Prediction: 50% of Terrestrial Radio Stations Will Disappear in the Coming Years

This is the contention of a recent Borell report on the future of media. Here’s the slide from their deck.



As someone who has spent over three decades in the industry, this is, um, distressing.   Is it possible?

If you ask me, yeah, it’s possible–if the industry stays the same as it is today. It needs to evolve with technology and the demands people have for music, entertainment and information.  Radio consultant Mark Ramsey picks up the thread.

The knee-jerk response to this for folks in the industry is to reject it out of hand. But let’s look closer with an open mind.

First, the premise here – and this is something I have stressed for some time – is that a more “complete” and compelling car dashboard is unavoidable and radio’s “proper place” on that car dashboard is whatever the consumer says it is – in other words, radio will be as important as what’s on the radio.

Ideally, that means broadcasters invest in new kinds of unique and compelling content that’s “must hear” and “must find.” But is this too hopeful and optimistic?

Let’s imagine that ideal doesn’t materialize and what we hear today is pretty much what we’re gonna hear in the years to come.

Under that scenario, when new options blossom on the dashboard with new value propositions and attractions, radio, by comparison, will be “consistently consistent” and unexciting by comparison. Not bad, just unexciting.

In other words, radio will, for some portion of the audience, be marginalized. And that marginalization will cost listening hours. And those listening hours will be connected to ad dollars. And the stations most hurt by this evolution will be those most vulnerable already. Indeed, signals are already flickering out across the land, and there will certainly be more to come.

Continue reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Prediction: 50% of Terrestrial Radio Stations Will Disappear in the Coming Years

  • November 2, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    That would be great if 50% of the crap stations died off, but that’s not what’s going to happen. The crap will be the 50% that survives.
    This article isn’t about saving radio, it’s about saving the radio revenue model.

    What radio needs is the injection of ideas that are not coming from radio people. Radio consultants saving radio- hilarious.


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