Many questions have been asked regarding the longevity of radio in the current media ecology, this is partially due to the rise of, in many opinions, more superior mediums of sports coverage as we move more increasingly digital as the advancement of technology continues to increase. It is more than fair to say that the rise of TV, throughout the late 30’s onwards, and the development of social media as a medium, in the user-generated content Web 2.0 era, have both influenced the decline of the popularity of radio, causing the radio broadcasters to adapt.
Owens in 2009 explained that in the era of digital technologies it is easy to perceive Radio as a dated, ordinary medium for mass communication. Whereas in reality, radio provides opportunities for consumers to imagine all actions within the fixture through more detailed commentary, often delivered with elevated levels of passion and enthusiasm. Radio in the modern sport media ecology has completely evolved from the play-by-play sport coverage from the early sport media ecology.
In the UK, the first, the first football fixture broadcasted via radio was a First Division fixture between Arsenal and Sheffield United in January 1927 at Highbury. Listeners were able to use published grids of the pitch, published in the Radio Times, to ascertain which area of the pitch the action was taking place which were explained by a second commentator. it was clear at the time that radio was at the forefront of mass media coverage of top-flight football in the U.K. As we move in to the modern day, radio stations have had to adapt to the development of technologies, in another blog of mine, ‘Convergence Culture in Media Content of Premier League Football‘, I explained how platforms have adapted to the convergence culture due to the rise of user-generated content (Web 2.0), Radio has done exactly this, we now see radio stations, such as TalkSport and BBC Radio 5 Live, have a great social media presence where they create content through posting clips of the radio content, adding the convergence culture, seen below is a clip of a TalkSport host Jamie O’Hara providing an opinion on Manchester City this season, a prime example of how Radio had adapted to provide various means of content through the convergence of mediums in order to sustain a place in the market. Pease and Dennis support the notion that Radio has its place as the explain how the tool for communication had co-existed through the development of the TV.
To answer the question in the title of the blog, No, but it has certainly assisted to the decline in popularity, but in terms of functionality, radio coverage of Premier League football has adapted in order to survive, and now with the addition of podcasts, pundit analysis and live commentary, sport radio stations have developed into more than useful means of consuming top-flight English football, without the showbiz element of TV and the general lack of knowledge seen in social media, consumers get a raw, expert analysis of the game. In my opinion, what has caused the decline of the radio is simply the development of new technologies in an increasingly digitised market.
Personally, I enjoy listening to the football chat shows on TalkSport as they provide a deep analysis of recent events, but when it comes to watching live football, I watch the games live on Sky Sports as it is the closest one can get to being at the game live.
Feel free to get in touch via Twitter, and let me know in the comments, do you consume Premier League content of any type through the use of a radio?