James Cridland’s Future of Radio: That US Report, plus Hurricane Harvey and Norway’s P3 audience disappears

james cridland canvasJames Cridland is Managing Director of media.info, and an Australia-based radio futurologist. He is a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. Find out more or subscribe at http://james.cridland.net

James sends his newsletter this week with some extra industry discussion:

The biggest news this week is a master of doom-mongery, “New Report Shows Why Radio Must Adapt to Digital Age“. It’s about US radio not about radio as a whole, and much of this is a platformist argument; but be that as it may, here are a few things on this:

First, it’s mainly talking about FM music radio, and it’s attempting to say that radio is nowhere near as important to the music industry as it once was. This report was ‘encouraged’ by SoundExchange who have been fighting US radio in court trying to prove it’s less important to the music industry as it once was (and no longer deserves special treatment). I’m no university professor, but there may be some kind of connection. In any case, I’d agree that radio is nowhere near as important to the music industry as it once was.

Second, normally the US radio industry is too meek or distracted to bother responding. Not this time. The NAB called it silly, responding with point-by-point arguments. Westwood One got the figures out, and produced five charts, adding “don’t always believe everything you read, especially from streaming music royalty organisations”. Nielsen strongly disagreed with the article’s remarks about the PPM, too.

This is a moment for the US radio industry. They appear to have discovered a willingness to work together, to fight, to call out the doom-mongers. Congratulations to them. What would be brilliant is if they also used this new-found passion to continue to adapt to the digital age, and stop arguments founded on platformism rather than content. Clue: there’s a whole world out there doing it already.

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