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World Radio Day Forum held in Shanghai


02-14-2017 08:15 BJT

February 13th is designated as World Radio Day by UNESCO, and the World Radio Day Forum kicked off in Shanghai today. It is the first time the event is being held in China since it began in 2011.

The iconic Oriental Pearl Tower in Shanghai was designed as a radio and TV tower. But traditional media is facing tough days with the challenge of the internet. For the industry, ad revenue slipped more than 5 percent in the first ten months of 2016. However, ads for radio rose 2.2 percent. So what made radio so attractive?

"It’s quick, flexible and cheap, which means that it actually can get into areas and cover news stories and bring people the latest information in a very quick way," Graham Dixon, head of Radio, European Broadcasting Union, said.

Radio is one of the few forms of media that don’t require visual attention. If you drive a car, chances are, you turn on the radio…and data is backing this up. Listenership usually reaches its highest during rush hour.”

But change is still necessary. At the World Radio Day Forum in Shanghai, close to 200 industry leaders from around the world have gathered. The main event: launching a dot radio domain extension for all radio stations that want to have an officially certified internet homepage.

"Radio and the internet, they go really so well together. Because it’s about the flexibility of radio. It’s about the fact that there’s the bandwidth, even on our phones, to deliver radio easily and quickly," Dixon said.

But many industry players in China started that transition years ago. The Shanghai Media Group launched its online radio flagship, Archimedes FM in late 2015. It is part of the over 150 similar internet-based audio media formats in China. Most of them claim listenerships of over 200 million people.

"The app allows people from around the country to listen with their phones. In the past we were limited to local stations. The new media platform breaks this boundary, which gives radio a new dynamic," Wang Jianjun, president of Shanghai Media Group, said.

Gone are the days when most families would gather around a radio during lunch time. But by adapting to new listener habits and embracing new platforms, industry leaders say they are making sure that radio is far from becoming irrelevant.

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