Radio has some serious image problems.
Radio suffers from a poor self-image. It sees itself as getting no respect, like comedian Rodney Dangerfield, as the distant second medium to television, with none of the glamour. Marketers, the folks who decide which media to use in their ad campaigns, are inclined to see traditional radio as fusty and old-fashioned, non-glam the way television is all about glam.
Another serious image problem for radio is that its largest players are in bankruptcy, iHeartMedia and Cumulus. Just imagine how TV’s image would suffer if, say, CBS and NBC were in Chapter 11.
But radio’s biggest problem is how it has traditionally defined itself, which is by how it reaches consumers—over the air. Radio needs to define itself by a very different measure. That is by the consumer experience.
In this broader definition, radio becomes all things audio—over-the-air radio, streaming, satellite, podcasting. If it goes in the ear, and it entertains or informs, it’s radio. Now is the time to adopt this broader definition.
Every medium reinvents itself. And radio, a century old and counting, has reinvented itself more than most. Radio is now being reinvented all over again, and that reinvention may be the great untold—or better, under-told—story of media. It’s the digitalization of radio.