[By: Kagiso Mnisi]
In a world of convergence and relentless share of information, the radio industry has become a yarn of strands that are dependent on each other. The distinction between regional and national radio has become insignificant, all of this owed to the bottom-line which is to meet the prospects of advertisers. A case in point is the recent shake ups at stations where personalities have been crossing floors from one end to the other. Essentially stations are playing similar music and activating more or less campaigns, all on the same turf even. The implication for both regional and national stations is that there is a swirl in a well pool to reach audiences with a disposable income.
The game has vastly changed since the days when stations like Kaya FM and YFM were ushered in as representatives of particular demographics of society. The globe has orbited slightly faster. Looking at the recent MTN Radio Awards, the gathering proved to be riddled with concurrent wavelenghths, in that the bar had been raised to an identical satisfaction regardless of geographical coverage of stations. Due to online media, stations are able to reach any pocket of the world.
The differentiating factor between stations is the crop of talent they have on board, especially personalities. The top line man or woman presenter at a particular station has to rise beyond the playlist and forge a presence that will endear listeners. As presenters hop from station to other, it is incumbent on a station hiring to do some due diligence. For instance, when it comes to presenters, Jacaranda looks at the presenter’s Facebook and twitter reach. This determines who he or she reached at their previous stations and any media exposure they might have had to get an idea of their fit and feel for the station.
Reinvention is also part of floor crossing whether the destination is regional or national. Presenters need to ‘repackage’ themselves constantly to keep careers going. An example would be of Tony Blewitt who was at 5FM and 94.7 Highveld before switching to older audiences on Classic FM. He now presents on OFM, one of South Africa’s most successful inland regional stations.
Worn out as the expression ‘it’s a small world’ it rings true where radio is concerned. Advancements have narrowed the gap between national and regional. What has been left of this is the proverbial out-of- the-jock-booth sort of thinking by A&Rs and to strongly campaign in ways different from competitors.