Emo­tion is why ra­dio still packs a punch

The con­nec­tion we have with ra­dio is pri­mal, which is why it is bet­ter for our brains than Twit­ter or TV. By Brid­get Angear

Campaign UK - - CAMPAIGN PROMOTION - Brid­get Angear is a joint chief strat­egy of­fi­cer at Ab­bott Mead Vick­ers BBDO and spoke re­cently at Ra­dio­cen­tre’s an­nual Tun­ing In con­fer­ence

Ilove ra­dio. It re­ally does en­rich my life by in­form­ing, ed­u­cat­ing and en­ter­tain­ing me in equal mea­sure. Ra­dio is the medium I spend most time with. I couldn’t bear to live with­out it. And it’s not just me. The lat­est Ra­jar fig­ures show ra­dio lis­ten­ing at record lev­els. More than 90% of the UK pop­u­la­tion tunes in reg­u­larly, with the av­er­age lis­tener catch­ing 21.5 hours of live ra­dio ev­ery week. And Ra­dio­cen­tre’s lat­est data sug­gests that 35 mil­lion adults – more than half of the UK’S pop­u­la­tion – lis­ten to 13 hours or more of ra­dio ev­ery week, which is more than dou­ble the time spent on Face­book and Twit­ter com­bined. Not only that, there’s ev­i­dence that ra­dio boosts peo­ple’s hap­pi­ness, en­ergy and well­be­ing more than any other medium. A UK study of 1,000 peo­ple con­ducted in 2011 by the Ra­dio Ad­ver­tis­ing Bureau (now part of Ra­dio­cen­tre) found that ra­dio is a kind of “life­style sup­port sys­tem”, which helps peo­ple feel bet­ter as they go about their day. The sur­vey’s par­tic­i­pants claimed to ex­pe­ri­ence “peaks and troughs” while con­sum­ing TV and on­line me­dia but said ra­dio pro­vided a “con­sis­tent en­vi­ron­ment, themed and shaped” to suit their needs at any given mo­ment. Af­ter all, there’s more chance of find­ing some­thing on the ra­dio that feels tai­lored specif­i­cally to your tastes than on TV – few peo­ple re­tune their ra­dios at the rate they flick through TV chan­nels. It’s also per­fect when you’re do­ing other things. The study found ra­dio im­proved peo­ple’s daily ac­tiv­i­ties, such as clean­ing the house or get­ting ready to go out. Many re­spon­dents lis­tened to the ra­dio while they were on­line. A study by Susan Hal­lam of the Univer­sity of Lon­don’s In­sti­tute of Ed­u­ca­tion found that back­ground mu­sic makes a mas­sive im­pact on our men­tal well­be­ing be­cause it has such a pow­er­ful ef­fect on our moods and emo­tions. There’s even a sta­tion ded­i­cated to help you sleep – New Zealand’s Sleep Ra­dio. And there’s new re­search that states that, in our cur­rent era of fake news and “al­ter­na­tive truth”, ra­dio is more trusted than on­line sources of in­for­ma­tion. Yet in all to­day’s con­ver­sa­tions about the me­dia, good and bad, there is fre­quently si­lence when it comes to ra­dio – per­haps be­cause it’s seen as an “old” medium. But I think pit­ting ra­dio against so­cial me­dia does not play to its strengths – ra­dio is a more emo­tional medium than its ri­vals. Au­ral sto­ry­telling and mu­sic are two of the most an­cient forms of hu­man com­mu­ni­ca­tion. The con­nec­tion we have with ra­dio is a pri­mal thing and that’s why, when it comes to well­be­ing, I be­lieve ra­dio is bet­ter for our brains than Twit­ter or TV. Ra­dio doesn’t need to shout to get your at­ten­tion. Plus it’s truly a medium that works any time, any place, any­where – es­pe­cially since the ad­vent of dig­i­tal. In a world where peo­ple are look­ing for hap­pi­ness, truth, au­then­tic­ity and, of course, ed­u­ca­tion and en­ter­tain­ment, it’s no sur­prise to see ra­dio’s cur­rent resur­gence. It’s truly the medium of the peo­ple. So go ahead – put the ra­dio on and put a smile on your face.

Take a break: re­search has shown that ra­dio boosts peo­ple’s hap­pi­ness, en­ergy and well­be­ing

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