#Opinion: Has Radio Content Died?
Listening to radio these days can be traumatic.
No, it’s not because of the depressing political news that comes up every other hour. It’s because of the drivel that passes for conversation or ‘audience engagement’. Have you ever wondered why most people will rather listen to music programs on radio? (even when the music sounds like discordant clanging cymbals)
It’s because they’ll rather listen to anything than the jabber of aimless talk from the presenters in their faux foreign accents.
What happened to the educative, informative and entertaining function of radio programming? At what point did radio discussions become shallow and without direction? Where did the professionalism go?
I’ll tell you where it went.
Professionalism left the building when media owners and managers became concerned with ‘voices’, ‘image’ and ‘popularity’ more than content. Professionalism left the building when media owners would rather pay less money to hire untrained ‘good voices and diction’ than pay decent wages professionals require to work. Good radio content disappeared when media organisations stopped caring about staff training and development.
The problems here are multifaceted. You can blame presenters, but they are mere products of a warped system. The media business is heavily reliant on ad revenue from agencies. The competition for these revenue is tight and media organisations have been forced to get creative with their brand visibility and programming. The result is more attention given to random pedestrian talk and popular music which we now call ‘entertainment radio’.
Is entertainment and pop culture wrong? Absolutely NOT! it is in fact, very good and marketable media content. The problem is the less than zero effort to properly produce and present that content.
On radio, there is an opportunity to explore variety of subject areas and content ideas. This is where media managers come into play. Program managers and producers must work with presenters to create engaging content with clear direction.
Managers should ensure that there is provision for regular internal training and external training programs for producers and presenters.
Regular program reviews must be carried out (with reference to audience feedback) to know how particular programs are performing and weekly presenter air-checks must be done.
Hiring processes must also be reviewed. Any and everybody should not be able to get on the microphone simply because they sound good or ‘speak well’. They must go through a learning and developing process. News gathering, writing, audio production and content development are all crucial parts of radio that all presenters must learn in other to be fully rounded broadcasters.
I still believe radio as we have it now, can be salvaged. we just need to be prepared and willing to put in the work.
Written By; Fola Folayan