On May 31 - June 1, 2018, the VII Conference "The Future of Regional Radio" was held in Sochi with the support of the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications. The Conference was attended by specialists of the broadcasting industry, heads of the major Russian radio holdings, officials of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technologies and Mass Communications, Russian Authors’ Society / WIPO, Academicians of the Russian Academy of Radio, RSCC and Russian TV and Radio Networks (RTRS). RSCC has traditionally been a partner of the Conference.
The main topics of the Conference were podcasting, digitalization of radio, and strategies for the development of regional radio stations, in particular, the issues of podcast competition, and linear radio. Today, some experts view podcasts as a threat to the radio. They reasonably use an analogy with VOD (video on-demand) and its impact on linear television. The concern is not so much the content component but the companion platforms - iTunes, Spotify, Netflix and others, as well as their immense penetration by mobile devices. Other specialists consider such fears a clear exaggeration.
The attending specialists discussed the pros and cons of digitalization of radio for the industry community, the problems of transition from the classical FM-band to DAB+ technology, and the difficulties associated with the formation of a group multiplex of radio channels. In format, the podcast is similar to VOD. We have long been accustomed to the "background" sound of radio information, but the difference between podcast and VOD media consumption patterns lies, above all, in the listener’s maximum attention to the content and focus on the information being received. The participants of the Conference came to a better understanding of the need for development strategies of radio channels to take into account the current challenges of digital economy.