4 takeaways from Tuning In North

4 takeaways from Tuning In North
Burnham at Tuning In North

Marking 50 years of commercial radio in Manchester, Radiocentre returned to the city’s Bridgewater Hall for its annual conference, Tuning In North.

From the role of radio in the upcoming election to making audio for the next generation, here are the top takeaways from the event.

Bringing through the next generation of talent

Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, spoke of the creative industry of the north west and explained that, for the industry to continue to flourish, more needs to be done to bring through talent from the next generation.

He discussed his own experience starting out in the industry in the 1990s and having to move to London for his first role — something that is still occurring today.

Burnham called on the industry to adopt paid apprenticeships and ensure opportunities exist in the regions, so that the next generation can see a future for themselves in the industry.

Commercial radio’s key role in the election

Michael Ireland, director of external affairs at Radiocentre, discussed new research that found radio remained the most trusted news source across all media types.

In light of this, Radiocentre highlighted the critical role of radio news over the next month leading up to the general election.

The research found:

  • Commercial radio is an essential part of listeners’ daily news consumption. During an election, it is considered to be the best form of audio news for a quick summary of events and regular updates throughout the day.
  • Audiences hear news on commercial radio and take action. Listeners discuss, debate and search for more information.
  • Commercial radio is uniquely placed to reach audiences who are less engaged in political news but make up an important group of potential swing voters.


Matt Payton, Radiocentre CEO, added: “The research emphasises the importance of politicians utilising commercial radio to connect with the public.”

Audio is your secret weapon

Ailsa Mackenzie, group strategy director at Global, presented findings from the company’s recent research that explored divided attention.

The audience was told to “not be afraid of distraction and instead embrace it”.

Findings showed that audio advertising is effective regardless of a listener’s attention level, whether that be attention focused listening to a podcast/audiobook or attention divided listening to the radio while performing another task.

Ad recall was similar across both ends of the spectrum — 29% focused attention and 31% divided attention.

Furthermore, brand recall was also similar — 18% focused attention and 19% divided attention.

Mackenzie also advised how creative pays an important role in making the most of audio ads. They should use distinctive audio assets, feature sonic branding earlier and often, and be as entertaining as possible.

Haribo’s recent “Kids Voices” spot, created by Quiet Storm, was cited as a brilliant example that achieved all three points.

Attracting Gen Z

Rahmon Agbaje and Maatin Adewunmi, co-founders of Loud Parade, spoke of the power of bespoke audio and music in attracting younger audiences, in particular how to create audio ads to attract Gen Z to a brand.

Their experience working with brands such as Nike and JD Sports has found that ads need to use bespoke music and audio tapping into genres that appeal directly to Gen Z. Ads also need to be authentic, humorous and lean in to positive emotions.

Finally, brands need to be consistent with their audio assets and sonic branding.

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