Sixty years ago the curtain was falling on radio.
In living rooms across the country the soft glow of the AM dial was being replaced with flickering images from a TV screen.
Radio should have died right then and there, but it didn’t. It found a new vehicle and new relevancy, and reinvented itself.
It’s happening again. As the flickering glow of PC and TV screens are replaced by the soft glow of mobile devices, oddly enough, radio is there.
Don’t believe me? Consider this: “Radio” is the second-most-common activity on smartphones, behind social media usage, according to comScore.
It is, of course, more aptly described as “listening.” But the radio industry is seizing on this opportunity just as they did on a different “mobile” opportunity with car radios six decades ago.
They are also pursuing something that could blow the lid off radio’s pent-up desire to remain relevant in today’s uber-fragmented media world: activation of FM chips in smartphones. Imagine 73 percent of adults carrying around transistor radios. Imagine the reduction in streaming-data usage.
Local radio has a lot to offer. Stations deliver dynamic programming that’s far more connected with local communities than sanitized music-genre programming heard on Sirius XM, Pandora and Spotify.
Gordon Borrell is the chief executive officer of Borrell Associates, which tracks local ad spending.