Much has been written about in your publication regarding the future landscape for radio.
Living in Las Vegas I have had the opportunity to attend both CES and NAB regularly and am always amazed at the ingenuity on display. That is why I am surprised that corporate owners seem to continue to miss the boat when it comes to adapting for what is coming.
With wireless networks now offering 3G widely and 4G coverage quickly coming along, as well as technologies like the Sync blazing the way for technologically driven entertainment options within vehicles, local radio stations have to be keenly aware that their competitive landscape is about to change vastly. Yet they can survive and do well.
Local TV has been doing it for decades even with the numerous alternatives satellite and cable offer. The key to their survival, of course, has been local programming supplemented by network-unique programming. Local stations, though, may face a challenge with network programming, as I can stream the same CBS-provided format out of a dozen markets that I can get over the air here, all in my car.
Though an argument may be made that you may decrease your local listenership while expanding your national one, it’s hard to get Sam the Sales Guy to use that as a pitch for Joe’s Local Sandwich Shop.
Corporate owners need to relinquish more control now to a trusted group that understands the local market’s demands and can program accordingly. They will know how to establish a faithful base that will continue to tune them in after the transition. Unfortunately, saving a dime with automation and canned formats now may cost much more than a dollar down the road.