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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) .