Post #7 – Radio needs to re-up with the automobile.

Post-television radio has always had a fundamental dependency on the automobile and never more so than now, as in-house radios reach a low point. Everything that’s come along has impacted radio listening, starting with the cellphone and cassette tapes, through self-burned CD’s and satellite radio. Now it’s facing a new challenge – the online car.

The tragedy is that my Audi dealer is offering me a car that comes with Pandora and not an interactive version of WBZ (our local news and information station) or KISS (our leading rock station). As built-in cellular connections and USB connectors become more and more common in cars at all price levels, things will only get worse for radio if it doesn’t do something about it.

Radio needs to marry itself to the car again – and mobile phones as well. Stations which still have strong brands, particularly news and information stations, should be integrating with music providers like Pandora and, more importantly, to screens in cars and on phones.

Listeners should be able to listen to their favorite stations and have access to key on-demand elements, such as traffic and weather, which can be displayed or played at the user’s command. The service should be GPS enabled so the most relevant traffic would be shown or played, not to mention relevant advertising.

Radio still has brand and habit cards to play – if it plays them quickly. I would like to think that radio companies with savvy management – like Bob Pittman at Clear Channel, are already working on this.

Interesting story: Pandora Buys a Radio Station

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