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How Can Radio Compete in an On-Demand World?

R.A.I.N. Publisher Kurt Hanson on trends

In a world in which everyone wants what they want delivered when they want it, coupled with the open dashboard and near-infinite bandwidth, there are a number of things radio can do to remain relevant.

That’s according to Radio and Internet Radio Newsletter Publisher Kurt Hanson.

The new Netflix trend to release all episodes at once of a video program series is a good reminder for both traditional AM/FM as well as Internet radio that you need to step up your game to compete, according to Hanson in his annual “State of the Internet Radio Industry” address.

Hanson also pointed to the morphing role of the smartphone, which, for many people, has replaced their camera, alarm clock, voice recorder, address book, calculator and navigation unit.

The Arbitron and Edison Research report “Infinite Dial” data suggests weekly use of Internet radio is now up to 86 million listeners; the amount has more than tripled over the past five years, noted Hanson.

Will Apple enter the radio business? Hanson said if so that “might be great for all of us.” He likened it to a battle of the brands that raises the visibility of the entire product category.

AM and FM radio can maximize its value by being live and local; with an Internet stream, a station is “not constrained by a 90-mile signal anymore,” he pointed out.

Hanson cautioned broadcasters not to wait too long to make a change, saying “If you wait too long, the opportunities are taken.”