Incorporating global influence

As media channels its energy into a mass of digital platforms that are progressively being developed, what does the future of radio hold? Will broadcast exist in an FM frequency or migrate to the Internet? Will podcasts and live streaming dominate the radio space or will it grow in its original form. At Kaya FM, we believe we are, and will strive to be, ahead of the digital trends linked to radio. Rooted with local visions and incorporating global influence, our content is distributed to a community that functions between radio and digital spaces.

Our time is split between the two mediums. Together they work in sync to make the consumer more aware of how their content feeds them. Audible content is now being played via live streaming or podcasts and on-demand listening is a space that is continuing to grow. Consumers are being given choices when it comes to connecting to information. They can either log in or plug into live streams of talk or music or return to a podcast online when they have the time.

Kaya FM’s digital make-up is comprised of listeners interacting with the station through SMS, website, Facebook, Instagram, blogs and Twitter. We are able to cross breed the content between different platforms so listeners can connect to the presenters on air and online. The digital interaction has been made more visually entertaining, showcasing video and audio in an engaging way as the online space pairs up its shows with commentary, blogs and discussions.

“Radio is the original social media, a heavily pressured space which can only grow with the current form of innovation unlike print and TV which are currently under threat”

Podcasting has evolved into one of the great trends of today. Benefitting the provider and the consumer, this medium has gained insight for marketing a brand or product in a direct and authentic way. Known to cater to a spectrum of digital platforms, podcasting has taken radio to a new level of interaction, engaging varied topics and diverse audiences with its content. This tool not only opens up conversation, but allows for the extension of radio advertising too. When it comes to the future of sales, we often need to consider which platform will work best.

The fundamentals of radio will always stay the same. Everyone is on the internet because there’s a need to be; however radio is accountable and drives everything. The intimacy of radio allows messages to get out immediately. As a proactive medium, it mirrors the trends in society, and in that, we expect our sales team to research, understand and avail themselves to their clients.

Clients need to tell stories in their adverts. It is important to bring details, facts and sound effects to campaigns. Sonic triggers are vital, as music plays a huge part and evokes an emotion. To get people to think of an advert when they hear a specific song is part of the strategy. The more emotion a song produces for a listener, the more likely the nostalgic affect. We want to be able to bring people back home, through our sound, and their memory, by using sound bites, jingles and playlists that remind them of their family, lifestyle, mind set and awareness.

Kaya FM works great as a call to action. Our objectives are to stay relevant, innovative and creative. Once given briefs, it is essential that we understand the whole campaign before understanding single components. This requires us to examine everything from copywriting to nuance and applying the content in a customised way for a middle class market who we call The Afropolitan.

Our future vision is simple. We start with a holistic plan and tune into tweet feeds more often. We ask that the client and station’s social media accounts work together. This way we marry the brand with the audience and enhance the relationship between the agency, station and client. As the digital space dominates the usage of our time, so too will the way we use it to convey or upload messages. People have adapted to the digital space and it is fast becoming future of the world. There has been an immense uptake of applications.

Nowadays, there is an app for everything and anyone, from business, to fitness, gardening to making movies. There is however a huge gap in apps specifically for the Afropolitan consumer. Often society is overwhelmed with the amount of information going back and forth, however, we are not going back to the boom; we are advancing in a digital revolution. We can’t go back to analogue, we have moved forward with the times. Radio is advancing by adding the element of web cams, which enables users to peek into radio. These platforms will be using live streaming using YouTube channels to broadcast their sessions live where the microphone will not be replaced, but enhanced by digital platforms.

Another strategic marketing tool at Kaya FM is that of events, which we take very seriously as ultimately events are those critical touch points we have to engage and develop a deeper understanding of our Afropolitan listeners. Earlier in my write-up, I stated that technology is the future of radio; similarly late adapters to mobile technology within the events space will leave you wanting more.

In my opinion, mobile technology has given the organisation the ability to engage with listeners in real time at events, the data collected from these functions is then mined to give real value to research that will be able to measure and in turn enhance return on investment, never losing sight that content must drive connection between brand and listener. The mobile revolution has made everything easier and certainly more environmentally friendly within the events space. So if the future of marketing is that bright, what does it mean for the future of music? The format ratio at Kaya FM is made-up of 60% music and 40% talk. This means that we constantly have to seek out opportunities that will add value to the consumer and client.

One progressive feature we have introduced on the station is the live & unplugged sessions we host. The rise of live music offers a platform to known and unsigned artists who want to share their music with the Afropolitan listener in an intimate setting. Although everything else is evolving what will remain constant at Kaya is that we are the ‘Home of the Classics’ and will not compromise the sound of the station. You will find music at Kaya FM, which you will not find on any other station. We have music specialists in their own right such as Brenda Sisane who shares her love and passion for jazz and Nicky B who brings her deep knowledge of world music to the station, which allures a great number of young Afropolitans who always seem to migrate home as they have their hearts deeply rooted in Africa.

Celebrating 20 years of our democracy this year as South Africans, we cannot ignore the role that music has played towards our liberation, hence the future of music in this country is for musicians to make meaningful music and create sustainable businesses from their skills. Artists these days no longer require expensive recording studio’s to make music but can have the same quality of music in a home studio with easily accessible technology.

Music conferences like Moshito and the Southern African Music Conference (SAMC) which shine the spotlight on the business of music, places specialist speakers in front of musicians who will cover topics like the changing patterns of the consumption of music in South Africa and encourage musicians to be dynamic and be involved in their music.

*Greg Maloka is Managing Director of Kaya FM