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 the Radio Advertising Bureau, listening to the radio makes people happier than watching TV or surfing the Internet. 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.


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 the 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 (270 analogue and 130 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.


We are firm advocates (and friends!) of radio. If you would like to know how your organisation could take advantage of this most affable of formats, get in touch now to speak to one of our media planning team.


By Oliver Brown