By: Buhle Mbhele

Nadia Bulbulia, Executive Director of the National Association of Broadcasters, Head of radio at Tiso Blackstar and Vernon Matzopoulos were the speakers in a panel discussion facilitated by Wits Radio Academy Director and Head of Journalism, Professor Franz Kruger, discussed the continuation and growth of radio including innovation within the ten year tenure of Radio Days Africa.

The panelists shared their best radio experiences, and Nadia‘s story emphasized on the point that these days there are many stations and plenty of content for one to learn from.  94.7 Station Manager, Thando Makhunga, shared a moving story of how she got involved in a project where their station in association with Jaguar cars and media personality, Minenhle Dlamini-Jones contributed to making a young girls’ matric dance memorable.  Matzopoulos spoke about having two stations and his hopes for management to stay in place in the coming years.

Considering that radio is an ever evolving environment, he answered questions posed by the audiences about critical things that have changed over the years and which should remain the same.

He further elaborated on innovation that is seen among stations such as Massiv Metro, especially within the online platform industry with regards to the functioning of radio. He added that they could use the opportunity to build a close connection and an audience base by installing their station’s systems in taxis, a robust environment with an audience reach of about 13 in a fleet of 800 taxis. This essentially means that Massive Metro could easily gain access to 13 people being transported by about 800 taxis daily with the probability of 13 people having mobile units with 4G accessibility for online radio listening.

Concerns on whether podcasting  will disrupt the traditional radio space seemed to be less of an issue with Bulbulia, she clarified that indeed the online stream is a different platform altogether, but issues of  data and the sustainability of the platform could be a worry for those involved in that kind of industry, not one faced by traditional radio.

Kruger ended off the session with these parting sentiments, “the better we connect, the better we will do in shaping the regulatory format of radio”.

Edited by: Bridget Lepere