The manner in which Inside Radio characterized the results of a new study regarding radio continued a tradition of greeting good news regarding radio with skepticism while gravely reporting any bad news. Monday, sonoro audio, a German audio equipment company released the results of a study of US consumers. Beneath a headline declaring, Radio Still Number One Media Source over MP3 Players, CDs, the company’s press release announced that according to the study, 57% of listening (audio entertainment as the survey puts it) is spent with radio of some sort, two-thirds of which goes to FM. That compares to 23% for MP3 players and 18% to CDs. Sonoro audio CEO Marcell Faller noted, "Even with the advent of MP3 players, consumers are still largely turning to radio for their music needs as it is easily accessible and free." You can read the press release here.
The story complete with upbeat headline was repeated by Yahoo Business, CNET, and other outlets. Yet Inside Radio’s headline was Survey claims radio holds the lead in a head-to-head iPod comparison. The story then begins, "Popularity of MP3 players and digital records hasn’t pushed listeners completely away from radio...."
So Inside Radio takes a positive story about radio and twists it in such a way that the study findings are reduced to claims, and radio’s overwhelming advantage over MP3 players is dismissed as some sort of hollow victory. Why is Inside Radio so skeptical of upbeat news?
Perhaps Inside Radio has been sipping from the new media punch bowl. Nearly a decade ago the new media told us that terrestrial radio was dead. Soon, they said, everyone would be listening to internet radio, obsoleting over-the-air radio. Then they told us that the iPod would kill radio. Even some Chicken Littles within our business declared that the absence of a tuner in the iPod would be our death.
Mark Twain’s comment that, "reports of my death are greatly exaggerated" comes to mind. Radio has been pummeled so long and so hard regarding the medium’s imminent demise at the hands of new media that many within radio accept it as a fact. Consequently, when contrary evidence surfaces, we greet it with skepticism.
No other audio medium comes close to terrestrial radio’s reach and impact. Not the iPod, not streaming, not internet radio, not satellite radio. That is true today and it will remain true in the future. So to radio’s Chicken Littles who continually shout that radio’s sky is falling: Get Over It!