Will FM radio ever end up pre-installed in mobile phones in the US?
I doubt it, because consumers aren’t asking for radio to be built into their mobile phones (and here’s a full overview of the issue).
But what’s more interesting to me is that radio industry leaders keep driving for this, obsessively wishing and hoping and planning for it.
Why is that more interesting to me? Because it’s not only deaf to what consumers are asking for, it’s blind to the direction of consumer trends.
Consider these facts:
Major broadcasters are pushing a strategy to implant FM chips in mobile phones. That is, they are trying to install radio in its conventional form in more devices.
Consumers are doing quite the opposite, however. Rather than bringing more of your media channels to their devices they are bringing more of themselves to those devices.
What is “the cloud,” after all, but a means of syncing oneself in more places with ease? The cloud is about moving “me” to more places, not moving you and your stations to those places.
The trend is more of “me” everywhere.
You only go with me when you are tailored to me.
As John Frost wrote in this blog yesterday, that’s what my phone is: Me.
Now, you might say, if I love a station I may want it on my device because that station, too, is “me.”
Okay. But while a station may be “me” the entire FM radio band is not “me.”
And if a station is “me” then I will want to get deep into my experience with that station, not just the linear audio feed. And that experience is probably an app, which includes a stream and social media and audio downloads and photos and videos and more.
So the challenge is not getting FM chips in mobile phones, it’s making your station so “me” that it goes where I go and it syncs where I sync.
That’s tougher than installing FM radio chips in more places, but it’s on-trend with our consumers.
Even if it’s off-trend with radio bosses.