Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Et Tu, Ramsey?

There is a spirited and intelligent debate going on at Mark Ramsey's blog in the comments section in response to his post FM on Mobile Phones? Be Careful what you Wish For.

I don't understand how Mark can cite the fact that Arbitron is still working out the complexities of measuring ear bud listening in PPM measurement as a reason not to have FM on smart phones at all.

Most of the other proponents and opponents can be grouped by their financial interests.  

Count me with Jeff Smulyan and the NAB.  My financial best interest, and perhaps yours will be served by making sure that analog radio's multi-billion dollar business continues for as long as possible, driven by the fact that more than nine of ten people in the U.S. and Canada use it every week, ten times the reach of streaming media.

Sure, let's keep working on digital radio too.  Make the product more listenable and unique.  Find a way to improve the financial model so that it's possible to make a comparable profit to FM and AM radio today while continuing to serve local communities with quality content.

On the other side:  CEA and CTIA.  If listeners can't get "free radio" anymore on FM/AM in their vehicles and mobile devices, they make more money since we'll be paying them for the bandwidth that analog radio makes so ubiquitous.  No wonder that they don't want us on their platforms.

Where Ramsey's opposition is coming from is less clear to me.  I assume it's idealism and a drive to push us all as rapidly as possible into the future, since his financial interests are supported by today's radio too.

Of course, the future is definitely coming at us lickedy split and we are in the midst of rebuilding business models to capitalize on it, but that's no reason to shut the doors and turn out the lights while radio just as it is today remains so important to so many folks (FM Chips in Cell Phones Survey Results - NAB).

I think Voltaire was right, Mark Ramsey.

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