It’s a medium that’s stood the test of time and rightly so. Few can match up to credibility in delivering real-time news as well as the ability to regale and entertain families than radio. Being a bridge that has always fostered a connection between the listeners and the real world, radio has over the past few months been the glue towards bringing the families closer in these testing times.
Amidst the sudden chaos and uncertainty prevalent in the world due to the global pandemic, each one of us is preparing ourselves to welcome the ‘new normal’. While the pre-lockdown era saw one be able to easily chart out behavioural patterns, be it listening, reading or digital content consumption, that is no longer the case today. With the lockdown leading to consumer behaviour and their patterns changing in a manner no one expected, it is indeed tough to comprehend what the future has in store post the lockdown.
Amidst the lockdown, we’ve witnessed radio listenership significantly increasing due to an emotional connection being established between the RJs and listeners. While one is mandated to wear a mask in the current situation, RJs have been wearing a mask since the inception of the radio. The hidden meaning here being that they have formed a bond with listeners around the country not with their facial expressions, but with their voice and the emotions in it. This has helped millions of Indians across the length and breadth of the country make a shift to a medium that they already connect with. With more time being spent at home engaging in household chores, the tasks feel easier and fun too when radio is playing in background. Listening to RJs and your favourite music, always helps in lifting the spirits and diminishing anxiety specially during crucial times like these.
Since most platforms struggle with no new content production during this lockdown, the only medium where we can find original content is radio, giving the medium an edge above the rest. It continues to showcase immense purpose by offering original and fresh content every day.
In these trying times, it’s been the RJs who’ve been our unsung heroes. Playing the role of ‘local influencers’ in society, they’ve formed a long-term relationship with the listeners. In this digital age where one experiences a barrage of fake news, it is they who have helped spread awareness and assisted listeners navigate their way through this maze of misinformation and paid news. The medium has ensured a sense of connection with the outside world as everyone continue to remain under lockdown.
While many believed that the lockdown will affect radio listenership since people are no longer commuting to work, radio has once again made critics eat the humble pie. It continues to be an in-home listening form of media despite many misconceptions to the contrary. According to the RAM data (Wk 13, 2020) during the lockdown, 99% of listenership is from those who tune in to radio stations from their residences. Being a very personal and distanced form of communication, radio has now become a new ‘comfort companion’ for its listeners.
From an advertising standpoint, things could get back on track as early as September. Given the ability of Radio and Digital to sharply target local audiences, use of both the platforms together is likely to increase. In these changing times, we might also witness a new set of advertisers, therefore bringing in new opportunity for the entertainment medium in the content space.
Showcasing a high sense of responsibility, radio has once again proven that it will always be there for its audience. The current pandemic being no exception!
By, L. V. Krishnan, Chief Executive Officer, TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd
(Extracted from his conversation on Big FM’s ‘The BIG Morning Show – Onward & Upward – The Lockdown Series)