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BBC director wants a larger overall audio audience, not larger radio share

James Purnell, the BBC’s director of education and radio, spoke at the European Broadcasting Union about the organization’s strategy for reaching a young audience that has increasingly favored digital over analog media. His proposed approach is to meet those potential listeners where they are rather than trying to convert them into terrestrial radio fans.

“Rather than focus on how big our slice of the pie is, we should grow its overall size, we should get more people listening to radio and podcasts,” Purnell said.

The Guardian reported that Purnell is less concerned about the latest stats from the RAJAR reports on radio’s audience, and more focused on simply retaining the BBC’s current share in that space. In the meantime, it will pursue growth by reaching out to young audiences with other media channels.

As part of that strategy, the BBC has taken particular strides to expand its footprint in podcasts. The broadcaster hired Jason Phipps as its first ever commissioning editor for podcasts, and he assumed that post in May. The BBC has also been adapting to the latest tech, launching Alexa voice skills for all of its podcasts and radio stations.

Anna Washenko

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