The Future of Radio (Part 3)

The internet complements broadcast radio; it does not supersede it and this has worked for media houses that have adopted internet platforms to broadcast. Most media houses have struggled during the pandemic phase but some have equally made it due to their ability to broadcast across all digital, multiplatform, and hybrid thus wider coverage. With the vast population across the globe or just Kenya for instance able to access the internet, it opens up a lot of chances to many media houses to develop and broadcast content. The struggle though is how we regulate information flow to the public. In my observations, there is a need for the media society of Kenya to develop critical policies that will guide us well in the future. Content creation is the norm and many people are doing this both full time or part-time but then do we really verify facts on information being shared? In my view, many radio stations currently have enhanced the listening experience through so-called ‘return-path functionalities’. This means listeners can ‘participate’ in a broadcast, as opposed to the traditional one-way broadcaster-to-listener monologue, this could be through creating hashtags on Twitter and other social platform but then, what listeners decide to tweet under the hashtags in a way isn’t restrictive to uncalled for information making it quite hard to control.

The government has put in measures to guide broadcast but is still needs to be more policies around commercial limits and application renewals that we need to look into. Here is why I feel so!

Medias Stations Applications for renewals permits to broadcast. I am waiting on a day the public can be invited to publicly submit a protest against a station’s license renewal application. With the many complaints concerning broadcast journalism around news distortion, the commission should do a lot more public scrutiny before license renewal, this will guide broadcast licensees not to intentionally distort the news for fear of renewal rejection.

I stand guided here but I feel that Commercial Limits for online broadcasters have to be relooked into. While Commercial broadcasters must maintain records to verify compliance with commercial time limits, I feel there are stations that run too many commercials with no skip option. Some platforms will run commercials before you get to the media play function, it’s crazy, sometimes the adverts are rated 18+. I also feel some commercials are media personalities related yet radio stations denied the personalities the appropriate revenue they can earn. For instance, an influencer may attract sponsorship to a particular station but even when the adverts are done they get peanuts while the hosting station gets more on such endorsements. There have to be clear policies to enable a Win-Win scenario. I know of media personalities who have resigned after a failed agreement with their employer on product endorsements, equally the media house has ended up losing the endorsement deal since the client face of that particular brand was that influencer.

Anyway with the increase in online broadcast, then it means training institutions will relook into some courses or upgrade to new technology-based training courses to keep up the trend and changes in this industry. Content collection and creation is the only thing that makes it to radio, the rest of the operational aspects have been automated, and with software, one can able to balance, loop, program, etc.

© JMS 2021

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