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Archive for April 8th, 2011

Radio is dead; Long live radio

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Radio is officially dead, especially when wireless internet access comes to your car.
–Seth Godin

When disruptive technologies comes along it sometimes requires us to look more deeply at the traditional concepts we have and the terms (words) that we use to describe these concepts.  There are many changes taking place simultaneously having complex interactions that no one can predict in advance.  Complicating all this is human reflexivity in response to technology and cultural changes.  What’s happening?  We are all living in a maelstrom of change.  For some, it is the biggest opportunity of their lives.  For others, it is nothing but fear, trepidation, and avoidance.  Change initiates the great sorting out of people and companies – an act of differentiating individuals and companies, one from another.

So what about Radio?  What is “radio” anyway?

Seth wrote the above in the context of Podcasting back in 2005.  There is a segment of the time of day that each of us prefers to listen to media that is limited to an aural presentation.  One of these places is your car.  When the wireless internet comes to your car will “radio” be dead?

When wireless internet comes to your car in a “taken for granted reality” sort of way what will take a hit for sure is your traditional AM/FM radio.  What will also take a hit is your local radio stations.  Local radio stations along with the traditional delivery mechanism of limited reach (transmitters, antennas, and power) may be in a fight for their life.  The FCC granted your local radio station a license to operate at a certain frequency within a certain limited spectrum of available frequencies.  They (your local radio station) have a privileged position due to scarcity of available frequency spectrum and the reach of the traditional distribution mechanism.  You (the consumer; the listener) don’t have much of a choice when listening to your AM/FM radio in the car.  Locality and limited choices may trump content as a preference for your listening.

What if the spectrum of  available frequencies for AM/FM radio was infinite?  And what if no one needed a license from the FCC to broadcast into that radio in your car?  What if the reach of your radio was not just the local stations but stations anywhere in the world?  What if, as a listener, you had infinite choices?

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Written by frrl

April 8, 2011 at 10:11 pm

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