What the iPad means for Radio…really

Apple-iPad-001 Now comes the inevitable time to ponder the implications of Apple's new iPad - and the category of devices it will soon include – for the world of radio in all its shapes and sizes.

First off, it doesn't matter whether this device is a boom or a bust.  It is part of a techno-trend whose directionality is clear, regardless of who trips or stumbles on the path.

On the surface, this has no impact at all on radio.  The device doesn't include a radio per se and doesn't add any radio substitution opportunities that aren't already available in various other gadgets.

There will be those in our industry who begin the tiresome drumbeat to "add a radio to the iPad."  These good-hearted souls will be missing the point.

And that point is wonderfully expressed in this device, just as it was verbalized to me some time ago by my friend and a keen observer of marketing trends, Tom Asacker.

"There is no such thing as radio anymore," said Tom.  There's no such thing as radio or TV or newspaper or magazines or even ad agencies.  There is only media.  And all media is now in competition with all other media because the firm lines once separating audio from video from print are no more.

A "newspaper" on an iPad is video and text and interactive and audio and personalizable and more.  It is, in other words, almost completely unlike a "newspaper" and almost completely like all other forms of media rolled into one.

The same will be true of TV and radio and the rest.

What will separate one from the other will be the degree to which the leaders in each sub-industry understand this reality and the degree to which they perform accordingly.

At its heart, the media tentacles for any brand are limited only by resources, imagination, and inspiration.

Oh, and by content.

Now, more than ever, the importance of content couldn't be clearer.  And by "content" I don't mean having stuff to share, I mean having stuff that's worth sharing and sharing in a multiplicity of media forms that is different from what other folks likewise share.

If you're thinking the iPad is good for radio because you can get your app on it, you're missing the point, too.

When you are not radio anymore but are instead "all media," then what makes you unique from all other media becomes that much more decisive.  

It's not about having the app.  It's about why having the app makes consumers' lives better.

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  • http://facebook.com/djterrenceromero terrence.romero@gmail.com

    You’re critics are not going to like this one Mark! lol So, look at it somewhat like or like a multimedia business instead of just Radio or Internet radio. Is this what is being said?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mramsey1 Mark Ramsey

    Yes, sir.

  • http://www.myvoiceisyours.com Mitch Krayton

    There are two definitions for radio. One is the transport mechanism to carry sound. The other is audible streams of things worth being heard.
    All digital devices which can can input and play sound (ie be the receiver) are competitors to the carrier wave. As of yet there is still no easy way to broadcast audio which can be reliably heard by the majority of non-technical people. You have to know what you want and how to find it. The radio in your home and in your car is understood by everyone. It allows for discovery.
    We still need many talented folks to program the new major products worth being heard. That costs money. The new marketplace is emerging and has great potential, but still has no economic traction. I am eager to see what the new pioneers of the audio business come up with that earns a nice return on investment.

  • MUSCLE13

    “There is no such thing as radio anymore,” said Tom. There’s no such thing as radio or TV or newspaper or magazines or even ad agencies. There is only media. And all media is now in competition with all other media because the firm lines once separating audio from video from print are no more.
    That is probably the most ridiculous comment about media I have ever read.
    How in the world does video or print compete with audio for a person driving a car? There are 240 million cars on the road in the US. Radio does not compete with video in the car and if a driver wants to read or watch TV they will crash on the road!
    I mean really Mark. When do we get back to what radio really is?? Radio’s bread and butter has always been and will always be the car. Talk about ways to innovate there! Put an iPad on my windshield! LOL Please, Get real man!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mramsey1 Mark Ramsey

    Tell me the last time a car wrote a check to a broadcaster.

  • mike

    hey muscle 13, you must’ve missed the history class about fireside chats. time for you to get real and realize radio has always been, and will be, about making one-on-one connections. whether that’s in the car, at home, work, yada yada yada. we specialize in audio. and now we have opportunity to grow visually. sure absorbing our expertise on certain platforms may be easier than others, but when we stop imagining what can be is when we will surely wither away.

  • MUSCLE13

    Mark, in the history of radio a huge percentage of revenue has always been done in drive time. Also, as one would expect because thats where the money is, a large percentage of radio talent has always been in drive time. Howard Stern through his whole career – morning and afternoon drive time. Dom Imus – Drive Time. Opie and Anthony – Drive Time. Top Music DJ and Morning Zoo shows – Drive Time. Top News station billings – Drive Time. The list could go on forever.
    When people are in the car – 75% listen to radio. I don’t know how many times I have read Mel Karmazin state the the car is the “Holy Grail” of radio.
    Video competing with audio for people driving a car will never happen. The radio business is the car. Mark, quite honestly, it always has been and always will be.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mramsey1 Mark Ramsey

    You have missed my point so I’ll make it clearly:
    Cars don’t sponsor radio stations, advertisers do. And advertisers have options for their marketing dollars, especially in an era when they’re more interested in marketing than in advertising per se. Advertisers will use those options, obliging radio to consider what business it’s really in – or watch the dollars sail out the door.
    It doesn’t matter whether that’s on the road, in the driveway, in the office, at home, or under a rock.

