Media Monday – Radio’s demise? Don’t bet on it!

Kids today don’t listen to the radio – they all listen to streaming audio like Spotify!

Young people today don’t listen to the radio – they are all downloading Podcasts!

Radio is dying – music has split into too many genres, and is too specialised for stations to appeal to an audience!

Radio is dying – These teenagers and their rock and roll music are killing the wireless!

Radio is dying – Television is the coming thing!

Radio? Why would anyone listen to someone else, instead of having family sing-along at home?

Yes, well.

The death of radio has been predicted ever since the broadcast industry was created.

And it will no doubt continue to be predicted.

But as Mark Twain might have said, “The report of (radio’s) death was an exaggeration.”

I have been listening to a number of radio stations over the past week, as they resumed normal programming after the Christmas break.

Since the last week of December, many stations have had the “B-team” on air .. and in many cases, it was obvious that they were voice-tracking rather than live.

But in the last week or so many of the breakfast teams, for example, have resumed operations – and it is interesting to hear the difference.

Here are three examples within an hour of each other in a single morning.

One was a trio on a cap-city station discussing gossip about movie stars, and royals – and movie stars talking about royals.

Now, I am not a fan of gossip – but it was delivered in a fun and fast fashion, so I didn’t mind. I assumed (correctly) that it would be like a bus timetable. If I wasn’t happy, something else would come along soon.

The second example was a breakfast duo in a major regional market. And this was much more disappointing. Despite the subject of their discussion piece being interesting, it just didn’t flow. The presenters either talked over each other, or left large uncomfortable gaps. It sounded like the presenters hadn’t worked out what they were going to say. I was reminded of the advice I was given as a young DJ 40+ years ago … “the best ad-lib is one that you have carefully prepared”.

My third example is a solo presenter in a small country market who was riffing on a story that I’d run as a news item days earlier (the declining number of ravens in the Tower of London.) It was a light-and-fluffy piece, delivered with gentle humour and a sort of wide-eyed “who’d have thought it” delivery.

All three were different – but all had obviously thought about what their listeners wanted to hear, and sought to deliver that (with varying degrees of success.)

Which is something that radio has done for 100 years, since the first commercial station opened in the Netherlands in 1919.

And that’s something that radio will continue to do.

But just as radio in the 1920s was vastly different to radio in the 1970s (or the 2020s) the medium will continue to change, to meet the needs of its audience. Wherever that audience might be.

On that subject, I mentioned that I was listening to a variety of stations across the country.

If you haven’t already grabbed the RadioApp at, I suggest you do so – more than 350 Commercial, ABC and SBS stations from around Australia on your mobile phone … it’s a radio lover’s best friend πŸ™‚

(Photo by Gratisography on

2 thoughts on “Media Monday – Radio’s demise? Don’t bet on it!

  1. ABC far north were celebrating the life of Seaman Dan this morning; his grandson and his producer talked about an amazing musician and ever better human, interspersed with short clips of his music. It was very well done 😁

    I was on my way to chemo or I would have missed it. I might start using my wifi to listen at home, can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to sit in my car, in the carport, waiting for a story to finish πŸ’•πŸ€£πŸ’•

    On Mon, 18 Jan 2021 at 9:59 pm, Cairns Communications wrote:

    > grahamcairns posted: ” Photo by Gratisography on Kids today > don’t listen to the radio – they all listen to streaming audio like > Spotify!Young people today don’t listen to the radio – they are all > downloading Podcasts!Radio is dying – music has split into too many” >


    • NPR in the United States calls those “Drive-way moments” … and like you, I have lost count of the number of times I have been stuck in my car waiting for the story to end πŸ™‚


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