Why The Connected Car May Kill Local Radio
In the past, I have made the case that the connected car may kill traditional radio, because the addition of apps like Pandora and MOG will give it heavy competition. These apps may not kill radio, but it would be the first time since the rise of the personal music collection and satellite radio that radio will have to vie for mindshare in the car.
It's also possible, however, that radio will kill radio.
We take one thing for granted with radio stations, that they suffer from the tyranny of geography. In other words, we accept that we're limited to the stations that are located where where we live.
In the connected car though, any radio station is capable of being streamed or cached. Now, it's not just Pandora and MOG that listeners gain access to; it's any station, anywhere. As appealing as local talking heads and commercials are, it's easy to imagine that niche and national stations will steal their listeners.
With Clear Channel's buy out of Thumbplay and plans to integrate its technology into their "iheartradio" app, this is already happening. If I were to turn on a real radio, there's only five radio stations that I would be able to hear with any clarity.
Right now, I have my iPod Touch in a Dock playing stations from the "iheartradio" app. I have access to all cites, genres, and personalities. I am not listing to radio stations where I live. I am listening to one in New York. Once the connected car and radio apps are commonplace, it's possible that local listening will fall off a cliff. It's one thing to be stuck with the several stations in your area, constantly settling with whichever one is plays tolerable music. It's quite another to have nearly unlimited options and be able to tune into a station that you actually like.
The personalized radio revolution gets all the hype, but it's traditional radio that may start to kill traditional radio in the coming years. No fanfare, there's just more options. Once listeners have a choice, who says they'll pick your radio station?
Top 40, country, and classic rock stations all play the same songs anyway.