Sunday, April 5, 2009

Re-inventing radio

Radio has been a resilient medium for many years. Attacks have come from TV, eight track tape players, CB radio, cassette tapes, CD's, and now iPods and the Internet. In the past, the medium has always bounced back by re-inventing itself. Will the industry do it this time?

I maintain that re-invention is critical in two completely different areas: 1) Financial and 2) Defining the business that we are really in. We will deal with the Financial side in a separate blog post soon. Today, I want to talk about the business that we are in.

Radio broadcasters need to embrace the idea of operating as digital businesses that just happen to own radio stations. The stations can drive traffic (quite effectively) to the digital offerings. Those include streaming (including streaming to smart phones), web sites, blogs, social networking sites (like Facebook), and podcasts. The problem for most of us is that we just don't "get" all of the digital offerings. But it is time to start thinking about not our audiences, but our communities. And to recognize the fact that our communities are best reached online.

So where do you start. As someone on the very upper end of the 25-54 demo, embracing these new opportunities did not come naturally. But let me share some resources for you as a starting point. If you read these books and follow the related websites, you will be off to a very good start:

  • What Would Google Do?

Jeff Jarvis

Related website:

  • The Long Tail

Chris Anderson

Related website:

  • Grown Up Digital

  • groundswell

Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff

Related website:

  • Making Waves: Radio on the Verge

Mark Ramsey

Related website:

And the last of your homework, but certainly not the least, is to join Facebook, sign up for Twitter, and check out a few blogs. If we are going to re-invent, we have to understand why and how.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?