When it comes to the health of terrestrial radio in the United States these days, there’s a lot of conflicting data. On the one hand we find that radio is still listened to with great frequency in the car and at work, and that it’s still a driving force for new music discovery. On the other hand we find major players like iHeartRadio being overburdened with depth, and a young demographic increasingly being entertained elsewhere. Empirically speaking, I can tell you that when I hear several Public Service Announcements in a commercial pod during drive time on high-ranked Arbitron stations around the country, that indicates an industry in deep trouble.
The other day I was driving to a dinner appointment and stuck in dense Los Angeles traffic, so I had a chance to do a wide scan of both AM and FM radio. After a few minutes it occurred to me that terrestrial radio hasn’t been keeping up with technology like other entertainment delivery services. Now I’m not sure what’s technically possible and I don’t even want to go there at the moment, because I do know what I want as a consumer, especially when I’m listening in the car.
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