The slow bleeding death of commercial FM radio

Just got this juicy tidbit from my buddy Sparky:

Providing a blunt counterpoint to the optimism expressed by commercial radio leaders during the NAB Show this week, the latest U.S. radio revenue numbers are out.

Revenue in March was off 8 percent compared to a year ago — and that’s including a healthy 18% growth in non-spot revenue.

According to the Radio Advertising Bureau, local revenue (the biggest piece of radio’s revenue pie) fell 8%, while national was down a stomach-churning 17%. So if you set aside income from non-spot offerings, radio’s performance in March was –10%.

RAB didn’t post a quarterly total but overall revenue was down 6% and 2% in January and February respectively, as reported earlier, and the industry was down 2% for all of 2007.

What's it mean? Means you guys aren't listening to the radio anymore.

Notice how everyone is playing either country or classic rock? Yea.. that's because it's for the over 40 demographic. That's the only group that listen to radio anymore.

And the reason? Radio sucks. No new music, nothing cutting edge anywhere (other than the occassional community station: rare, or college station: more rare). Both usually hard to get with small footprints.

The answer? MORE PIRATE RADIO! Yea. we need more pirate radio. Incredibly, there is even LESS open airspace on the FM dial than there was when I was doing KBFR back in the early 2000's. Why? No one's listening for frak sake. Most likely, I guess, if they figure they can cover every decimal of FM space, they'll get the few people left listening.

What's next? Value of these stations, just like the value of newspapers, will start to drop. Within a few year, they'll be a fraction of what they're worth today. At some point, they'll be cheap enough that creative people just might buy a few up and start creating cool radio worth listening to again.

At least, we can hope.

In the meantime, where's my internet streaming station and my iPod..... keep misplacing that damn iPod.


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