This study investigates the consumption of music content and entertainment of Basque youth, in order to identify the deficiencies they detect in the Basque offer. The analysis of taking into account the programming of international music broadcasters, the group debate with young people from Euskal Herria, the observations on three radio stations from Spain and Catalonia and the interviews with those responsible for these broadcasters have been the means of gathering information. In the light of this information, an eight-paragraph proposal has been prepared for Gaztea irratia, in order to increase its connection with the young people of the Basque Country in the digital age of the image.
Digitisation has led to significant changes in the media. The audiovisual media has needed to renew its formats to adapt to changes and the Basque media has not been an exception. In this context, the main challenge of this paper is to explore whether they are actually able to increase the connection of the Gaztea radio, dedicated exclusively to young people, in the digital age of the image, with the young people of Euskal Herria. For this, on the one hand, we have identified the strengths of the musical radios with respect to the rest of the music platforms. Subsequently, the entertainment needs of Basque youth have been studied, taking into account the contents of the traditional offer and the new channels derived from digitalisation. In addition, we have analyzed how radio stations outside Euskal Herria have carried out their digital strategy.
The research questions that served as a starting point were:
1.- IG: What are the characteristics of the highest audience international music stations? What is the place of music on these broadcasters?
2.- IG: What motivates Basque youth to consume music on the radio?
3. IG: What entertainment content do the media and platforms offer most to young Basques?
4. IG: What gap do young people perceive in the current offer of Basque entertainment content?
5.- IG: How does radio use the image internationally?
Once this information has been collected, a series of proposals aimed at Youth has been defined, with the aim of contributing to its transition towards the age of digitalization and image.
In the research work we have combined four techniques: the analysis of having, the group debate, observations and interviews. First, an analysis has been made of taking into account nine internationally relevant radio stations to identify the characteristics of the international music broadcasters with the highest audience, to know the place that music occupies in them and how radio uses the image internationally. For four days, from 11 to 14 April 2019 (Thursday to Sunday), we have analyzed the content of the following radio stations:
The template used for the analysis of having is:
ElelelElElElP-El-El-El-El-P-I, has been used to collect the information needed to answer the first and fifth research questions (1. IG: “What are the characteristics of the highest audience international music stations? What is the place of music on these stations?’; 5. IG: Both research questions have been answered by observation and interview techniques.
In addition, we have organized a group debate to answer the other three research questions: 2.- IG: “What motivates Basque youth to consume music on the radio?”; 3. IG: “What is the entertainment content offered by the media and platforms?” 4. IG: “What gaps do young people perceive in the current offer of Basque entertainment content?” This group debate was held with seven young people between 20 and 25 years of age from Bizkaia, Gipuzkoa, Navarra and Lapurdi, on April 15, 2019, at the UPV/EHU campus in San Sebastián.
Finally, in May 2019, three radio stations from Madrid and Barcelona were visited in order to learn about the working methodology and digital strategy they use in each of them. In the radio stations, we conducted the interviews and observations detailed in the table below.
Therefore, it is appropriate to perform a process of return to the research questions indicated at the beginning of the work, in order to analyze the information obtained in the exercise of this work related to each of them.
What are the characteristics of the highest audience international music stations? What is the place of music on these broadcasters?
- Both the presenters and the classes of the music programs of the international broadcasters are experts in music, and they are often musicians.
- BBC Radio 1 and NPR stations where guest musicians perform live performances in studies and publications on Youtube. In addition, they visualize their direct video capsules on social networks and their websites.
- Music is a lure to bring users of networks closer together on many broadcasters. In other words, recording musical artists and publishing their videos online is a success in most cases: interviews, challenges, competitions, cotilleos…
- In The 40, NRJ or BBC Radio 1 carry out, outside the study, various activities and events with the aim of consolidating their brand and community: concerts, festivals, workshops…
- In Flaixbac, in addition to presenting the songs of successful international artists, they accommodate a wide range of local aerial and network artists: The star system of Catalonia has an important participation and presence in it, showing support to the radio. This, in turn, we believe strengthens the community.
- Lately many broadcasters have opted for digital, generally linked to a certain music, theme or style. For example, in the case of the 40, digital radio channels have been offered exclusively for use on the web or in the application: The 40, Los40 Classic, Los40 Party, Los40 Latin or Los40 Working are the proposals of online radio channels.
