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  • Rob Jones

BBC Abandon Radio

Well not quite, but it's pretty clear that they are adopting on demand audio in a huge way with bigger budgets for podcasts than they allocate for some network radio content.

Is the BBC possibly preparing itself for a subscription model just in case a new Government freezes or even reduces the licence fee? 

The BBC recently removed all its national radio services from the pre-eminent audio streamer TuneIn and furthermore the recent BBC TV ad for the Tunnel 29 podcast looks like the most expensive promo they've ever done for an audio product. So they are taking this very seriously, recently moving the innovative and forward thinking Jonathan Wall from Radio 5 Live to head up their audio App, Sounds. 

We know that there's little potential growth of a young audience via traditional terrestrial radio broadcasting, yet many broadcasters are chasing those younger listeners. In the commercial sector this is probably because it's the only demo the media and creative agencies know how to talk to. We recently carried out research for a tv broadcaster to discover how teens were consuming sports coverage. Radio didn't come into it but neither did tv - it was YouTube all the way.

In Gillian Reynolds Sunday Times radio column, she recently noted that younger 20-something listeners didn't even know what Radio 4 was, but when played some of their programming in isolation they identified them as podcasts and enjoyed them. So radio isn't dead, far from it. Audio programming (formerly known as radio) is very much alive and flourishing in the form of podcasts and audio books.

We haven't researched it but I'd like to bet that younger listeners have a decent prompted recall of LBC not from tuning into the radio station but from getting the social media clips of the great range of interviewees on the station.

In the old days brands spoke to young listeners via music radio. They still do of course but I'm convinced there's far greater engagement with younger audiences through carefully crafted and highly targeted spoken word content i.e. podcasts. The BBC know this, hence the investment in Sounds and the great range of podcasts they are producing.

If you want a couple of podcasts to listen to try the perfect brand-led podcast, "On The Marie Curie Couch with...." and although it's past the moon landing anniversary now, the BBC's "15 Minutes to the Moon" was amazing and no doubt very expensive with original music from Hans Zimmer. Of course Dolly & Pandora on "The High Low" is the bench mark podcast.

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