Početkom 21. stoljeća digitalizacija je snažno utjecala na medijske krajolike svih razvijenih
zemalja uvlačeći ih u proces konvergencije u tehničkom, tehnološkom i sadržajnom smislu.
Analognu tehnologiju (FM) kao dominantnu opciju za distribuciju svojih programskih sadržaja
koristi još samo najstariji elektronički medij na svijetu, radio.
Međutim unatoč razvijenoj hrvatskoj radiodifuziji (137 nakladnika za FM radio koji emitiraju
141 program, 12 programa Hrvatskog radija i 40 nakladnika e-radija koji emitiraju 66
internetskih programa), ciljna nezavisna, znanstveno utemeljena i dohvatna istraživanja
domaćeg radijskog krajolika vrlo su rijetka. Upravo stoga cilj je ove disertacije istražiti koliko
se i kako aktualna hrvatska radijska scena prilagodila suvremenim digitalnim standardima i
praksama te ide li ukorak s njima. Uokvirena je razdobljem pandemije bolesti COVID-19,
odnosno razdobljem od 2020. do 2022. godine. Vremenski okvir poduzetih istraživanja
izuzetno je relevantan upravo s obzirom na intenzitet procesa digitalizacije, a kojeg je u
Republici Hrvatskoj pratilo donošenje novog Zakona o elektroničkim medijima i dodjela prvih
koncesija za digitalni radio (DAB+).
Provedena su tri istraživanja čiji je bio cilj: (1) saznati udio migracije tradicionalne radijske
publike prema slušanju radijskih programa na digitalnim platformama, (2) utvrditi statuse i
temeljne sadržaje mrežnih stranica svih radijskih FM nakladnika, e-radija i javnog servisa u
RH te (3) evidentirati promjene u poslovanju tradicionalnih FM radijskih postaja te kadrovske
potrebe u okolnostima medijske konvergencije.
Prema rezultatima, u Republici Hrvatskoj uočena je mala, ali svakako indikativna migracija
slušatelja prema digitalnim opcijama dohvata i konzumacije radijskih sadržaja. Mapiranje
aktivnih mrežnih stranica svih radijskih postaja ukazalo je na zanemarenost pa i nejasnoće oko
njihove stvarne uloge u konvergiranom medijskom krajoliku. Posljedično, u poslovanju
radijskih nakladnika zamjetan je raskorak u uredničkoj procjeni važnosti mrežnih stranica i
stvarnog iskorištavanja njihovog potencijala.
Rezultati provedenih istraživanja daju pregled zatečenog stanja ukupne hrvatske radiodifuzije
u zadanom vremenskom okviru, čime su postavljeni temelji za daljnje praćenje procesa
konvergencije radijskog medija u svim budućim istraživanjima ove teme.
After a hundred-year dominance of analogue technology, the beginning of the 21st century was
marked by the advent of the digital era in which traditional FM radio had to undergo the ensuing
process of convergence in technical, technological, content and social terms. The Internet
abolished the monopoly of the radio frequency (RF) spectrum as the dominant way of
distributing the radio signal and provided radio with numerous options for reaching new
listeners and/or users of radio websites and radio stations’ official social media profiles.
Auditivity is a fundamental feature of analogue (FM) radio, which is still most often consumed
via car and home receivers. However, in the digital environment and with appropriate digital
tools, traditional radio expands its offer to multimedia content, interaction and participation,
and particularly in terms of the ways of consumption that can take place via smartphones,
computers and cable television. Yet, this is not the only change caused by digital technology.
In point of fact, digital radio (DAB+) is strongly imposed in all developed media environments.
Specifically, it was in 2022 that the first concessions for DAB+ were awarded in the Republic
of Croatia. Despite the many challenges of the digital age, radio is still a personal and emotional
medium, of extremely high audience (Bottomley 2020). Croatia is the fourth country in the EU
in terms of the number of radio stations per million inhabitants (38 radios per million
inhabitants) (Mučalo & Šulentić 2021). In 2021, there were 137 FM radio broadcasters that
broadcast on 141 channels, the public service broadcaster Croatian Radio with 12 channels,
and 40 e-radio broadcasters that broadcast on 66 Internet channels (AEM 2021a, AEM 2021b).
Although the changes in traditional radio are invariably attracting the interest of the world
scientific community, there is no recent independent and scientifically based research on the
medium of radio in Croatia. This fact constituted my initial motivation for choosing this topic
for the doctoral dissertation. The main research question was how much the Croatian radio
scene had adapted to current digital standards and European practices, i.e., what the real effects
of digitization in domestic radio broadcasting in 2021 were. Three surveys were conducted
with the following research objectives: to establish (1) whether there is migration of traditional
radio audiences towards listening to radio programmes via digital options and what the extent
of this migration is (CATI method on a deliberate quota sample), (2) what status the websites
of all radio stations in the Republic of Croatia have and what they are like in terms of content
(mapping), and (3) what experts think about the way traditional FM radio stations operate in
the circumstances of convergence (in-depth semi-structured interviews with nine editors-inchief).
A telephone survey was conducted in the city of Zagreb in the period from 25 November 2020
to 5 December 2020. It covered the sample of 300 radio listeners aged 18 to 55. Most of them
were employed and their level of education was predominantly secondary. Compared to 3% of
listeners who consumed radio via digital devices in 2015 (AEM 2015a), the results of this
survey show an increase to 16%. In this respect, one of my hypotheses was rejected because
statistical testing of the results showed that the age of listeners was not directly correlated to
listening to radio on digital platforms.
Mapping of the websites of all broadcasters, e-radio and public service in the Republic of
Croatia (N=157) was conducted in June 2020. It relied on four basic thematic categories (news,
communication and promotional content and media convergence indicators). The results show
that the websites under research are outdated, focused on static elements, without a daily news
offer, yet with common and typified multimedia breakthroughs. The following two hypotheses
have been confirmed: programme streaming on online radio sites makes less than 10% of the
total content offer of each radio site, i.e., the websites of national, regional and county radio
stations offer more types of content than the websites of city and municipal radio stations.
Semi-structured interviews with nine editors-in-chief were conducted online between 5 and 13
May 2021. The selection of nine respondents was made on the basis of ranking according to
the criterion of the number of items of content identified during the process of mapping
websites. While everyone agrees that the radio website contributes to the listenership and
popularization of FM radio, the fact is that radio websites are largely ignored (lack of
understanding of the radio owners, shortage of money and of professionally trained employees,
including lack of motivation). Among the highest ranked websites, there is only one case in
which the website is edited by a specifically engaged professional. Therefore, the fourth
hypothesis is partially confirmed.
In conclusion, the dissertation positions the medium of radio in Croatia at the beginning of the
21st century, that is, in the period of pronounced digital transition to new ways of distributing,
communicating and consuming media content. The convergence of radio in our country is slow,
yet still occurring. The research results raise new questions, two of which stand out: (1) “What
is the prospect of local radios given the number of national, regional and county FM stations
in Croatia?” and (2) “How to educate media professionals who are supposed to acquire the
necessary competencies for working in a converged media environment?”