The Difference Between Dwindling and Dying

It's a most contentious time. People familiar with digital technology point to statistics showing drops in traditional media revenue and relevance. Those supporting broadcast and print have data to show they suffer little from a sea change in consumer use of media. Check both closely to see who pays for each study and to see where bias causes the outcome to lean.

We constantly read, see and hear about old media dying or, at the least, dwindling. If your main industry trade is the iHearMedia-owned "Inside Radio," all appears to be strong for radio as it "adjusts." I've seldom read anything there, though, which couldn't easily be challenged through facts.

Dwindling and dying can easily be defined at Adjusting to keep pace is more complex, and nobody in radio's executive suites is discussing how that's going, at least, again, using facts.

This past convention devoted loads of time to Programmatic, ROI, and Podcasting. The "Programmatic" being offered was nothing like its digital counterpart. "ROI" is not being calculated as it is in the digital world. Podcasting, well, let's just say if it wasn't for the involvement of the person who founded Westwood One, it wouldn't have existed at this convention; and if not for "Serial," we'd only be able to talk about a half dozen NPR based podcasts, with an Adam Carolla mention. Of course you didn't hear about Stitcher, the site PodcastOne emulates so well.

I've stated many times that radio is not dying, but it is dwindling in relevance - limping if you care to call it that. Itís evidenced by this simple exercise: Try to find "State of the Industry" comments from either the head of NAB or RAB at this last convention. In years past, they'd be prominently placed on each web site. Today, not so.

Whether puff statements or not, what the CEO's of each have to say should be placed out there for inspection; and if broadcast were healthy, you bet we'd see them highlighted.

Dying is too strong a word because in the short term radio is not dying. If you think its audience is not dwindling, though, either by size or time spent listening, you're not reading articles on technology or media use from outside of the radio industry.

I believe it's too late to salvage radio as an important factor in helping a person through the day. It's being replaced by youth, and it is hung onto by the elderly only out of habit or a reluctance to learn something new.

That we once again have the radio industry using digital words to describe initiatives it creates which are not defined the same way in our digital world - Programmatic is the latest - says much about the smoke and mirrors approach to its future. This will continue, until there's little-to-no difference between dwindle and death.

The year 2020 is going to be pivotal in proving just how fast radio has stayed put in the past.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015      eMail to a Friend

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