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Radio’s Continuing Evolution

Kicking off Radiodays Europe yesterday was a session led by four top level executives in European radios - all talking about the challenges and opportunities that radio face.

Below you find an article about the session with the four radio leaders Cilla Benkø, SR, SE, Jacqueline Smit, Radio 538, NL, Helen Boaden, BBC and Maryam Salehi, NRJ, FR.  It is followed by a video interview with Cilla Benkö and Jacqueline Smith.

Jacqueline Smit from the Netherland’s Radio 538 talked about change being a constant whilst the industry is “caught in the current” of the fast moving digital world. The challenge, she felt, was the need for radio to evolve its core content offer, and for commercial radio, the question was “how it can monetise it”?

The ex-Microsoft executive talked about the need to evolve from just broadcasting to seeking out real insights from consumers and evolving to match their new listening behaviour. Commercially, Jacqueline felt with the drive to automated trading for online inventory, it would be radio’s brand value that would allow the industry to seek true partnerships with other brands and drive higher value for commercial radio’s businesses.


Helen Boaden, the Head of Radio for the UK’s BBC said that whilst acknowledging the huge amount of consumer change we should also remember the successes we’re enjoying - UK radio is currently delivering more listeners than ever before. In Helen’s view, the key challenges centres around the amount of time people are spending with radio and how the young consume it. Helen told a great anecdote about a recent school visit. When she asked if the children listened to radio, no hands went up. When she asked if people listened to (youth station) BBC Radio 1 - lots of hands went up. When she asked who watched Radio 1 on YouTube - all the hands went up.

Cilla Benkö from Sveriges Radio talked about the structure of her station and how they saw themselves - independent, trusted, open-minded and innovative. Their challenge is to evolve and deliver around three pillars – terrestrial, IP production web/mobile and social media. This transition for Sveriges Radio is essential to move from an organisation that reaches 7 million people (out of a 9 million population) in the analogue world to one that can grow its digital reach from its current 1.5m.

Finally Maryam Salehi from the NRJ Group showed an impressive video outlining how an international cross-platform strategy can work to reinforce and build a brand. She felt that building a range of products around a strong brand promise – for NRJ “Hit Music Only” – is core to attracting and keeping audiences in the digital age.


Jacqueline Smit and Cilla Benkø interviewed by Trevor Dann, Radiodays Europe.

Slide presentations from the session 24 March 2014