If You Are In The Radio Business You’ve Already Lost!

June 6, 2014 — 6 Comments
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Ben Milton – Music Director WGTS, Washington DC

See here is the thing.  If you are in the Radio business you’ve already lost.  Radio has no bright future.  It’s just a delivery system based on technology.   Like any other system it’s going to become dated and eventually set aside for more efficient systems.

I know what you’re thinking “But Ben, I love radio!”  You don’t love radio.  Nobody loves radio. Except some of those geniuses that actually understand how you can talk in to a microphone and 18 miles away someone else can hear it.  Those guys are rare and maybe really love radio.  Pay them well they are weird enough to warrant it.

You don’t love radio cause it’s just a delivery system.  You know what else?  Your listeners don’t love radio either.  They love the content it sends them.  Content is King.  So when some other delivery service shows up and is able to deliver better content just as or more conveniently then radio….well, the King is dead, all hail the new King!

This is why I say Radio is dead.  So is Podcasting, Youtube, Spotify, iTunes Radio or whatever delivery system you choose.  Smart money is on thinking bigger than that. You need to think of yourself and your company as a Media Company.  Media Companies aren’t limited to any one delivery system.  As long as you are married to that one delivery system you are limited to a technology that is eventually going to fade away.

Marvel had always been a comic book company.  It wrote, printed and distributed some of the greatest super hero stories ever written.  It was also about to go bankrupt.  Then they did something brilliant.  They changed their medium to film.  A few years later Disney bought their content for $4 Billion.  Same stories and characters that they struggled to make a buck with in comic books are now world famous and raking in millions of dollars every time they are on the screen.  They didn’t stop there.  There is a network TV show and several shows being developed to be streamed from Netflix.  Marvel is now a media company.  The world is their oyster as long as they continue to create compelling content and distribute it using delivery systems that people want.

There is a lesson for those of us in the radio industry.  Change how we think about what we do.  Do we want to sell comic books or are we passionate enough about our characters and stories that we can adapt them to any new delivery system and thrive like Marvel did?  I choose to believe the future is bright for Media Companies.  Radio…not so much.

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Ben Milton

WGTS 91.9 — Music Director

Bill Scott

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I've worked in Christian media for the last 30 plus years. Radio, TV, Publishing, Fundraising and more. The Bill Scott Group main focus is helping ministries go to the next level.

6 responses to If You Are In The Radio Business You’ve Already Lost!

  1. Jim McDermott June 6, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Bill and Ben, the problem is I don’t see any other delivery system that at this time has the capability to reach as many people as a radio signal does. On radio, 50,000 people can all listen simultaneously in one location or city. Try that with streaming. I’m not saying that technology does not march on, but for mass adoption that technology has to work better. Digital delivery of music is more controllable and on demand, but lacks the infrastructure to serve large audiences simultaneously.

    • I hear what you are saying Jim. Actually I have to disagree with reach a lot of folks. I have a friend with just a podcast that has 500,000 downloads each week. I am not saying we get rid of radio. I think we have to improve radio to keep folks tuned in. Actually I am more concerned about Becky’s daughter than Becky. Her daughter has grown up without radio. What can we offer to get her to try radio. Does that make sense? I do here what you are saying as well, good point Jim. I hope you are doing well bro.

  2. Jim, great point! Right now radio is the go to way for audio to be delivered to the masses. But I can go out tonight and buy a new car with Pandora from at least 23 different car manufacturers. Ford sync gives you access to Spotify. How much easier does it have to be for users before it becomes a go to source of content? Once it’s as easy as radio I don’t think it will take long to gain a bigger foothold then it has already. The only thing holding those sources back is availability in cars and good content from radio. My point is to not get married to anyone delivery system but be willing to adapt to whatever you come across that might be more effective is sharing your content.

  3. We need compelling content and fresh approaches and a willingness to try.

  4. I think one of the reasons there isn’t a willingness to try is we’ve discouraged creativity. Talent that has that can be expensive. We need to think bigger not only from a on air stand point but also from the income stand point. There’s a lot of opportunities to monetize great content that radio often ignores.

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