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The Nail in Radio's Coffin

A few years ago, I bought a car stereo unit with a CD player, 3.5mm jack and a removable faceplate. At the time, it seemed pretty advanced. Mashable has a post about a new Pioneer car stereo unit that integrates with social media, including Pandora radio.

(from Andresael on Flickr)

There's not doubt, radio has been in bad shape for years, and every new technology just seems to keep driving the nail deeper into the coffin. But this is probably also bad news for satellite radio, when you think about it. Why pay for commercial free music stations when you can get virtually the same service from Pandora at no-cost?

I'd be willing to argue that the only place most Americans listen to the radio anymore is in the car. Millions drive, some for very long distances, and they're a captive audience. Yet the more alternatives that exist to radio, the fewer people are going to use it. Pandora is already a pretty amazing concept. It delivers (mostly) advertisement-free music, and it's music with a good probability that the listener will enjoy.

I think there might be one exception to this: public radio. Even in radio's dark days, NPR and other public radio providers have had a record number of listeners. Personally, I'm OK with that. There isn't much that's currently on the radio that I would be upset to see disappear. But when it comes to news, I rely on public radio more than just about anyone else.


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