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“Sharing” the future of radio

I had a fascinating chat with a very smart engineer/researcher from way outside the radio industry earlier today.

He told me about some of his research among college students and said something I thought was very profound and fascinating:

“Young people don’t think in terms of radio stations, they think in terms of aggregation.”

That is, they think in terms of the playlist, the “stations” that are created by them and their friends – some of whom are the taste-makers in their crowd.

Those playlists are shared in the same way a radio station shares its playlist. Most of the online radio resources have the ability to share any playlist you create. And it’s hardly uncommon for kids to share the contents of their iPods with their friends.

Music radio used to be about listening. In the future it will increasingly be about sharing.

This is an interesting perspective which certainly explains why younger male audiences (in particular) are drying up for radio.

It also suggests that when a radio station is all about music and only music, your program director creates just one of many playlists that a college age audience will enjoy.

And it’s not nearly likely to be the best one.

Because the emphasis will shift from what’s common to what’s interesting.

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