[Clear Channel CFO Randall] Mays said Clear Channel’s extensive digital content creation and distribution platforms will allow it to light up digital multicasts more quickly and cheaply than competitors–meaning that radio’s 800-pound gorilla may be about to get even bigger. “It costs me incrementally very little to program a new digital station,” said Mays, because “every piece of content we have is networked on digital servers, so for my programmers to come in and create new digital formats is pretty easy for them to do, and they can do it a very low cost.”
This reiterates a message (not at all unique to Clear Channel) you’ve heard before and will hear again: The HD efforts of the radio industry are built on a low cost model, which translates to repurposing existing content and remixing music.
Of course, the lower the cost, the easier it is for any audio source – radio or otherwise – to compete against it, flooding the marketplace with an infinite number of niche-oriented low-cost options where radio has no competitive advantage.
Until the notion of value replaces the idea of low cost, until our industry understands that content is a qualitative issue, not just a quantitative one, then we risk creating the audio equivalent of a “Dollar Store.”