When FM is Dead

Bill Scott

Bill Scott

Perhaps radio isn’t dying but its changing.  I get the chance to travel to multiple countries doing fundraisers and talking to radio people.  I love the opportunities I get and the insight I receive from so many friends in the media industry.

Each Monday I get in my rental car heading to another station.  The first thing I do is hook my phone up to the cars dashboard.  I then choose AM, FM, XM or Bluetooth which opens other choices like Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, iHeart or the music on my phone.  There are just so many choices to choose from.

I can honestly tell you that AM and FM very rarely are something I choose.  I do think what I choose might surprise you, I still listen to radio a lot of the time but it’s an AM or FM through an app or iHeart radio.  People are still listening to radio but how they listen is beginning to change.

I know many in radio fear all the choices people may have in the car but to be honest I love what Mark Ramsey wrote recently in one of his blogs.
Certainly there will be erosion to radio listening as a result of new choices on the dashboard. But this will be erosion at the edges – erosion that impacts the weakest radio brands most and the strongest radio brands least. Isn’t the lesson to be a strong radio brand?”  FULL ARTICLE 

I am encouraging many of my clients to invest in a great radio app for their stations and make sure you run it with a high bit rate.  I was listening to a station the other day through my phone but the bit rate was low enough where it just didn’t sound good.  I think we need to own as many  choices as the people have.  You already own AM or an FM signal.  You need to own a great radio app.  Look for other outlets to stream your audio like iHeart radio.  People love your station, make it where they have choices of how they listen to you.  I love the fact that you are no longer restricted by your AM or FM signal.  I often to listen to WOOD FM in Grand Rapids Michigan when I want talk and WJJZ on Philadelphia when I want smooth jazz.  I would encourage you to provide video to your audience along with all the social media opportunities you have available to you.

I believe that new doors are open for radio that could give us the chance to reach more people than ever before.  There are a lot of choices but I believe we can  be the best choice out there if we are willing to be a strong brand.  Yes it’s going to cost money and take extra energy but at the same time I believe you’ll see that money again in your advertising or in our fundraising.

I’m finding this fall that stations are doing well in their fundraising if they are willing to provide a great brand for their listeners.  For radio I believe the best is yet to come if you are willing to embrace change and look for new ways to engage your audience.