With all the debates swirling about fake news, it’s fair to say there has never been a greater public thirst for impartial, high-quality and trusted news. Commercial radio listeners trust their local stations and their output more than any other media, an attribute which is especially important with a General Election just around the corner.
Here at Radiocentre we champion all things commercial radio and it’s fair to say that a key strength of our industry is the connection with the listener and the value they put on the high-quality local news and information that commercial stations provide every day across the country.
I am delighted therefore that our colleagues over at UKRD who organise Local Radio Day have brought it back for a second year with even more support for the initiative, which this year falls on Friday May 26.
The enduring popularity of local radio, with millions of listeners tuning in every day, underscores the relevance of our medium in an era of seemingly limitless choice. Radio’s mix of music, news, travel and local information is a compelling offer. 90% of the UK tunes into radio every week, 35 million to commercial radio. 2016 was a record year in terms of revenues. Some are calling it the new golden era of radio.
Listeners strongly value the quality provided by stations, in particular the local news which provides a service not found elsewhere. This impact should not be underestimated. Ofcom research highlights for example that 50% of listeners get their local news and information from commercial radio, more than any other local news source.
Our own research has also found that on average commercial stations provide over 13 hours of public service-related content each week, including news, sport, travel, weather and local information, with 25 news and sport bulletins each day on average. Commercial stations also connect with listeners directly, attending over 10,000 local events each year.
In addition to championing the importance and huge reach of local radio, here at Radiocentre we work tirelessly with advertisers and agencies to support our claim for a bigger portion of ad budgets, as well as showcasing the fantastic output and public value of commercial stations through our in-depth studies and reports such as Action Stations – The public value of commercial radio.
In a new campaign we have also recently been highlighting the importance of trust in radio to advertisers, underscoring the message that commercial radio is a safe and trusted medium as the adverting industry agonises over safe environments for brands and transparency about measurement and effectiveness.
Ultimately the commercial radio family is incredibly diverse. Local radio comes in a whole host of guises, from national brands delivered locally to small independent stations. Big or small, it’s our listeners that shape the services that our members provide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
So here’s to our listeners and once again to Local Radio Day which celebrates this dynamic and successful ecology of radio.
Siobhan Kenny, Radiocentre CEO