Responding to an RBR observation. Fred Jacobs says that local is important, but it will take more than just that to keep radio going ahead into the new millennium.
Technology revolution is akin to hanging onto the horse and buggy
I appreciate RBR’s comments about the importance of broadcast radio focusing on its local "secret sauce" over the Pandora/ Slacker model. And of course, you’re right. Our Tech Polls have all shown that given their druthers, radio listeners opt to stream the brands they know, rather than undifferentiated channels and nameless/faceless music services. There is such a thing as "tyranny of choice," and having hundreds or thousands of different options is not a good thing for most consumers.
But to suggest that our transmitters and towers will get us through the technology revolution is akin to hanging onto the horse and buggy when cars are rolling off the assembly line. Broadcast radio needs more outlets and platforms. Think about streaming – on computers or on mobile devices – like additional digital transmitters and towers, able to reach consumers in new locations and settings.
This is why we’re so excited about our "stationalized" iPhone apps, which allow any station – whether it’s WMMR in Philly or WTMD (a public radio station in Towson, MD) – "beachfront property" on the world’s hottest device – the iPhone. In this way, any station can have that great proximity on the iPhone, with next door neighbors like Pandora or AOL Radio. In a sea of bad news for radio, this is really the most hopeful story of the new year. And if you’ve ever listened to a radio station on an iPhone, it’s like having a Walkman once again – only cooler. At the end of the day, it’s about location, location, location. And this is why for radio to win back important turf that it has ceded to services like Slacker, Pandora, and other Internet services.
If you guys haven’t done so yet, go to your AT&T store, buy an iPhone, and spend some time in the App Store. With Blackberry starting their own version in March, this is where "listening" is headed, and broadcast radio needs to get into this digital community.