Radio is everywhere. But that’s not why it is so important to us. Well, most of us, because I finally met someone who never, ever had any interest in radio listening. From books to CD’s, got bored with radio at a glance: radio contests where dull and vacuous.
I can’t imagine a world without radio. And sadly I now imagine that there might be more people like my friend. For whom radio is meaningless. But at the same time, I truly believe that these kind of non-radio-listeners are just a few. Or are people tuning into radio, just because?…
Radio has been, for quite a long time, one of most important media. Today, it seems that radio has two different speeds, with consequences for the programming format, type of content and distribution systems in use.
Urban people are currently using radio on drive time (which is still prime time) and tuning radio at their free will. This means that there is no longer unidirectional content production. Or, at least, there can be this kind of production, but no longer a linear consumption of radio (content). People used to listen to radio when both their favorite content was on air and they were available to listen. There was a time, dough, that people managed to be available at the time of a specific content broadcast. But this time is looooong gone. So, back to the days where people had to meet the content, broadcasters organized programming according to ratings and listening trends, knowing for sure, that people would be available at specific times of the day. Although this is still truth for drive time, no longer makes sense for other time schedules, particularly at night. Or regarding specific radio contents that fit the linear musical programming of most radio formats. What this means is that, although getting in touch with radio contents, people are doing it in a different way, using on demand platforms to build their own radio digest.
But still, there are, let’s say, old fashion radio listeners who want to listen to radio to feel engaged with society, to feel confortable and have company. For these, FM broadcasts are the only way to listen to radio. In Portugal, these listeners are mostly outside urban areas like Lisbon and Oporto and connect mostly with local radio stations, which have programming slots dedicated to create, among listeners, the idea of a huge family that gathers to listen to radio shows that aim to fulfill elderly expectations and provide them with company.
Does music format radio provide the same engagement, closeness and affection? Most probably not, but these are the most successful radio formats. So, where is radio?
In relation to those who listen for the company, or among those who listen to radio, also for the companionship but use radio in a personalized way, sometimes as background noise, other downloading to the most convenient way (and platform) to listen their favorite shows.
Interestingly, I doubt that podcasts that people download the most are those strictly related to music. But this is just me. I like radio and to listen the passion of radio, something that in English doesn’t make much sense (almost like our saudade) and that we, radio people call a paixão da rádio.