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Smyth: Embrace Internet Technology

Smyth: Embrace Internet Technology

Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth says radio “should not be afraid to ‘cannibalize’ ourselves if that’s what it takes to move to the next level.”
He was writing in response to comments by Wall Street Journal Technology Editor Walt Mossberg made at a recent Greater Media management meeting.
He quoted the journalist as saying radio has to change and should start by viewing the Internet and iPods as “friends” rather than foes.
“Radio’s biggest strength is its ability to provide local, entertaining and compelling content to consumers – that’s where radio will stand out,” Smyth continues in his latest CEO column. “With iPods, the Internet, satellite and the many other types of new technology available to consumers, radio can truly distinguish itself from the pack by doing what it does best — taking care of the communities it serves on a local level.”
He agreed with Mossberg that technology “is nothing more than a means to deliver content” and noted the writer’s analogy of being online as like being on the electrical grid.
“Already, the Internet is all around us and we rely on it for many of our basic daily tasks. Within a few years, Walt predicts that everything will ‘plug into’ the Internet and we will be ‘online’ 24/7.”
Thus, Smyth said, radio needs to stop “playing defense” and should use the Internet to its advantage. “We are moving in the right direction with streaming, podcasting, digital music stores, e-commerce and database marketing, but we still have a ways to go.” The Greater Media CEO sees radio “as the premiere content provider, and us emerging as the leader in the audio entertainment business. Our role will be to provide compelling content — whether it’s coming from our towers, our streams, our multicast channels, or our podcasts.”