s we mark World Radio Day 2016,
radio can hold its head high. It is
the oldest electronic mass medium,
with an extraordinary heritage that
stretches back almost a century.
Combine that heritage with radio’s
remarkable attributes of immediacy,
personality, reach and discovery, and the opportunity
exists for radio broadcasters to connect with audiences
in a way that no other mass medium can. Studies
undertaken in many different regions of the world tell
the same story: radio creates a more ‘human’
relationship with its audience.
That human touch sustained radio through the
arrival of television (a challenge many said would
knock radio out of the water). That same human face
continues to keep radio relevant in today’s age of
digital platforms and social media (when once again
naysayers are talking of the demise of the radio
Radio’s relevance is convincingly demonstrated by
the billions of people around the world who tune every
day to tens of thousands of radio stations. News
bulletins keep people up-to-date; weather reports help
listeners plan their day (and take action when the
weather is about to deteriorate); and music keeps them
entertained. From the Pampas of Argentina to the
islands of the Pacific, radio is both vital and vibrant.
Radio stations large and small compete for the
attention of listeners who, just about everywhere, have
immense choice of what to listen to. And for the
listener – importantly – radio is free to consume and
the equipment to receive radio very affordable.
This low cost access to radio is one of the medium’s
fundamental advantages in today’s data-driven world.
There are, quite simply, countless radio sets in use in
people’s homes, cars and workplaces around the
world. A simple radio costs just a few dollars and
many people have an FM radio incorporated into their
mobile phone. Radio is ubiquitous.
That ubiquity enhances radio’s value, both to
consumers and to business. It means big audiences for
programmes and therefore, on commercial stations,
That ‘free to listen’ proposition helps drive the radio
industry as commercially successful. Estimates suggest
that, globally, radio generates revenues in excess of
US$25bn every year. In India, where private radio is
relatively young, PwC says that the commercial radio
industry alone is worth around INR16.2bn (US$253m).
All India Radio’s budget is not much less, at around
US$238m, so India’s radio business is worth around
In Australia, advertising revenue on commercial
radio in metropolitan areas for the first six months of
2015 reached A$391m (US$272m) .
THE BUSINESS OF RADIO
WORLD RADIO DAY 2016