Photo by @Esa Kapila
Stefan, what are the current top priorities for the commercial radio sector and AER?
We are part of the broader audio market and proudly part of the growing, dynamic, innovative audio sector, and we are the biggest part of it, both in terms of audience and revenues.
It is an incredibly exciting sector to be in it, because of the great choices and the amazing content that is available, almost infinite choice that we could have not dreamt of years ago, and that is a fantastic place to be for audiences and consumers, and it is a brilliant place to be for advertisers.
We need to do our best to make sure that that continues to be offered and available free at the point of use, and that is not a given, especially because of the role of tech platforms in being responsible and us relying on them a lot more for distribution.
It is all incredibly exciting and positive and we want to keep it this way and we want to secure choices and pluralism for the future, which will not be guaranteed if we left it to the tech platforms acting more and more as intermediaries and gate-keepers to radio content.
Radio is the biggest part of the audio market and this comes with extremely exciting opportunities for the future, but we need to make sure we also think about the risks and how we can continue to provide value for our audiences and advertisers.
That is why we have been fighting for a place for radio and audio on connected devices and smart speakers and cars, is that’s because how radio has been consumed now increasingly, so securing radio’s position in that digital space is really important.
And this is what we do via AER, we have developed a plan to secure the future of radio, focusing on a series of priorities
Media freedom, media pluralism and independence, meaning we support a strong, independent and high-quality choice of media, something that it not always guaranteed, especially online.
Access: we want to ensure and secure access, discoverability and findability of radio for listeners wherever they are and whatever device they are using, being it a smartphone, a smart speaker of a car dashboard.
Competition: we want to ensure fair competition especially with big digital platforms like Google, Amazon and Apple that have huge market power, but no real regulation or responsibility.
Copyright: As a broadcaster, radio creates content and is also a rightsholder of related right; that is why we support an efficient, affordable and fair copyright regime for radio, which recognises the investment and value of radio compared to music streaming services.
Advertising: we fight to prevent advertising restrictions that are not necessary and that can be especially damaging on radio.
Promotion: we want to promote innovation and ensure that the role of radio as part of Europe’s creative industries is recognised – especially its support for artistic freedom and promoting music.
These priorities will guide AER’s agenda for the coming years. We hope we can find common ground on these issues and create an environment that means radio can continue to grow and succeed in the future despite the challenges it faces.
We believe that this must be possible and that we can only have a real impact if the whole radio industry continues to work together.
That is why AER and cooperation internationally are so important.
Commercial radios are facing collective challenges, challenges that are not just unique to one country or issues that one can tackle alone, and that’s where AER comes in, we work on behalf of the commercial radio sector, we advocate for the interests of radio stations, we are all about maximising the opportunities and minimising the risks, and we had some successes.
How is the future of radio and audio looking like? What do you think the challenges our sector needs to tackle to succeed in the future?
Ensure a level playing field with tech giants and regulated access to radio, meaning licensed audio services are discoverable and easily findable via all user interfaces, including cars and smart speakers, so we could compete on an equal footing with audio distributing online platforms, are for sure the
main challenges we are facing now.
Access, competition and remain a relevant medium are some big challenges being faced by radio.
And these are not challenges that are only happening in one country or issues that we can tackle alone.
That is why AER and international cooperation remains so important for our future.
Where is the ‘audio revolution’ leading the radio sector?
It is an incredibly exciting sector to be in it, because of the great choices and the amazing content that is available, almost infinite choice that we could have not dreamt of years ago, and that is a fantastic place to be for audiences and consumers, and it is a great place to be for advertisers.
We need to do our best to make sure that that continues to be offered and available free at the point of use, and that is not a given, especially because of the role of tech platforms in being responsible and us relying on them a lot more for distribution. It is all incredibly exciting and positive and we want to keep it
and we want to secure choice and pluralism for the future, which will not be guaranteed if we left it to the tech platforms, because if we leave it to the market to decide, they will end up extracting all the market value out of that content, like they have done with the press publishers or app developers. It is all very exciting, it is a bright future, but we have to get it right!
AER President Stefan Möller will be speaking at the Opening & Welcome to Radiodays Europe 2023 on 27 March 2023.
More information about Radiodays Europe, its great programme and line-up of speakers, please visit www.radiodayseurope.com
AER is an official partner of Radiodays Europe.
Stefan Möller currently wears two hats. The Managing Director for commercial radio trade body RadioMedia in Finland and the President for the Association of European Radios (AER) based in Brussels. AER represents some 5000 radio stations across the EU countries, and UK and Switzerland. Stefan´s career started as a drummer before joining the public service broadcaster YLE. From there he moved to the commercial media sector and worked in various positions as presenter, creative, salesperson, marketing director, consultant and director of radio.