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Another One Bites The Dust

Another One Bites The Dust

Bye-bye traffic reports?

It’s a discussion I’ve already had with several clients: How much longer should your station provide traffic reports?

Once again, technology is making obsolete a service that Radio has featured.

Once again, our industry is behind the curve in anticipating how our listeners might need, or at least, want something newer and better.

As the New York Times reported last week, if you own a smart phone, you are no longer dependent upon radio to navigate around traffic jams in your town. (And, most new cars feature in-dash GPS systems that can also deliver current, real-time traffic conditions, including re-routing around jams.)

There are dozens of mobile apps, many of them totally free, that using your built-in GPS, not only show where you are, but where every other smartphone owner is in real time.

Many allow you to ‘report’ on accidents and backups, and companies like Google, WAZE, and Inrix can then amalgamate all that input and deliver a customized traffic report for you minute-by-minute.

Hands-free.

Speaker phone voice-reported.

Your route. Your commute. Only the roads you’re on or want to use.

We can all bemoan the reasons this is happening. As usual, Radio opened a door by over-commercializing traffic information, by using the least expensive ‘talent’ to deliver the information, and by providing information that is not only often out-dated, but generally useless when it comes to re-routing you to your destination.

Even so, technology would have — has — trumped our traditional service. It was inevitable with the ubiquity of mobile devices and GPS.

As with newspapers being trumped by the always updated internet, there is simply no reason to wait for marginally useful traffic reports delivered on the radio.

So, back to our question…

If you run a music station, how much longer will you offer information that’s not all that useful surrounded by clutter and commercials?

At what point does something you’ve always counted on to create cume become a liability due to the spots you have to run to afford it?

At what point does the income you’ve grown used to cost more than it delivers?

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