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Radio Still Rocks Contemporary SA!

Posted by radio On May - 17 - 2012 2 COMMENTS

By Nyeleti Machovani

The South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) has released its latest Radio Audience Measurements (RAMS) findings from a fieldwork period measured from late-October to mid-December of 2011, combined with Mid-January to Early-March 2012.

What is apparent from the findings is that radio is still far from kicking the bucket in South Africa. In comparison to Australia, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and China, South Africa ranks top. South Africa is leading the herd, clocking in 23h48  Time Spent Listening (TSL) on a weekly basis, with China taking last place on the podium with their weekly TSL at a mere 8h10minutes. Yes, indeed, we South Africans love our radio. Noticeably, the TSL per week has dropped by 7 minutes (25h24, to 24h36) from February 2012 to May 2012, this however, doesn’t deter the steady and stable national trend.

According to research compiled and published in ‘Radio in Africa’, “radio has refused to die by continuing to adapt to changing circumstances and technologies. As it continues to converge with new technologies such as the Internet and the mobile phone, its uses and user gratifications continue to evolve”.

Statistics from SAARF  indicate that sustaining the evolution of radio is South Africa is the youthful age group from 15-24 years, and coming a close second; a more mature audience of 35-49 age.

The relationship between the age group and the evolution of radio is sustained by new age culture which is emerging in the South African landscape.  In addition to these trends, new socio-political dynamics also emerge with innovations such as live online streaming and podcasting encourage a spirit of participation, which then creates a more appealing profile for radio.

Ukhozi FM must have the winning formula, as they still rank number 1 on South Africa’s national top 10 favourite radio stations, attracting an amirable 15% of the population. Umhlobo Wenene is a worthy contender, parking as the second most popular radio station, puling an impressive 10% of the population’s ears. In third place, we have fierce competition between  Metro FM and Lesedi FM attracting between 7% and 7.1% of SA’s population respectively.

Numbers never lie, and what these statistics remind us is that radio is still very much a relevant platform in contemporary South Africa. The power, popularity and affordability of the medium of radio in Africa has been evident from its early inception and its widespread use during the colonial period, particularly from the 1950s onwards. Radio in South Africa definitely refuses to appease those awaiting its downfall.

For more in-depth RAMS, visit: http://www.saarf.co.za/

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A Monumental Leap for NewsFlash

Posted by radio On May - 17 - 2012 5 COMMENTS

 

 

NewsFlash News Agency is an agency which has sealed its success in the industry by delivering radio news bulletins with sound-bytes (interviews) to 42 radio stations. The agency has recently celebrated its monumental leap of reaching a combined radio audience of 3.1 million radio listeners.

The agency which was founded in 1995 is certainly a one-of a kind. The grand idea behind this initiative, according the agency’s press release is that it was ‘to specifically provide news to radio stations, including commercial and community stations that were going on the air for the first time countrywide”.

NewsFlash News Agency is owned and edited by Henning Coetzee. The agency has employed full time journalists who gather news in Gauteng and Western Cape. According to Coetzee, the agency has been this successful because it is, most importantly, cost effective. When considering the South African economic climate, it makes sense why this is a viable formula.

The idea behind the agency is derived from models in the United States and Europe, where most radio stations use a combination of their own news staff and an independent news agency that specializes in radio news. An additional bonus to this advantage is that, it frees a station’s own news staff up concentrate on news in the station’s own reception area, and news of particular interest to the station’s audience profile. NewsFlash gathers news by phone. It occasionally interviews newsmakers outside South Africa, recently for instance in Libya, and New Zealand.

“We supply news to radio stations in 6 of South Africa’s 9 provinces, with most clients in Gauteng and the Western Cape”, says Coetzee. Two of the agency’s clients are outside South Africa – a commercial station in Namibia and a station in Dubai that caters for the large number of South African and British expats working and living in Dubai. Many stations have been clients for more than 10 years.

Coetzee says NewsFlash is aiming for BEE partnering by the end of 2012.

For more information, visit: www.newsflash.co.za

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The A- B-C’ s of Radio Technology 101

Posted by radio On May - 17 - 2012 Comments Off on The A- B-C’ s of Radio Technology 101

 

Trying to keep up with radio technology jargon can be overwhelming, especially if you are not yet a seasoned dish in the industry. Radiobiz offers you the basics of radio technology, to familiarize what would  be otherwise as foreign as the Greek language.

 

Digital radio

Digital radio is broadcast in several different standards worldwide, namely: (Digital Audio Broadcasting) DAB in the UK, Denmark and many other European countries; DAB+ in Australia and Switzerland; and Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB)-Radio in France. All pure digital radios fully support the digital broadcast standard of the country in which they are sold and many are multi-standard or can be upgraded to receive broadcasts if you take them overseas. With digital radio you’ll discover a broader range of music, debate and ideas, all in crystal clear digital sound.

