Nothing has changed in seven years. What we wrote then remains true today.
Eventually, all the technology just becomes buttons on the dashboard and the button with the best programming always wins.
And what was true in May 2005 was true for decades before that. Success in radio has always been about being the best button. Digital doesn't change that. The source -- FM, AM, HD, on-demand, podcast, personal playlist, satellite, streaming -- doesn't matter.
The consumer now has 5 to 15 physical buttons on the dashboard from which to choose. Those buttons will be on a screen in a digitally equipped car, but the human equation will be the same. The consumer pushes a button. If the content satisfies frequently enough, it becomes the favorite button.
Digital is not a threat to terrestrial public radio unless we make it one. We are our own biggest threat if we give up on radio or if we let others tell us that radio is less important than digital. Believing that is a recipe for financial disaster because the ROI for radio will be far superior to the ROI on digital for the foreseeable future.
The key to public radio success in the digital age is growing the radio audience and embracing digital as a way to make our primary radio service even more relevant to listeners than it is today.
It’s not an either/or proposition. It’s not broadcast radio versus digital. Listeners pick buttons, not technologies. Be the Best Button.