‘I love radio’ – Malcolm Turnbull

Staff Writer

The CRA conference for 2012 is underway on a cold and wet day in Sydney. The first guest speaker was the Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband, Malcolm Turnbull.

"I love radio. Radio is so intimate, it is part of your life, occasionally a shrieking part"

Turnbull said that whilst radio is the oldest medium, it is far from stuck in the past given the embracing of digital and his particular favourite, podcasts. 

The future of radio, according to Turnbull, is 'on demand'. And he spoke about the challenges the sector faces, in particular speaking about the 'old business models' undergoing massive shifts;

"The radio sector faces challenges. Revenue is down for first quarter. This reflects poor consumer confidence…..It's not just radio that is adjusting. Advertising revenue for all media platforms is declining."

Turnbull went on to discuss the digital space at length. He acknowledged that Google is now the largest advertising platform, with 23% of all advertising in the US being now placed through a Google company.

"20% of the Australian population have at least 1 tablet device, and Facebook has more than a billion users. Australians spend 6 hours a week on social media".

"Social media's power is seen in cases such as Jill Meagher and Alan Jones. (Many of those) protesting the Jones case were not listeners to his show (however) the radio industry has a duty to raise the level of public discourse and not treat those on 'struggle street' with contempt with one-liners"

"Social media has thrown down the gates to traditional media. Thousands of people who previously had no voice, now have their own megaphone. (This is) inspiring and horrifying. Facebook and others are going to have to do a better job eliminating grossly offensive material."

"I love being a futurist. Right at the moment we (the coalition) don't support changes in the short term. 10 years ago we wouldn't have known that social media would play as big a role as it does today. Regulation should not be the quick fix. Will stiffle competition. Broadcasting is already heavily regulated."

Turbull spoke about what the Coalition would do were they to form government.

"(We would) streamline exisiting regulations and have a more flexible regime. Is (a regulation) relevant, if not it should go. If it is – can we do it in a simpler manner? Isn't the answer, more freedom rather than less"


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