Regulation and Talent Development in the Radio Sector - The Panels view at RadioDays Ireland 2023.
The opening panel for Radio Days Ireland 2023 saw radio being discussed as the ‘Resilient Medium’ and the excitement of being there in person, rather than online, for one of the biggest ongoing radio events in Ireland, was felt by all in the room, including those taking to the stage.
Moderated by Shane Coleman from Newstalk Breakfast, the panel was made up of those who are well and truly experienced in the radio world and some, who are not behind the mic as such, but on a different radio pathway, yet every bit as brilliant.
Speaking about everything from their earliest memories of radio to their best and worst radio moments, some controversial points were made where the panel discussed Coimisiún na Meán’s duty and accountability when regulating online media and content across the nation in the near future.
Introduced by Coleman first as his "esteemed colleague", he went on to list all of Pat Kenny’s radio attributes and (jokingly) continued, "Pat Kenny, household name, broadcasting legend, The Late Late Show, The Pat Kenny Show, Eurovision, Today, Tonight, The Pat Kenny Tonight Show… I could go on and on, and Pat told me to go on and on…"
It was Pat who made the point about the regulation of streamers and other concerns of broadcasters in regard to the new Coimisiún na Meán, "streamers are not controllable by you and will never be controllable by you, unless they have a name, address and location. Kenny questioned the ability of the new regulator to be able to monitor online content, in particular content that may be harmful to children. He went on to say : "So, when you are questing a level playing pitch, I just don’t know what the technical mechanism is, whereby you can actually do that."
Celene Craig, who has worked with the BAI since 2009 and currently stands as its Chief Executive, enlightened both the panelists and the audience on what one of the roles of the new Coimisiún na Meán will be, in response to Pat’s concerns. Celene said, "There is one further development that is yet to happen. Just to clarify, will be actually regulating video-sharing platforms for all of Europe. I think the European basis for a lot of the online regulation is very important because it’s designed to try and level and equal the rules right across the European Union, regardless of where a service is established.
Celene described in detail what Coimisiún na Meán will be regulating within the new Digital Services Act, which means certain online broadcasting platforms will be held accountable for sharing content that’s against the new regulations when in effect, respectively.
Along with those new regulations, procuring new talent was another topic of discussion, where Fionnuala Corbett (Head of News and Current Affairs on iRadio) says that building on what Learning Waves is creating is invaluable. Fionnuala referred to both The Graduate and TY Week programmes where radio stations set aside time to nurture upcoming talent.
Fionnaula said, "From what I’m seeing the talent is there and it is eager."
In agreeance with Fionnuala about giving time to the new talent coming through to the stations, was Patricia Messinger (Presenter of Cork Today on C103, for an amazing 32 years, also inducted to the IMRO Hall of Fame), as was Brian Redmond (Presenter and Executive Producer for Programmes at KCLR).
Brian stressed that we must become listeners ourselves, when new talent does come through. Then, we can place those expressing an interest into the area in which they’d like to work. Furthermore, he explains, just because the interest is there in radio, not everyone is comfortable behind a mic and we need to listen and understand that there are other talents that can be utilised and beneficial in the world of radio, not just talking.
The important skill of listening was rather a strong element as the panel jumped from one topic to the next in their discussion on radio being the resilient medium. Patricia spoke about what it is that makes good radio and the moment when even as a presenter, it can be absolutely captivating, "The phone lines go silent, there’s no texts, there’s no WhatsApps, there’s no emails. People are just listening to that one voice, and that one voice only. It’s that intimacy, it’s just magical."
One of the crucial things said in this panel was by Dan Healy (Head of 2FM), who is of the opinion that the platform will always be there but it’s those who turn up, who choose to continue to use radio as a platform, those who choose to create good radio content for listeners, “Us. We’re the resilient ones. It’s not the platform that’s resilient, we’re resilient.”
Dan reflects on his earliest memories of radio, while also bringing up some topics of which Irish media regulators must explore in more detail, such as ‘cancel culture’ and the danger that comes with the accessibility that people have to share their views on media platforms, without being regulated whatsoever - on the contrary to radio which is consistently regulated. He stressed that what “worried” him was that he himself had found an interest in what local people’s thoughts were of political news, rather than the source of media. However, that connection with local people is something that all six panelists brought into panel discussion while talking about their love for their careers.
They all love listening to people and broadcasting a story that they know will grab their audiences’ attention, just as it would if they themselves were in the car, sitting outside the house waiting for the interview to end before going home.
RadioDays Ireland 2023 - Panel Discussion - Radio - The Resilient Medium
Click below to hear the full panel discussion. To see the all the videos from RadioDays Ireland 2023 go to : http://radiodaysireland.ie