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Anderson at RAB: Don't try to replace online, complement it

Posted on: 02/13/2008

“Radio has the ability to complement online, instead of replacing it.” That’s the advice from Wired magazine editor and “Long Tail” author Chris Anderson in his speech yesterday at the Radio Advertising Bureau conference.

According to reports from Radio-Info.com, Anderson outlined radio’s strengths and weaknesses as the multitude of interactive, personalized and narrowcasted technologies grow around it.

Because the Internet “allows you to reach everybody with an infinite amount of content for free,” Anderson said, content creation has moved from the hands of few to the hands of many.

Radio, then, maintains many of its traditional strengths within this shifting broadcaster/listener framework. Anderson praised radio for giving consumers “things that have interactivity, are local, timely, ‘serendipitous’, passive (‘in a good way’), always there, and ‘an option…now and forever.’”

Local radio, he noted, continues to offer listeners those benefits, and likewise has continued to maintain high ad revenues. The ad industry, Anderson notes, is the industry that has kept up best among the increasingly “narrowcasted” media options.

But even though he called radio “the medium that’s translated to online virtually unchanged,” the medium’s monopoly on free music and talk distribution has been lessened dramatically. This includes local radio stations, which Anderson says are just as vulnerable to highly interactive and personalized listening options like iPhones.

Radio still has the power to re-position itself in line with users’ growing demands, but Anderson warns that “[radio’s] business model must change.”

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