Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Radio Was “Mobile First.” So What?

... Or, at least, thanks to inventions like car radios and then transistor radios, radio became the very first mobile medium.

As a result, we have grown to love our long term lead in the mobile space.  Perhaps too much.

As with the town square and the local mall, location still matters in retail and having a transmitter that covers a local area does give radio a powerful advantage.  People won’t drive very far for a grocery store, pharmacy or a hardware store.  That means that being perceived as nearby can be powerful motivation to consumers and listeners when it comes to AM or FM radio as well.

You don’t need to be the best in the world, just the best in the local community to win in ratings and in use to local advertisers.

Today’s mobile devices were not built with radio in mind.  Rather, as this week’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference indicates, the hardware and software inventors are creating try to make the most of the memory and processing power of the device to solve problems as their primary mission. 

That market is worldwide and a great app making the most of it can sweep the globe, potentially making billions of dollars.

That is, IF you create the best app in the world.  Being #2 app in the world isn’t good enough.  When #1 is free or a few dollars, why would anyone consume #2?

Radio’s future is still in dominating, or at least being a major player, in mobile audio and enriched content that involves video and interactivity which makes the most of every device a radio station’s users choose to own.

Once upon a time, inventors and manufacturers built devices to make the most of our output.

Now, it’s radio’s turn to innovate digital apps to compete with the very best in the entire world.

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