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Will the Internet Kill the Talk-Radio Stars? 10/1/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in TalkRadio.
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Last week at a convention of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), leading talk-radio magazine publisher Michael Harrison warned, “These are dark times for terrestrial radio…and most…are in denial of it…The next 15 years will be the demise of terrestrial radio as we know it and the rise of the extraterrestrial.” He predicted that competing technologies like the Internet, Wi-Fi, podcasts and cell phones would all but fill the niche now occupied by radio.

Sure enough, projecting recent developments into the future leaves radio with little reason for being. It is bad enough that the iPod is changing listeners’ expectations to on-demand, pre-recorded, downloaded, and portable — the polar opposite of drive time radio’s appointment-based, live, broadcasted, and car-installed model. But even worse is the problem local radio stations share with their local TV brethren — the best, most popular talent in the nation will soon no longer need these stations as middlemen to broadcast their programming “the last 50 miles” to the listener. For TV, a combination of the Internet and Microsoft’s new PC-to-TV “last 50 feet” wireless technology will fully close that gap. For radio, it will most likely be a combination of the Internet plus cell tower-based broadband service.

So, the Internet will not only kill the talk-radio star, but also smash his radio. What happens next? To paraphrase the Blood, Sweat and Tears song still played on equally terminally ill Oldies stations: And when it dies, and when it’s gone, there’ll be one child born in this world to carry-on. The Talk-Internet Star.

Comments»

1. meltaylor - 10/2/07

hi steve,
great post as usual.
i just got back from NAB conference.
as someone who has worked in newpaper as well as broadcasting, i am still quite amazed at the slow adoption of smart web strategy by radio execs. the book ‘innovators dilemma’ provides the likely reason.
here is my take on the NAB radio show in charlotte:
http://www.MelTaylorMedia.com
mel

2. Steve Boriss - 10/2/07

Mel, Interesting post. It would not surprise me if there is less denial in radio-land than in other places in media. Unlike newspapers, local radio actually has had to compete for business over the most recent decades, so there ought to be more sensitivity to strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Local TV stations have also competed for ratings, if not for life and death. Culturally, I think newspapers will have the biggest problem doing what they need to do to survive.


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