Article on the death of terrestrial (i.e., non-satellite) radio over at Fast Horse. It's mercifully short, so read the whole thing and come back. I'll wait. In the meantime, let's have a musical interlude:
OK, interlude over. It is an interesting and valid point Reinan makes, and for the radio mass market there is no easy answer beyond "our business and programming models are failing, we need to try something else."
But there are some bright spots on the dial. There are some stations that are very focused on their local audiences or, more regionally, on their audience niches. Here are a few examples:
WWOZ, the New Orleans jazz & heritage station.
KLEB, a funky little Cajun AM outlet.
WGSO, hyper-local New Orleans news and commentary. Guaranteed to make you mad, occasionally.
WSM, 50KW clear channel rootsy country music to the eastern half of the U.S.
WQRZ-LP, "Katrina Radio," an odd mix of local music and oldies, and oh yes, hurricane reporting as needed. Which is, it seems, all too often in these parts.
WOYS, "Oyster Radio," playing a Jimmy Buffett-tinged mix of salt water and beach town music to (surprise!) a seafood industry and beach town audience.
All of these are as focused as a local microbrew, and all are somewhere between chugging along OK to succeeding wildly. The reason why is simple: they're putting out something with flavor and spice, and they're not putting out homogenized crap. They know their audiences and build content for them. They take chances, and take feedback. Anything less is just laziness, and a recipe for failure.
Will they succeed in the long run? Dunno, but they're doing better than the "yet another pop / oldies / sports talk" stations are doing. They'll be around a while.