90% Don’t Listen

And here’s why…

I think everyone in Radio was excited to hear that Apple had put an FM radio in it’s new Nano iPods. We’ve needed exposure in these cool, portable gadgets, so I’m as grateful as you. But clearly, Steve Jobs wanted to upgrade the iPod line because he no longer believes in what he calls “dedicated devices.” Apple’s betting its future on “general purpose devices.”


And, I think we can all agree that the cell phone is the universal application, the one thing that every person who can afford one will carry with them at all times in the future.

But if we think that merely putting a radio into that universal app, the iPhone, will somehow save us, think again.

Just 10% of US users listen to radio on their mobile device, according to Forrester Research. The truth is, the US isn’t set up to let people stream music on the cell phones. We’d overload the 3G system. Spotify has already had this problem in the UK. And even if the networks could handle all the extra usage, battery life in mobile phones is still a big issue.

Who wants to waste valuable battery life hearing a Celine Dion song you’ve heard a million times, especially when Apple is making such attractive and hip iPods that won’t zap your cell battery?

Look, the writing is on the wall when it comes to smart phones: They are the future.

But if Radio wants to be a part of that future, we have to make discovery — of new songs, new artists, urgent breaking news, new ways to hear sound and music — part of what we offer every hour of every day.

If we do that, every smart phone on earth will want a radio app because listeners will demand it.

If not, well, there’s Pandora and Spotify, which do a pretty good job with music.