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19 April 2024

Bauer looks to the Future of Audio and Entertainment

Simon Myciunka, Simon Kilby, Jenna Voyce and George Butler speak at AdWanted’s leading audio and media event

In a packed-out venue at London’s iconic County Hall, Bauer Media Audio UK CEO Simon Myciunka, Managing Director Bauer Media Advertising Simon Kilby, Commercial Director Jenna Voyce and Head of Commercial Marketing George Butler joined this year’s Adwanted Events’ Future of Audio & Entertainment conference, speaking to several hundred industry professionals across media, advertising and agencies.

Simon Myciunka kicked off the event with a wide-ranging interview with Media Leader’s Omar Oakes, looking back at his journey to CEO of Bauer Media Audio UK, his vision for the business and why he believes continued innovation will the key to audio’s future success.

Simon spoke about how digital audio is “growing in listening, expanding its advertising capabilities… the brands that take advantage in this space will be ahead of the game.” Simon later talked about podcasts being one of the fastest growing mediums, stressing the importance in increasing and keeping up investment space. With the recent successful launches of Olivia Attwood’s ‘So Wrong, its Right’ and Gemma Atkinson’s ‘The Overshare’, this is a space that Bauer is focusing on and will continue to invest in.

After showing the newly released Hits Radio advert, Simon talked through the campaign and how in a digital environment, it’s never been more important for a brand to cut-through.  When asked about how the station fairs to its competitors, Simon mentioned that it occupies its own space in the market though its music proposition and broader scope, with uplifting hits with the greatest throwbacks. This is supported by its “real, engaging and authentic” station feel – created through relatable presenters such as Sam Thompson, Gemma Atkinson and Fleur East – ultimately making it stand out from other brands.

 

Following Simon’s session, Bauer Media’s Advertising Managing Director Simon Kilby took to the stage to join The Media Leader’s Ella Sagar for a live special of the Fishbowl – exploring the latest trends and exciting innovations in audio & entertainment.

Kicking off the session, the first question pulled out of the fishbowl asked the panellists for the career moment they were most proud of. Simon threw back to his time working on Absolute Radio and when they first secured Wickes as its breakfast show sponsor. He noted the importance and consequent long-standing success of matching two complementing brands in a dream partnership, saying; “Wickes is the longest running sponsorship deal in the country. The way we can weave paint and screwdrivers into a breakfast show and make it sound amazing is testament to the team and client.”

Discussing the innovation he’s most excited about right now, Simon touched on Bauer’s new Lantern office space in London. Offering a brilliant transformational moment for the business, the new space brings both UK Audio and Publishing together under one roof for the first time. “For me, Bauer’s always had amazing people and brands; it now has a home that allows us to bring those to life”. Simon went on to say that these technical abilities of the new studio space allows us to turn broadcast content around quickly and “generate 360 content around various platforms”, making an enormous change and enhancing collaboration. He even revealed the ‘rock n roll’ feel the new joint working space brings, after seeing Jon Bon Jovi walking through the office doors that morning.

With an opportunity for questions from the audience, the matter surrounding AI and how it’s impacting the audio industry was brought to the forefront of the conversation. Simon started off his point saying how “people come to our brands because they trust them”, noting how they need to think very carefully before doing anything in the AI space that breaks that trust. Whilst Simon agreed that there are areas where AI can still provide great opportunities and make the business more efficient, in terms of on-air content, we are still a long way off from AI coming close to replicating that core human connection.

Bauer’s third and final session of the day came from Commercial Director Jenna Voyce and Head of Commercial Marketing George Butler. The pair explored how radio has evolved from a box in the room into a multi-medium Audioverse and the lessons that can be learnt from the platform that has lasted the test of time. Joined by a host of famous voices, the session looked at why radio continues to reach the nation. Jenna said: “Understanding the audience, building a community, connecting on a human level and creating an environment of trust are some of the key characteristics that we can take from audio’s 100 year journey, but the start of this journey looked very different to where we are now.  Audio has always had an eye on the future – from being the first broadcast medium, to the innovation of in-car entertainment. Radio has always understood the assignment, innovate or die.”

Adding to this, George explained that radio has successfully done this and stood the test of time because it has the ability to connect – and better than any other medium. “As the media landscape becomes increasingly artificial and our own personal echo chambers get deeper and deeper, we believe audiences will crave human connection and community more than ever. Audio delivers a distinctly personal experience, in which human connection is at its heart, and that’s been at the core of radio’s journey for over a century.”

Looking ahead to the next 100 years, it’s vital that what radio “is” continues to change, that as a sector audio keeps innovating, but all whilst keeping its human core that connects with audiences better than any other medium.