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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why Do You Keep Asking That Question?

"Is radio ready for a digital future?"

It's a question that has had high visibility over the last six weeks.

"Is radio ready for a digital future?"

It's been the title of a Bridge Ratings Study that was released on June 30, 2010.

And the title of a webinar I presented in July.

So, why did I give the title to this blog and why should you care?

Because after six weeks of disseminating this data across the web and in person, I'm finally ready to answer the question for you.

This was the most important graphic from the study and my webinar:

[click image to go to study]

This chart represents just how well terrestrial radio is satisfying radio listeners' Internet needs.

Not too good. (Pardon my grammar, mom)

The answer to the question is....

No. Radio is not ready.


Though its perception among radio listeners is poor, radio has all it needs to make it right.

Radio is having a good year. That's what I read and that is what market managers tell me.

Why not reinvest some of that new profit into the cost of setting up a qualified digital department?

Remember the story of the squirrel storing his nuts for a cold winter?

That's what radio's owners and operators are doing. Very few are taking the new found (and temporary) flushness and sinking it back into the product where it needs it.

Radio is gathering its profit nuts after a dismal 2009.

Who can blame them?

But still, the industry has the money to make some effort to build out a respectable digital division.

It can hire the right people.

It probably has the right equipment.

If it doesn't have the know-how, it can hire that, too.

So, if all of this is true, why does radio management avoid making the commitment?
Because it takes courage!

Yet, COURAGE is precipitated by a perceived threat. That's what Daniel Webster tells me.

So, "this must be it", I think to myself. This is why the industry as a whole is not moving itself forward fast enough.

No courage.

Because there is NO PERCEIVED THREAT.

And despite the fact that the threat is clear from digital entertainment options, by the time terrestrial radio perceives the threat and act, it will be too late.

The industry does have its handful of owner/operators who are investing as they are able.

And, for that, I am grateful.

But, it's the industry that is the concern.

Time is running out and the radio industry's place may well be marginalized by this time next year.

So, there. Asked. And answered.