The war in Ukraine, staff recruitment challenges, and developments in the world of audio will be on the agenda when the 12th annual Radiodays Europe opens in Malmö, Sweden next month.
The conference has broadened its focus to include more types of audio work. It now aims to be a “meeting point for the European radio, podcast and audio industries,” including private and public radio stations, podcasters of all sizes, and audio professionals from a variety of industries.
Rosemary Smith is comms manager for Radiodays Europe.
Radio World: How did the pandemic affect your ability to stage this event in the last two years?
Rosemary Smith: Radiodays Europe Lisbon 2020 was cancelled at the very start of the pandemic. It was a turbulent time for all in the industry and it became apparent that Radiodays Europe had to change quickly and continue to provide content to the industry throughout the pandemic.
This is why we supported and joined with Benztown and P1 in launching the Coronavirus Radio Awards, brought the first Podcast Day Online event online and, as a bit of fun, held our Radiodays Europe Christmas Lunch with inspiring messages from around the industry to all online in 2020.
The year 2021 started out as a world of online events, and we launched Podcast Day 24, in partnership with the British Podcast Awards and the Australian Podcast Awards, three events, across three continents in 24 hours. It was a huge success, although a challenge to produce for our audiences worldwide. Australia did manage an in-person event; however in Europe and North America the quarantines were still very much in place.
Radiodays Europe Lisbon 2021 did go ahead in September of that year. With COVID measures in place, masks and social distancing, a smaller event was held in-person with an equal number of attendees online.
It was with a sigh of relief that the radio, audio and podcast industries gathered in Lisbon. Face to face is so important, maybe more so after this pandemic, which has been so hard on so many in our industry.
Radiodays Asia also went online in 2021 for the first time with speakers from all over the world joining and making it a truly special event.
Radiodays Europe Malmö 2022 is continuing the hybrid approach for the many countries and companies who are unable to travel; however registration is up on last year, and we are looking forward to welcoming a greater number of exhibitors and sponsors. The speaker roster is also very impressive this year.
RW: What is the theme or focus?
Smith: In the last year Radiodays Europe has widened its remit to include all from the radio, audio and podcasting industries. Although we had attendees and sponsors from all of these sectors we are now recognizing the diversification of our event. The theme for this year’s event is “Audio Today & Tomorrow,” to reflect the addition of audio into our fold. We are also part of helping all to look forward from today and to see where the opportunities and threat lie in the future.
RW: What do you feel are the most pressing business or technology issues facing radio broadcasters in Europe right now?
Smith: There are three areas which have been of note in the planning for Radiodays Europe, the most obvious of which is the current war in Ukraine and the threat to truth and freedom of the press.
For stations and companies, we have seen that staff and or talent retention with so many platforms now competing in an increasing issue.
Finally, a new focus this year has been diversity in the radio, audio and podcast sectors — can they do more?
RW: Can you give us a sample?
Smith: We have a session called “#Ukraine — The War on Truth.” In time of war and crisis, misinformation can easily spread like wildfire on social media, and professional media is getting under pressure, independent journalism being attacked and media outlets being closed down by authorities, like recently in Russia. This session will explore how to strengthen independent journalism and how to check the authenticity of videos and content being spread.
The session “Recruit, Retrain, Retain” will explore how organizations from three countries approach recruitment of new talent, retention of key staff and how to ensure that existing staff have the right skills for an ever-changing audio industry.
And the session “From Inclusion to Journalism — The Swedish Case” is aimed to help organizations consider how to remain relevant and trustworthy as a public service organization today.
RW: Is there a virtual component of the event?
Smith: Radiodays Europe remains a hybrid event to remain open to all our many worldwide friends and colleagues.
RW: For those attending in person, what rules will be in place as far as COVID, including vaccination status and masking?
Smith: All COVID restrictions in Sweden have now been removed, no masks or vaccine passports are required. While travelling, however, attendees need to ensure they are following all COVID restrictions on airlines and public transport plus checking the entry/exit rule are in place for their home countries. Radiodays Europe will continue to follow guidance on venue management and safety measures as set out by the Swedish government and continues to respect those wishing to wear or not wear masks.
RW: What else should we know?
Smith: It’s all new on Sunday at Radiodays Europe. This year Sunday is almost a full day, kicking off with Radiodays Europe Women in the morning, which is a free in-person and online event. This is followed by three Summits: Podcast Summit in partnership with Acast, Next Gen Youth Summit in partnership with THIS, and the Danske Audio Summit in partnership with Danish Audiodays.
At the end of the summits there is the chance to watch the European premiere of the documentary “Worst to First: The True Story of Z100 New York,” sponsored by PURE Jingles, with post-premiere drinks at the RCS Sunday Night Welcome Drinks at the venue MalmöMässan.