The joint effort by NAB, RAB and the HD Digital Alliance was kicked off this morning by NAB President David Rehr, calling it "our roadmap to building radio’s future." One key goal is to make sure "broadcast signals are available on every gadget, everywhere."
The 13-year effort to re-brand and reignite radio as the industry reaches its 100th anniversary was built on research commissioned from Kelly O’Keefe, a noted expert in brand strategy. Focus groups found that more than 80% of people believe radio is important, but Rehr noted that many participants admitted that they take radio for granted.
"Listeners also believe that many stations could do a better job of playing a wider variety of music. And some perceive a trend towards less format diversity. We must correct these misguided perceptions about radio and share the real news that will excite America," Rehr said in announcing Radio 2020.
Along with the push to have radio included on new devices, Rehr said a second goal will be launching new formats, expanding playlists and increasing local control. "But, we need to do a better job of informing listeners about the great variety that radio already provides," he also noted. Other primary goals of Radio 2020 include innovation to meet changing consumer demands and reigniting consumer interest in radio.
"Radio’s value lies in the fact that it’s accessible – it’s everywhere and portable. It’s a medium where everyone can freely and easily connect to a diverse world of entertainment and information, anywhere and everywhere. If we don’t tell this story, we let our critics voice their negative opinions about radio," Rehr said.
RBR/TVBR observation: Early in his speech, Rehr noted something we’ve heard from many of our readers. Why use the term "terrestrial radio?" As he correctly noted, that doesn’t mean anything to consumers and doesn’t accurately describe radio anyway. It is important for radio to frame the debate when radio broadcasting is discussed on Capitol Hill. That’s Rehr’s job and he seems to be the right guy for the job. But reigniting consumer excitement about radio is up to you, operating in your community. The first awards for HD Radio programming, to KBCO-FM Denver’s "The Studio C Channel" and WRIF-FM Detroit’s "Riff2," were presented following Rehr’s speech. Such innovation is still rare, but it sounds to us that the opportunity is much like the early days of FM’s assent. Want a new channel that will appeal to the hard to attract 18-25 demo? Why not give some of the 18-25 year olds at your station free-rein (within FCC rules, of course) to program an HD2 channel? What they come up with might surprise you. And it might even make you some money down the road as enough HD receivers get into the market to reach critical mass.