Over the last 23 years, the CNA brand has undergone significant changes. From establishing a network of Asian correspondents to revamping its online offerings, it is now ranked as the most trusted news brand in Singapore, according to an annual report on the state of digital news, published in June this year.
Part of this evolution has been in radio. CNA938 began life in 1998 as NewsRadio 938 and in 2019, was rebranded as CNA938 and made available on mobile and online to cater to changing consumption patterns.
And now, we are on to the next step of this audio evolution: A comprehensive digital audio strategy that involves live radio, original podcasts and repurposed audio content from some of CNA’s award-winning TV programmes.
Why is audio an important pillar in CNA’s journalism offerings?
“Audio is attracting new renewed interest from publishers as mobile listening grows and on-demand technology in the car disrupts linear radio listening,’’ writes Nic Newman, a senior research associate at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.
His observation supports our own experimentation with podcasts over the last two years. Our signature news podcast, Heart of the Matter, saw steady growth in listenership – peaking during COVID-19, as audiences sought out expert perspectives on a fast-moving virus.
As one of the most wired countries in the world, Singapore is an interesting case study.
The recently released Reuters Digital Report 2022 gives a short overview of podcasting in the news environment. In a graph detailing the proportion of people who used a podcast, Singapore stands out as the only Asian country in the top 10.
GROWING A LISTENING AUDIENCE
Many of the trends playing out elsewhere in the world applies here too: People are tired from too much screen time. They want to listen to content while they cook, exercise, walk. Instead of just music, they want to learn something new, take comfort in someone's story or be inspired to do things differently.
The Reuters report also indicates how technology is a big driver - new voice interfaces, smart speakers, in-car entertainment systems are all making it easier for people to ask Siri or Alexa to play their audio content.
Our aim is to offer choice. You can - and should - read what transpired in a major news conference involving key announcements. You can watch a bulletin on TV, read it online or hear it on live radio. But now, you also have the option to listen to people who know the topic deeply, offering their perspectives – anywhere, anytime, on the go. These add another layer of depth to issues that don’t have neat answers.
BEING A FLY ON THE WALL
In a world grappling with disinformation, credible news content is critical in our overall understanding of the issues that affect us. But beyond that, the wonderful thing about good audio content is the feeling that you are a fly on the wall, listening in on an interesting dinner conversation.
And the best conversations are about our lives, the dilemmas we face, the decisions we need to make, the connections we seek. This is why we take our role as "avatars" for the audience seriously - asking the questions they would ask.
If you've never heard a podcast before, give us a go. If you have, there is more to choose from.
Even if it’s a subject area you’ve never contemplated before. We have a new personal finance pod called Money Talks. My co-host Adrian Tan and I also navigate the issues around work and career in our podcast Work It.
We also leverage on the best of CNA's TV and Radio journalism. There’s content for book lovers, on health matters and all the news bulletins to start and end your day with. CNA Insider's excellent journalism is also available in audio.
CNA Correspondent is now available as a podcast – where our hosts go behind the scenes to see how our journalists cover stories that matter to Asia – like the Shinzo Abe assassination and Nancy Pelosi’s Taiwan visit.
All our audio products are available on our CNA app, website, on the MeListen app and on any other major platform you get your podcasts. Do give us feedback at cnapodcasts [at] mediacorp.com.sg
Meanwhile, happy listening.
Senior Editor, CNA Podcasts