Monday, December 3, 2012

What Gives Terrestrial Radio Stations An Edge Over Satellite Radio And Pandora?

Syndicated Morning Show Host Elvis Duran
“It’s easy, accessible, and comes in every car,” said University Of Maryland student Avraham Ginsburg when asked why he listens to terrestrial (AM/FM) radio.  Since Satellite Radio and Pandora have started becoming popular, people have been questioning whether or not the old technology, terrestrial radio, will be able to survive the new technologies. Radio has managed to stay alive using new technologies like Internet radio, smartphone apps, and social media, but most importantly, radio has one thing that Satellite and Pandora can't offer: content. 

The State Of Terrestrial Radio

We live in a time where we constantly see new technology being introduced to the public. One of the industries which has been greatly affected by new technologies is the radio industry. Over the last twenty years, the radio industry and terrestrial radio have experienced much change. In 1994, the radio industry saw its first online radio station. This is something that most of us take for granted today. Almost every radio station now has the ability to be listened to online. You can go to the station’s website and listen to it worldwide, providing a much larger audience. There also many apps such as Tunein and iHeart Radio with directories of radio stations that can be heard online. All these new technologies have an effect on terrestrial radio.

When Satellite Radio and Pandora came out, many people thought that terrestrial radio listening would slow down and eventually die out however, this has not been the case. As seen in the graphic above, a recent report by Bridge Ratings LLC shows that radio listenership has actually gone up since 2006. Even in today’s world, with new technologies constantly being released, over 90% of the United States population still listens to AM and FM radio.

Terrestrial Radio is a Medium Like No Other

The technology in traditional radio very rarely updates, so what is it that keeps listeners attached to their radios? In the video below, radio consultant John Harper tells us what is keeping radio ahead of the competition.

As John says, the biggest aspect is content. Content is the key to the continuing success of radio. Radio has always been a content-based medium. Although many people do listen to radio for the music, a station that is purely a jukebox will never be a successful radio station because it does not provide any content. This is what sets traditional radio apart from Pandora, Satellite Radio, or any other medium.

Being someone who works in radio, I see the truth in this. This past summer I interned with Elvis Duran and the Morning Show. When listeners call in to the show, they almost always end the phone call by saying something such as “you guys make my morning so much better” or “I love waking up to you.”

Although SiriusXM also has content similar to radio, it does not have the local aspect. When one turns on their AM or FM radio, they will hear local information that is relevant to them and their communities.

Another large aspect in AM/FM radio's continuing domination of the radio industry is accessibility. Radio can be listened to in many different ways; in your car, on your clock radio, on your cell phone, or on a portable radio.

One of the easiest ways to get the latest news is through terrestrial radio. An example of this was seen during Hurricane Sandy. During the hurricane, New York radio stations played a large role in keeping the public safe and providing them with information. For days, radio stations put their normal programming on hold and provided critical information such as storm tracking, the locations of food and supplies, and the names and locations of gas stations which still had gas. The Vice President of Whitney Media, Kevin Elliott, tells us more about how radio stations helped out during Hurricane Sandy.
Radio listening is easy. If you are driving somewhere and curious about the traffic, many new cars have traffic built into their GPS. There are also websites and apps that provide traffic information. But the easiest way to get traffic is through the radio. People will often have no issue sacrificing a few minutes for the simplicity of radio.

Radio Remains On Top (For Now)

For now, radio remains more popular than Satellite Radio or Pandora because of its accessibility and content. Things could change in the future with new technologies like the availability of Pandora and iHeart Radio in cars but the only thing that could really take down traditional radio is the ability to provide relevant, compelling content to listeners.

1 comment:

  1. A friend told me about X102.3 a few days ago. Now it’s programmed as number 1 on my car stereo. The music keeps me jamming, especially during their morning show. It’s always a great way to start my day. Tune in, you may even win some tickets like I did.