Wednesday, March 26, 2008

US Radio Wanes

This analysis is one of the best I've seen on the challenges facing radio in the US - much of it applies on this side of the pond too.

News remains an important part of what was once simply called radio. In many ways, indeed, the tradition of listening to the news — aural transmission is the original way people got news — is among the most enduring.

But the radio business is undergoing no less of a revolution than any other part of media. The audience is fragmenting across new listening platforms. The revenue models are unclear, and which technology will emerge is uncertain.

What we once knew as radio is now something more complex and in many ways more interesting. In addition to the AM and FM dials, now there is satellite, HD, Internet, MP3s, podcasting, and increasingly, cell phones.

In 2007, the audience for traditional radio continued to slip some. But AM/FM listening still reached 93% of the population over 12 years old, down less than two percentage points overall since 2000.

At the same time, the audiences for new audio continue to grow. The numbers are still small. And it may be that a technology that has not yet become a major factor — cell phones — could in the end be a dominant one. Much more change, in other words, is to come.

Tons more (with charts) here

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