*Sigh* No, Radio Is NOT Dying

If you listen to the early adopters and tech types, traditional terrestrial radio is dead. No one listens anymore. Everyone has moved on.

Er, no. That’s not quite right. Brian Hagel, a self-described “radio raconteur,” posted this on LinkedIn:

It still amazes me when clients ask, “Isn’t radio dying? I mean with satellite radio and everything?”

No. Radio is not dying. The truth is satellite radio penetration in Canada was more destructive to the music industry and the sale of compact discs than it was to radio. Radio tuning with Canadians 12+ was 91.2 % in 2006. In 2015 it was still 88.3% which was up ever so slightly from 2014.

Since families first huddled together to listen to their favorite comedies and dramas, radio has been with us. When radio first became commercially available in the United States in 1920, sales went from almost nothing to $60 million by 1922. They more than doubled in 1923 and doubled again in 1924, and kept climbing after that. By 1926 the sale of radios was a $500 million business. In the 1920s that was an astonishing figure. But to really appreciate how resilient radio is, let’s take a look at the history of all the technology that should have killed radio. Let’s start at the beginning…..

LP Records – Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1877 and a variety of records have been around ever since. Sound was “inscribed” onto a hard, flat disc and when the needle of a phonograph (record player) was run through the groove, sound would be transferred through the speaker. Portable record players, the size of today’s carry-on luggage, were introduced in the 1950s and teens everywhere could listen to their records, in their rooms, far away from their parents disapproving ears. Radio stations used records to build their own audiences and created superstars by playing their songs. If your song was played on the radio, you were on your way.

Read the whole thing here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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.

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