The radio business continues to grapple with the challenges ahead. And as time marches on, the bedfellows are getting stranger as new alliances form.
Yesterday’s announcement about the Cumulus/Rdio deal is another case in point. Somehow, the once-evil Internet is now becoming part of the broadcast weaponry. This is yet another step that brings broadcasters and webcasters closer.
And so it is somewhat coincidental and ironic that RAIN’s conference at The Radio Show in Orlando gets underway today. It wasn’t that long ago that RAIN was this sort of “other thing” – outside of the media mainstream. Thinking about some of the earlier RAIN shows where we’ve attended and/or presented, there was a time when there weren’t a lot of radio people in the room.
In fact, I’ve had more than a few broadcasters ask me over the years, “What kind of people go to RAIN?” This has always been a suggestion that somehow streaming and Internet radio are outside of the mainstream of broadcasting.
But the iHeart emphasis and trajectory, coupled with this new deal with Cumulus and Rdio suggest that, in fact, broadcasters are beginning to quickly make the necessary connections – philosophically and with their content. In fact, Lew Dickey talked about the Rdio deal and noted, “This is our digital play.”
Could you imagine a quote like that about a strategic partnership between a pure-play and a broadcaster just a couple of short years ago? The next thing you’ll know, we’ll be sending Tim Westergren a gift basket this Christmas. Now this isn’t the first marriage between a radio company and a pure-play, but at this point on the curve, it’s a significant one.
As we learned in Techsurvey9 earlier in the year, the percentage of core radio fans that are consuming their favorite station’s content via a stream is substantial. And as smartphones proliferate and are connected in cars, this relationship will become even stronger. Streaming is becoming mainstream media.
The Cumulus/Rdio pact is a reminder of three key tectonic shifts facing radio’s future:
- The quality of your stream matters – very much.
- Your ability to make your brand ubiquitous has never been greater thanks to your stream.
- And the car continues to represent the epicenter where content, technology, and mobility come together in a way that is revolutionary and challenging, providing new opportunities for radio broadcasters.
So enjoy RAIN today for those of you made the commitment to attend. The fact that David Field is keynoting is yet another reminder of this year’s “Blurred Lines” between broadcasting and webcasting.
While you’re in Orlando, on Thursday, Arbitron, Roger Lanctot, and I welcome you to “Radio & The Connected Car” at The Radio Show. You’ll see first-hand how that streaming plays a starring role in today’s cars, and the tricked-out dashboards of the future.
And make it a point to commit to attend DASH next month here in Detroit, the most unique conference of its kind for radio, featuring everyone from Ford to Panasonic to iHeartRadio to Pandora. It’s your opportunity to take that deep dive into automotive infotainment and exchange ideas with people you just don’t meet at radio conferences.
As Kurt Hanson will no doubt remind the RAIN crowd today, “Things are moving faster than we think.”
Jacobs Media has consistently walked the walk in the digital space, providing insights and guidance through its well-read national Techsurveys.
In 2008, jacapps was launched - a mobile apps company that has designed and built more than 1,000 apps for both the Apple and Android platforms. In 2013, the DASH Conference was created - a mashup of radio and automotive, designed to foster better understanding of the "connected car" and its impact.
Along with providing the creative and intellectual direction for the company, Fred consults many of Jacobs Media's commercial and public radio clients, in addition to media brands looking to thrive in the rapidly changing tech environment.
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