Wilson: Radio Needs to Adapt or Face Obsolescence

CEA’s Dave Wilson predicts a dim future for analog radio and says the medium must go digital.
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CEA’s Dave Wilson predicts a dim future for analog radio and says the medium must go digital.

Radio is becoming irrelevant and must find a way to reinvent itself and think beyond getting tuners in all portable audio devices, he says. Radio needs to become a service provider for portable media players so listeners can customize the traffic they want to hear on their device, for example.

In a session during Sunday’s Broadcast Engineering Conference, Wilson said radio’s current, inefficient frequency allocation would need to be re-worked to permit such customization. He would co-locate channels and use single-frequency networks to make more efficient use of spectrum.

He expects pushback from the FCC and broadcasters on such a frequency re-allocation, but he said radio needs to adapt to changing times to survive.

Although known as an engineer for both NAB and now CEA, Wilson is also speaking as a broadcast owner. He owns two Class A FMs in Buxton, N.C.

Dave painted a pretty bleak future for radio and raised good questions about its future.

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