Wave: “Thinking outside the traditional radio box”

Radio Wave

Czech Radio’s youth and alternative station Radio Wave lost its FM frequency not long after its launch. But that didn’t stop the channel finding sustained success online, thanks to clever marketing and pioneering use of podcasts.

Radio Wave | Photo: Lenka Žižková,  Radio Prague International

The Czech Radio youth and alternative station Radio Wave was launched to some fanfare in 2006.

However, only a year later the fledging channel lost its FM frequency.

Though that may have seemed like quite a setback at the time, the station’s operators quickly switched to becoming an online only broadcaster – and have tried to stay ahead of the game ever since.

This includes being a pioneer of podcasting and on-demand in Czechia.

Barbora Šichanová | Photo: Tereza Kunderová,  Český rozhlas

Barbora Šichanová is the head of the station.

“For Radio Wave it demands a lot of effort to figure out new ways of distribution, smarter strategies, promotion using new tools and so on. So I wouldn’t say I see linear broadcasting as a limitation. For me it’s more crucial to be able to recognise and follow upcoming trends and also new habits of young people. We need to be creative and think outside of the box of traditional radio.”

Wave plays mainly pop and rap, while also giving valuable exposure to the Czech alternative music scene.

Chicks  (Buchty) | Photo: Adam Křena,  Czech Radio

Barbora Šichanová says the station also focuses a lot on lifestyle.

“Culture, music and probably also current affairs are some of the most important topics we cover. We are doing this thanks to several regular formats and podcast. For example a pop culture show called Kompot. Then one of our most popular formats is a ‘girl talk’ called Chicks [Buchty]. Then we also produce special podcast series. A great example is a series called Beauty [Krása], with the well-known Czech journalist Linda Bartošová.”

 Beauty  (Krása) | Photo: Czech Radio

The podcast Beauty had over 270,000 downloads. Another series looking at appearance, Sádlo (Lard), had even better numbers.

Looking to the future, Radio Wave can possibly expect to go even further in that direction, with its younger listeners already focusing more on on-demand.

Radio Wave | Photo: Khalil Baalbaki,  Czech Radio

“The age of our listeners depends on the platform or distribution channel they use. That means for younger people, especially so-called young adults, it’s natural these days to use smartphones and podcast apps of course to listen to audio. On the other hand for, let’s say, older people it’s still more usual to listen to radio – the traditional media.”

Radio Wave is also in closer physical contact with listeners than most stations. Its black-walled studio with large windows is at street level on the front corner of the historic Czech Radio building on Prague’s Vinohradská St.