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Monday, January 31, 2011
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Struble's Trouble Also Radio's

According to iBiquity President Bob Struble, there's in-car trouble brewing. His latest column (which carries a heading of "Thoughts on Radio's Digital Future") is titled "AM/FM in a Connected World: Threat or Opportunity? ... Yes."

Mr. Struble is telling the radio industry that there's an in-progress attack on radio's place on the dashboard. These are the the same words muttered by persons called "radio pundits" for over a decade. This time it must be serious, though, because Bob Struble is using screen shots of what a digital dashboard looks like.

We're not going to rehash this debate. If you still believe that HD Radio is going to be embraced despite the past years of consumer apathy, then nothing can be said which will change your mind.

"With all this worry about radio losing the dashboard, maybe we should start thinking about what's happening at home...."

While everyone is talking about controlling the dashboard, let's look at data showing that maybe we need to discuss at-home listening to internet radio. If disregarded, this has the potential to also become a serious problem.

I don't believe the answer is a table-top HD Radio in the kitchen. The solution to this is no different than the one needed for radio to keep its dashboard relevancy - the industry needs to create better content. (The "how" needs to be preceded by, at the very least, an attempt at putting something new in the speakers.)

Let's look at this graph and consider that it represents the number of people using to find a station from April 2009 through yesterday - millions of pageviews. What's more, this is only for Saturdays and Sundays.

The online radio industry has been built on a thought that the majority of its audience is there Monday through Friday, listening while at work. As the above shows, people don't just listen at work. With all this worry about radio losing the dashboard, maybe we should start thinking about what's happening at home - on the weekend.

I could show you graphs representing RadioRow traffic levels for specific days of the week. Each shows a far-less percentage of increased audience. Weekend listening to radio online is growing and, by inference for this example, that means listening at home is growing, too.

I know Bob Struble has his hands full trying to convince the radio industry that HD Radio is the answer to going digital, but don't take your eyes off that at-home radio stream.

The dashboard isn't the only place where listening to radio online is growing.

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