The popularity of digital radio is not an indicator that you need to migrate from analogue to digital. But if your radio station is operating on analogue, you should consider offering your listeners another channel to listen to your platform by hosting it on digital too.   

media update’s Nakedi Phala talks you through three reasons why digital radio is a great option to consider for your station. 

Digital radio has various benefits — you can broadcast without worrying about static sound, commonly known as radio frequency interference, you can display marketable content like ads and you can provide easy access to your podcasts for your audience.
Here are three reasons that explain why digital radio is the winning option: 

1. Digital radio has visual features 

Digital radio is killing the perception that radio isn’t a visual platform. Here is the good news! Since digital radio is website-based, there’s room to place visual content too. Examples of this are: 
  • Watch live channel — this feature gives your audience the opportunity to see what the presenters look like, what a studio actually looks like and a behind-the-scenes view. 
  • Advertising space — on the very same website, you can allocate space to promote other brands, sell products and include show sponsor logos, which can help increase website traffic and engagement.
  • News update — hearing the news on the radio doesn’t always give the listener a full picture of the news event, but with a news feed feature, of all the news is accompanied with short clips and a synopsis, and this persuades listeners to stay tuned into your radio station and to read and stream on your platform. 
  • Gallery — this feature is a great way to keep your audience entertained virtually, while they are streaming your station in the background. For example, a gallery gives the listener the chance to learn about your radio station’s objectives. It can comprise pictures of your previous marketing campaigns, social responsibility activities and other activities that your station is involved in. 
Visuals have the power to add colour to what humans hear. The feature helps the audience store information for even longer due to the aesthetic effect of images and, most of all, it can make communication convenient and simpler. 

For example, if a listener didn’t catch the details about the competition while they were listening, they can scroll through the website to read more and acquire the same information that they missed through a different medium.  

2. Digital radio can be run on a small budget

For well-established radio stations that have been operating on FM, it’s an added advantage to have a ‘live listen’ option on their website, which means that their audience has the freedom of choice to stream their favourite station from wherever and whenever they wish. 

Digital radio gives you the opportunity to make the most out of a niche budget because you can set up your studio anywhere — like an unused room in your own home. A broadcasting desk, which is an optional addition,  can be a virtual setup on your computer. 

Non-optional costs that you will need to obtain includes a broadcast license if you are a new starter and require music rights. In South Africa, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) regulates and offers licenses. The South African Music Rights Organisation is also there to assist with obtaining rights to artists' music. 

However, depending on how fast your radio station is growing, you will need to revisit your agreement with ICASA if you need to extend your broadcasting benefits. 

3. Digital radio is user-friendly 

Digital radio offers listeners quality sound — nowadays, they can even listen with or without an antenna. Digital allows listeners to scroll through music playlists, meaning that they are more likely to enjoy your platform because they can choose what they listen to. 

Additionally, digital radio allows listeners to use their smartphone devices to access your radio station. They can even listen to it conveniently in the background while doing other things on their devices.


There are also digital radio apps, which users can download from the Google Play Store or Apple iStore, as some devices don’t come with a radio app. A radio app is more enjoyable on a cellphone because it is convenient to use in environments like the office, or on public transport while doing other tasks. 


On both platforms, listeners have the freedom to interact on all listed social media platforms, such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — without leaving the radio app or website.

Now that you’ve gained some insight into why digital radio is making waves, and why you should use it, do you know of other media mediums that have improved and should be used? Let us know in the comments section below. 

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It’s clear that digital radio has a variety of features that you can enjoy. Thus, why not check out these Three types of radio advertising you should know about?
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy