Radiodays Europe 2013: A strong industry looks to the future

The future of radio is as bright as the industry wants it to be. Radio executives look to a future that is connected, creative, competitive and filled with content.

Radio is still relevant and continues to entertain vast numbers of listeners across the continent. Producing unique content and strong journalism, exploring new revenue streams and being in tune with audiences are key to maintaining that position.

The opening session at Radiodays Europe in Berlin saw a hard-hitting panel of radio executives discussing the key theme of the conference: sharing radio’s future.
Paul Robinson introduced Joachim Knuth (NRD and ARD, Germany), Jan-Willem Brüggenwirth (Radio 538, Netherlands), Cilla Benkö (Sveriges Radio, Sweden), and John Simons (Real and Smooth Ltd, UK).

“Radio is there, just like tap water. Ready to be used” said Director of Radio, NDR Germany, Joachim Knuth.

He believes the future of radio lies in strong independent journalism. He highlighted a number of recent examples from Germany where radio has set the agenda for public debate.

“Radio is a progressive medium and the key to our future is innovation,” said Jan-Willem Brüggenwirth, Director General, Radio 538, the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands the industry is embracing the DAB+ format. Mr. Brüggenwirth believes radio can convert from analogue to digital over a ten year period.

“In the UK it is all about the brands”, says John Simons, Group Programme Director, Real & Smooth Radio, UK.

Since the UK government changed the way the commercial sector was legislated, the BBC have finally been given some real competition. Mr Simons believes the future lies in consolidation, which will make commercial radio even stronger.

“It’s all about trust,” says Cilla Benkö, Director General, Sveriges Radio, Sweden. If you have the trust of your audience it is very difficult for your competitors to harm you, she concludes.

Benkö also thinks the future of radio requires broadcasters to go to the listener, rather than expecting the listener to come to the radio station. “Our content is available for whoever wants to use it, even our competitors… I’m sleeping with the enemy” says Benkö.

Cilla Benkö left the 900-strong audience with food for thought by saying, “If we don’t change, if we don’t develop, we will be dead. So, good luck!”

Paul Robinson, former Head of Strategy at BBC Radio and media consultant, hosted the session. A live video of the speakers was broadcast online at

Radiodays Europe is an annual pan-European radio conference for leaders from public service and commercial radio as well as related industries. Radiodays Europe aims to be the best and most important radio conference in Europe, with highly sought-after speakers and sessions especially designed to ensure the best possible conference experience for the participants. The 2012 conference in Barcelona had close to 800 participants from 45 countries.