Innovation is absolutely necessary for business to thrive; it is often desperately late to market. Unfortunately, such is the case for radio and other old media.
For FM radio's first thirty years after commercial radio broadcasting began in 1947, it was the place for experimental radio. Hits were played on AM radio (both for music and dramas) while FM played the "album cuts", the "pre-hits" or the "non-hits". Then, beginning in the 70s and for for the next 30 years, FM took the primary music role for radio -- hits, non-hits and everything in between -- while AM shifted to talk, news and sports. By the late-90s, the rise of the Internet began to challenge FM radio's music leadership in its ability to broadcast music to the masses.
Today, radio still reaches 200 million listeners across the US. The radio industry now brings in more than $20 billion in total advertising revenue. Around the world, radio is still the dominant way to reach the majority of music fans. The internet serves a smaller audience of music fans...but its users seem much more passionate than the ones listening to traditional radio. Why is that? The 4 Cs -- Convenience, Connection, Control and Community -- is the bottom line for consumers. Being experiemental/trying new things is the background driving theme in the digital world. Music fans get what they want when they want it in the amount they want it...without having to wait or listen to "junk" they are not interested in (commercials, DJs, contests, etc.)
So, FM faces another transformation in its 85-year "Big Picture". AM radio transformed from experimental to dramas to music to news/sports/talk. Will FM follow a similar path: from experimental to music to talk? Can it bring back its own experimental spirit?
Infinity is going back to a drawing board they tried and give up on several years ago: Hot Talk. In January, they will change format for several heritage rock stations icons to a new concept called "Free FM"...the first aggressive move across the board into Hot Talk from a major radio group owner. They are betting big on its success, with heavy ad campaigns seeking to bring back some sparkle to radio.
Regardless of its success, the very idea that radio is finally waking up to the need for more aggressive, bigger marketing plans is a good thing for all of radio. The Internet and digital media has taken all the spotlight for the last 5-plus years and all radio has done is cower and take a beating. Ultimately, it behaved like "old media", trying to hold onto its past successes and not investing into future growth. Hopefully, with large-scale marketing efforts such as Infinity's leading a renewed path, other radio groups will follow with campaigns of their own.
Radio needs to look and act bigger than its has these last few years. New formats, new shows, new seasons, new capabilities (like, perhaps, HD Radio)...new ways to improve convenience, connection, control and community for listeners. It needs to try new things. In essence, it needs to get back to its experimental roots -- where it is better to try and fail than to not try at all. New media has taken that experimental lead because radio let new media take it (or, Wall Street took it away). Getting more experimental is one of the key elements for radio's next needed transformation. To reference a famous line, "Innovate or die!"
For suggested reading, read this 2003 BusinessWeek article: check here
Related recommended reading: THE INNOVATOR'S SOLUTION - Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth by Clayton M. Christensen and Michael E. Raynor (Harvard Business School Press)
posted by Chris Kennedy @ Thursday, November 24, 2005,
- At 3:57 AM, mohammed imran said...
i beileve technology evolve and its really have good impact on media. now you can easily watch every thing from every where, whats going on, whats in n out.
it makes our life really comfortable