The community radio sector is going digital big time next year with the planned launch of an app that will carry all community stations and a new interface to allow community stations to be heard on smart speakers and other digital audio devices.
The CBAA’s Andrew Morris foreshadowed the innovation today at a CBAA conference session titled To Infinity and Beyond – Community Radio’s Transition to Multiplatform Content Delivery.
Morris told conference delegates that the multiplatform content delivery project, funded by the CBF, is expected to be launched mid next year.
“It will allow community broadcasters to put out their content anywhere, any time of day and for listeners to find it more easily. It will allow ads on audio streams and interaction with smart speakers and metadata measurement metrics that will give stations a massive amount of information that they can use.
“We are planning to have a community radio app with every station in the sector on it. It will be a game changer… Webcast metrics will give information about where your listeners are coming from.
“With money from the Community Broadcasting Foundation, the community sector has united to undertake one of the sector’s biggest transformations in decades… moving to a sector wide digital distribution platform,” said Morris.
In the session, Andrew Morris spoke to Richard Palmer from Triton Digital and Richard Phelps from All In Media about the project and they explained the technicalities of apps, smart speakers and streaming.
Palmer, who has access to Triton Digital streaming statistics gave an insight into how listening habits changed when the pandemic began. “In the first few months of the year listening patterns were normal, but after lockdown there was a dramatic shift in consumption,” he said.
“Normal old listening statistics showed the expected morning and afternoon peaks, but during the covid lockdowns, we saw that the morning peak stayed the same through the whole day, then dropped off late afternoon. There was also less of a spike in podcast listening in the evening, because people could listen to their own choice of podcasts any time of day when they were working from home.
“Broadcast radio is not dead, but digital is giving more options to your audience to connect with you. I’m a big fan of smart speakers, especially morning routines… Smart speakers are transforming the way we listen to radio, they are great for aggregating content, making it available on demand, all in one place, with all the other content that people want to listen to,” said Palmer.
Responding to the question, ‘are smart speakers a big deal in Australia?” All In Media’s Richard Phelps answered an emphatic ‘yes.’
“Everything is increasing the listening options. Your station should be available wherever your users are. AM/FM will remain strong, but there are more platforms now, so be part of them all. Growth in smart speakers is strong. Love radio streams and podcasts are two of the most significant functions requested from smart speakers,” he said.
Smart speakers are becoming so entrenched in Australian households that people are buying their second and third sets of smart speakers now.
“A few years ago, consuming a podcast was manual and difficult. It is much easier now to discover and play any podcast or a catch up radio show,” said Phelps.
“The data that comes with streams and podcasts also lets broadcasters measure and understand their audiences better and create more content that listeners want… and that can be monetised.”