The lesson behind WRXP vs. WNEW

The reintroduction of WNEW-FM to New York (online and on HD) illustrates how the radio industry will choose to battle its competitors in the coming years.

This move isn’t about what the audience itself demands, otherwise WNEW would have been online before now. Nope. This is a clear reaction to the introduction of Emmis’s WRXP.

So we have online and HD being used to stifle the success of a competing radio station.

Now obviously an online station is no match for an on-air one, but the motivation behind the effort is crystal clear. Because an online WNEW could have been a lot more successful without an on-air WRXP. This move, in other words, was more obvious before now and less profitable after now.

This is something I’ve seen coming for years.

The Radio industry has to be introduced to an abundance mentality. Not every opportunity is one you steal from the other guy. Not every dollar is one you take from your radio competitor’s pocket. The new media pie is an all-new one, and it’s bigger than what’s in your competitor’s wallet.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with throwing on WNEW to blunt WRXP. But really, how much blunting is likely? Meanwhile, is this the best way to use our new media assets to grow our business? Why not pitch WNEW online in every CBS market, not just this one?

Will HD and our online streaming tools be used less to boldly go down new and profitable paths and more to grind and one-up existing radio competitors? Will broadcasters eventually throw HD stations and online streams at each other like audio Molotov cocktails?

In too many cases, yes I think so.

Your radio competition is not your whole competition, folks. It’s only the lowest hanging branch on the new media tree.

Aim higher and you’ll profit more.

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