Monday, August 24, 2009

The Future of Radio...Really?

I just had a little dustup in the Twittersphere about the future of radio.

Aw, let me backtrack a little bit. Anyone who knows me and listens to my podcasts knows how much I love radio. I love radio passionately. I still fall asleep with my iPhone next to my ear, playing my favorite Internet radio station, much as I did with my little red transistor listening to CKLW back eons ago.

And anyone who knows me knows that I was laid off from my beloved newspaper job recently. I am, and have been all my life, a media maven. Gobbling up as voraciously as I could all forms of media: TV, radio, newspapers, magazines. Constantly they filled my little life. They were what I cared most about.

So it is with great sadness that I say again here, as I've said many times in my blog, my podcast, on my Facebook page, and on Twitter, that I think media, at least old school media that we used to know, is DEAD.

Newspapers are dead. Magazines are dead. Radio is dead. TV is on its last legs, and is trying to rejigger itself to the new medium which lives and has swallowed all of them whole: the Internet.

That is my stance, and my belief. Further, I believe that any of us who used to be in media should get our relative acts together and reappropriate them to the Internet or face our own destruction. There is no retooling of the old stuff to make it work. It's broken, it's gone. Let's all move on, shall we?

So, I came across this post from someone in media whom I did respect. Someone on Twitter who always posts enlightening, interesting posts (whom I will not name here). He was directing us to another guy, an old-school radio guy, who was proclaiming "The Future of Radio." In the dustup that ensued, the respected guy offered, "No, really. Just so you know, he's a new media evangelist."


And that means that he gets paid big bucks for offering his opinion on where we are at and where we are going? Really? Really now?

I checked out the man's blurb for this "Future of Radio" webinar. Here is the statement which stopped me dead in my tracks, openly mocking everything else that came after: "designing the format clock to maximum advantage." Really? That's what the future of radio involves? Continuing to perpetuate the scourge of radio foisted upon us in the 70s, the "format"? The one where you pick from A, and B, and C, to come up with a repetitive mix that is pleasurable to listeners? Really?

Does this man, this "new media evangelist" (oh, excuse me, "RAB Certified Digital Marketing Consultant" (choke, cough)) even own an iPod? And is the format-churning radio really relevant for anyone anymore? Are my facts wrong, or has radio been bleeding listeners like newspapers have been bleeding readers? Even the current format-oriented radio stations? Much less ones out there in the "future."

Boys and girls, the horse has left the barn. It's moved on to other things. And if I didn't have friends I care about programming radio stations, I wouldn't even be listening to the Internet radio I listen to now, I'd be surfing on and Pandora and any number of alternate music sources. To say nothing of the vast horizon of music-oriented podcasts out there.

The new media evangelist goes further to talk about "brand loyalty." Really? There is brand loyalty to old-school prepackaged radio stations? Hm. Not in my world. I cannot imagine any way you could "redesign the format clock" to make it work in my world.

The last terrestrial radio station I listened to, and loved, was LA's Indie 103.1 (and now listen to in its Internet format). One thing not having it around has made me really realize is that the whole premise that radio today is based upon: repetition to create "hits" is annoying as hell. I really don't wanna hear a song six times in one day. No matter the song, no matter how much I like it. For that matter, I don't want to hear it three times in one day. Once a day is just fine. Once a week is even better.

That's my preferred listening mode these days. I would venture to bet that most people follow along these lines. Having CDs in their car to listen to, walking around with their iPods or Zunes. Maybe radio plays in the background at a party.

It just kills me that someone gets big bucks for telling people how to put a finger in a dyke that's already burst. And furthermore, the man's picture on the promo piece is SKEWED. Sheesh. Some evangelist. Can't even get his Photoshop right.

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Great call Miche. I'm quite glad to hear that not everyone in traditional media is short sighted. Wait until the internet makes it directly into the's on the way already. You can kiss all the over-the-air radio stations bye-bye--that is, all the stations that are not making a serious effort online already.

    That's all for me...
    Feel free to check me out on, we're looking for bloggers like yourself to write serious reviews about the site.


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