Technology has rapidly outpaced the progress of regular old radio in America. We now have Pandora for music, we have the internet for news and weather, and we have Sirius/XM for our cars. Despite all of this, there is no better time to be in radio than now. With the full extent of online advertising being questioned, and the advertising revenues being lost over the sports scandals and lockouts on television, radio is becoming a surprisingly stable medium to give your money to.
Wait a minute…outpaced by technology? Under pressure by more modern versions of itself? Being slowly suffocated by the internet? Radio is not alone on the bus to the great tech museum in the sky. Media giants like the New York Times and Washington Post are fighting a losing battle against the internet to keep their material newspapers alive. With shrinking subscription numbers, ecological pressure to stop cutting down trees, and an advertising drought not seen since the Great Depression, paper is quite literally dying.
A big factor in the resurgence of regular old radio is a newfound solidarity between stations nationwide, faced with death by technology, called iHEARTradio. The stations have banded together to update their online looks, conglomerate their programming, and even threw the biggest concert of our generation. These actions, the sharing of content online, the uniting under a common banner and promoting the banner in each local market, and finally a much needed facelift, I think, have saved analog radio from extinction and given new life to an entire industry.
Would the paper faces of the news giants benefit from a coalition with their competitors? I believe so. Small market papers, whose internet presence is dated at best, would horde on to such a deal. More money and support from the big boys would allow these small papers to gain a face on the internet, and would bring advertising dollars in with a more stable base of revenue. With those papers would come more blanket coverage of what the Times, and the Post think of as the edges of their constituency and would allow them to expand under partnership rather than competition. The deal would pay off both parties, and may be a shot in the arm for the fast fading world of paper and small market news.