This graphic is courtesy of RadioTime.
What this picture leaves out is the suddenly changing definition of “radio” in a world where personalization, customization, and connection rule. All of those factors will soon be built into cars, and the entertainment delivery system will be one of the most potent differentiators in the dealer’s showroom.
Yours will not look like mine because I will be able to make mine my own. There will be no such thing as an “audio entertainment system” per se. It’s all entertainment. It will have more in common with the face of your iPhone than the face of your current radio “dial.”
Pictures will figure in. Interactivity will be central. I’ll be able to connect with friends and share things on the fly. I’ll be able to connect with my content “in the cloud” and my PC at home.
In general, the radio industry has no idea what’s just over the hill.
Where is the symposium of broadcasters to discuss the shape of tomorrow’s automobile entertainment system? Where are the pilot projects pitched to Detroit meant to facilitate this transformation and to make sure today’s broadcasters are part of the future of entertainment on the road? Where are the dialogues with Detroit about how to serve their customers’ needs better?
Instead, we get a self-serving and gratuitous trickle of announcements about HD radio creeping into this car or that one.
Meanwhile Detroit plots the overhaul of mobile entertainment altogether.
One day soon broadcasters will recognize that consumers control the future, that the future cannot be dictated to an audience who lusts for choice, connection, and control.
I hope that day comes soon.