|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Communication Social networks Media|
The media industry in technologically well-up societies has entered the digital age and is enjoying the new opportunities created by "Convergence." Media convergence can be said to be the merging of several mass media technologies that were previously separated by allowing various computer networks in the world to interconnect. For instance, different communication may integrate their ownership of media properties like television, print, and radio. All radio companies should embrace technological convergence to improve their efficiency and competitiveness in the globalized world.
The gathering of information in this paper is through a literature review of books and online journals. I had to subscribe to access some materials online. The internet has proved to be an essential source for crucial information in this paper as it contains information that could be very hard to get from other print sources. The internet is, therefore, a new form of mass media as it provides information at the comfort of the users' smartphone or personal computer. More importantly, the task of retrieving the materials was not tedious, but the challenge was getting the required information from it.
Media Convergence in the Radio Industry
The radio broadcasting industry is rapidly changing as the broadcasters working towards facing the stiff competition posed by other forms of media and also to make the business more profitable (Paulo 492). As such, radio is both a sound broadcasting industry as well as a social institution. This view is due to the changes seen in their broadcast, whereby most have adopted the use of websites and other online platforms. Digitalization has significantly expanded the radio markets as most people tend to spend most of their leisure time on the radio (Costriss). The impact of other sources of entertainment like video games, movies, radio podcasts, and other web-based sources is crucial as it offers competition for the audience's attention to the radio. Due to the increase in the number of media outlets, radio listeners have a wide variety of information sources.
Immerging of new players in the media industry as producers and content distributors have necessitated the radio industry to be more innovative and come with more competitive mechanisms in the communication markets. Application of changes in the radio broadcasting processes and the broadcasting environment, which enhances visual display active listener engagement and interaction, have proved viable in the industry. More so, the emergence of cloud computing technology in the radio industry challenges conventional broadcasters to advance their approach in a multimedia approach.
Application of Media Convergence in the Radio Industry
The biggest challenge in the consumption of radio has come from disruptive innovations made in other industries due to advancements in technology. However, this did not eliminate the radio industry, even with the coming of the internet, mobile phones, and social media. This technological advancement acted as a complement and was probably one of the best innovations in this industry (Sharlene). With the emergence of media convergence, about 91% of the world population still listens to the radio at least one hour every day despite disruption by other media outlets (Sharlene).
The breakthrough in the radio broadcasting industry is due to its dynamism and its ability to receive and integrate emerging technologies. For instance, most radio industries are using different platforms to air their broadcast, and in turn, this facilitates a better experience with their listeners. The decision to serve their listeners in a vast range of platforms has proved to be economically viable because the listeners can get the radio services at their comfort. For example, the development of an alarm clock application that is pure radio branded and once set, it wakes the person up to the specific radio station. The smartphone is the last thing that most people touch before they can retire to sleep and also the first thing they reach for in the morning. Therefore, integrating the radio app in phones is one convergence innovation that has helped to keep the radio industry alive. Furthermore, it is more fun and engaging and lively to be woken up by an exciting breakfast show on your phone.
Most radio stations have included their brand in social networks like Twitter and Facebook, where they are running promotions and others creating their communities. This convergence has offered many ways in which radio industries interact with their listeners in real-time. Nowadays, radio stations are using events, SMS, podcasts, social networks, phone calls, events, and ground patrol vehicles to reach their listeners. For example, a radio station may post pictures of its news anchors interviewing a prominent politician or even a celebrity artist on Facebook Thus exiting the listeners who view these photos on that platform and prompting them to contribute to the discussion at hand.
Most offline radio stations have come up with websites where they can easily reach their listeners. In these sites, the radio stations offer promotions, and this convergence between the radio stations and the web is very fruitful as it adds visual aspects to the broadcast. More so, the radio sells ads on their website, and thus this adds to their profits. Radio stations are also placing Ads on audio players which facilitate advertisements in between programs. Precisely, it takes multiple media to reach a vast target market, and thus minor forms of convergence come in handy to assist in achieving such targets. For example, a media house might decide to use billboards, ads for the radio station in newspapers, and other forms of prints and on TVs.
