At Radiodays Lisbon, this morning’s Radio Summit session featured four radio company leaders from around Europe with different perspectives on how they have adapted to the needs of their audiences during the covid pandemic.
Pedro Leal, the Director General of Production at Renascença said there has been more interaction between journalists and presenters at his station during the pandemic.
“We put into practice more increased interaction between them, giving information in a more informal way, where the presenters put the views and the questions of the audience to our news journalists.
“We also broadcast news on our social media channels… The comments boxes have never been so full and so connected to our audiences.
“We tried to fight fake news with excellence… We always had fake news, the issue now is that there is so much of it… To fight it we had to continue to do good journalism.”
Patricia Schlesinger, the Director General of Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg said the pandemic has made people and governments more aware of the need for “quality media.
“Radio keeps recreating itself and connecting with us in many ways. Radio is a medium that never ages, it is still a young medium.
“The pandemic has increased a longing for privacy in people in lockdown, radio is a personal private medium for this generation.
“In Germany, podcasts are booming but not at the expense of free to air radio. Our listeners enjoy our content and count on our reliability during this pandemic.
“A recent study shows that people feel safer in a society with a public broadcaster… Covid has triggered a need for well researched information and is a strong weapon against fake news and filter bubbles.”
Marc Vossen, the CEO of NGroup says he is not a chief executive officer but “the chief enthusiastic officer… and our COO is the chief optimistic officer.”
“There are so many new trends today, the podcast industry is worth $1 billion… connected devices, smart speakers, you can do anything with audio, it is the most accessible format and cheaper to produce than any other.
“Audio has resisted the confidence crisis in the media. During these 18 unbelievable months of pandemic, the voice has regained strength… the voices of our hosts have prevented our listeners from loneliness, being ambassadors of solidarity empathy and love. Those voices speak directly to one person.
“The voice on radio is a weapon of mass construction. We wake up every morning to be a positive force for the world. Even as music radio we have a role to play in making the world better. We lead by example.”
Anne-Marie Dohn is Head of Radio 4. She said:
“The audio industry has developed a multitude of new players in the past few years. Radio 4 which I represent has been on air for 2 years. We were born with the pandemic, broadcasting almost immediately from home.
“We have had to ask how do we fulfill the promise of journalism to support democracy and society, that is the ground we stand on as public service media providers.
“Our goal is to attract more people across more demographics than other BBC outlets. The majority of our users find us on new platforms that we don’t control… We have to compete on those platforms on the same basis as everyone else, we have to compete to be heard from the jungle of content that is on those platforms. Our task is to keep up with technology so we can do that.
“We have to ensure that everyday we have unique content and offer the best companionship… We made a vow to the public to make content that would engage more people across many different social, cultural and economic areas.”
Session host Matt Degan led a discussion after the leaders spoke where Marc Vossen of NGroup made an impassioned plea about how to make a great radio show or run a great radio station:
“Ask yourself when you wake up every day, what is my purpose? At the end of the day ask, what have I done today that has made the world better.”