- Radios like QUEJP, meanwhile, work music in thematic programs. That is, in each program they put a certain style of music in order to reach a certain audience. For example, 90.TEEN is a program produced by young people and announcers are young DJs, so this program will be heard by young fans of electronic music.
What motivates young Basques to consume music on the radio?
- The added value of music consumption on radio is, according to the words expressed in the group debate, to gather information about the artist when listening to the song. That is, listeners from Euskal Herria like to know the characteristics of the artist, the information about the song, the album, or the vicissitudes of upcoming events (concerts or festivals).
- Young people consider that one of the strengths of radio is the broad offer. There are many songs that you don"t know or remember and the radio gives you the ability to connect with it.
- Young people say that when they choose to listen to music and they don"t know what to listen to, radio is a good choice.
- Some members of the collective debate recognize that one of the reasons young people listen to radio is that it is not consumed on the Internet. That is, radio allows you to enjoy music in the car or in places that don"t come from the Internet.
What entertainment content do the media and platforms offer most to young Basques?
- Streaming platforms tend to support the reception of audiovisual entertainment content for Basque youth. We find particularly noteworthy the choice they make when consuming fiction from platforms like Netflix.
- Regarding television, it should be noted that Basque youth does not consume fiction in general on television. The following TV formats are reality shows, talent shows, docureality and reports. Products such as The Conqueror of the End of the World, GH VIP, Sewing Masters or Traveling Street are some of the most consumed among the youth of the collective debate.
- The young people of Euskal Herria like to consume short videos through social networks, usually on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook and tips for everyday life. The success of these videos is based on their short duration. The group discussion included the tutorials Tasty, 5 minute crafts and Makeup.
- Several of the participants in the collective debate stated that they see on Youtube youtubes and television or radio programs. For example: Wonderful people or Resistance.
What gap do young people perceive in the current offer of Basque entertainment content?
- The members of the group debate acknowledged that the contents generated in the Basque Country by income issues are of low quality. They believe that more money and more time should be spent on Basque fiction. The participants concluded that there is a great gap in Basque fiction, adding that the fictions produced in Catalonia should be taken as a reference.
- One of the gaps that Basque youth has detected is that international content is not offered in Basque. All participants consider that the Basque entertainment situation departs substantially from the international situation. In general, participants recognized that they would like to produce in Euskera “The Conqueror of the End of the World”, “The Voice”, “Travelling Street” and other talent or reality show.
How does radio use the image internationally?
- After the interview with the radio experts, it is concluded that social networks must visualize an expired content, as it is consumed quickly. In addition, it is important to know that each social network has a different function. As Ignacio Ibañez, director of the SER"s digital strategy, explained, Twitter promotes the interactivity between radio and user. Facebook emails, on the contrary, are heavily punished by clickers; furthermore, Ibañez believes that a post can be contagious if it fails to succeed. Facebook is, however, a good tool to increase web traffic. The Instagram case is different. It is very convenient to create own content for Instagram. Despite not getting economic benefits from this platform, besides being an active social network in the community, it is very useful to make your radio known among young people.
- On the other hand, a positive use of the Youtube platform has been detected. Several radios have installed cameras in their studios to be able to record radio programs and then upload to Youtube the most striking moments of the program. In the case of La vida moderna, for example, the Youtube channel has more audience than the broadcast channel. Therefore, SER has created several programs that can only be consumed on Youtube or on the web, aware that these programs do not have space on the antenna.
- As for the website, it serves for the publication of permanent contents. It should be taken into account that the use of the website should not be imposed, but should be done through social networks, giving the possibility to users to visit or not, using social networks to advertise the website, but this advertising should be fine or sweet. For the user, access to the website should be an option, as in it you will find the largest source of information and radio content.
- Visual radio is one of the clear consequences of digital transformation. Both professionals who carry the digital strategy of the SER Chain and Catalunya Radio join the importance of visual radio. They say that there is less and less space for audio on the Internet and that the image is essential to ensure the presence of radio on the Internet. On social networks or platforms like Youtube audio has no place and it is impossible to connect with young people without having a presence on these platforms. However, visual radio goes beyond placing a camera in the study: as we have seen and learned from the observations made, it is essential to take care of the aesthetic. That is, the study has to be prepared to be aesthetically friendly: an open table for the announcers to be in front of the camera, for the light to be good the image, a proverb to decorate the study… In addition, we have to take into account what deserves to be shared by images and what does not.
