I just finished presenting a speech to the owners, operators, and marketers of radio stations across America. They have all had a very successful past selling radio advertising and serving the public. However, as they look to the future they are very worried. Today, most of their advertising customers see radio as “old media,” versus YouTube, PODcasting, and Blogs, which are all part of what is seen as “new media.” In addition, listeners have many new choices for entertainment, giving them less time to listen to radio. And, to make matters worse, Satellite Radio, launched a few years ago as a direct competitor, and Howard Stern’s move to Satellite Radio, grabbed headlines. For many in my audience, the good old days seem to be in the past.
SCARCITY BRINGS SCARCITY – ABUNDANCE BRINGS ABUNDANCE
I found another problem in the industry. They operate under a scarcity mentality, which I find common among most well established industries. Why? Because in the old days, it worked. For the most part, everyone wanted a bigger piece of an ever-shrinking pie. They were used to competing with each other. The enemy was the other radio stations in the area.
A NEW FUTUREVIEW
What is needed is a new view of the future based on seeing new media as a vehicle for extending the reach and redefining the power of radio. I explained that there is nothing more powerful than the spoken word and that, coupled with entertainment such as music, and the ability to deliver it to any device, including streaming radio to a cell phone or allowing listeners to listen to a show later via a PODcast, is what makes radio a timeless media, not old media.
The old view of radio is to think of it as a physical device just as many think of a newspaper as paper. In the past, newspapers delivered timely and relevant information and commentary on paper. Now, their reach has been extended thanks to what they once saw as the enemy, the Web. Profitable on-line versions of a newsletter such as The Wall Street Journal, have made the online version different, interactive, and complementary rather than redundant to the paper version.
When we think of radio as sponsored audio content and entertainment instead of a device, then new media can become a vehicle for growth rather than a threat. Listeners can already send text messages to the station and, thanks to new HD Radio, they will soon be able to get real-time information about road conditions or where the nearest location is for a product they may want to purchase. In addition, stations are no longer limited to audio content; they can now couple their messages and entertainment with Web-based video.
The enemy is not the other radio stations or Satellite radio, it is a scarcity mindset and a view that the good old days are gone. The future truth is that the good old days for radio have just started.