03/04

Will Young People Grow Into the Radio “Habit”?

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I had my ears wide open at the recent Country Radio Seminar, and I overheard some interesting things.

One broadcaster told another how he was helping a local school launch their own online radio station, but he was hearing from some of the students that they “don’t see what the big deal is about radio.” Then he bemoaned the fact that his own kids don’t carry radios, preferring instead mobile devices “which won’t work in an emergency.”

Another broadcaster asked me a great – and related – question: Will young people grow into the radio “habit”?

Will they, in other words, become more like the rest of us?

The answer is an unambiguous “no.”

In fact, quite the opposite is happening.

The more mature among us are following the lead of our children and grandchildren, not the other way around. That is the way it has always been and it’s the way it always shall be.

Digital natives will not “grow into” us – we will migrate to them. That’s what makes them digital natives and the rest of us digital immigrants.

Will digital natives mature to more thoroughly appreciate news or politics or finance or spiritual content – the stuff that characterizes the radio diet for folks of a certain age?

Yes, they will.

But they will not wake up one day and exclaim “How have I ignored Rush Limbaugh all these years?!”

They will grow with their own content, not the legacy content tailored to previous generations. And that content will not be stuck in the silo called “radio.”

Can some of this come from the makers of radio? Sure! But only if they meet the digital natives where they are, using the platforms they embrace for the content and experiences that spark their passion and engagement.

Digital natives will not grow into you. You must grow into them.

There is no “big deal” about radio – there is only a big deal about the content we seek, whatever it is, and wherever we seek it.

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