Radio’s secret weapon is not its content (not yet, anyway). The music on the vast majority of stations is found everywhere and anywhere.
It’s not its localism. Plenty of radio is not local and in a world of scarce talent radio is likely to be LESS local in the future, not more.
It’s not even its ubiquity. The Internet is every bit as ubiquitous as radio is. Technically, more so.
The secret weapon of radio is this: It’s simple. A simple and familiar part of everyone’s lives already.
It’s simpler than your TV. Simpler than the VCR you couldn’t program or the TiVo you’re afraid to buy. Simpler than Satellite Radio. Simpler by far than the current iteration of Internet radio. Simpler than any mp3 player. It is, indeed, the simplest form of mass entertainment anywhere.
Fast Company magazine reports that in a 2002 poll, the Consumer Electronics Association discovered that 87% of people said ease of use is the most important thing when it comes to new technologies. Further, a Philips study of 2,000 consumers worldwide that discovered that some 30% of home-networking products were returned because people couldn’t get them to work and nearly half of people put off buying a digital camera because they feared it would be too complicated.
In all the pronouncements from the major group heads about the value of radio in the context of its tech-fresh alternatives, I have never heard even one mention this prime benefit:
It’s just plain simple.