Many radio stations are hurting these days, as young people lose the radio habit. Radio's "not cool," as one speaker put it. Indeed, very few of my students at Fordham University own one, even a clock radio.
But the stodgy image of radio is changing, as radio stations use social media and other communication technologies to engage their audiences.
Radio stations are already moving aggressively into social media. Part of that effort includes obvious things like Twitter feeds and Facebook pages. But that's all going to expand even more, as stations benefit from new, innovative ways to send and receive information.
Social media is clearly succeeding in bringing in some young listeners. People under 30 may not tune in to radio regularly, but if someone sends them a link to some great piece of audio, they may just open it. And if they listen and like what they hear, they might then tune in to a radio show, or subscribe to a podcast. Experience shows that good content will hold listeners if they just give it a try.
And it's not just social media that's engaging radio audiences. WNYC, New York's main NPR station, has been successfully using texting, too. Example: after last December's devastating snowstorm, the mayor said in a press conference that the city was doing a good job of clearing the streets. WNYC quickly asked listeners to text in to say whether or not their street had been cleaned. The station used the info to make a map, and then went back to listeners over the next few days to update it. Then the station asked those same people, once the streets were clean, if their garbage had been collected. That's real community engagement.
Technology is also remaking the broadcasting side of radio. Anyone can now make and broadcast radio programming on a home computer, and receive it on nearly any mobile device.
That means that terrestrial radio will undoubtedly go away someday. But I seriously doubt that that's going to be the end of radio. Radio stations will continue to exist, but they will distribute their programming digitally, and use the money they now spend on over-the-air broadcasting on content creation instead
Read more here.
Beth Knobel Co-authored, Heat and Light: Advice for the Next Generation of Journalists; Fordham professor; Former Moscow bureau chief; CBS News.