Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Surprising Life of Radio

To end this trilogy of blogs/columns (Death of Postal Service, Death of Email and this one) I would like to surprise you with what is actually ALIVE and GROWING.


Radio is alive and growing.

You and I would have thought that with the advent of digital music, iPods, MP3’s, internet streaming, Pandora, and automobile jacks for digital media that Radio would be dying a quick death. Not so much.

TV is actually evolving and extending its “Long Tail” to the point where it is not becoming recognizable. Try to imagine yourself an advertiser on TV. 20 years ago you pick the few popular shows or the many not-so-popular and you advertised with them because the price was set on their popularity. Now you have what is called the “Long Tail” based on the bell curve becoming more and more shallow and the “tails” of it extending out. You now have THOUSANDS of channels and options to advertise on with prices so variable it will make your head spin. TV isn’t dying it is just evolving.

Radio on the other hand is basically the same as it was when you listened 40 years ago. The sound may be better, the songs may be different, but it is essentially the same. Even the attack of ad-less radio like XM and Sirius have been repelled and are dying a slow death. But Radio, according to the latest statistics (2011) are adding 12 million listeners a MONTH! Digital and social media seem to ENHANCE radio and not detract from it. MP3 players have replaced CDs, which replaced Cassettes, which replaced 8-tracks, which replaced vinyl but they DID NOT replace radio.

Talk radio is growing at 12% a year.

Country music stations are growing at 8% a year.

Pop/Contemporary stations are growing at 4% a year

Urban/Rap stations are growing at 3% a year.

Even oldies stations are growing at 3% a year while all the “oldies” are getting older.

So with all the chatting and twittering I have been doing about the death of the Postal Service and Email and many other things in our lives it is also good to know that some things DON’T change. Some things stay the same, stay reliable, stay comfortable and even nostalgic. Radio brings me back to my younger years while driving a tractor on the farm, getting a tan, while listening to WLS in Chicago. Radio brings me the traffic reports I need, brings me the weather I need, and brings me the news that I want WHILE I am doing something else.

It will be a long time before our vehicles eliminate radio. It may look prettier and more digitally enhanced but it will still be radio. Long live the oldies!

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