Some thoughts from our 2014 Conference Speakers

Learning Waves Skillnet held its fourth Conference in Clontarf Castle on Thursday 4th September 2014.  The following gives you some of the key points from the speakers : 

Michael Wilson, Head of Television, UTV, told the audience that ‘looking ahead is never easy, you cannot track advertising anymore, lead in times are much shorter’.  Wilson believes that ‘radios USP is its closeness to its audience and that radio stations need to monetise this and to share material with others in order to achieve value’.  He concluded by saying that ‘radio should be confident over the next ten years and about what it is doing’.

Brian Reynolds, CEO, Balls Media, said that the ‘role of the online journalist changes every day, every hour and that radio must be constantly looking for new audiences and that audiences must be continually found for new and old content’.  Reynolds pointed out that the ‘power of statistics should not be underestimated in helping stations decide what content they produce’. 

Chris Burns, Head of Operations BBC, said that ‘if radio stations are aware of technology, its power and how they can use it to connect with audiences then she firmly believes that radio will survive’.  Burns strongly believes that  the key to radio’s survival is ‘putting your audience at the heart of training and everything that you do’.  In conclusion, Burns pointed out that ‘we should never stop learning if we want to succeed, and the underpinning reason for this is that ‘our audiences are endlessly curious so we owe it to them to be as curious and that’s how radio will survive beyond 2014’. 

Adam Symth from BBC Belfast was quick to point out that ‘future audiences are digital natives and we do not know how they will behave in the future.  This audience will get news when they want it and where they want it.  Mobile is the future as desktop is dying and this offers stations limitless routes to the marketplace.  Editorial controls must be in place to ensure your brand is not damaged ', and Smyth concluded that ‘radio will get more from social media that it will ever put into it and as such everyone in radio must be responsible for learning additional skills in order to ensure radio’s survival’.

Matthew Burke,Google Ireland was the final speaker of the afternoon and Burke pointed out that ‘86% of people are online everyday in Ireland and that we are fast becoming a nation of mutliscreens'.  Burke believes that the ‘quality and depth of online content is crucial moving forward and that online will help stations provide better targeting and that they key to success is having the right ad at the right time on the right platform’. 

For more information on the conference contact

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