Effects of Media Convergence on Radio Listeners
The technological convergences taking place in the radio industry brings about change in audiences and their experience. This change is because the radio content can be accessed through the internet and streamed live or downloaded. Due to this advancement, a new group of people known as E-listeners arises. Paula (501) adds that these technologies have improved the listener's experience as on can access radio services in different forms and switch between different platforms. For instance, one can listen, read, or watch the radio content at will.
Additionally, improved customer services are not only in the content aired but also in the format of the content since a combination of audio and visual integration offers a different experience from audio-only. The inclusion of entertainment content has led to combining different discourses in the online platform and participatory culture and thus reshaping the radio content to suit the needs of the customers. The provision of media through personal platforms can be consumed in a proper way or through common sense sharing are very important in helping people to make sense of their lives.
Also, radio has become the daily companion to most listeners, and thus it helps people to their routine by providing them with information, entertainment, and news. Radio convergence with other social platforms such as Facebook, provides users with an opportunity to take part in a virtual structure of communication and interaction. People listen to the radio and take part in meetings, contents, and conversations, thus creating a sense of belongingness to the listeners, which on occurs in such a cybernetic context. Convergence has provided the E-listeners with an opportunity to choose between radio or other internet-based radio stations depending on the content with little or no influence from the available platforms (Paula 502).
Areas of Digital Media Convergence Technology
In most digital technological environments, media convergence occurs in five broad areas. These convergences are integrated into the tools used in the acquisition of content, which includes microphones, cameras, sensors, and other devices used for capturing information, which is either visual, audio, or in any other format.
The first area of technological convergence is acquisition. Cameras and microphones are the primary tools used in collecting moving or static pictures and sound, respectively. This advancement has enabled the radio stations to record high-quality audios, which are clear and free from noise. The advantage of using digital sound technology is that the recorded information does not degrade over time, and the groups of numbers can be compressed and thus produce more broadcasting channel capacity. The integration of digital microphones and cameras into other digital technologies like drones and robots has been beneficial in gathering information instead of using human camera operators.
After the content is acquired, the next step is production. This area entails editing the collected information. The computers do much of the work in this post-production stage as compared to the analog era. The machines help to organize the content in order and to remove the one that is not necessary for broadcasting. Today's digital post-production in programming and editing is purely software-based, and thus this makes the editing work simple, efficient, and accurate. The devices used in radio content editing have also become smaller and smarter.
Additionally, the next area of media convergence is distribution technology convergence in radio broadcasting. The tradition means of radio transmission have undergone constant evolution since the invention of electronic programming. Moreover, the changes have been more radical due to the design of digital distribution mechanisms in the 1990s (Pavlic 139). Distribution is also improved by the rise of satellite and digital cable broadcasting and other wireless transmission technologies.
After distribution, data storage is essential. Although electronic technologies for storing sound have been available, significant advances have been made that have led to reduced cost of storage devices. The use of Gmail and Google cloud storage facilities has helped in providing ample storage space for the radio industry. More so, the importance of other technologies like external hand disks, smartphones, and flash disks, cannot be underestimated.
The final area of technological convergence in the radio industry is display technologies. These are very crucial as they are the one that interacts directly with the listener. This area covers the means of accessing audio and the visual content by the customer (Pavlik146). Due to advancements in technology, radio stations can broadcast high-quality audio sound. This quality begins with the proper capturing tools and the availability of high-quality speakers on the side of the listener.
Although radio convergence is a significant advancement in the industry, it has not necessarily led to the active participation of the audiences. However, it has played a vital role in opening up the industry and the journalism profession to information. It has certainly opened up more channels for the broadcasters to interact with their listeners. From an analytical point of view, the radio listeners of the twenty-first century have a new experience compared to the listeners of the 1950s (Laura). Radio convergence technology can be attributed to increasing urbanization, improved literacy levels, and modernization.
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