Radio is dead … it just doesn’t know it yet
You’ve probably heard the term dead man walking before, denoting the man on death row heading to execution. I don’t want to sound morbid but the truth is this is the state or Terrestrial Radio today the real “Walking Dead”.
I’m not saying tomorrow you’ll cut on your car and your favorite drive time radio station is going to be kaput but hey prepare yourself because the day is coming. I’d suspect it’ll sputter along until most of us 70’s babies are too old to care anymore but I won’t bet my life on it.
The last few years we have seen the fall of major industries that let innovation and technology consume them before they could blink. For those skeptics who can’t see it, I’ll just say I bet the Hotel and Taxi industry wish they took the disrupters AirBnb and Uber a little more serious now that they are being decimated.
I saw the handwriting on the wall for radio in 2005 when XM Radio was just a startup. So for it to still be lingering on that speaks to the phenomenon we find ourselves in with the multitude of generations living at the same time. Anywhere from Great depression era to Millennial and all those in between.
As I’m a 70’s baby I can relate to radio but more on a nostalgic level than anything else. Personally I’d much rather pull up either on Apple music the exact song I want to hear at the moment vs. hoping to hear it and suffer through the commercials.
The one good thing about live radio is the traffic update but more than likely there’s an app for that…
I happen to be chatting with a friend who is a former super popular radio host about this very topic and they said emphatically Radio will never be gone or rather Podcasting will never replace radio. I partially agree with the later, as Podcasting is fast becoming a Buzzword or “It” medium of the day. I don’t see it completely replacing radio but more of one more deathblow to the staggering half dead victim to innovation.
WE ARE AN ON DEMAND SOCIETY
What do we want? Everything. When do we want it? NOW!
The sad truth is after the advent of the Microwave Oven we can no longer have patience to cook a baked potato in an actual baking oven.
We live in an instant gratification world, now where pretty much anything we want is within reach mere minutes of the thought of it. Never in the history if the world have people had access to as much as we do right now. And frankly I’m as much excited as saddened by it.
A big example of this is we are no longer teaching Cursive Handwriting but at the same time our kids can freely talk to and see cultures around the world at any moment.
Podcast indicted on attempted Murder
So my case for the death of Radio and who will most likely put the final proverbial nail?
I will put myself out there and still say Podcasting.
Just a few reasons are:
Radio is mad expensive to run, how do the keep the doors open? Advertisers/ Sponsorship. Both of these are looking for ROI (return on investment) correct.
To get a return someone must hear the ad first and then take action on that ad second. Basic Marketing 101 says it typically take 9 interactions before most people will take action. I don’t know about you but I can’t tell you when the last time I heard a commercial on radio that I didn’t automatically flip the dial.
First and foremost you had to catch me actually turning on the ‘regular’ radio (generally 1-2 per month) only because I’ll be in the car less than 10 minutes or some other unusual happenstance.
So, why Podcasting? Simply it checks all the boxes. We already have on demand radio with limited or no commercial depending on paid or free versions of Pandora, Spotify. Or YouTube if you’re desperate in the car. Then you have XM Sirius for the “Radio” alternative which a lot of popular radio personalities are already on as well.
Podcasting takes the morning drive and becomes a ride with your favorite topic, passion, guru etc. I have leaned more in one year listening to podcasts than I did in four years of High School. Literally thousands of topics to choose from, I’ve gone from Comedy with Charlie Murphy to Finances with Dave Ramsay.
Now with the popularity of the Serial Podcast and President Obama being featured on WTF with Marc Maron advertisers are taking notice. It’s only a matter of time as Podcasting continues to grow I expect to see the Advertisers are going to follow the ears that are attached to wallets. Especially super niche targeted ears.
A well placed Samsung sponsored advertisement on a popular Podcast about Technology will more than likely get a better response than a huge ad spend on Terrestrial Radio any day just based on our automatic dial flip ad reflex.
The beauty with Podcasting and advertising is when done well you really don’t even notice them, they are woven into the regular content like no big deal.
Some bigger podcasts go right out and do a true Ad roll i.e. “after this word from our Sponsors” kinda thing. I guess a major factor is your industry and your particular audience tolerance.
Either way, the case for Podcasting is pretty strong and I don’t foresee it slowing down anytime soon. I will say I know the Podcast is not the only reason radio is gasping for breath but it definitely kicked him while he was down.