What Is the Future of Broadcast Radio? Thoughts.
January 10, 2007 5:30pm CST
With so many emerging/established technologies out there for music and information, such as satellite radio, iPods and other media players, handheld computers, in-car/portable DVD players...What do you all think the future of "terrestrial" (AM/FM) radio is, especially here in the U.S.?With so many auto manufacturers now including either XM or Sirius as standard options in new vehicles, including iPod docking stations, and things like that, I think radio as we know it is in big trouble. With your iPod or other media player, you control the music you hear. With satellite radio, you get tons of commercial-free music, as well as national news and sports networks (CNN, Fox News, ESPN), as well as local traffic and wether for many US cities. As someone who went to college to become a broadcaster, I've always had an interest in radio and its competing technologies. I have to admit that, other than some local news and sports info, ever since I started subscribing to satellite radio (XM), I very rarely use my standard AM/FM radio. Unfortunately, I do not currently work in the broadcast industry. When i finished school, most stations were converting from CDs and carts and such to computers. As a blind person, I found the computer programs they were using to be inaccessible with a screenreader, but that seems to be changing...So hey, maybe I'll try to get in at XM.:) I think the things that are killing traditional radio now are: too many commercials: I don't know about you, but when the ads come on, I change the station or punch on a CD. Too Much Repetition: The typical FM station has a 100-song playlist, but pounds the same twenty in heavy rotation...At XM (I can't speak for Sirius) the typical station has a 1200-song playlist. Granted, on the pop channels, you'll get some repetition, but not as bad as on FM. Not enough variety: Satellite radio gives you the opportunity to check out many different styles of music not heard on traditional radio. Your own media player probably holds a bunch of stuff never played on radio, or things that haven't been heard in a LONG time. Radio seems to be no longer about the music or reaching the audience, but is more about keeping the advertisers happy. What are things that, for you, are missing from local radio?Personally, I believe that, in the next ten years, every new car stereo, and even home stereo, will be either equipped for satellite radio, MP3 capabilities, or both. At that point, unless terrestrial radio can become more compelling, I see their listenership dwindling, and going over to these other forms of media. While it's true that local radio is free and satellite radio is a pay service, I've found that you certainly get what you pay for...In this case, you get local radio for free, and get almost nothing from it. I pay $19.94 a month for my two XM receivers, and I get all the genres of music I love, sports, uncensored talk and comedy, news, traffic and weather...All of it. Just curious to see what you all think.