Radio Festival: consolidation key to commercial radio's future, says Oliver

LONDON - Commercial radio will recover from the recession as long as consolidation continues and the industry expands beyond the traditional spot ad, according to media analyst and former BBC head of strategy, Mark Oliver.

Radio: set to recover from recession, festival delegates told
Radio: set to recover from recession, festival delegates told

Speaking at The Radio Academy's Radio Festival in Nottingham this afternoon (30 June), Oliver, now chief executive of media advisors Oliver & Ohlbaum Associates, said: "The commercial radio industry needs to consolidate in the way that makes sense to the listener and the advertiser."

Oliver said radio stations should diversify their business plan and look to "branded content, more syndicated programming" and "music events and merchandising".

Godfrey McFall, senior associate at the same company, said radio was now threatened by TV, as TV was now a "potential viable substitute to radio", because of the reduction in the cost of TV ads, which had declined by "50% in real terms" between 1998 and 2006.

McFall added that though the recession would continue until 2010, there was possibility for growth in 2011, although that depended on "how the industry reacts to catalysts of change".

He said that to ensure sustainability, radio stations should provide "new consumer propositions" and "use consolidation to give the audience what they want".

Chris Lawson, brand director at Absolute Radio, said the radio industry needed to "engage with its audience" and provide it with "access to a number of platforms". He said: "It is about reacting faster and, more importantly, going where the audience is."

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