It wasn’t a radio program director that came up with the idea for Pandora. It wasn’t a broadcast executive. No one in broadcast radio came up with the idea. It was Tim Westergren.
If anyone ought to have created personalized radio, it should have been a radio person, not a musician turned entrepreneur.
How is it that the entire broadcast industry from broadcast group heads to weekend jocks managed to overlook the potential of personalized radio?
All the music research done by radio stations over the years could have created a better algorithm for personalized radio than a bunch of musicologists making the stuff up.
It’s not that radio is unfamiliar with streaming. Radio stations have been streaming for 17 years.
You’d think that over this length of time radio might have experimented with different ideas, different approaches to what radio streams.
Instead, listeners have been treated to nothing more than terrestrial audio feeds with spots replaced with filler. Radio essentially wasted a head start of nearly two decades.
Radio produced no streaming innovation, nothing that might be thought of as the future of radio.
And it’s not like radio put all its best ideas on HD channels.
Let’s be honest. Pandora caught radio completely flat-footed.
Yes, Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio is adding non-traditional radio channels including personalized radio. CBS and other groups have announced similar projects to create their own Pandora-like services.
But radio will still be playing catch-up for some time. Radio will still be recreating what’s already in the marketplace.
Doesn’t it make you wonder?
If radio had used its nearly two decade-long head start to innovate and reinvent radio on it’s own, would Pandora would be as popular?
If broadcast groups had created entirely new streams unavailable on terrestrial stations, would radio be better off today?
We’ll never know, but Pandora’s (perhaps temporary) lead should be a lesson to everyone in broadcast.
To stay on top, broadcast needs to be creating digital radio innovations, not just reading about them.