Radio Execs Fear the iPod

Back on Janaury 15th, we discussed that the iPod shuffle = new radio.

I just discovered this interview with Emmis Communications CEO. Emmis owns dozens of radio stations in the Western US

Emmis’ Smulyan Feels iPod Threat
January 19, 2005

Last week, Emmis Chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan told FMQB in an exclusive Q&A, "If the American public wants satellite radio, I think that’s great. The key is, at the end of the day, we’re still going to reach hundreds of millions of people every week. The best case scenario for satellite is twenty million people."

One week later, Smulyan has expanded on the satellite radio subject, stating he feels a bigger threat than the satcasters is going to be Apple’s iPod. In a Q&A posted on the company’s Web site, Smulyan said, "Despite the buzz surrounding satellite radio, I believe iPods are a bigger threat, because you have a larger number of people with an alternative source of music. That said, I can remember when people were predicting the death of radio after 8-tracks came out. Despite continually evolving technologies, nothing has replaced the local information and local personalities we give our audiences. We know our communities, and we respond to their needs. Over the holiday season alone, Emmis radio stations raised $500,000 for charitable causes in their local communities . . ."

Smulyan is right — the iPod shuffle is less of a threat to the kinds of stations he is discussing . . . but those are unfortunately disappearing, replaced by the Clearchannel simulacra.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. John commented on Jan 27

    The best case for satellite radio is 20 million people? I bet the network TV execs said the same thing about CATV. Once upon a time, radio killed live performance as a true mainstay of daily life, y’know. People used to play (and sing) music for themselves and their families before the victrola and the radio; sheet music was BIG BIDNESS. The wheel always turns and is *always* reborn.

    “20 million people.” Sheesh. I’ll refrain from commenting upon what he’s smoking, and simply note that I think he’s definately smoking something…unfriendly to proper cognative function.

  2. Jon H commented on Jan 27

    I recently saw a story, where radio execs were saying how they thought they’d be saved by “HD radio”, high-definition radio. Which requires new, pricey receivers.

    But the main problem, of course, is that it’d just be the crappy old wine in a new CD-quality bottle.

    If they think this is going to save them, they must be actively refusing to grasp the true nature of the problem.

Posted Under