South Africa: It’s radio but not as we know it…


What's on the cards for radio this year? It's all about keeping up with the times - multimedia, digital media skills, mobile, user-generated content (UGC), the demands of the youth market, collaborative partnerships, general elections and supporting the newly formed Radio Advertising Bureau.

1. More South African radio stations will start evolving into multimedia companies.

2. UGC will start having a bigger impact on air, online and on mobile. Our listeners and consumers will become the stars of the future!!!

3. Broadcasters will start investing more time, money and effort in better understanding and researching the consumer and trade markets' multimedia needs and interests. We also need to keep an eye on the younger teen market as their consumer habits become integral to our future strategies and content plans.

4. New radio stars will have less of a reliance on the voice and the music knowledge, as the shift towards multimedia ability and digital media skills will demand that on air talent must have broader talents.

5. Content is STILL king! We will need to offer relevant content on our platforms to attract the consumer in a fast-changing world that thrives on immediacy and interactivity, all the while ensuring that we can extract revenue from our multimedia offerings to help sustain our platforms.

6. Radio broadcasters will be working closer with agencies and creatives to improve the standard, creativity and innovation of radio advertising.

7. An increased number of traditional radio campaigns will include a greater multimedia focus as clients will want to squeeze maximum value on their investment and improve the measurability of success.

8. Broadcasters will offer free Apple iPhone Apps as the handset further sweeps the world and our country in 2009. Watch out for the Google phone too - as it will be another tool that consumers will use to access our content and touch the digital world.

9. The Internet and digital life will not be an extinction level event for radio stations, provided that broadcasters invest in recruiting, training and developing staff to embrace the digital media opportunities.

10. The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) will make its first concrete impression and start influencing decisions in favour of radio but the RAB will need consistent and comprehensive support from the radio industry.

11. In the short term, radio station websites will have to box clever as political parties, wanting to advertise ahead of the general elections, will also be looking at their online space to compliment their on-air campaigns and careful decisions will need to be made as we weigh up commercial gain against content and consumer relevance.

12. We will be another year closer to digital radio broadcasting but don't hold your breath!!! It will be a while before it arrives.