For a couple of years, one hundred commercial free music channels seemed like a big deal.
But XM and Sirius now sound strangely like commercial radio.
IPODs and MP3 players changed how we consume music.
HD is a nice idea, but so far little more.
Through all the changes local radio still wins in the car.
But not so fast.
Today Chrysler announced their 2009 model cars will have WIFI connections.
That is the sound of a paradigm shifting.
Local radio is in trouble.
Broadcasting in the purest sense is dead.
Welcome to the narrowcast world.
Internet ‘radio’ stations suddenly have new importance.
Broadcasting means programming directed to large, broad audiences having similar tastes. The things that made Top 40 and AC work in our culture.
But now, every car eventually will have access to hundreds if not thousands of internet radio stations.
It is no longer necessary to program to broad tastes in one geographic area.
Imagine a world of ‘narrowcasting’.
Internet stations with the potential to create thousands of highly targeted formats each reaching a world-wide audience.
Ownership of a terrestrial station required licensing, transmitters and money.
Internet stations are cheap to launch.
And “look Ma, no FCC!”
The barrier to entry was money and a license, now the barrier is content.
Wouldn’t you hate to be the guy who just overpaid for all those Clear Channel broadcast licenses?
It’s a new day, with new rules.
And it happened just when everyone said radio was dull and unimaginative.
This change will be no less significant than when television challenged radio head on.
Bring on the innovators!