Times of opportunities and challenges for the radio sector – Radiodays Europe 2021

Marianne Bugge Zederkof, Vice-President of AERPhoto Credit: @ Radiodays Europe

Welcome address – Radiodays Europe, 10.10.2021, Lisbon – Marianne Bugge Zederkof, Vice-President of AER

Dear colleagues, friends and radio people from across the globe, I am very happy to welcome you all to the 2021 edition of Radiodays Europe in Lisbon.

I am Marianne Bugge Zederkof, Director of Danske Medier, the industry body for private media in Denmark, and Vice-President of the AER, the Association of European Radios. I am also Chairman of Radioplayer Denmark as well as Radiodays Denmark, which, just this year, changed into Audiodays in order to include all kinds of audio in the conference as well as in the following award show.

For those of you who might not know, AER is the voice of commercial radios in Brussels.

AER represents companies operating over 5,000 commercial radio stations across Europe. 

It supports a healthy commercial radio business through its advocacy activities and links the commercial radio industry directly with the EU and international institutions, informing and influencing the decisions that they make. 

At the moment radio and audio in general live in extremely interesting times.

Times of opportunities.

Times of challenges.

And I am happy to be here today at Radiodays Europe to discuss the opportunities and the challenges of our radio sector. 

Radio has continued to play a crucial role throughout the pandemic, proving again to be a source of entertainment and companionship but more importantly of reliable news and information for millions of listeners.

As a result, radio remains, for more than a decade now, the most trusted medium in Europe according to the annual Eurobarometer survey from the European Commission.

And thanks to radio’s resilience and ability to cope in a world of new technologies, radio remains a strong and relevant medium.

Commercial radio has evolved, adapted, innovated its content and presence in a in a fast-changing world where the competition from digital players is extremely high.

Listeners have more ways of listening than ever before.

The audio and radio experience today is hybrid, is a mix of live broadcast and on-demand audio.

Radio is indeed accessible on FM, AM and DAB, but internet connected devices – from smartphones, and smart speakers to in-car infotainment systems – are growing and reaching bigger audiences thanks to their wide range of options and personalised listening experiences they can offer.

These digital technologies represent exciting opportunities for the European radio and audio sector but also bring in new challenges.

For this reason, we need to act to make sure that access to radio is secured in a technological neutral manner both for listeners and for radio stations.

We need to act to ensure that none of the risks associated with gatekeepers arises, so that listeners can continue to discover and enjoy simple and free access to radio.

This is high on the agenda at AER in our communications in Brussels. We especially address the growing dominance of digital voice assistant platforms: they are gatekeepers for radio services and we know now they are going to have a more prominent role in the future.

We, at AER, want to make sure they are included in the scope of this new regulatory framework – the Digital Markets Act – so to prevent any anti-competitive behaviours including self-preferencing their own radio-like services, limiting or restricting access to third party radio services or charge for carriage, or inserting sponsorship or advertising around third party content services without permission of the radio operator.

To continue to be relevant and succeed in future, to be able to continue deliver trusted news and content within the digital environment, radio needs to tackle these significant challenges. 

Radiodays Europe is a great opportunity to reflect on this, think about the future and be inspired to make the best radio and audio world for our listeners.

Thank you and enjoy!