A lesson for RAB’s Jeff Haley

In his comments at the RAB this week, chief Jeff Haley said this about radio’s translation to new media:

Print and video are different experiences when they move to digital – Radio is not. The Rolling Stones sound like The Rolling Stones no matter the channel.

This is just plain wrong.

Any time you move from one medium to another you change the message. This is Marshall McLuhan 101.

The issue is not whether the Rolling Stones sound like the Rolling Stones across media (although it’s interesting that Jeff picked a band best known for its output in the 60’s and 70’s), the issue is what it means to be “radio” when you exist across media and where each medium has different potentialities that extend well beyond audio alone.

A book is different from a movie is different from a play.

What is “radio” in a medium with pictures and video?

What is “radio” in a medium where consumers create the content?

What is “radio” in a medium where community and social interaction are part of the product rather than simply part of the audience?

What is “radio” in a medium where almost any company or any individual can string together their own playlist that is equal to yours?

That is our challenge and our opportunity.

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