Someone I know recently drove down to Florida and back. She was depressed.
“We listened to the radio the whole way and I was stunned at how awful it was. I mean, we hear about how bad American radio is, but until you actually hear it… Wow.”
It’s true. Outside of the major markets, American radio is in dire, dire straits. People may find reasons to complain about radio in Canada, but we’re golden when compared to our Yank neighbours.
The Wall Street Journal has this look at how the American radio industry is responding to changes in technology, specifically the rise of streaming music services.
“‘Safe and Sound’ just wasn’t going away,” said Capital Cities’ manager, Dan Weisman, who postponed plans last fall to promote the band’s second single until later this year. “You don’t want to shove it down people’s throats if they’re not ready to move on.”
Faced with growing competition from digital alternatives, traditional broadcasters have managed to expand their listenership with an unlikely tactic: offering less variety than ever.
The strategy is based on a growing amount of research that shows in increasingly granular detail what radio programmers have long believed—listeners tend to stay tuned when they hear a familiar song, and tune out when they hear music they don’t recognize.