Radio - it's the friendly format

We call radio the friendly format because that’s what it is.

Earlier today I was on the phone with a prospective client discussing advertising formats that they’ve not explored before. We got to radio advertising, which, in view of the latest RAJAR listening figures, makes for a great conversation given the successes the medium has been having in recent years.

I explained that two of the greatest strengths of radio lie in its ability to be functional and friendly. The prospective client understood how radio could be functional (traffic and travel announcements, weather and news updates to name just a few) but couldn’t understand the benefit to a brand of the format being friendly.

We call radio the friendly format because that’s what it is. From being there for us when we need a pep first thing in the morning, supporting us through commutes to keeping us entertained in the evening, we rely on our radio stations in the same way we do our friends, using it for close emotional support in a way that mimics actual friendship.

Like spending time with a favourite friend, spending time with a favourite radio station actually makes us happy too: according to research carried out by Radio Centre, listening to the radio makes people happier than watching TV or surfing the Internet (you can read the full findings here). It surprises some to hear that radio accounts for over a quarter of people’s media consumption in the UK, but taking into account the intimate (we usually listen alone) and emotional impact it has on the listener, it really shouldn’t.

Two of the greatest strengths of radio lie in its ability to be functional and friendly.

In the words of a Daily Telegraph editorial from a few years back, radio is:

"too necessary, too consoling, too much part of what it is to be human. An evening spent in front of the box whiles away the time, but you end up with a sore head and a feeling of vague discontent. Listening to radio stimulates the imagination, putting you in touch with other voices, other thoughts, other lives in a way that looking at a screen can never do."

This ‘friendship’ a listener has with their radio stations provides a highly favourable setting for brands looking to reach out to those listeners. And it’s fair to say that that friendship is no accident.

There are a huge amount of radio stations in the UK (296 analogue and 95 digital) that are designed to meet regional and/or cultural needs, each one tailored for a certain geographical audience or a community of interest. In other words, radio is able to deliver a highly select, happy and receptive audience to a brand in a way that no other format can.

Radio transports brands right to the heart of the regional or cultural community, delivered by a friend that the listener trusts.

With so much choice, number one hit music stations that have more music variety, playing all the biggest hits, all day long, leading Britain’s conversations with millions of listeners every week, can your brand afford not to be friends with radio?

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