Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pollyanna strikes again!

By Don Keith N4KC

My favorite radio broadcasting "the glass is not only half full but it contains a fine, fine wine" publication does it again in today's edition:

July Fourth listener drop is a one-day phenomenon.
From trips to the beach, barbeques and firework outings, it’s little wonder radio use typically ticks down on July Fourth. But Nielsen data shows the drop may not be as large as many believe it is, and listening habits quickly return once the calendar page is turned.

That is the word from INSIDE RADIO, that any idea that radio usage is down on a major summer holiday is a fairy tale.  Actually, July 4 in particular and summer in general was a fine time for traditional radio listenership.  Anytime people were out and about, in their cars, at the beach, doing stuff, they had their radios with them.  Radio provided music, info, companionship, and background noise for all those outdoor activities.  It was, after all, portable.  Unlike TV, the newspaper, or any other medium.

Now, consumers have plenty of other choices for that music, info, companionship and noise.  Radio is actually pretty far down the list because those other choices are equally or more ubiquitous.  And they are more reliable.  Ever tried to find a traffic update on most stations on a weekend?  Or spotted storm clouds and tried to dial up someone who could give you a weather report?

Probably not.  You have an app for traffic and weather.

Look, radio listening may have appeared to drop on Independence Day because of the way radio was once people keeping diaries of their listenership.  People who were not quite so diligent in their record-keeping on holidays.  Now, with a more passive means of determining listening, more of it probably gets reported.

But keep in mind that same passive means of measurement is showing listening to traditional radio has already had its fireworks finale.  The medium may soon be as much old news as yesterday's bottle rocket.

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