BBG Watch Commentary

Radio France Internationale (RFI) has a special report on the World Radio Day noting unexpected increases in radio listenership in France and the importance of radio to a large segment of the global audience that is poor and deprived of modern digital technology.

The RFI article was summarized in World Media Watch.

From World Media Watch and RFI:


WMWatchWorld Media Watch – Radio France Internationale (RFI) has noted the third annual World Radio Day, an idea launched by Unesco to celebrate and improve access to radio around the world.

From RFI: Compared to some media, radio is cheap to make and costs the listener little or nothing.

It is also a low-cost, easy and vital means of communication in times of emergency or natural disaster.

For people living in remote communities it’s also a valuable source of information and entertainment and radio is particularly appreciated by those who cannot read or see.

Groups of people with little money in poor communities can crowd around a radio set and in some countries where women stay indoors, the radio is a treasured companion.

Many radio stations are now taking full advantage of opportunities created by broadband, mobile phones and tablets to enhance their offer.

Unesco backs plans to improve radio access to the estimated one billion people who are still unable to listen for various reasons.

RFI observes that Radio listening is unexpectedly popular in an age when newer media are competing for attention.

The biggest competitor to radio, according to media consultant Philippe Couve, a former RFI journalist, is Youtube – especially among the under 35s.

He notes that this has led more and more music radio stations to create “visual radio”, putting cameras in their studios and providing graphics or video content, while podcasting “has more or less reached a limit now.”

“While videos often go viral or create a buzz on Youtube, audio content rarely does,” Couve noted. “This could be changing, however, with the increasing popularity of SoundCloud, a sort of audio Youtube,” he is quoted in a RFI report.

RFI also points out that radio listenership is at a peak in France, with record audiences posted in 2013.

Figures show that 43.6 million people in France listened to the radio during a week in November-December, compared to 43.3 million during the same week in 2012. Even though people listened a few minutes less than in 2012, advertisers in France are noting the success of radio by increasing spending on radio commercials.

Philippe Couve maintains that listeners like “the serendipity of radio,” when a lot of information in other media is targeted only to specific groups. They like radio because it more often offers new and unexpected information, Couve observed.

FRANCE – WORLD: World Radio Day celebrates unexpected increases in listenership
Thu, Feb 13, 2014
Source: RFI ( France)