Friday, April 22, 2011

Broadcast radio and smart phones

It has been a while since I have charged off after the keepers of the keys to America's over-the-air radio broadcasting facilities and their obvious inability to comprehend what consumers want.  Now, in a new demonstration of dunder-headedness, the group's lobbying and membership organization, the National Association of Broadcasters, has launched a really silly campaign to try to convince common folks to lobby Congress to require phone manufacturers to include radio reception "chips" in all phones sold in this country.

Never mind that there is no pent up demand for radio on cell phones.  Those who want it typically already have the ability to access more radio streams than anyone could imagine or ever possibly use.  Nor is there any indication that people even care.  But get ready.  Soon you will be hearing commercials...amid all the other many, many commercials...on your favorite radio station urging you to pick up the phone and call your rep in Washington and lobby for this redundant capability.  In typical fashion, all radio broadcasters understand is "run some commercials" and put up a web site that meets no real perceived need.

Why?  Because radio broadcasters simply don't understand.  If they would put the time, effort, and money into providing compelling content and somethign worth listening for, and if they would provide that content in a variety of ways that people expect to be able to access it, then they just might be able to salvage what was once a powerful, dynamic, ubiquitous medium.

See more at my friend Mark Ramsey's blog HERE.  Or, if you want a laugh and a prime demonstration of self-massage, visit the NAB web site devoted to this really goofy campaign HERE.

When I talk about the inability of some to comprehend technological change and adapt their industries to that change, I can't help but point at radio broadcasters.  How ironic that folks who have those towers pointed high into the sky also have their heads so deeply buried in the sand!

Don Keith

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Change sweeps away ten "solid" business types

As the pace of change--and especially change of the technological variety--increases, there are inevitable winners and losers.  We have to stay informed, adapt, and be ready to accept the inevitable.  That is especially true if we are to be successful in business. 

I have blogged at length here about how I am afraid my beloved medium of over-the-air radio is much too slow to adapt and expect to continue to remain viable.  Thus I am mildly surprised that radio broadcasting did not make the list of top ten industries on life support recently featured in an article in THE STREET.

I was not surprised at any of the ones that did:

  • Wired communications carriers
  • Record stores
  • Photo-finishing
  • Video post-production
  • Newspapers
  • Stores that rent DVDs and video games.
  • Stores that rent formal wear and costumes (no technological aspect here...China and other countries are simply making clothing so cheaply that you can buy a tux as cheaply as you can rent one)
  • Textile need to mill cotton when synthetic fabrics can be produced cheaper and better
  • Apparel manufacturing...same reasons as the previous two bullets
  • Manufactured housing...again not necessarily a technological victim, just another one of the industries that have been hardest hit by the recession.  This seems to me to be one that could innovate and come out of the recession when pent-up housing demand is unleashed, though.
I know it sounds Darwinian, but industry has to innovate or die.  Technological change may be quick and getting quicker, but it is still possible to see it coming and feint and parry.  But it takes insight and a willingness to listen and innovate.

Find out what the customer wants.  Give it to him.  Tell him you are giving it to him.

There it is: a degree in marketing in three sentences.

Don Keith N4KC