A couple of weeks ago, my favorite sports talk radio station, that I listen to often, went off the air suddenly. I won’t get into the reasons, but it happened 25 minutes before my favorite show and was unexpected. I was bummed. An important thing to know in this story is that it was an AM station with the highest ratings and the strongest southern California signal.
Are they gone for good?
The station had already begun, with various levels of success, streaming their content on other mediums. That sentence embodies their new reality – “streaming” “other mediums” “content.” Their shows were available to listeners from their website, through Alexa and Google Home, streaming radio services, and they even had an app you could download and listen on your phone. Several personalities had podcasts, and it was evident the younger, tech-savvy employees had been taking the lead getting these up and running.
Are they gone for good?
A couple of weeks later, the personalities at the “station” continue to broadcast their shows live through all their streaming methods. They record them and make them available for “time shifters” like me that made DVR’s so popular. A couple of shows are experimenting with video broadcasts as well. As they promote these new realities to viewers – and advertisers – they are seeing their listener numbers in greater clarity.
Digital is now and very trackable. How many users listening live, how many downloads of the app every day or week, podcast listeners by program/topic, all these numbers are instant and metric driven. (Terrestrial radio has a very archaic, small sample size way to track listeners that places a lot of guesswork into the numbers that determine success, failure, and advertising rates. I won’t discuss that process here, but it’s worth a search to understand how crazy and tenuous the terrestrial radio model is, especially AM.)
Why am I writing about this as a Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner and technologist?
First, it fascinates me how industries adapt or die in this modern era of digital everything. We have seen that over and over again whether it be industries focused on videotape rentals, film cameras (and everything associated with them), or huge retail stores. There are a thousand examples. Consumers adapt (or are trained) and companies that don’t adapt with, or ahead of, them crash and burn.
Second, I see important parallels in our industry as the cloud becomes more pervasive. The era of on-premise, locally installed, rarely updated business software is gone. Yes, I know there are many companies still running their business that way, but for how long? I posit that any small or medium-sized business still relying on local, on-premise business software will be quickly outpaced in their market by competitors. They are falling behind rapidly. Even many large, enterprise-level business have found a competitive advantage in adapting their systems and processes to the digital and cloud ecosystem.
Any device, any location, any time. These are several of the key drivers in our industry today for business process, data, and enterprise software. Dynamics 365 lives in the cloud. Subscription licenses not purchased licenses — rapid and nimble change, not multi-year upgrades and feature releases. Look at your industry, see any parallels? I have wagered our company that you do.
Lastly, I marvel at the people trying to embrace and adapt to the new reality of their business. People that have been broadcasting for decades over the airwaves are rethinking their industry and where they fit into it. They are listening to the 20-something producers and “board guys,” agreeing to try new things. Effective change often starts as a lone voice, convincing the old guard to adapt or die. A rogue podcast here, a streaming agreement there…
Are they gone for good?
That remains to be seen. AM radio, almost certainly. The talent can sign with another station and do their schtick at another place on the “dial.” Nothing will stop the tsunami of technology and consumer change. While the station might be gone from the terrestrial airwaves and with AM radio on its last breath (remember, many new cars don’t even have AM radio installed), the possibilities for them to broaden their reach through new technology is unlimited. I see the smart ones leveraging their new reality into a better, more sustainable business model.
Be the driving change your business needs – before your business gets too far behind your competition. Contact us for information and guidance on your new reality. Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, and Field Service. Microsoft Power BI for reporting and analytics.
By Ken Farmer, President and Chief Solution Architect, Dyn365Pros, Microsoft Dynamics 365 partner, San Diego, Southern California