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19 June 2019
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FM World and the changing role of media

20 May 2016 | Martin Read

Once, some time ago, I correctly identified the Kajagoogoo song “Too Shy” from a track played backwards. Five pounds would be mine so long as I was first to phone the pirate radio station running the competition.

I got up (it was 2:00am), put slippers on, left the house and walked to the phone box at the end of the street. I then put a 10p coin in the slot and made the call.

This will doubtless sound thoroughly absurd to many, perhaps even most of you (the phone box bit – don’t judge me on Kajagoogoo). And as a way of communicating, many will class it alongside the carrier pigeon in terms of palaver.

But it’s instructive to look at how this example of a media organisation communicating with its audience has since evolved. Mobile phones mean no more nocturnal phone box visits; text messages mean no more phone calls; and social media means tweeting your answer to a given hashtag. Whatever’s next?

The media landscape’s tectonic plates are shifting ever more quickly. The publishing world has been atomised, leading to a huge variety of media options. Today, we each consume content in a myriad different ways. This makes it difficult to deliver a ‘one size fits all’ product.

Newspaper circulations show just how much our collective media consumption habits are changing.

The way in which the BIFM’s membership magazine operates in such a multi-faceted and fast-paced media environment demands change and adaptation to balance frequency, quality and depth of content with the way in which you now consume it. We need to be as flexible and responsive as you, the BIFM membership, demands. News stories are now read and absorbed online in hours or days, rather than waited for in print. Today’s print media should give context to content and provide the quality of analysis necessary to ensure readers make the most of the limited time they have spend with the title.

Why is this important now? Because change is afoot. As you will have seen over the last few months, we’re undertaking research that will give us the clearest possible understanding of how you consume FM World, what content you want to see, when and where you want to see it and how you want it presented.

We’ve absorbed all the comments from our recent readers’ survey; spoken with our editorial advisory board; travelled to BIFM regional group meetings; met with advertisers; and engaged with BIFM board members (amongst other stakeholders).

As we continue to develop the magazine, we are conducting further focus groups and interviews. We intend to provide a full update on these developments for the next issue, but it’s fair to say that we plan to introduce a fresh FM World magazine in the summer, allowing space between the busy spring and autumn periods to refine the offering. What all this means is that you’ll notice three weeks rather than two between this and our next edition as we factor in further work on this project. The next FM World, reviewing ThinkFM, will now be with you on 9th June.

To take part in a focus group or interview, or just to have your opinion taken into account, please email us editorial@fm-world.co.uk

Martin Read is managing editor of FM World