Broadcast radio’s shift to online // week 6

“Delivery of radio is increasingly online, ” said 612 ABC radio presenter Spencer Howson.


In this day and age no form of journalism is exempt from being presented in an online format. Traditional mediums such as radio, television and newspapers now all generally provide some form of online content as well. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook play a key role in enabling legacy media to create an online following and stay relevant.

In a QUT online journalism lecture Spencer Howson explained why he used social media in his job as a radio presenter. Spencer says at the ABC he is encouraged to use Facebook to build a community and to reach out to people who don’t listen to the ABC’s radio station. He says he also uses Twitter to contact people, encourage people to tune in, view the ABC radio website and attend station events.

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ABC Radio Brisbane using Twitter to promote a station event with Spencer Howson. Source: 612Brisbane

Spencer says social media is checked throughout broadcasts. “When we are on air I’m constantly monitoring Twitter and my producer is monitoring Facebook,” he said. When asked how long he spends on social media per day, Spencer says it’s continual.  “At 8am I spend thirty minutes posting everything to the website, but it’s a constant, I would probably have my eyes on Twitter and Facebook for certainly thirty or forty minutes a day,” he said.

The ABC believes listening on a mobile phone is the future of radio. “We very much believe that listening online is going to be the way people listen to radio going into the future, still listening live when it’s put out, but listening online rather than via a physical radio,” Spencer said.

American study conducted by Edison Research shows as of 2015, 53% of Americans are monthly digital radio listeners compared to the 5% back in 2000.  Full article here.

In terms of competition, Spencer says podcasts are the biggest threat to broadcast radio. To combat this Spencer says radio needs to go ‘hyper-local’. “The one thing I think radio needs to do is if you can provide something that people can’t get anywhere else then that’s going to enable radio to continue,” he said. “For me, that’s doing really local stories about stuff that’s going on in Brisbane, because podcasting is the complete opposite,” he said.

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612 ABC Brisbane promoting a local station event via Twitter- marketing themselves as “live and local” . Source: Twitter



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