The origins of radio date back to 1922, when the first paid radio commercial was aired in the United States. In recent years, we’ve seen the rise of streaming services, podcast popularity is at an all time high, and the adoption of voice technology continues to surge as voice-activated assistants become staples in our everyday lives. Here, D&AD Radio & Audio Jury President Levi Slavin discusses the latest trends in radio and audio, as well as sharing crucial insights on what he’ll be looking out for in the jury room.
What are the key issues and trends affecting the industry, and your discipline specifically?
The industry has never moved faster. Our audience has never had more control and choice. The practice of targeting humans based primarily on the year they were born has given way to connecting over a shared ideology. Technology is still creeping ever closer to magic. Data is still creeping everyone out. And there seems to be a limitless appetite for extraordinary stories and experiences.
It’s an exciting time for creativity.
As one of the first channels truly embraced by our industry, radio/audio has had the advantage of living in constant fear of irrelevance. This has created a culture of innovation. From a terrifying era of silent content, we watched the rise and rise of the podcast. Then voice assistants. Then audio commerce.
While the most recent audio trends seem to be driven by technology and channel innovation, what has never changed is the power of audio for storytelling. It’s intimate, personal, and incredibly visual. We tend to discover audio experiences rather than having them hurled at us while we’re trying to do something else. And it’s hands-free; so we can commute, work, even operate heavy machinery while enjoying it.
Is there anything audio can’t do, I hear you ask?
No, no there isn’t.
In fact, when sitting down to write this, I asked my friendly Google Assistant what the future of audio holds. The answer was pretty comprehensive. And well worth a listen.