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Radio Isn't Dead

Sometimes I think I need to resign from Facebook.

I have never read more out of work DJ’s, retired (sometimes of their own free will, sometimes not) air personalities and radio wags who’ve never worked a day in the business still ranting day and night about how the business is dead, not worth a young person considering as a career and generally just doom and gloom.

Interesting then that one of the people who “gets” the fact that radio is still a powerful medium today, is a competitor.  The CEO at Sirius/XM.  According to a recent blog noted by Fred Jacobs:

“Look at all the new technology that has come to the vehicle…yet 200 million people still listen to terrestrial radio.”

That’s the world-view of SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer. He’s a committed advocate for his subscription-based company, which just turned in new record highs for subscribers, now over 30 million. But he tells yesterday’s Q2 call that what people listen to is “not going to be either/or.” When it comes to terrestrial radio, satellite and streaming, he believes “This stuff will coexist together.” …

…And he’s well aware of the hold terrestrial radio has on the larger sphere of “radio.” He figures the broad category does about $25 billion in revenue, and the AM/FM industry’s holding onto about $20 billion of that. He reiterates a familiar line – “When customers leave us, the vast majority are going back to terrestrial” radio. That’s due to price.”

To listen to the naysayers, EVERYBODY is listening online…but not to traditional radio.  And yet, according to a Jacobs blog, radio has a growing digital audience:

More than three-fourths of consumption to our stakeholder stations occurs using “regular radios” in cars (nearly half of all usage), home, work, or school – referred to as “traditional” listening.  But one-fifth now takes place on digital platforms: computer streams, mobile apps, and podcasts.  And the main takeaway here is that each year, consumption of broadcast radio stations continues to shift in the digital direction, underscoring the importance of metrics that can capture it all.

What is missing as of yet, is an accurate way to determine the numbers of people listening online.  Which is why I hope Nielsen and whomever get off their rear ends and find an accurate way to determine that metric.  Those numbers, added to the number of on-air listeners, could go a long way toward showing the sky in radio is not falling…and Chicken Little (namely all of those whining on Facebook) is wrong. 

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