Google “Is radio dead” and you will yield 150 MILLION results. Unbelieveable. Anytime someone claims that anything is “dead” it makes me insane for 2 reasons – 1, no one on this planet is smart enough or qualified enough to be able to proclaim when an entire society is finished with something and 2, they're just trying to get attention.
Twenty years ago, I worked at the local newspaper and my job was selling online advertising. Guess what the main topic was amongst the employees? Newspapers are dead. And as a salesperson of banner advertising, I was the grim reaper.
People think because one thing is catching on that another one will totally die. This is never, ever the case. Sure, trends can change behavior, and yes, when something new and better and easier to consume comes along, it can very easily put a big ol' damper on things for the older industry. But let's be rational. Nothing ever dies.
The internet – evil life-ruiner of all things good and pure in the world. The internet has killed newspapers, ruined the phone call, annihilated the handwritten letter, massacred television and cable, destroyed the coffee date, executed our kids' innocence and absolutely slaughtered any young person's ability to motivate and become a positive influence in society.
Saying something is dead causes panic in the heads of the people who work in that industry. They worry that their jobs, and consequently they, will become extinct. Saying something is dead means that you're bullying people to get on board. Saying something is dead means everyone feels the need to rush to what the author deems to be the replacement thing.
Declaring something is dead is very manipulative. People don't like to be manipulated. People don't want to rush and be bullied out of listening to their classic rock stations, their morning zoo shows, their easy-listening and their local radio personalities. Those stations aren't going anywhere anytime soon. Those people will have jobs for a very long time.
Just because podcast advertising is increasing doesn't mean that money is coming from radio. In 2017, podcast ad dollars hit a whopping 207 million dollars, up 40 million from the year before. Also in 2017, radio ad dollars hit 18 BILLION, up from 17 the year before. Which is more impressive?
Futurologists, authors, pontificators, thought leaders…..please stop this. Stop writing that radio is dead. Focus on how to get radio content creators on board with what podcasting is supposed to be: niche and intimate. If radio can swing their focus from pleasing everyone to pleasing (and engaging with) the individual, the entire audio industry will benefit. Radio producers could learn a thing or to from seasoned podcasters by inviting a conversation about what's worked so far. Because – and this may shock you – podcasting is not NEW. It's been around for 12 years. It's been working for quite a while. And radio has thrived alongside it, and never the two did meet, until recently.
There is room in the space for everyone and everything. If podcasts have been showing that audiences prefer specific, engaging, and community-driven content, maybe the radio producers could take a lesson and try to replicate that within their own medium rather than jump ship and declare it dead.
If you agree with me (or even if you don't) I'd love to hear your thoughts! And if you enjoyed this article I'd very much appreciate you sharing it. Thank you!