  • MUSCLE13

    Mark, do you believe that audio entertainment will always be primarily an out of home media? When advertising to people who are driving there are basically 2 ways to reach them – radio and billboards NOT VIDEO.
    The advertising model for radio is in the car. if you want to post about how car audio distribution model is changing, fine.
    People will not be looking at ads on their iPad when they drive.
    This is the quote you posted. To me its an absolutely prepreposterous statement and insults a person’s intelligence
    “There is no such thing as radio anymore,” said Tom. There’s no such thing as radio or TV or newspaper or magazines or even ad agencies. There is only media. And all media is now in competition with all other media because the firm lines once separating audio from video from print are no more.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mramsey1 Mark Ramsey

    You are focused on the content and missing the context and the subtext.
    Indeed, that’s a problem with the radio industry overall. The subtext of radio is media, not radio.

  • MUSCLE13

    My opinion – The problem with the radio industry is they are trying to be something they are not. They are radio. They are not competing with TV, DVDS, newspapers and YouTube. They are competing with other audio entertainment in the car and themselves! A lack of focus is the problem with radio!
    Broadcasters have to focus on being the best in audio entertainment content in the car! Thats where all the money is, thats where the audience is, and thats where the ad money goes in RADIO. And all the consumer wants is GREAT CONTENT! Thats all they want in the car. Without it all the bells and whistles mean 0

  • SoundSalvation

    Primary listening may be in the car, but it wasn’t always so (FM wasn’t even in cars until the late ’70s) and will not always be. “Away from home listening” used to be one extra page in the back of the Aribitron book.
    I believe that we’re heading back in that direction: people are driving less, much less. Folks are working from home or taking public transit. Or they’re listening to streaming at work if the terrestrial reception (or content) is not good.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/mramsey1 Mark Ramsey

    Although I certainly disagree quite dramatically with your premise, I agree that too little attention is placed on quality content.
    Unfortunately distraction is not the reason for that deficiency.

  • MUSCLE13

    Mark – I think you know a lot about radio.
    But I am interested to know from what you have written here – Do you disagree with the statement Sumner Redstone made famous and Mel Karmazin stated that its about the only thing he agrees with Redstone on -
    “Content is King”

  • Kate Barnes

    I think the fact that there are such devices like smart phones, ipods, and even the new ipad are all helping radio. The invention of the internet and apps only help listeners have more opportunities and options to listen to their favorite radio program or station. Media’s lines are getting blurred by the combination of it all being all accessible online, and people don’t need to read an actual newspaper, watch TV or turn on the radio at home when they can find everything they want and more online. I think this post sums up the fact that the ipad, along with anything else invented in the near future, will only benefit the expansion of radio to an online source near you!

  • http://www.masonvoice.com Dave Mason

    I hate to get into this foray, but how can I NOT? All MEDIA becomes successful when it creates a connection between the end user. Whether it be all those cool songs on your IPOD, The video on Youtube, streaming a movie on Netflix. It’s all about what I want when I want it. When (not IF) someone develops great enough content it doesn’t matter the source, as long as it’s convenient. Today, “radio” is convenient. In many cases the content is dwindling. It’s also been replaced by that Ipod jack installed in cars (convenient). There will always be people who want what broadcasters will give them. There’s a growing trend to creating your own media (Ipod, etc.). The ongoing issue is the effort needed to load, catalogue and “stack” the content. That’s why the 8-track, cassette, CD never “replaced” radio. In that realm radio has the lead-for now. Wait. Someone’s going to create a media player that will take YOUR music, compare it with a digital database and slide in a user-based MOOD button. I’ll have 4000 songs on my media player in the car. If my mood is “Pissed Off”, the digital “programmer” will sequence all of my “pissed off” music so I can hear that on the way home. You’ve got to believe that someone somewhere will take things like the characteristics we use in programming Selector, compare it to a universal database, and the music I’ve downloaded into my media player. Poof. You don’t need an online Slacker. I’m no visionary. It’s going to happen. When it does, it will be possible for a robot to do the work that a human does now. No commercials.
    What will propel ANY media into the forefront is unique, compelling content. Period. It will cost to get this content. “Radio” is in the reverse mode, cutting costs and cutting content. Satellite has Howard, but even he isn’t enough to overtake the “Free” media. But remember this. It used to be AM. Then AM and FM. Someday AM, FM, Internet. And the “intuitive” digital platform that will take MY content and program it to MY tastes, mood and desires. (Slacker, Pandora, Last.FM come close–but it’s still not MY own content.)
    It’s all about the content, baby.

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