Last week, industry leaders gathered at New York’s Harvard Club for an always valuable conference. The Radio Ink Forecast is a peek into the future. But how far into the future?
Much of the talk at the conference focused on how much people love radio, how much money streamers lose, flat since 2009 but hope for a 3% increase, how people need us in times of crisis and giving away more meaningful prizes.
There was frightening little talk about real strategies and solutions for big issues including down-aging of mature formats such as Talk Radio. While it was not completely ignored, it received a paltry 3 minutes of conversation on the Talk Radio panel with the frequently heard lament of, "we need younger hosts."
The only mention of the imminent vast tectonic changes occurring in the car with smartphones, Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay was brief and during the podcasting panel, by yours truly. It’s happening right now and radio needs to have aggressive strategies to stay relevant in an environment of unlimited choice.
What about increased proliferation of private listening via earbuds which effectively eliminates PPM, and Nextradio? Nothing.
Time Spent Listening dropping in key demos? Crickets.
AI devices like Amazon's remarkable Echo and Google Home make any type of audio accessible by spoken word. It will be as easy to ask for a stream, podcast or owned music. Ford has already signed up. Others to follow. Not a mention.
Where is the next generation of talent coming from? They are on YouTube. Not discussed.
It was good to be at Forecast, among some of the best and brightest, but hopefully future conferences won’t be limited in view to tomorrow's forecast - the day after tomorrow is becoming increasingly important.
Steven Goldstein is CEO of Amplifi Media, LLC, an advisor in strategy and content development for companies and podcasters. Steve can be reached directly at (203) 221-1400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.