- It"s impossible to talk about digital strategy without mentioning podcasts that lately roam. Although audios do not have much presence on the Internet, podcast format is the radio content with the greatest presence on the Internet. This formula has worked a lot in recent times in both Catalunya Radio and the SER. In this case, when we talk about podcast, we think we have to clarify what it is about, because when it comes to recording a radio program in the morning it is not called podcast to put for consumption on the web. Podcast is the content that radio generates exclusively for digital platforms. It"s usually timeless entertainment programs or audio fiction that you emit on these platforms. An example of this are the platform of the SER Podium Podcast or the fictional programs Crim or Tor in Catalunya Radio.
- As explained to us by Geni De Vilar, the leader of the digital strategy of Catalunya Radio and TV3, the salvation of radio is not limited to the Internet, that is, if it is also used on Instagram it gets a bad content, nobody will consume it. Therefore, digital transformation has two great challenges: on the one hand, knowing how to adapt what is broadcast on an antenna to each network, and on the other hand, identifying through networks the contents that young people most like. It is essential to give importance to content for the survival of radio in the digital age. If the content is good, whatever the platform (social networks, FM radio, Youtube, etc. ). ), consumed by the listener. The content is the tractor and in it the radio professionals demonstrate their skills (ability to generate content).
- Finally, it is very helpful to highlight the presence of the brand on music streaming platforms. This was explained to us by Selene Moral, head of the digital area of The 40. The availability of radio playlists on these platforms reinforces the brand image and can greatly help connect them with young people.
In Euskal Herria, despite the advances being made in the Gaztea station, there are still many aspects to change, even more considering what some young people from Euskal Herria say in their group —they are thirsty for entertainment content in Basque—. Therefore, in the light of this information gathered in the compromise work, a series of proposals are formulated below that can be useful to the Gaztea station, always in order to contribute to increasing the connection of this radio with young people during digitalisation.
Proposals for the future
In order to influence the transition to the age of digitalization and the image of the Gaztea radio, below is a proposal composed of eight sections: social networks, visual radio, Youtube, music platforms, web, application, podcast and the attitude of employees and announcers.
Regarding social networks, although Gaztea radio has an active presence on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, several proposals are made below.
Social networks offer promotion, dissemination, acceptance, dialogue and user loyalty. We believe that the Instagram profile of Gaztea broadcaster performs these tasks well enough. However, in it we can see too many promotions. The promotion of own content must be measured and Instagram story is abused in the Youth. In many cases, more than a minute videos are recorded and are divided into four or more parts on Instagram story. Given that this can be costly, our proposal is to reduce the number and frequency of promotional videos.
In this sense, we have identified that many videos are frequently repeated. SER programming director José Vicente Dorado tells us that it is not convenient to repeat the contents on social networks and that the Gaztea radio does. As expert Mia Fonte says, the content of social networks must be outdated and if you want it to be permanent, it is best for them to be displayed on the web.
On Instagram story it is not always rewarding for the user to post them directly. Keep in mind that long content doesn’t have much space on Instagram and that having to live videos can be expensive for those behind your phone. Making direct is all very well, but you don"t always have to be publishing.
On the other hand, proper content for social networks and especially for Instagram is necessary in the age of digitalization. The young man, besides having a radio, is also a generator of . Thus, through Instagram, and focusing on the content of interest, you can reach young people by creating content that will only be displayed on Instagram. For example, the vertical series for Instagram, digital conversations with artists and celebrities, challenges, competitions… With the content displayed through Instagram you can not get economic benefit, but it is a good opportunity to strengthen the brand and attract young people to the community.
Following the contents, we think it is a very good idea, for example, the one made by the radio SER: to place the hooks of the explainers made by graffiti on Instagram. Explainers are short videos that provide practical information on any social issue. For example, SER radio explained in five steps how to make your vote useful in general elections. These explainers do not have to be fully posted on Instagram, they can be hooks to access the web (showing only a small video game pill). We can also add the text to them because Instagram users often have the silenced sound and the textual writing of what we mean to share information is very useful, while if sound is very important in publishing we will ask the user to turn on sound through graphism.
