Japanese internet radio service to capitalize on popularity of AKB48 election


AKB48-electionPhoto via. TowerRecords

Japan’s Radiko.jp is a website and mobile app (iOS and Android) that provides simultaneous broadcasts of radio programs over the internet. The service has maintained strong growth since its launch back in 2011 and has over 13 million monthly unique users as of April 2013. Over 68 commercial radio stations have joined the platform.

Now Radiko has just announced that it will broadcast interviews of the top five winners of the AKB48 Election, a popular nationwide event that decides the center stage positions for the all-girl idol group. The event (sadly) might even exceed the country’s national election in terms of national interest.

This 5th election is planned to take place tomorrow at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama. A total of 100 minutes interviews will be broadcasted beginning the night of June 8th and will be repeated the next day.

There are over 246 members fighting for limited positions, and the participating members promote themselves on their blogs and on social media such as Twitter and Google+. The candidates speeches can be viewed on the official AKB48 YouTube channel. Fans can vote by purchasing CDs which (ingeniously) function as votes.

This mega pop-culture event will surely attaract a wider range of fans for Radiko. Radio as a form of media is not exactly cutting-edge and has been going downhill in most places. But this old media form saw a revival in Japan when the Tohoku earthquake hit Japan in March of 2011. With so many things washed away after the tsunami, many people only had radio left as a way to connect to the rest of the world.