Last week I wrote about the demise of WBCN in Boston. This “tastemaker” station was once the place where you found your next great band. Today, there is an article in The Boston Globe about young people finding their new music in different places but not on commercial radio.
Top 40 and pop stations still exist on commercial radio. These stations still appeal to children and pre-teens. However, once they hit the young adult years, their choices on commercial radio gets really thin.
Have you listened to commercial pop radio today? How much music are they really playing? During morning drive on a commercial radio station you will hear very few songs. You will hear lots of on-air personalities talking. You will hear lots of commercial spots running. Instead of saying “where’s the beef”, we need to say “where’s the music”? While this may work for the moms and dads that are driving, what does this do to build a future audience?
Where are younger people hearing their music today? They learn about new music from friends (word of mouth), the internet, bloggers, and social networking. They are downloading songs on their iPod. You can put thousands of songs on an iPod and plug it into your car stereo. No need to ever listen to a radio station. Satellite radio plays music with no commercials (endless music). The listener can hear any genre they want. Internet radio is on the rise. The article mentions Pandora Radio. Even mobile devices are playing music. On my Blackberry I have Slacker Radio.
If music is not what drives commercial radio today, what does? The answer is talk. The problem with talk radio is that you are not attracting a younger audience. If we don’t get the younger demos listening to radio then we are going to see a dramatic drop off of listeners. Fewer listeners mean less advertising dollars.
Doesn’t this whole discussion sound familiar? Didn’t newspapers lose the younger readers first?