When respondents were asked which of the 10 technologies their radio organizations are now deploying, streaming was the top pick by far. For six other technologies (listed below), each requiring capital investment, respondents reported group owned stations as implementing them at a substantially higher rate than stand-alone stations:
- Having a website that delivers video: Group owned, 43.1%; stand-alone, 26.8%
- Promoting stations with a mobile phone app: Group owned, 43.1%; stand-alone, 22.8%
- Streaming multiple channels: Group owned, 38.5%; stand-alone, 20.3%
- Broadcasting in HD Radio: Group owned, 36.9%; stand-alone, 19.5%
- Websites that create musical discovery: Group owned, 27.7%; stand-alone, 17.9%
- Broadcasting multiple HD Radio channels: Group owned, 26.2%; stand-alone, 10.6%
What's holding the smaller broadcast companies back? (duh) MONEY.
For the remaining three technologies, which do not require capital investment (using social media to win more listeners, creating a website that interacts with listeners, and creating podcasts) responses for stand-alone and group-owned stations were comparable.
“This study comes to the radio industry at a critical time. As traditional ad revenue has declined, radio organizations are experimenting with new technologies that will add revenue by enabling them to deliver programming through a variety of new channels.” -- Wheatstone Vice President Andrew Calvanese
Evaluating the new radio business models is not easy. “Part of the difficulty is they are all baby models at this point, and they are all different. Different organizations are following different models: Some people are making money from streaming, others from local events, still others are making money from banner ads. Not everyone is good at following these paths. Radio could end up becoming multiple industries, because [individual] broadcast groups [could] have less in common with each other than they do with companies in other industries.” -- Mark Ramsey, president of Mark Ramsey Media
With the exception of streaming, stand-alone stations are falling behind group-owned stations in using revenue generating technologies that require capital investment. Group-owned stations are pulling ahead by a ratio of about 2:1.
Long term, as revenue builds from these new technologies, stand-alone stations could find themselves challenged to compete economically. (grab the study report here - pdf)