It’s already here…
I think we all know that Radio has some built-in advantages over streaming services.
One of them is the ubiquity, familiarity and ease of in-car usage.
Broadcast radio, post-consolidation, also has some disadvantages, the single largest being the over-commercialization and clutter that are routinely accepted as “normal.” Despite decades of feedback from listeners in every form imaginable, the one thing owners won’t even consider is a lower commercial load.
Call it greed or a necessity of being over-leveraged, this fact, more than any other, has accelerated sampling for services like Pandora, Spotify and Sirius.
To be sure, the blandness and predictability of broadcast radio that is under-staffed and over-researched is also a factor. Eliminating all potential negatives without regard to creating any remarkable content has left most stations clustered within tenths of a point of each other.
As an industry we’d rather be safe and indistinguishable than iconoclastic; no one is trying to create a KINK, KBCO, or WLS in 2011. We’ve guaranteed mediocrity by displacing the creatives with technocrats.
And despite ample evidence that there is a market for subscription-based music services — NPR, alone, is thriving in almost every major city in America — broadcast radio, to my knowledge, isn’t even experimenting with models of opportunity in this area.
We’re stuck in a time warp of decreasing value coupled with increasing sameness and clutter.
It doesn’t have to.
We’re killing ourselves.
*My thanks to Steve Allan for forwarding this link.