story about something fascinating in 3 minutes", she thinks this is a great way to identify whether they know what's interesting and also whether they've got the scope to self-edit.

Clive Dickens: Go beyond radio ads for your revenue!
In his session on the world of new revenues in radio, Absolute Radio COO Clive Dickens revealed the unprecedented shift in where and how revenues are generated. The old model where spots and traditional sponsor deals accounted for everything has gone.
   The new revenue streams have presented themselves in the form of iAds and in-app activities on mobile, talent based associated sponsorships where the likes of MSN have opted to be directly linked to an on-air personality. And focusing on specific subjects, such as premier league football, and creating web and app content with added extras such as video, graphics, analysis and interactivity has given Absolute access to money that wouldn't otherwise be spent on a radio spot anyway.

Market research with real impact - from Germany and UK
Esther Raff demonstrated how the German saleshouse AS&S grew from an underperforming 34% share (with their competitor having the balance) to 41% in five years. She talked about concentrating on new product combinations, coverage and pricing and also refocusing on in-house creative and consultancy. All their campaigns are now analysed through the prism of ICPC (Identify, Plan, Create and Prove).
     Mark Barber and Aaron Paul from the UK's Radio Advertising Bureau demonstrated a fascinating piece of research - RadioGauge. They've researched with pre and post campaign analysis of over 400 advertising campaigns and are continuing to measure three campaigns a week.
   With the initial results, the RAB says that the agencies love it, as it provides them with very clear data, and can prove to the agency's clients that the're doing a good job! It's also working, advertisers that take part in RadioGauge are spending 26% more on radio than the market as a whole - that translates to £32m.

Do you want highlights from RDE 2010 as well?
The world's very first Radiodays Europe was held in Copenhagen March 18 - 19, 2010.  Have a look at the program.  You can also glance through some presentations and listen to audio recordings from some of the sessions.  Links are available in this overview.