So said radio talker and Fox News host Sean Hannity this week at Arbitron’s consultant fly-in.
“In five years when every car has an iPod connection and you can listen to anything you want, what is music radio going to do?”
I have long argued (and many others have likewise taken up the cause) that what’s between the records becomes more, not less, important as our sound-alike competition multiplies and new channels of distribution make their way into home, work, and car – populated by content that is not owned, produced, sold, licensed, or monetized by anyone in the radio industry.
Sean is dead right on this point.
Within five years we’ll see diminishing ratings on sound-alike music-oriented FM’s. And radio will enter a new age of non-music programming.
Not necessarily talk. But not particularly music.
The spoils will go to those who create the experiments now. While it’s fine for our industry to reward the successes of those who do the obvious and succeed, shouldn’t we also reward those who take the kinds of chances that are necessary for the long-term vitality of radio?
The AM radio style of political talk is only one facet of what will fast become a burgeoning trend towards non-music.
I had never seen Sean in the flesh before and I found him fascinating. Primarily because of his pen. On Fox News, that pen never leaves his right hand. You can see him waving it madly – as if it’s the trigger for the Liberal ejector seat. And here he was, holding that pen (the same one?) throughout his entire presentation at Arbitron – never writing a word. I watched him stroll out, sure that he’d leave the pen behind since walking is rarely improved by note-taking. But would you believe that he not only traveled with pen in hand – he even shook hands with it! He was giving pen-shakes! Who does that!? Please don’t sign me when you greet me, okay?
Sean, put….the pen….down.
Just an aside.