 

Some of the perks of digital radio include:

 

  • Ease-of-use – digital radios are much easier to use than analogue radios because they automatically search for stations. Once the radio has found all available stations you just choose the one you want by name. No more trying to remember frequencies.
  • Wider station choice – as well as many of your existing favourite stations now broadcasting on digital radio, you’ll also find great exclusive-to-digital stations and there are more on the way.
  • Digital sound quality – digital radio is not subject to the same interference as analogue radio, resulting in crystal clear, digital-quality sound.
  • Extra features – even though they’re easier to use, digital radios bring you lots more features, some of which are unique to PURE. There’s scrolling text to show track titles, artists’ names, news and sports results. Features like textSCAN and Intellitext enable you to pause and control scrolling text and display extra text information from participating stations. And some models even allow you to pause and rewind live digital radio or upgrade the radio via USB or Wi-Fi.

 

FM radio

All of our radios (except Highway) include Frequency Modulation (FM) reception with Radio Data System (RDS). FM enables you to listen to local stations not yet broadcasting digitally and provides listening in remote areas yet to be served by digital transmitters. RDS provides extra text information, like station names, broadcast by some FM stations.

 

Internet radio

Internet radio uses the same Wi-Fi technology as portable computers to connect to the internet wirelessly. Through this connection our Flow range of radios allow you to access thousands of radio stations from across the world, use listen again to catch up with your favourite programmes whenever it suits you, enjoy a huge variety of podcasts and listen to a library of unique PURE sounds. Flow products let you find internet listening easily and organize it for quick access using the Lounge website (www.thelounge.com). Flow products also allow you to browse and play music stored on a Wi-Fi-enabled computer, and some will send as well as receive, enabling you to run and update internet applications like Twitter and Facebook.

 

A little bit of knowledge adds up to an invaluable education. The very basic of information becomes your foregrounding.

For  more information, visit:  www.pure.com

 

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Did You Know??

Posted by radio On March - 27 - 2012 4 COMMENTS

Why do some radio stations get received better at night?

Radio waves naturally travel in straight lines. Because of the curvature of the earth, no ground-based radio station transmits farther than 30 or 40 miles. Certain radio stations, however, especially in the short-wave and AM bands, can actually travel much farther than they transmit.

Short-wave can circle the globe, and AM stations travel hundreds of miles at night. This is because of the atmospheric layer called the ionosphere, which reflects certain frequencies of radio waves, allowing them to bounce between the ground and the ionosphere, making their way around the planet. The composition of the ionosphere is different between night and day due to the presence (or absence) of the sun. The composition at night allows for better reflection characteristics, hence the better reception at night.

Why do all FM radio stations end in an odd number?

First off, the FCC has allocated different frequencies to different activities in the U.S. For example, cell phones have their own assigned frequencies, baby monitors have their own frequencies, CB radios have their own, and so on.

FM radio stations all transmit in a band between 88 megahertz (millions of cycles per second) and 108 megahertz.

This band of frequencies is completely arbitrary and is based, frankly, mostly on history and whim: it doesn’t have to be that way, but it is, and it works, so it probably won’t be changed. Inside that band, each station occupies a 200 kilohertz slice, and all of the slices start on odd number boundaries. So there can be a station at 88.1 megahertz, 88.3 megahertz, 88.5 megahertz, and so on.

The 200 kilohertz spacing, and the fact that they all on odd boundaries is, once again, completely arbitrary and was decided by the FCC. For example, in Europe the FM stations are spaced 100 kilohertz apart instead of 200 kilohertz apart, and they can be even or odd. Neither way is right or wrong, so long as everybody follows the same rules in a given area. As to not following the rules – that way lies chaos.

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What If Radio Came After The Internet?

Posted by radio On March - 18 - 2012 4 COMMENTS

By: Nathi Khumalo

 

Do you still remember how life was before the internet was born? If you can, then imagine how life would have been if there was no radio but internet.  These days you can listen to radio via the internet regardless of the geographical location or footprint of that particular station. That is the internet fitting in or taking radio consumption to a different level, even though DStv already has an audio bouquet that has a whole list of radio stations you can listen to through pay-tv. However television is a visual device, people expect to see pictures and movement not just listening to a voice or music.