As we have seen in the study, Facebook is the most useful tool to redirect users to the web. Therefore, posting the explainers on Facebook can also be very appropriate.
In the case of Facebook, although the information on social networks expires, we have to think very well what is published. If the posts are not successful, they can become contagious until they come to face oneself. In other words, posts that achieve few sayings or compartments influence the algorithms, giving less visualization to future posts. For example, in the case of SER, users analyze the hours and days they are active to post their emails at the most effective time.
It is the most appropriate social network to promote interactivity with users. We therefore believe that Gaztea irratia should make a special effort in this respect. To achieve this, they can ask the users for their opinion or propose to the interviewees.
The interviewed professionals confirm that audio is not present on different Internet platforms. Therefore, it would be beneficial to propose a strategy of inserting Gaztea in the world of visual radio for radio. However, for visual radio to be a success, a series of measures must be taken in addition to placing a camera in the studio. Please note:
- As for the content, it should be clear what the content available on the visual radio will be and which will not. As Ignacio Ibáñez, head of the SER digital strategy, says, radio"s priority is antenna broadcasting. In this sense, among the programs and sections performed, it is necessary to clarify what has room in the video platforms and what does not. It"s not about turning antenna programs into visuals, it"s about streaming the useful through video from the content that"s broadcast on the antenna. Once the video department is developed, then we can begin to propose programs that are exclusively visual.
- Regarding the esthetics of the study, if radio is to be transmitted by images, it must be taken into account that changes must be made in the study to make the image apparent. If the speaker"s table is round or octagonal, it will be very difficult for the speaker or speaker"s face to be seen in the chamber. The table must be open so that the speakers are present in front of the camera. In addition, announcers should note that cameras are recorded, so they should keep the table and studio in order. The presence of food or external brands is not highly recommended when taking care of the corporate image. It can also help to have the studio decorated (props, posters, screens, etc.)
- The study has to be technically prepared: at the time of recording the image several things are needed in the study. In all the programmes observed, for example, they had a demonstration system in place. Visual radio creates the need for several jobs:
- A filmmaker is needed to manage the cameras. In the three radio programs observed, a camera - director operated from the control room.
- It is also convenient to have a production worker (in the case of Yu do not miss, there were two people working in production).
- In Yu do not miss anything there were writers (but not in the other programs). It is true that the session was not entirely tied to the script, but there were parts as well as the main structure of the programme.
- As for cameras, there is no need for many resources to work on the visual radio. Although, in general, they used robotic cameras to record in study, in the case of Trailers.cat, three iPhones were enough, and then they were in charge of performing an iPad from the control room. This clearly means that an extraordinary budget is not needed to achieve reasonable results.
- Finally, the availability of cameras in the study implies the need for several editing and graphic programs. Having an adobe writing package is absolutely necessary to be able to edit videos. In addition, the need for software for image processing will be highlighted. The Switcher Studio program is used in the case of Messenger.cat. In Active Life, the Broadcast Fix program.
It is essential that the Gaztea radio create its own Youtube channel. In fact, the EITB account has a series of prestigious and successful contents that demand the content of the B Youth Area, so we propose the creation of a proper channel. Youths use Youtube to watch videos, so if you want to connect with youths it is essential that they are present in the places where they move. Ignacio Ibáñez made it clear that the visual content generated has more space on Youtube than on the web.
But what content can Gaztea channel to Youtube? In the youth, visual content is already produced, such as Maddalen Arzallus de Conquistxat, Zal… Given the success of these programs, we believe that it is best to upload to Youtube. You can also upload content like direct or Instagram interviews. If you record programs, you can also edit the video of the program by taking the best and most ridiculous moments and then upload to Youtube. In addition, we propose other content, such as the creation of different content with singers, artists or famous Basques, such as challenges, questions, competitions… These actions we like and believe can work.
It’s important to highlight the Youth’s brand on music platforms like Spotify or Soundcloud. Our proposal is that the updated playlist of the week and the lists of different songs be put on Gaztea platforms, so that young people feel closer to the Gaztea radio.
