As per the IRS 2019, Q3, out of total radio listenership in the last one month, 65% listeners listen to their favourite shows from home.
Our earliest memories of radio was being huddled together at 9 pm every night, with the family to religiously switch on All India Radio for our daily dose of news.
Back in the time before smart TV and smart phones, our only source of trusted news and entertainment was the good old radio box that stood still on the centre table in the dining room.
Apart from being the key to our relaxation period in the night, the box also notified us on the current ongoings that happened in the world around us.
This radio set was a combination of everything that connected us with the real world and it was one of the main objects that brought together the family for that one hour in the day.
This bond that all of us formed with radio in our childhood has resurfaced today at the time of the pandemic.
The current pandemic has reinforced the power of this free to air, wireless network to show its true worth.
Besides being a really affordable and trusted medium for entertainment and information targeting a wide range of audiences, radio is live and local.
Radio is the theatre of the mind that creates maximum impact in the minds of the listener. Radio has also been the most responsible, credible and trusted media who even the authorities turn to at the time of every crises.
The radio jockeys have become ‘local influencers’ as listeners have formed a long term relationship with them, depend on them to navigate their way through this maze of fake and paid news.
Connecting with unlimited number of callers on a daily basis, giving them a voice to speak up, building an engagement, inspiring their thinking while keeping them entertained are some of the entitlements of today’s radio jockeys.
Through every crises, radio has been there for its audience and the current pandemic is no exception.
There are many heart-warming examples of the role that radio has played in the current crisis, from across the country e.g. in Mumbai, when certain areas in Bandra East were not getting their supplies, it took the RJ to connect to the authorities to get it sorted, or in Hyderabad, when students were stuck without transport and food, the RJ was part of the solution to help them.
In Bangalore when a listener requested medicines for his father in Coorg, the same was delivered to him by the listeners. Numerous such stories warm the heart from all over the country, where the radio station worked closely with the local authorities to address listeners in distress.
Radio continues to be an in-home listening media despite many misconceptions to the contrary. As per the IRS 2019, Q3, out of total radio listenership in the last one month, 65% listeners listen to their favourite shows from home.
Only 26% listen to radio while travelling and a sizable chunk of that would definitely be maintaining a daily routine and would continue appointment-based listening to radio from their homes.
During this current lockdown, in-home radio listenership potential through various devices is 181.8 Million (across mobile devices, music systems, transistors, TV, online radio) and this number will be higher given that car listeners will also tune to listen to their favourite RJ’s for credible information and entertainment.
During this current crisis, radio has truly risen to the challenge by seamlessly moving to a remote work from home using sound systems connected via VPN.
Also, giving out only ratified news from authorised sources, being a platform for the authorities to speak up, connecting people in trouble with the authorities and upping the entertainment quotient.
This crises has definitely changed our world and events like this changed consumer behaviour. When we resume, we will be returning to a 'new normal’ where I believe… You had your time, you had the power, You've yet to have your finest hour…Radio - Radio Ga-ga (Queen).
The author, Abraham Thomas is CEO of Reliance Broadcast Network.