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Get Live and Local Again

If we do that, the listenership will increase dramatically and the revenues will follow.

A story quoted Emmis President/CEO Jeff Smulyan defending NAB’s campaign to encourage activation of FM radio capability in cellphones. He was replying to programming consultant Mark Ramsey, who called the campaign weak.

It doesn’t matter. Content matters. Merely streaming the material now on-air — which is failing miserably, incidentally — will not result in increased listenership or increased revenues for radio.

Let’s face it: We need to get radio live and local again. If we do that, the listenership will increase dramatically and the revenues will follow.

Broadcast companies who want to get into the digital advertising business should be exploring other types of content than music, and other kinds of digital services as well.

I’m not entirely sure radio’s content is compatible in the digital sphere. For radio, it has always been about “what’s in between the records.” Voice tracking and liner-card readers aren’t cutting it. Change that, and you’ll fix radio’s loss of audience (and revenue).

Our digital future is in an entirely different place. The assumption that radio’s content is instantly convertible to digital products is, in my view, seriously off-base.

John Hendricks
John Hendricks Broadcast Services LLC
Kalispell, Mont.

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