Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

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kendallweaver
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:34 am

Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by kendallweaver » Tue Jan 26, 2010 12:22 pm

To Whom It May Concern;
Radio was a different shape and size in 1996, we all know that. But as much as it's changed, I'm afraid it's going to change even more in the coming 5 years.
Services like Pandora are starting to be offered via WiFi in your car, and I'm sure that they'll soon include local content. While the economy may bounce back this year, I cannot fathom how radio's overall listenership will increase in the near future. The pie has been sliced so much that terestrial radio will have to change shape again to survive. Soon, instead of 12-20 radio stations available in your car, there will literally be thousands of streams offered.
It's very quickly coming down to this: All terestrial radio has to offer that is unique is its personalities. There's no song a station can play that another station can't play.. but each station has personalities that can only be found on that frequency. If listeners want to hear music, the software driven services streamed from the web are simply more flexible, customizable, and will most likely be widely accepted once they're available as easily as turning on your car radio. But if they want to hear your great morning team or evening guy, they'll only get that from you.
I believe radio will simply be a smaller industry in a few short years. For the Talent, these web streams might end up offering employment opportunities, but I think we all know the days of 5 full-timers per signal are gone. For terestrial stations, ad revenues are going to trend downward as radio's share of the listening population shrinks. There will be a lot of stations running automated satellite signals, since that'll be the only way it's profitable. The stations who really want to survive.. will have to rely on hiring the right Air Talent, helping them cultivate a following, and offering programming you just can't get anywhere else.
I can be reached at [email protected] and would welcome your thoughts.
Kendall Weaver

pbergin
Posts: 145
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 5:44 am
Location: DC

Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by pbergin » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:31 am

The issue, as I see it, for non-traditional broadcasters such as Pandora is cost. It's fine and good that WIFI, 3G, 4G etc might be available in cars, but at what cost? If the current pricing structure for Internet and cellular access is any indicator, the price will be sky high. We already have an almost unlimited number of channels available on XM and Sirius, and people aren't even willing to pay the fairly low price they charge. Internet charges will be FAR higher.

I've said this for years. Terrestrial radio enjoys 100% penetration, is completely portable,and the quality is as high or higher than other delivery options. There is NO contest! Radio wins hands down.

Just put something on it worth listening to!

sexpot
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:31 am

Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by sexpot » Wed Jan 27, 2010 5:30 pm

Fact is if radio was available like cable only then (maybe) people would pay for it. That is if you get the content variety and still access the local stations. That's not going to happen so radio will always exist and flourish! Not dead, not going anywhere, can't kill it off so live it and love it! In the mean time quite wasting time starting conversations about the state of radio (looking in the rear view mirror) and start exploring ways to make it better (looking out the wind shield). Take the lead!

kendallweaver
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:34 am

Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by kendallweaver » Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:05 pm

Wow "Sexpot," I appreciate your optimism, but the obvious reality is that terestrial radio has been hurt Tremendously by MP3 players, sattleite radio, and web listening. People working in terrestrial radio keep touting that radio is going to survive just fine, and as they talk, radio groups all over the country are filing for bankruptcy and laying people off. (Like Citadel, Clear Channel, Gap) Soon, services like Pandora and Last FM will start offering things like local weather and sports, and every car you buy will have WiFi.. either free or very cheap. Point is: The pie is being sliced into such SMALL PIECES that radio will have to change the way they do things. Yes, radio will survive, and yes, many listeners will tune in to hear their favorite Jocks. But it is NOT going to "Flourish." The industry overall is going shrink. And by the way, if you think I'm "wasting time" by starting this conversation, stop complaining and read something else.

winterwest
Posts: 134
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:42 am

Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by winterwest » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:25 pm

Radio CAN and WILL flourish if it offers what none of these other sources can offer. If you have to ask what that is, you're probably part of the problem.

kendallweaver
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:34 am

Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by kendallweaver » Sat Jan 30, 2010 9:38 am

