Opening with the bold pronouncement that “we can walk and chew gum at the same time,” iBiquity’s Bob Struble said that those calling for single-minded focus on expanding radio’s presence on the internet aren’t seeing the whole picture, and that digital HD broadcast needs to be pursued vigorously as well. “Radio broadcasters have two fundamental businesses: they are content developers and they are spectrum owners. In the digital world, both are precious and actions must be taken to maximize their value.” Saying that the radio industry’s ability to create compelling audio entertainment is unmatched, Struble argues that radio must make us of all available platforms. “That means distributing it as widely as possible over all those new digital pipes: stream it, podcast it, P2P it, download it to mobile phones. Use the new technology to create compelling websites and web services, better connect to and customize for listeners, and provide extra value to advertisers. In doing so, broadcasters can generate incremental revenue and build their brand and listener relationships.”
He suspects that internet audio services will fail as an audience aggregator, since there are just too many options. The limited space for audio in the over-air radio spectrum makes a precious and profitable resource.
He was quick to caution that just as the internet isn’t the sole answer, neither is HD. “Let me be clear, HD Radio technology is not the silver bullet that will solve all the industry’s woes. You don’t just flip a switch on that new digital exciter and party like it’s 1999. Broadcasters will have to do all they historically have done to compete: program, sell, promote, manage costs. And develop online businesses. But there is no question that HD Radio technology is part of the solution. Look at every other industry that has gone digital and how much it has improved its position.”
RBR/TVBR observation: You could argue that this advice is 100% predictable from the main man behind HD. It’s like having the world’s leading shoelace manufacturer warning about the evils of straps, Velcro and loafers. But Struble’s right. Radio execs should be looking at every tool and potential tool available and dreaming up ways to monetize them. RBR/TVBR reminds all again – Content is King – but Only if you Control the Content. Reveiw this viewpoint – What’s a Radio station Website in RBR.com which also applies to Television.