The Future of Media: Radio


What will happen to radio? My prediction is that music radio will be gone within a decade if radio stations don’t start taking a new approach to music radio, well, it could be considered an old approach. The best part about old radio was the jocks, some might say that people don’t want to hear the jocks anymore, but I beg to differ. They don’t want to hear the jocks talking about useless junk. I would submit that if music radio took a highly opinionated and music savvy jock and just let him loose he would actually bring in listeners. Just let the DJ play what the DJ wants to play, and if the DJ wants to not play something or even say how much he dislikes a certain band, let him do so! I know that there are people that will disagree with this approach, but I think its the only real way that music radio can be salvaged. Pleasing everyone is a very hard thing to do, in fact its darn near impossible to do, so stop trying to do it.

The second thing that music radio can do to improve, is to start creating one to three hour long blocks out of the day and gear those blocks to certain audiences. We’re already seeing this on some stations but it is not done nearly enough. For instance, the rock hour or the hard-rock block. Just three hours of hard-rock with the same jock, playing what he wants to play, much like The Alice Cooper show. This is a very talk radio style approach to music radio, but I think it is a way to make radio more entertaining. If both of these methods, opinionated, music savvy jocks and block shows were implemented, I think music radio has a better chance of being salvaged.

If those two methods don’t get implemented, forget about listening to the radio for music, you might as well just buy an iPod or listen to Pandora on your phone. The internet and technology has ruined the old radio industry and a new type of radio is emerging in the form of pod casting and music radio is going away because people can create their own play lists of music that they want to hear.

Lets say something like what I recommended happens and music radio still dies, what happens then? I think that within a decade you will see talk radio shifting gears and completely moved over to the FM side of the dial. A trend that we are already seeing a lot of. The value of the FM radio station will go down and AM will be rendered obsolete. Something that might happen, as the value of AM radio stations drop, as a result of everything moving to FM, smaller entities might take over AM stations, possibly religious or independent groups, and use them to provide very low-fi radio, provided the FCC would let that happen.

Internet stream in cars is not far off. You can already hook up your Blackberry to an AUX port in your car while streaming Pandora. As technology like that improves and cars start connecting to the web, radio over the internet in the car will be a reality.

All in all, music radio has run its course. I am sad to see it leaving, but I am not sad about what’s on the horizon. Technology will improve and the internet will expand, and the internet will be the “transmitter” and a web based iPod or phone will be the radio. Will the jock all but disappear? That is yet to be seen.

In the coming days I will write about all of the media industries in depth and tell you what I think will happen to them. So be sure to look for these posts interspersed with my normal blog activity.

Please read my introduction to this series by clicking here.

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