What Do We Control?

Not enough

To be successful in this evolving world of media, a company needs to control either the content or the pipes. If it has neither, it’s a mere middleman, consigned to low or no profitability.”

“Somebody has to create compelling things that people want to watch, whether it’s ‘Game of Thrones’ or an NFL game. The rewards of creating that content are great; if you succeed, you have leverage with whoever will do the distributing, whether a cable network like HBO or AMC or a digital service like Netflix or Hulu.”

Those quotes are from a piece in the NY TIMES, Netflix vs. Amazon, and the New Economics of Television (subscription may be required).

And while this specific article is about television, the basic point applies to all media, including radio. Including Pandora and Spotify too.

Broadcast radio no longer controls the “pipes,” because I can hear any station in any city in the world from my home office in Denver.

We clearly do not control music either. I can hear the songs I love most without ever turning on a radio station.

Our only choice for future growth lies in “compelling things that people want to…” hear. Non-musical things.

This doesn’t mean music isn’t important. It just means it’s not the most important thing we do anymore, at least not if we hope to grow and remain vital for a new generation of listeners.

So why are radio CEOS and VPs of Programming acting like it is?