I share an article in the November issue of Radio World. It was written by Thomm Callahan, president of the southern California Broadcasters Association. He is based in Los Angeles. The article is entitled, “Despite Bleak Predictions, Radio Persists. He says Radio isn’t doing as terribly as you might think, here are some reasons why. (This is a rather long commentary, so I will give you this in three or four parts)


I’ve been reading about the “death” of radio for far too long, and would find it all most amusing if it were not so misguided and plain wrong. Each commentary is as dire as the next. Each story is the same and all you have to do is change the decade and the latest “threat” to radio and it all goes something like this:

1. TV is killing radio. “It won’t be long now until radio is gone.” (Billboard Magazine 19600
2. Cassettes and 8 track tapes in the car will kill radio why would you listen anymore.” A music expert 1970)
3. The Sony Walkman will rapidly eclipse radio” (a major advertiser 19840
4. Betamax and VHS “will erode radio listening substantially” (local TV station 1985)
5. The internet will “destroy over-the-air-radio listening” (various sources, 1990)
6. Consolidation will “turn off listeners in droves” (various 2000)
7. Sirius satellite “will soon replace traditional radio within five years” (various bloggers 2007)
8. The “iPod will bring radio down once and for all” (various bloggers 2008)
9. Pandora and “pure plays will cripple radio forever” (various 2010)
10. In dashboard, “”Internet radio” in cars “signals the death of traditional radio” (various critics 2011-2013)

Yet for all its competition, known and imagined, from its long line of “expert” critics as well as its own weal PR efforts, radio is still having explosive growth in many sections of the U.S., and especially in Southern California. In fact, I would call radio’s momentum a “re-birth”…growing and adapting in ways all these critics have somehow failed to see.

The rants against radio reflect unprofessional journalism at a high level and are not the true state of the radio industry today. Rather than just offer my opinion, I think it would be best if we all look at some undeniable facts about radio and why it is more popular with listeners and advertisers than ever before. More on this later. Ron Lane