radio listening was a group event. family time. now radio is personal. the broadcaster is thinking of one listener at a time or in total. the chance that 2 or more people will listen to radio together is rare. but we do listen together, just not in the same room or car or building. we all listen to radio alone but together through the radio.
what is radio doing to utilise this power? are we all individual and there is no such thing as community? (was Thatcher right?) or can radio use social to link people (listeners) with people (more listeners) for a greater good? we know radio can do that. who is willing to give it a try.
What can radio do to harness this power. On Saturday night last RTE Radio harnessed the power of radio across the world in a broadcast link up with outside broadcasters in fields and woods and beaches to record and broadcast the dawn chorus of birdsong. This is an annual broadcast that is a feast of audio. What if such radio link ups were used for peoples voices on important topics.
Climate Change / Homelessness / War / Migration / Data Protection / Mental Health (this list could be longer) What if radio stopped talking at its listeners and started listening to the voices of its listeners. A Big Phone In Show. NO. If the Citizens Assembly showed us anything, it is that ordinary people can grapple with tough topics and deliver reasoned understanding and civil discourse that shapes legislation and the constitution in Ireland.
Radio is a platform. We need to remove the top down megaphone mentality and start to hear the listeners. Digital provides the opportunity to listen and hear (and they aren’t always the same thing) what audience has to say on everything. Community / Local / National / Global radio needs to get the hell out of its studio and meet its people.
Why now? The world became a small place – 25 years of world wide web and we are all connected. 2018 was the year Facebook was turning to community (until it got distracted with data leaks), Movements are global #metoo #blacklivesmatter #TakeAKnee spread at the speed of tweets. Worldwide issues need wide access for everyone to input their views and ideas. Radio can capture this and process the throughput.
We need to begin hearing the listeners.