Broadening the definition of Radio

I was on the road for a while today so I had more than my usual opportunity to listen to the radio.

Here’s what I listened to:

“Howard 100” on SIRIUS – when I was getting a haircut (it’s a very open-minded salon).

HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, a show from Slate magazine and another from 60 Minutes, the first ten minutes of O’Reilly, Discovery Channel News, and two shows from KCRW: The Treatment and The Business (I’m an entertainment buff – and these are great shows). I didn’t get to the Ricky Gervais show, but that’s on deck.

All of those programs were, of course, podcasts. All available at the touch of a button and for FREE on Apple’s iTunes.

Now I don’t suggest that I’m in any way typical (I’m not) or that my tastes are typical (they’re certainly not – although Ricky Gervais’s show is terrific – catch it while you can).

What I mean to suggest is that you can listen to a day full of radio without ever approaching the radio.

Technically speaking, none of what I listened to is likely to end up in an Arbitron Diary. None of it “counts,” yet all of it comes at the expense of the local stations, who will see their quarter-hours decline in small measure every time I tune in the stuff I choose over the stuff they offer me.

As an industry we have to seriously begin to grapple with this. CBS Radio’s recent announcement that they are all about “Broadcast…HD…Streaming…On-Demand” is a conceptual step in the right direction, assuming it’s not executed in that order (if you know what I mean).

So what’s your strategy?

What business are YOU in?

Are you broadening the definition of radio, the way CBS is doing?

Or is the definition broadening without you?

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