Thursday, October 9, 2014

Finally, a dose of reality

by Don Keith

Regular visitors know I often rag on  some of the radio-broadcasting trade newsletters who do their best to put a positive spin on even the worst news.  This is especially true when it comes to how rapidly changing technology and consumer demand have affected their previous monopoly on the automobile dashboard.

An article today in INSIDE RADIO, though, seems to actually acknowledge reality, admitting folks may be punching something else on their car radios besides "AM" or "FM:"

Fresh insights intoconnected car streaming.
More than one-third of Americans driving a car with a next generation dashboard regularly listen to streamed audio while behind the wheel. That’s according to a new report from Nielsen. The bottom line: if consumers have a digital dashboard system, there’s a good chance they’re listening to something other than broadcast radio at least some of the time.

Soon almost all cars on the road will have that "next generation dashboard," and the percentage of users who will opt for something other than "the biggest hits of the 80s, 90s and today" will climb well north of 33%.

What do broadcasters do to stem the tide?  Certainly not waste time and energy lobbying Congress to require FM tuners in cell phones.  Or barter precious ad time to cell phone makers to bribe them to include such a device.  Or give out more and more tiny-powered FM translators to AM station owners to further clutter the FM band with bad programming in a useless effort to save AM.

How about putting something on all those stations that would compel listeners to come back?  Or to choose not to leave in the first place?

Streaming the same songs everyone else is, Satanizing commercial content, being as bland and boring as possible, investing more money, time, and thought into cell phone FM tuners than in creative, innovative programming?  Continue that path and see how long radio broadcasting is a viable business model.

Or how long before NOBODY is listening.

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