Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fun with mathematics

First, for the three or four people who actually follow this exercise in egoism, sorry it has been a couple of weeks since the last post.  I had the thrill of being in Cincinnati for the annual submarine veterans' convention, and on VJ Day, I was actually standing there behind a stack of my books talking to guys who helped win that war.  These guys are amazing!  Bitter-sweet time, though.  We had a great breakfast with the sub vets amateur radio group on Friday morning, organized by Jim Flanders, W0OOG.  Then I got word that my friend John Crouse had had a serious heart attack.  John was the manager of the submarine museum at St. Mary's, Georgia, and has been a big help to me on a couple of my WWII books.  Unfortunately, John passed away a couple of days later.  Those who try to preserve this little niche of history have lost a tireless curator.

Now, to the topic.  An article in one of the broadcast media newsletters reports:

Seventy-six percent of American cell phone owners would consider paying a one-time fee of 30 cents to gain access to their local radio stations through a built-in radio chip on their mobile phone, according to a new online survey commissioned by the NAB and conducted by Harris Interactive. Two-thirds (66%) of all adults and 71% of 18-34 year-olds say they would listen to local radio stations on their cell phones if that feature was available.

The newsletter sees this as a positive.  Huh?  A quarter of cell phone users would not even consider adding the ability to listen to radio stations on their phones, even if it only cost 30 cents!  And that amazing number of folks who would say they would only "consider" it.  Of course, if they did not have to do anything at all--the second question in the survey--only 66% of users would even think about taking the trouble.

Then there is the Pew survey that reports:  Fewer people are turning to radio for news and information than at any point in the history of media usage analysis. Remember when radio bragged, "See tonight on TV, read it tomorrow morning in the newspaper, but hear it NOW on radio!"  See, I think radio still has the unique ability to put listeners in the middle of whatever is going on...even better than the Internet.  But that takes talent, equipment, and, unfortunately, imagination.

And friends, that last commodity is in short supply in the scintillating, fast-paced world of radio broadcasting.

Don Keith N4KC

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