The Future of Radio?

This it not revolutionary by any means, but just an extension or the next step of what everyone is already doing.  The future of radio will be online of course, but it will also include personalities you hear on today’s radio stations.

This means everyone will be able to be their own program director and pick their own music, like with LastFM or Pandora, but in addition to music selection you will be able to pick your DJ or host.  So you will be able to listen to your custom station and then pick your favorite DJ or host, to mix in and give you a break from the music.

DJ’s don’t talk about the music anymore anyway, so this will be an easy switch.  The software or the listener will be able to choose how often they want someone to interrupt the music with talk, and they will also be able to be choose if they want to be interrupted with local weather, news, etc. as well.

These don’t have to be typical DJ’s either.  They could be podcast, or just a guy from his garage. I know of a few podcast that would work perfectly in this format.  Diggnation comes to mind (it’s too long to take all at once anyway).

Ok you might be saying, but why?  Well because these breaks help keep the music from getting boring  and help you develop a connection with what you are listening to.  Essentially you are becoming your own program director.

So the marketing angle?  Well you will be able to insert geo-targeted audio ads, endorsements, and promotions are still an option.  Plus you will be able to choose the type of listeners you would like to go after based on format and subscription data.

Will radio stations as we know it go away?  Most of them will, but a few innovative ones that have good program directors will stay around programing music, but most of them will just managing talent.

Obviously this all depends on getting hi-speed wireless internet connections becoming main stream, but that is just a matter of time.  Look at what is happening with the Iphone 3g.

What do you think?

  • http://123socialmedia.com Brian Crouch

    During my brief time in radio, I learned that corporate decisions about programming are splenetically reactive: their actions show undercutting competitors is job 1.

    One company, I’ll call it Schmentercom, owns an oldies station with no DJ’s, minimal promotion, with only one goal, to splinter a bit of the audience of the other oldies station in the Seattle market, and weaken its Arbitron.
    Also, Country KMPS had been on top of the list for the longest time, until the Wolf 100.7 came along: again I don’t think that new station is ever expected to dominate the market, but to lower the other country station’s #’s just enough that advertisers see a percentage increase in market share in the other held properties, and knock KMPS out of dominant position. It’s a mercenary game.

    What I think the corporate suits didn’t realize was that there was such personal brand loyalty to KMPS, esp Ichabod Crane.
    Which brings me to mention: the only time I listen to the radio, pretty much, is on the road. I tend to scan, until I pop a CD in (catching up on my “reading” that way: ever read “The Black Swan” by Taleb?)
    There are many people using satellite radio but probably more people like me (haven’t looked at the numbers) who figure there’s enough content for free, and if not, I’ve got my CD player (or iPod). Of course, the iPod proves your point: the online ability to create custom content for hours of drive time means LastFM has as much impact on the highway as at the cubicle.

  • Brian Crouch

    Thought you might appreciate reading this:
    http://mashable.com/2008/07/21/internet-radio/

    Traditional radio doesn’t pay a dime in royalty rates because it is considered promotional. Has there been a greater promotional tool for an artist since the invention of the barker than the Internet? Even with the 50% cut that the artist receive from Soundexchange, for the working musician, according to Hanson, Internet radio is for more valuable developing a fan base than the “single digit cut they get from royalties.” If these rates are enforced and companies like Pandora go out of business, bands that don’t fit in the broad world of terrestrial radio will have a far more difficult time building a fan base and will lose the revenue stream that is Internet radio.

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