This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
In an era where streaming services, such as Spotify and Pandora, are bringing new music to the masses, are radios obsolete? In this article, we discuss the current state of AM/FM radios and Digital streaming services, as well as the future of radio.
Listed below are some of the pros and cons of these technologies. Continue reading to learn more about AM/FM radio, digital streaming services, and CB radios.
Many radio stations are transitioning to the Internet, and even more have streaming apps available. While the traditional AM/FM radio is still around, its audience is shrinking rapidly. According to a study from Jacobs Media, only 16% of respondents believe that radio will soon be obsolete. It doesn’t help that not everyone owns a smartphone or has reliable Internet access. Even if the average American has access to the Internet and a smartphone, they still prefer radio and printed books.
With the advent of streaming services, AM/FM radios may be destined to become a thing of the past. While many people still like listening to music on the radio while driving to work, local radio is facing stiff competition from streaming services. Streaming services are particularly popular with millennials and Generation Z listeners. Broadcast radio is also free and easy to use, two characteristics that appeal to listeners of all ages.
While the number of stations reassigned to the expanded band was much lower in 2006, this is not to say that the standard band was completely abandoned. In 2006, the International Telecommunication Union reported that 56 AM stations were operating on the expanded band. This means that the number of AM stations in the U.S. is now much lower than it was five years ago. But still, the majority of AM stations are operating on the expanded band, so we might soon see the end of the AM/FM radio era.
The radio’s days are numbered, especially for younger listeners. In fact, younger listeners are growing up without radios. Meanwhile, many governments are pushing for digital radio, and AM/FM may be a thing of the past. But it appears that it is only a matter of time before the end of the analog era, and it may just remain a content format. So, what are the best alternatives?
A recent survey from MusicWatch reveals that AM/FM radios are becoming increasingly irrelevant. In fact, the numbers on how many people still listen to AM/FM radios are far lower than in 2005. Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora have all emerged as the most popular and accessible sources of music. However, AM/FM radios still hold a place in the market, even if their popularity has declined considerably.
While many people enjoy the freedom of long-distance communication offered by mobile phones, CB radios are becoming a thing of the past. Instead of calling your friends on the phone, vent online. The obnoxious “Ironsides” of the internet age used to annoy you on the air, and “pinking coax” meant they were attempting to pierce your coaxial cable, resulting in expensive radio damage.
Besides providing information about traffic, roadblocks, and weather reports, CB radios have many benefits. They are essential in emergencies when cell service is unreliable or inoperable. During natural disasters, CB radios can be a life saver for emergency responders. While a mobile device may have many benefits, CB radios are more personal and can be a great way to bond with your friends.
CB radios were once popular and widespread. However, the emergence of cell phones and smartphones has severely affected their popularity. Some users have no regard for other users and sometimes use illegally high power, offensive language, or music over the radio channels. Even so, CB radios remain a useful communication tool for truckers and rural residents without cell service. You don’t need to be a trucker to own one, but they’re becoming less useful as cell phones are becoming the dominant form of communication.
Even if it’s possible to get rid of CB radios and switch to the latest technologies, many truckers still own a CB and find them indispensable. While these devices are fewer and further away from their traditional use in the truck, they still have some advantages compared to other communications devices. GMRS and FRS Two-Way radios will replace CBs as the standard in 2021.
In addition to helping truckers get directions, CB radios were a common communication tool for truckers. In many rural areas, locals would give truckers directions on Channel 19. Despite the limitations of their range, CB radios were an essential tool for professional drivers. Using them in the trucking industry made truckers more social, since they opened a communication channel between other drivers. In the trucking industry, CB radios were the precursors to social media.
Digital streaming services
It’s hard to argue that digital streaming services are making radio obsolete. According to Nielsen, Americans spend 102 minutes a day listening to radio, down 3.77% from last year. Of this amount, 45% is done in the car, 21% in the office, and 31% at home. But while streaming services have shifted consumer habits, radio remains a staple in the American landscape. Its many benefits include accessibility, portability, and quality, which are important in a world where information is readily available.
As a result, traditional studios are putting their money into online productions to ensure that their content can be watched by as many people as possible. For example, Lions Gate Entertainment recently partnered with YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix to launch a subscription-based online-streaming service. It also bought Maker Studios, which makes YouTube clips. Other big players have announced standalone streaming services, including CBS All Access and HBO.
While the traditional broadcast requires a cable wiring and a converter box, streaming services are more convenient because the content can be viewed on any device. In addition, streaming apps allow broadcasters to reach a greater number of viewers. With more than a billion people watching online content in a month, streaming is set to change the way we consume video content. Interactive use cases include social media, esports, trivia apps, and live commerce.
The future of media is evolving quickly. Digital streaming services are disrupting the traditional television industry. Video on demand, mobile video, and cloud-based platforms are replacing TV and radio. Streaming services bypass traditional video-aggregation models and disrupt long-standing value chains. The on-demand streaming business model has made fixed schedules largely irrelevant. It has also transformed the content delivery ecosystem. And with the digital world now taking over the world, the only thing that matters is the content, not the broadcaster.
Future of radio
While there are many ways to listen to radio, there are many reasons why traditional broadcast radio will continue to be the dominant form of audio media for the foreseeable future. While digital technology continues to grow and evolve, radio will continue to serve its original purpose. However, the competition between streaming services, podcasts, and music streaming websites will only increase. While broadcast radio isn’t likely to die any time soon, the digital evolution will continue to pose challenges. Despite this, 91% of the UK population listens to radio every week, with 52.1% of this coming from digital radio. Even with these challenges, broadcast radio is still the largest audio medium, and must work on its future in order to remain relevant.
While traditional terrestrial radio is still highly segmented and has a huge reach, it lacks the freshness that is present on other music platforms. It also doesn’t guarantee audience engagement. Brands can use internet radio to reach millions of listeners. Besides allowing listeners to multitask while listening to music, it also enables advertisers to target millions of people worldwide. Similarly, car manufacturers have incorporated online radio streaming services into their vehicles.
In the future, radio will depend on the quality of content it produces. Content must be new and different, and local. With plenty of mobile devices, information can be easily sourced elsewhere. To retain listeners, radio content should focus on personality and innovation. It’s hard to predict what new inventions will come out of radio in the near future, but there’s no reason why radio can’t keep up with the latest trends. While many radio listeners are relegated to the past, technology continues to improve and make it more accessible.
While many commentators say that radio is dead, a few experts think otherwise. The era of digital music streaming services is set to disrupt radio and make it more accessible. According to Edison Research’s “Ross on Radio” newsletter, the current music format will be more appealing to adults while still modeling the radio listening habits of young people when carpool resumes. Even if radio has a limited audience, it still beats the other forms of media for speed and breaking news.