Things Are Looking Up
It isn’t so bleak after all.
The radio industry has taken a huge hit with the economic downturn the past couple of years. There’s no getting around that. Makes sense. Businesses are laying off employees and/or closing their doors. Advertising dollars that were there a few years ago aren’t there anymore. For now. Not that terrestrial radio hasn’t had built in roadblocks aside from that fact…..satellite radio, Rhapsody, I-Pods and MP3 players, internet radio, and blue-ray is affordable to most now. Keeping us entertained has never been so high-tech with so many different options.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Some of the so-called “experts”- and they label themselves as such more than they may appear or emulate- had radio right there with newspaper as being a dinosaur. Soon to be extinct. Old school.
I’ve read three different retractions from those experts about how radio has made it through the storm. Based on many factors, this analysis seems to be one that I read and hear more and more and it causes me to worry less and less.
Musicians need radio to survive. Five years ago, that belief wasn’t shared by many. I was hearing how internet radio may be what drives the last nail into the coffin of broadcast radio. Along those lines, musicians are being welcomed with open arms like never before by stations that may have only dealt directly with a major label in the past. Professional and well connected promoters are busting their asses these days to make a buck. In turn, it’s the new and up and coming artists that reap those benefits.
While I believe there is a time and place for internet radio, and technology WILL improve to the point that you will be able to listen to any internet stream while driving in your car, broadcast radio isn’t going away. It may evolve and change as the situation warrants, but just like over-the-air TV, the simplicity of turning on your local station hearing about local events and being non-dependent on a solid internet connection, or keeping your subscription paid, prevails almost every time.
Simply put, radio is free. There are hidden and obvious built-in costs with other means of entertainment that compete for the average listener’s attention. Ironically, it isn’t always about the content that the station is known for, whether it be news/talk or any one of the genres of niche formats out there.
I had a person last week tell me that they enjoyed listening to the radio not only because of the music we play, but to find out where the best deals are for certain products. In his words, “one of the things I purchased has changed my life, and I most likely wouldn’t have heard about it if not for a simple FM radio broadcast.”
While a station that plays nothing but commercials is probably out of the question, over the air radio does have a home….a solid home…..with the average American.
The days of request lines ringing off the hook may have passed, because a person has many avenues to choose from when it comes to listening to their favorite song. It can be done on demand these days.
But radio still leads the way for making those songs popular in the first place. As long as you’re programming your station with the listener, and not your own personal taste in mind, I believe the future for over the air radio is far from being in jeopardy.