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2 November 2023

Alex Baker on Why People are the Superpower of Media

Whether he’s introducing the world to brand new music on his award-winning show on Kerrang! Radio, enthusing audiences about his love for musicals on his breakfast show on Magic At The Musicals, helping you to relax in the evening on his late night show on Magic or designing partnership strategies – Alex Baker, Head of Creative Strategy at Bauer Media has an authentic passion for the media landscape, which shone through during his heartfelt session on why people are the superpower of media, at the Future of Media conference.

Alex started by claiming that one of the principal reasons why he loves being on the radio, writing, DJing, and creating partnerships is the feeling of connection that they provide. With more ways to communicate than ever before, combined with the rise of AI and dominance of big tech companies, his worry is that “we’re not actually getting closer, that our connections aren’t actually getting deeper, but that we’re actually becoming increasingly polarised and isolated… losing that sense of connection on a physical and metaphysical level.” Alex drove home the importance of not losing this aspect of our lives “because human connection, is one of the most crucial components of the human experience, and is vital to our success as a species.”

The theme throughout his session was a big question… “Is the world we’re building (or allowing people to build for us) – going to be a better, OR WORSE world, for us as people.” Citing the explosive growth of tech as a driving force in humanities increased feelings of isolation and resulting in people feeling more burnt out, frazzled and more mentally unhealthy than they’ve ever been. “Is it better that we have ALL these communication methods? Or is more overwhelming?” was the question Alex posed, “Is it stress-relieving? Or is stress inducing? Has it strengthened our bonds and connections to people? Or has it actually diluted them?”

At Bauer Media we embrace technology; from revolutionising digital radio with our Absolute Radio decade stations, pushing digital publishing into a vibrant future with ‘Illuminate’ or leading the smart speaker revolution in audio. However, we also recognise that humans are our superpower – with 96% of people saying radio lifts their mood and– 92% agreeing for magazines, it proves – showing how important media can be in our lives and how beneficial human connection can be too.

Because of this, Alex wanted to leave the audience with some thoughts on how they can “embrace and turbo-charge people power…to ensure that you are truly prioritising human connection.” wWith four key ideas:

Listening to your audience – and that means really truly listening to what they want and what’s important to them. Listen with the intention to understand.

Connecting at scale – with a cameo from KISS presenter Tyler West, who says that the trick he uses when connecting with his audience on his drivhometime show is to speak as if you are one-on-one with every listener.

Partnerships – the importance of partnerships and having strong creative relationships was reiterated by another cameo from Bauer Media’s Director of Commercial Content, Steve Taylor.

Embrace conflict – in today’s modern world, Alex feels we often exist in echo chambers,; we need to break out of them and allow for healthy challenges in order to stop the demise of conversation.

Overall, Alex wanted the audience’s main take away to be; stay wary, stay curious, and remember that “AI and technology can elevate and it can emulate, but it will NEVER be able to replicate Human Connection” – if human connection matters, we have to protect it.

Watch the full session: