You Shouldn’t Bother Worrying About Digital
That’s what a prominent programming consultant is telling her readers at least.
According to Jaye Albright, who has had an illustrious career in the radio industry lasting over 50 years, there’s no reason to worry about non AM/FM based programming because “no one’s listening.”
Despite posting stats that state, “The average age of an Internet radio listener is 34 years old versus the average age of a broadcast radio listener which is 47 years old. Since the average income was found to be similar in both groups, the Internet radio audience is more affluent given their substantially younger age,” somehow that means nothing. After spinning some numbers that highlight how the percentage internet listeners in San Diego is minimal compared to AM/FM she comes to the conclusion that ad rates are so low and buyer beware.
Hey, you “forward-thinking innovators:” caveat emptor!
Let’s go back say 50 years to 1963. Around that time there were plenty of AM broadcasters saying the same thing about FM. Many FM licenses in major markets were donated or turned in because they didn’t know what to do with them and thought they were useless. It took the FCC forcing stations to break their AM simulcasts to see original programming and experimentation come to FM leading to the band finally taking off.
Internet radio is just about at that same stage. In-car streaming is just starting to become standard and it’ll take a few more years to reach critical mass. But it is coming and it is coming fast. Today Pandora stated that its in-car dashboard use has reached 2.5 million listeners nationwide, quadrupling its numbers from last year. Additionally, its app is now available on 1/3 of all new cars sold this year. But they’re not a factor!
The listener will have millions of audio choices accessible to them at the push of a button. What are we doing as an industry to keep those listeners around? What incentive is there other than familiarity keeping someone tuned to your station? These are issues that can’t be pushed to tomorrow, because tomorrow is now!