Nice "Winterwest." Interesting that dozens of folks read my post and don't add much, since they can't deny that what I said is pretty much true, and yet a few folks find the need to not only reply, but to somehow insult me along the way. If you want to be a part of the discussionn please do.. that's why I started it. But don't be an asshole and accuse me of somehow not knowing what I'm talking about. Trust me, my experience is deep on the subject. I stated in the original post that radio will "change shape." What I meant is, radio WILL survive, but with fewer live talent and original programming than ever. It's going to be a smaller industry in a few short years, as the pieces of pie get sliced ever so thin. So please, if you think I'm wrong, convince me why with a good argument. But don't be a jerk to me just because you lost your overnight shift to an automation system.

ManiacSC
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Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:45 pm

Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by ManiacSC » Sat Jan 30, 2010 8:55 pm

I'm only going to post here because I was just having this conversation. I think that we in radio get flustered when we hear that there might be an inkling of a thought that radio is going anywhere. OF COURSE it's not, it's never going to wither away into nothing. I DO think that radio needs to step up it's game. Lately it seems it's just about the bottom line and the actual heart and soul of the medium is lost. Which, sometimes, dems the breaks.

So, I do think that we get defensive when we hear anything but "Radio will NEVER DIE!" However, I do think there's saving it. I'm seeing more and more in smaller markets PD's are making it their first priority to hire live bodies in their studios, and even in the larger ones you'll see less voicetracked middayers.

Still...I do agree radio needs to adapt. Once the industry begins to do that, I when we think of the medium, we'll be less apt to have this discussion. How exactly they will do that remains to be seen. I'm hoping it's not by having less jocks, that's MY favorite part! :)

winterwest
Posts: 134
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Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by winterwest » Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:37 am

Whoa Kendall! Let me rephrase what I posted...

"If one has to ask what that is, they're probably part of the problem."

I in no way meant to personalize that to you. My point is there are plenty out there, even working in this business as we speak who, while they really WANT to do well in this business, still have no idea what it's going to take because they have no reference point to what it once was or could be.

(don't you feel bad about bringing up the pain of me losing my overnight shift now?)

kendallweaver
Posts: 51
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 8:34 am

Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by kendallweaver » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:01 am

Yes, Winterwest, I feel terrible. ;-) Thanks for clarifying. I think we pretty much all agree; Radio has to offer something you can't get anywhere else. I guess the next question is.. will stations commit the resources to make it happen? Air Talent needs to be "Talent," and not just some warm body who can tell you what happened on "Idol" last night. Talent needs a salary worthy of someone who is the front door of the business and fully represents the station to your community. And as I've been saying for years now, radio must Market Outside of Your Own Signal! No matter what you do on the air, it will not matter if you don't invite people to listen. Many stations get into a rut and only promote themselves on their own signal. But it's crucial to reach out to people who aren't currently listeners! Which means TV ads, Billboards, Live broadcasts, Twitter, Facebook, and mailings! Even in small and medium markets, station Reps spend every day telling local businesses that they should be spending a few thousand bucks a month advertising their business. And yet those same stations most likely aren't spending anything that month on marketing themselves. In the near future, radio will be relying on listeners really choosing them over hundreds of other options.. so.. we'd better be making it good. Thanks to all for the input .. ideas on marketing in the future? To help battle Sat signals, WIFI streams and web radio? Will Talk radio hold up better than music formats, since the host is not duplicatable on other sources?

tonya-b
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:35 am

Re: Will Radio Get Worse Before it Gets Better?

Post by tonya-b » Mon Feb 01, 2010 9:47 am

The truth of the matter is that people matter. If you don't look at every person that you meet as a potential listener, you have already lost the war. Talent needs to be encouraged to be involved in their communities. Social Networking (Twitter, Facebook, Myspace) is a must, as is keeping your website updated. As in any business, radio is more about selling yourself than it is about selling the station. I have tons of listeners that can't even stand the music the station plays, but will tune in to hear what's going on in the community. That's how radio will survive - by being local, and bringing personality back to the chair behind the mic.

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