By James Cridland (the Managing Director of Media UK, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker)
The celebration of a day dedicated to radio might not be big in the UK, but in Finland...
Despite it being a UNESCO sanctioned event, we hear relatively little
about World Radio Day - yesterday - in the UK. There was a small event
in London yesterday, but not allied with any particular headline
I, however, was in Helsinki in Finland, where they had an altogether
bigger party planned. RadioMedia, the Finnish equivalent of the RAB and
RadioCentre, was properly celebrating the day, with a number of
For the industry, the Finnish equivalent of RAJAR released its
figures - mostly good, I gather. There was a conference with speakers
including Nik Goodman and Dan McGrath from Bounce; Sam Crowther, the
Head of Creative from Bauer in London; and the excellent Valerie Geller,
who did a significantly good job of attracting the audience to her
speech instead of mine, with the result that a small but select group
heard me talking about the future of radio and what we need to do to
keep radio relevant.
In the evening was the Finnish equivalent of the Sony Radio Academy
Awards: an event that is, incidentally, televised on the Finnish Channel
4. A nice trick to ensure it is on World Radio Day.
A letter was also sent to every politician, reminding them how
important radio is. "The letter will remind of their responsibilities
when making political and media policy descisions to protect radio, to
guarantee that radio has acess to spectrum, and that radio has to be
available on several platforms in the future too." The letter was signed
by both RadioMedia and the public service broadcaster.
And then, there's the work RadioMedia did for the public. Pick up a copy of Finland's biggest national newspaper, and you'd have seen a coverwrap promoting "All You Need Is Radio" (above), and a message to listen to the radio at 9.10. Any radio station. Because, at peak audience time, every radio station in Finland broadcast exactly the same thing - a simulcast which would have made it into the history books.