UK: Radio Listenership Soars with New Tech

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podcastRSSRadio is everywhere. But at no time in our history has it been as easy to access as these early years of the 21st Century. The ubiquity of traditional radio broadcast over the airwaves is now augmented by a dizzying array of options received through cell phone, PDA, laptop computer, and anywhere there is Internet penetration. In the United Kingdom (UK), they have been paying particular attention to this because it provides a bright sunbeam in the dark clouds of economic news. You see, radio listenership is up in the UK.

Way up. Try more than 90% of all UK adults, 45.8 million people, tuned in each week.

I’m doing the Riverdance.

Urmee Khan, Digital and Media Correspondent for the UK Telegraph, breaks down the numbers a bit:

A third of people listened via digital radio, the Internet or digital television, and the number using mobile phones rose 13 per cent, according to the quarterly figures from radio industry body Radio Joint Audience Research (Rajar).

BBC Radio 4 has recorded its highest weekly audience in six years with 9.98 million listening in the first quarter of this year.

Now that’s a testament to the power of reaching people the way they want to be reached. One of the important aspects of seeing our medium advance into the era of social media and sophisticated interactivity is adapting to our audience and connecting with them in the way they want. RadioCentre’s  chief executive, Andrew Harrison, made a point of giving credit to these new platforms for the increase in audience:

“Ten years ago, most people would listen to the radio in the car or in the home, now thanks to the benefits of the digital age we have all these new devices and people can listen to the radio on their mobile phones, MP3 players, PCs, the new raft of technology has really given a boost to radio reach.”

One of the reasons I got this gig is because I am excited about the future of radio. Radio was the original social media (call in shows, dedications on the air, etc.). Now we get to see it come of age. This is the leading wave, there is more to come. New media and mobile fused with HD, FM, and that bastion of talk radio that is the AM band will create a level of access to our programming like nothing ever seen before.

Yes, I’m a radio geek and news like this makes me tingle.

Photo courtesy of Colleen AF Venable, used under its Creative Commons license

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