The Future of Radio (Part 2)

Broadcast radio still remains very popular around the countries today, just because of its unique qualities of being free and easily accessible. I feel that every week on average radio reaches more than 70% of the population in all our 42 counties. It’s up to us to ensure that radio does not remain the only analog medium in a digital world. The transition has to fully happen and we ought to move away from mass analog frequencies coz in my opinion, the new technologies in broadcast now brings greater plurality, communication power, and the potential for higher quality, than ever before in human history. The more efficient transmission technologies enable broadcasters to multiply their offer, increasing their revenue streams while enjoying the lower costs associated with digital radio broadcasting. But then there is a trade-off with its digitization, we must accept that this will necessitate young players to join and our traditional stations who are still yet to join the digital wagon will suffer. Even radio programming and the concept of niche marketing will start to follow the technological trend

Increased players in the Industry

With the increased access to smartphones, tablets, and other digital technologies, pressure is mounting on the radio industry to keep pace with its rivals. Digital radio encourages start-ups and enables broadcasters to offer many more stations, programs, and services. Currently looking at the market, Royal media services have a lot of radio stations, as a broadcaster, they have managed to fully tap into the Kenyan market. But new kids on the block like NRG radio and other players have set in and are giving the old guards a run for their tenure. With these many, increased players’ media consumers have a broader choice to select from and can even choose to get news in any dialect they want. New stations are creatively coming up with programs that engage the youth more hence denying old guards revenue from reduced patronage. Youth will now follow stations that break the vibes down from formal language to sheng and the new slang. To those still aspiring to be media personality, know that you have to be diverse, know how to be fun. KBC realized this late, it’s now playing catch up.

Emerging Competition

With increased players, competition comes in handy. Recently following my favorite radio stations, I get a notification that I can install a radio app for a better listener’s experience. But then I get to know of another app that has multiple radio links that one can select from and with this app I have the ability to switch to radio stations with much ease. Another advantage with this approach is that I can effortlessly scroll through a list of services available, accessing extra-textual or visual information, on the app such as the names of tracks and artists, travel information, weather updates, presenters’ details and have the ability to visually follow leads to more info that what they can visualize.

People rely more on visual media; hence radio has to have not only to evolve digitally but try to have a visual aspect. Kiss and other stations have snippets of their radio sessions on Youtube, it’s nice from a listener’s experience to find visual sessions later on the internet especially the funny sessions. Most media celebrities have realized this and are adopting fast either with their station accounts or personal accounts. But then as there is liberation on content creation and broadcast, I still feel we are still yet far behind the line on policies to guide and support the radio industry.

In my next issue, I will further share the policy frameworks needed and the impacts of digital radio on some media-related courses and institutions for those thinking of enrolling for some courses. Just my thoughts 🙂

©JMS 2021

One thought on “The Future of Radio (Part 2)

  1. Looking forward to the next piece bwana Sabwa. Always a pleasure reading your thoughts, this topic has been one of my best.

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