March 22, 2008

Is Radio Dead?

Many people are predicting that radio will die because of satellite radio, ipods, mp3's, etc. Radio will not die, in some ways it will be better! You might be saying radio sucks. Is radio suffering, of course, but the idea that it's going to simply disappear is off based.

Our predictions for radio:

Urban/hip-hop radio is in trouble. Many cities will begin to have only one hip-hop station

The new rating system (PPM) will force radio companies to abandon the Hip-Hop format. The problem with PPM is well documented. Would you walk around with a tracking device??

Another reason is content. A major part of radio content is not only playing great music but also having compelling on-air personalities. There are very few up and coming personalities under the age of 30 on hip-hop radio, who have the potential to become a major radio personality. Where before radio stations developed personalities on the overnight and weekend shift; that's not happening anymore due to syndication and voicetracking. There simply are less shifts available.

The other problem is that the hip-hop music being produced today does not work across the board in every city. It turns many listeners off. However A&R departments in record companies are pushing it hard to appeal to the only group of people who really buy CDs, teens. Radio companies are all into the "one size fits all" mentality. But there is the crux of the problem. The teens that buy it would rather play it on their own personal listening devices and download it legally or illegally than listen to it on the radio. WHY? Simple because the amended versions are what is played on the radio and they would rather hear the full version, curse words and all. So each year radio is losing more and more listeners of the younger generation.

Other radio formats will be fine including Black radio formats - Urban AC (R&B and Classic Soul) and Gospel
The content will continue to be better and it will allow for personalities like Tom Joyner, Michael Baisden, Steve Harvey and others to have the power to mobilize the community in ways not seen before. (i.e. Jena 6, Voter registration drives, the Obama presidential campaign, etc.) An unintended benefit that large media companies will try to control.

Your local radio station will soon have syndicated personalities all day
Now your local on-air Dee-Jay (DJ) is a thing of the past. You will have to be popular on TV, sell a book, be a recording artist, comedian, be popular in another venue to have a radio show that will be heard in many cities at the same time. (i.e. Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Michael Baisden, Yolanda Adams, Rickey Smiley, Keith Sweat, Mo'Nique etc.) Local shows will only be heard on the weekends. The only local jobs in radio will be the local morning news and afternoon traffic report person.

WiFi streaming radio receivers and cell phones will have a greater impact on radio content than satellite radio and HD radio will not be successful
Radio will be forced to increase their web presence and will look to "names" or "celebrities" in entertainment to deliver ratings. Radio will even begin to use in-studio cameras and simulcast what they do in the studio over the internet and on cellphone webcast. Radio will change but it will not die because of the ipod. Remember radio is free and radio is not going digital like TV.

There will be a need to hear a compelling voice giving you information from your speakers or earbud headphones. There will be a need to hear a new song or some juicy gossip. There will always be a need to know what is happening in your world even if it's no more than a traffic report; or in the time of crisis ( a terrorist attack, hurricane, or flood ) when you're not near a TV, a computer and your cell phone doesn't work, radio is the only thing I know of that works on batteries ...and that my friends is the bottom line.

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