triple j – Saving Radio from Streaming


Triple J radio exists to support Australia’s youth community. They faced an existential threat from global streaming services. Together through design, collaboration and rapid iteration, we smashed the category-thinking holding triple j back and defined a new strategy built around what Australian youth love about radio – community and curation.

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  • The challenge that triple j faced was ‘how to remain relevant and grow as a community radio station in the age of streaming.’ The category thinking was, ‘Radio is at war with streaming’. That streaming competes directly with radio. That to succeed, we need to outpace their personalisation, suggestion algorithms, on demand content, and infinite choice. The brief was to win back market share, and build an even more diverse, deeply engaged audience. The mission could only be achieved by understanding our audience, in order to challenge and re-evaluate the way ‘radio’ thinks about their competition and uses their channels.

  • Over 6 weeks we embedded with the ABC team prototyping/testing with a diverse audience around Australia. Building a digital strategy and evidence for real change. The audience told us the underlying assumption was false. “Radio isn't competing with streaming, Streaming gives me more of what I love, triple j helps me discover new stuff.” This powerful insight allowed us to pivot deeply held beliefs. Freeing us up to focus on the simple stuff that our audience really wanted. Strategy is valueless in a deck, so over 18 months we brought it to life in the new triple j app.

  • Defining a clear strategy (and tangible plan) delivered real change – for audiences, teams, and the wider organization. Audience. A product that does what they want. Listen to triple j, support existing music discovery habits, engage with the wider triple community. Product team. Went from releasing every few years, to every 2 weeks – and genuinely believing in what they release. Broadcast team. Digital supports live broadcast – with polls, requests, and live feedback driving on-air engagement ABC as a whole. The collaboration, prototyping and roadmapping process developed on this project are now held up as an exemplar at the ABC.

  • Our strategy was built around curation & community. With a clear vision, the team brought it to life as a new app. Curation. triple j are already considered tastemakers. Audiences already have existing habits for collecting music from the radio. We simplified this with a button that saves music from the radio directly into your steaming library. “I think the features still due to come along are game changing s**t. I’m going to go around showing it off on my travels to other radio stations.” – Station Head triple j Community. Liveness is the unique part of radio. People naturally want to participate – but not everyone wants to call, or SMS. We added easier ways to engage – real-time emoji reactions & polls. This builds stronger communities – and the more you feel part of the community, the more likely you are to be an advocate. These two features provided real-time feedback on audience engagement – giving presenters and programmers new visibility over their audiences, and totally new ways to engage. “For the first time, terrestrial programming is driven by the digital product, rather than the other way around” – Design Lead, JJJ The result – a drastic uplift in play-time, retention, and engagement.