Radio a cheaper medium

The obvious advantage that radio would have had was that it is free; you pay nothing for listening to radio in your home, cell phone or car. The only cost is for buying a device that is used to consume the medium and that’s it. If internet came first we would be getting our news from TV and online news networks only, that would mean poorer communities would still be starved of information because of broadband affordability. So an opportunity for radio to brand itself as a cheap but effective would arise, advertisers would start considering moving some of their spend to radio since it would have been freely available to everyone. If you are an advertiser and your target market is lower LSM group, you would definitely jump into the opportunity.

Broadband cost too high?

Some might argue and say the cost of broadband would have reduced by now, so radio would have struggled to make its mark in the industry. Currently it is more expensive to advertise on radio than online, due to radio’s ability to play commercials repetitively until the message reaches the target market.

These are all what ifs, meaning it didn’t happen radio did come first before the internet. However this is the question many radio stations should be asking themselves if they want to survive. If they can come up with the right answers of how to take advantage of the internet then they will definitely survive this beast called the internet.

 

 

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Icasa sets SA on path to 4G

Posted by admin On December - 18 - 2011 99 COMMENTS

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) has begun the process of opening up so-called “high-demand spectrum bands” that will eventually pave the way to the introduction of fourth-generation (4G) mobile broadband networks in SA.

The authority has decided to tie spectrum allocations in the 2,6GHz and 800MHz bands and to offer access to frequencies in the lower of the two bands on a wholesale, open-access model, where operators share networks and compete at a retail level.

However, in a move that could prove highly contentious among operators, Icasa proposes that wholesale network providers be prohibited from also playing in the retail market and must provide services on a nondiscriminatory basis and allow any content, applications and services to flow over these networks.

It says it wants to move away from “traditional win-lose licensing methods and is considering using new licensing methods that encourage sharing, such as open-access models and ‘spectrum parks’ to maximise the number of new entrants in the sector”.

Under the “spectrum parks” model, Icasa wants to allow a number of entities to participate in sharing common spectrum on a self-managed basis.

By opening the spectrum to both incumbents and new operators, Icasa hopes to facilitate the introduction of new national and rural providers of broadband and other telecommunications services and to contribute to broad-based black economic empowerment. Applicants wishing to get access to the spectrum will need to have at least 30% of their equity in the hands of “historically disadvantaged individuals”. Among the incumbent operators, this puts Vodacom and Telkom in a tight spot, as they fail to meet this criterion.

Icasa had previously said it would license spectrum in the 2,6GHz and 3,5GHz bands, and deal with the 800MHz band — the so-called “digital dividend” currently used for analogue television broadcasts — at a later date. It has now decided to tie licensing of 800MHz and 2,6GHz and to put off the process of opening up 3,5GHz to a later date.

It is doing this, says Icasa councillor Marcia Socikwa, to “reflect alignment with international trends”. The 800MHz and 2,6GHz bands are proving popular frequencies worldwide for operators wanting to deploy next-generation broadband networks using a technology called long-term evolution (LTE). LTE networks will eventually lead to the introduction of 4G systems.

“The 800MHz band is a perfect candidate for wireless broadband access because it has excellent coverage characteristics and is highly suitable for rural coverage and will allow the authority to address government’s broadband policy, which aims to achieve universal broadband access by 2019,” says Socikwa. “Furthermore, it technically complements the 2,6GHz band.”

However, access to the 800MHz band will only be made available to telecoms operators once broadcasters have migrated from analogue to digital television, which is meant to happen by the end of 2013, a date the broadcasters feel can’t be met.

Under its plan, Icasa is dividing the 800MHz and 2,6GHz bands into linked blocks of spectrum. State-owned Sentech will be offered access to both bands in return for it giving up 20MHz of its existing allocation at 2,6GHz. Sentech will build a wholesale, open-access network using the frequency it is allocated.

To encourage new entrants, Icasa wants two of the paired blocks to be assigned to network licensees that currently have no spectrum allocated in designated bands used for cellular services. One paired block will be assigned to a network licensee to provide a network based on wholesale open-access conditions.

Spectrum has also been set aside for the “spectrum park”, but this will only be allocated at a later date, according to Icasa.

The authority has also proposed tough roll-out obligations. Those with access to both bands must provide 70% geographic coverage within five years, of which 50% must exclude Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban. Those with access to 2,6GHz only must provide 50% population coverage within four years.

Socikwa says Icasa wants to avoid having to auction spectrum, and adds this will only be done “as a last resort”. Where companies fail to use frequencies assigned to them, Icasa says it will “take steps to take back the spectrum”.

In a move that is certain to upset industry players, especially given the country is headed into the year-end holiday shutdown, Icasa has set a tight deadline of 31 January 2012 for interested parties to comment on the proposed plans. It expects to hold public hearings in the second week in February.  — Duncan McLeod,

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