The Future of Radio

The future of radio will be very interesting. We have seen the growth of satellite radio over the past decade which has created tremendous new opportunities for ministries. I do believe that people will continue to listen to audio based media and probably more than ever in the coming years. I believe that audio often has more opportunities than video because it can be consumed in a passive way. For instance, you can listen to music while you work out or a podcast while you drive. Video requires the attention of your eyes and ears where audio media only requires your ears. With that in mind, here is my prediction about the future of radio:

  • FM Radio further replaced by iTunes, Pandora and Spotify – I think this has less to do with streaming via Internet and more to do with people people preferring to consume content On-Demand. We have seen so many TV viewers “cutting the cord” and watching less live TV and watching more shows on Netflix or Hulu or watching pre-recorded shows through their DVR. I believe radio will move in this same direction as it becomes easier to stream through your car radio system.
  • AM Radio replaced by Podcasting – just like people want to listen to their own music playlist, I think they will also choose to listen to their own podcasts of choice at the optimal time for them rather than bouncing radio station to radio station to see what’s on at the time. I think the same content form will be just as relevant, but the means of listening will move more and more from AM Radio to iTunes podcasts.
  • Access everywhere with downloadable content and streaming – I see all of our devices talking to each other and allowing us to easily move from one place to another and continue to engage with the same piece of media. For instance, you can start a podcast or listen to a playlist while getting ready in the bathroom and as you move to the kitchen it continues to play there and continues to play even in your car making a natural transition place to place. Currently this happens by putting your phone on speaker, but the future, will be much more immersive and natural.

These are my predictions around the future of radio. What do you think?

What does this mean for ministries? I think this means that all ministries no matter how big or small have an opportunity to create and distribute content through these means. I think it will be even more challenging to get noticed and ministries must be extremely creative in building an audience on these platforms rather than just buying time on a platform with a pre-existing audience. I do believe there will be more and more ad buying opportunities to help get noticed and ministries will have the opportunity to engage a very targeted audience as they focus in on who it is they feel called to reach.