Behind the ratings, powerful personalities and talkback shows, radio is thriving. In this brave new world of podcasts, diverse digital platforms and voice technology, most Australians still seek out their daily radio fix.
Charged with guiding Australia’s commercial radio stations through today’s complex and constantly changing broadcast media landscape, is Commercial Radio Australia (CRA). This peak industry body represents the interests of 260 commercial radio member stations (that’s 99% of all commercial radio stations), in both metropolitan and regional areas.
The pace of change in recent years has been unprecedented, driving the commercial radio industry to continuously adapt to increased competitive pressure from global digital platforms. The challenge for radio is to remain accessible on every platform and device, and to address the growth in live streaming over online platforms and mobile apps. Committed to innovation, CRA developed the free, all-of-industry RadioApp to give listeners easy access over 300 Australian radio stations on their mobile phone. At the same time, CRA have collaborated with Amazon Alexa to ensure radio is compatible with voice technology delivered via smart speakers.
Rather than a threat, CRA see voice technology as an opportunity for commercial radio to position itself to play a central role in delivering live news, information and entertainment, and a whole range of features in smart cars and smart homes. In the same way, the rise of the podcast is driving commercial radio broadcasters to invest in the development of podcast content and platforms, at a time when people have reached peak screen usage.
In anyone’s language, radio is still very powerful – and current and future innovation will allow people to engage with it at different times and in different ways. The strength of radio is that it is live and local. It gives the public a voice and it has the power to launch the careers of new artists, challenge politicians, influence public option, educate and drive change.
For the industry the future is looking bright and that’s cause to celebrate. Which is just what will be happening during Radio Alive, the industry’s annual national conference. To be held in Brisbane on Friday 18 October, the event brings together industry representatives, key partners and influencers to discuss ideas, trends and opportunities. The highlight of the conference is the 31st annual Australian Commercial Radio Awards, held on Saturday 19 October, with more than 1,000 guests from all corners of Australia attending. Award categories include Best On-Air Team, the Commercial Radio Hall of Fame and, in a sign of the times, there are three different award categories for podcasts.
Stage and Screen is proud to manage travel for ACR executives, employees and events, as they continue to drive this vital and creative industry which is an irrefutable part of our every day.