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What the iPad means for Radio…really

Now comes the inevitable time to ponder the implications of Apple's new iPad - and the category of devices it will soon include – for the world of radio in all its shapes and sizes.

First off, it doesn't matter whether this device is a boom or a bust.  It is part of a techno-trend whose directionality is clear, regardless of who trips or stumbles on the path.

On the surface, this has no impact at all on radio.  The device doesn't include a radio per se and doesn't add any radio substitution opportunities that aren't already available in various other gadgets.

There will be those in our industry who begin the tiresome drumbeat to "add a radio to the iPad."  These good-hearted souls will be missing the point.

And that point is wonderfully expressed in this device, just as it was verbalized to me some time ago by my friend and a keen observer of marketing trends, Tom Asacker.

"There is no such thing as radio anymore," said Tom.  There's no such thing as radio or TV or newspaper or magazines or even ad agencies.  There is only media.  And all media is now in competition with all other media because the firm lines once separating audio from video from print are no more.

A "newspaper" on an iPad is video and text and interactive and audio and personalizable and more.  It is, in other words, almost completely unlike a "newspaper" and almost completely like all other forms of media rolled into one.

The same will be true of TV and radio and the rest.

What will separate one from the other will be the degree to which the leaders in each sub-industry understand this reality and the degree to which they perform accordingly.

At its heart, the media tentacles for any brand are limited only by resources, imagination, and inspiration.

Oh, and by content.

Now, more than ever, the importance of content couldn't be clearer.  And by "content" I don't mean having stuff to share, I mean having stuff that's worth sharing and sharing in a multiplicity of media forms that is different from what other folks likewise share.

If you're thinking the iPad is good for radio because you can get your app on it, you're missing the point, too.

When you are not radio anymore but are instead "all media," then what makes you unique from all other media becomes that much more decisive.  

It's not about having the app.  It's about why having the app makes consumers' lives better.

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