It is useless to fill the website with all kinds of content if you then do not get a visitor. High content must be meaningful and useful. It is not appropriate to redirect short videos to the website, as the consumption interval of these short videos is very advertising and, therefore, the user experience is heavy.
In addition, care must be taken with the advertising made to the web, since the excess of advertising or the fact of obliging listeners to visit the web may have an opposite effect. You have to advertise, but in a soft and sincere way inviting and not forcing the listener to visit the web.
On the other hand, we propose the creation of exclusive content for the web. For example, incorporating news about Basque and international music and musicians. This content must in turn be an attractive content on social networks. In this way, it can be used as a bait in the Youth networks.
User experience on the website should be improved. Following the Responsive Web Design theory in Marcotte, our proposals are:
- Move the web from black to white. To ensure a good user experience, white spaces must be respected and the margins are white so that the one circulating on the network is not tired.
- Today, aware that the computer is not our first screen, we consider it necessary to have an adaptable web structure that allows its consumption in different media. It is considered convenient to structure the web vertically to guarantee its consumption in different supports.
- If the abovementioned explainers are placed on Instagram and on Facebook, it would be good if all these videos were put on the web.
Like many other radios, a good idea may be that digital themed broadcasters are available through the app, that is, they hear the continuous playlists that cover the different musical styles. Among others, the inclusion of rap, rock and other styles through digital thematic channels.
We propose to include music news, both national and international, that may be attractive to the user.
If you choose to create podcasts, we think it is a good idea that they are available for listening or downloading on the network.
José Vicente Dorado, coordinator of the SER antenna, confirmed that the winds favor the podcast:
“We have to work better on everything that has to do with the podcast world, which is growing enormously. [...] Yes, what kind of podcast: a quality podcast, with good scripts, with an excellent sound performance, working with writers, working with actors, with professionals working on it… [...] We will have to walk around and we will have to walk, because the audience we have on conventional radio will continue to age, and that is what we are seeing and the studies we continue to corroborate” (Personal Communication, 23).
An interesting idea may be the creation of a podcast series for the Gaztea radio and digital platforms. These podcasts would also be beneficial for the application, which in addition to the Gaztea grill would allow you to consume audio with humor, fiction or others. Some podcasts are based solely on audio, while others insert the image to upload to Youtube. As for podcasts content, all kinds of content can be inserted, allowing access to all audiences. Fiction, programs of different musical styles, humor sessions, novels read… The podcast offers the freedom to create content that has no place in the antenna.
Attitude of workers and broadcasters
In order for the digital strategy to develop successfully, it is essential that partners and broadcasters are in the minds of the digital context. As Geni de Vilar, leader of the digital strategy of Catalunya Radio and TV3, told us, radio staff should see themselves as creative content. What does this mean? That the strength of the current media is the ability to generate content, and if it is good, it will succeed on radio, television, Youtube or social networks. The purpose of dissemination is that the content we generate is disseminated in as many media or platforms as possible to consume as many people as possible.
It is not possible, however, to force a worker to change his mind from day to day. As De Vilar explains, it is important to make staff feel their support. Therefore, the leader of the digital strategy needs to exert positive leadership so that people feel protected and motivated:
“People’s leadership in these projects, communication, positive leadership is very important. Because you"re asking people to do different things, the people who 25 years ago were doing television and radio, and if you don"t put the message in positive... people want to be ready, they want to feel accompanied in the process and if you tell a journalist: “And now you will have to make an Instagram Live from this site”, etc... it will be frightened, but if you are slowly teaching and accompanying along the way… I mean, it is a process, an accompaniment, and that is why it is necessary that positive leadership” (Personal communication, May 16, 2019).
Finally, this new way of doing radio requires the creation of new professional profiles. If we are broadcasting the radio through the image, broadcasters should note that behind the radio or screen there are listeners and viewers. Although difficult, on the one hand, broadcasters must offer entertaining and visual content to the viewer, not forgetting what the radio is listening to via FM. The maintenance of this difficult balance between the two needs should, in our view, be the fundamental criterion in this complex and yet exciting transition from the Youth"s analogue era to the digital era of the image.
1.- This article is a summary of an End of Degree Work performed in collaboration with EITB.
2.- Ethan Marcotte (2014): Responsive Web Design [2nd edition], New York, Apt A Book.