Wednesday, July 21, 2010

PSA for Top 40 Radio:

Some might say that "radio is dying" and perhaps now considered an antiquated approach to consuming music as an active listener. I would tentatively agree with this notion. Although I am still a listener of radio stations where I currently live, I am tempted to scold them for they way they are currently doing business.

I think the notion that radio is dying comes from the idea that our worlds are becoming more personalized, and will continue to do so indefinitely. We currently live in a world where media has become something that you can mold to your wants and needs completely. Whether it be the news that is delivered to you, your music, or something else, we still get to choose. This is certainly not a new notion by any means.

But, perhaps the reason radio is suffering is the fact that not only have they not made a strong effort to adapt to a customizable world, but they have rather moved further away from it. Do you remember when requesting a song on a station was an exhilarating experience? Nowadays, you rarely ever hear those clips of an excited listener trying to get their song played.

The issue here lies with the fact that stations have moved further and further away from taking ANY chances with their song selection. Why? Well perhaps they are worried they will lose listeners. With our business hats on:  we realize that without listeners, we cannot get advertisers, and without advertisers we don't have funding, and in essence don't have a station.

FM stations should take a lesson from Pandora
But we are missing one huge piece to this puzzle. Where is the proof that a variety of music that is completely "new" to a listener will cause them to change the station? Isn't the success of "Pandora" living proof that listeners are looking for "new" music and artists fairly often and are completely willing to give them a try? Sure, Pandora adapts to your favorite genre, but why couldn't your favorite FM station do the same thing? Most importantly, what is the percentage of time spent by stations discovering and delivering new music to it's listeners in contrast to the amount of time spent trying to rack up advertising contracts?

In an industry that is suffering, There is room for stations to do something unique and creative. For now, your frustrated listeners will be tapping their feet to the monotony for as long as it takes to charge their iPod or power up the PC. I challenge stations to go back to working hard to deliver quality and variety in their programming. Engage and pay attention to your listeners. They should be your first priority.