PULS Radio talent Julia Janke during her show “Filter.”BR/Julia Müller
PARIS AND MUNICH, Germany — According to market research, radio is losing
popularity among young people.
Nonlinear music listening is racking up (both
streaming and podcasting), and the capability to create and share one’s own
favorite playlists across social media platforms is threatening the role of
radio as the primary source for music discovery.
As a consequence, some radio stations have
started making a significant effort to raise their appeal among the younger
audience. Though youngsters today represent a small part of radio listeners,
they will eventually be the backbone of tomorrow’s audience.
Today not only commercial but also public-service
broadcasters have developed specific stations that target younger listeners.
These include Radio France’s Le Mouv,’ which
reaches for 20 to 35-year-olds and Bayerischer Rundfunk’s PULS, targeting 18 to
29 year olds.
“First, we clearly defined our ‘territory’ —connected people 20 to 35 years old,”
said Christilla Huillard-Kann, deputy director for Le Mouv’ and New Media at
Thomas Müller (R), PULS program director, talks to Michael Bartlewski (L), editor of the afternoon show “Filter.”BR/Julia Müller
“Then, since last January, Joël Ronez, Le
Mouv’ director, and Matthieu Beauval, Le Mouv’ program manager, have been
focusing on a new program format. It’s based on rock pop elektro music and on
hearing from our audience, our people — their voices, their issues, problems
and celebrations. The Web is our primary engagement medium, so we created
is not just a Web page. According to Huillard-Kann, it is the digital pillar of
Le Mouv.’ Webline has flexible editorial guidelines, which allows the station
“to capture what’s happening in today’s society, its information, pleasure and
surprises, the way this connected generation consumes programs and listens to
stories,” said Huillard-Kann.
The webline is enriched with short programs
(two to three minutes long) featuring drama/fiction, documentaries and reports.
Thomas Müller, PULS Program DirectorBR/Julia Müller
“We want to keep a positive outlook on issues
and solutions, that’s why we produce urban, social and cultural stories,”
explains Huillard-Kann. “The content must be engaging, diverse, conforming to
youngsters’ expectations and consumption patterns — podcasts, website, shareable. Webline opens perspectives on the
society in which the young generation live and participate, and I believe it gives
and takes the pulse of a generation in order to diffuse, share and distribute
The Le Mouv’ webline workflow is quite
simple. Producers, directors and authors send ideas to Thomas Baumgartner, the
commissioning editor. After discussion, the editorial team selects from the
proposed productions and defines how the chosen programs should be directed.
The sound, post-production and mixing is
carried out by Le Mouv’ sound engineers and sound designers. The webline is
subsequently edited by Baumgartner with the assistance of Radio France’s Web
department. Content is first published online, then it’s available for podcast,
and finally it goes on air.
“I would say that Le Mouv’ is the first radio
station to implement reverse broadcasting on such a large scale,” said
Huillard-Kann. “We are getting positive feedback from our listeners. Our
audience is still increasing on the website. Last March we scored our highest
record in terms of audience with almost 850,000 visitors and more than 1.5
million page views.”
Another station courting the younger audience
is Germany’s PULS, part of public-service broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk.
Thomas Müller, program director for the station says that the station offers a
“unique blend of current pop music with an edgy approach, unlike commercial
radio stations in Bavaria.”
Le Mouv’ website features “webline”
According to Müller, local and regional
newcomer bands feature prominently in its music shows. “We keep our audience
abreast with 15 news shows each day. We offer a wide range of journalistic
formats. As for our content, it is centered on pop and online culture. Overall,
our emphasis lies firmly on bringing together radio, Web and television into
one attractive proposition,” he said.
his view, the need for interactivity is one of the main characteristics of the
PULS audience. The station therefore offers many ways to do so, from social
networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to email, telephone and “shout
box” on the PULS homepage (www.deinpuls.de).
In addition, PULS offers its own app, which
provides information about the current program, upcoming highlights and the
possibility to listen to the station online. With the app, listeners can also
vote in polls, post comments as well as upload their own audio and video
content and photos.
“Getting people to download the PULS app to
their smartphones gives us privileged access to our audience,” Müller said. “The
app also serves as a constant reminder on people’s phones of what we offer. Our
online team adds the relevant data from the app backend and can also access app
for PULS’s presence on social media, Müller explains that the station has a
journalistic approach and produces video content. “We’re trying to vary our
topics as much as possible, crossing the usual boundaries of a local radio
Two people manage social media activities in
PULS’ online department. One person deals with daily posts and specific
versions of the various radio topics for social media, while the other focuses
on strategy and technology.
“We’re constantly trying to keep track of all
user and listener activities and always strive to respond promptly,” Müller said.
“In order to achieve this, we have dedicated team members on duty. But we
currently don’t operate a specific dashboard in order to keep track of all the
reports on the industry for Radio World from Bergamo, Italy.