Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Imagine if the Big 3 Worked Together

Ford and Toyota just announced a joint project to build Hybrid Truck technology where the 2 auto forces will come together to help develop the technology, lower the costs for consumers and bring it to market faster.  You can read about it here.  

It all happened with the 2 CEOs ran into each other in an airport and started chatting.  For those of us in the cut throat and highly competitive radio world this seems sort of weird.  The auto world is very competitive and with something like 700 different car models out there it's a pretty cut throat world.  But somehow 2 of the biggest are getting set to build a pretty big project together.

Can you imagine CBS and Clear Channel or Cumulus or Cox or Townsquare all sitting down to work on potential answers to all the challenges we face in Radio?   It might be hard to imagine, but what if they did?  What could they work on?

  • Our National Image - How about a full cooperative program to work on the image of our media.  Too often Radio is viewed as 'yesterday's technology' and even though we see strong Cume and national listening averages we still get stuck with - 'isn't everyone listening to Satellite Radio"  or hasn't the I Pod killed you yet?
  • Spreading our Distribution - While many are streaming and there are pure play streaming systems built into the Clear Channel and CBS national streaming products are there more opportunities here?  Could we develop apps that zero in on Broadcast Streamers?  How about making up our own territory here and making it easy to navigate and use.  The new world of streaming with so many options will be tough to navigate at 70mph on the 405 or the Dan Ryan or Mass Turnpike - if we can get our world organized and localized as you drive around it could be a big help to us and the drivers.  
  • Working with Social Networks and New Media - Are there money making opportunities if we all banded together here?  Instead of letting Google or someone else develop a system of working with local business' on developing Social Network strategies why can't we use the collective reach of radio to develop a real sell-able opportunity for us and a program to help merchants and service providers get closer to their audience's through ours?  
  • New Car Radio Ideas:  Wouldn't it be great if we had an easy way to reprogram your car radio push buttons as you drove from market to market?  Instead of searching for the Rock or CHR or Country stations in Syracuse you could press a button and your car radio would lock them in.  This is one advantage of satellite radio and it will be a web/streaming wifi advantage that we should work on.  
I'm sure these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg - (if you have any more hit the comments and chime in). 

The opportunities to set radio up to be a much stronger media down the road are there.  Yes, we have the NAB and state broadcasting organizations and even the FCC to unite us - but are these organizations really getting to the 'big issues' and challenges that we need to face?   Maybe it would help if the CEOs would end up meeting in the Delta Lounge somewhere someday and decided to build a real actionable plan.  

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