It’s day three of our special feature with the best program directors in the country. We’ve been asking these great PDs about Spotify and Pandora and why some of radio’s listeners are turning away from their stations and tuning into these pure-play streamers. Here are a few more expert opinions….
iHeartMedia’s Robin Bertolucci from KFI-AM in Los Angeles tells Radio Ink people are still listening to radio. “They’re streaming, they’re on Alexa, on radio and podcasts. Truth is they’re listening to us in record numbers. Now radio is just one of the ways they can hear us — radio is just one of the devices that delivers the content, but they are listening and that’s what matters! We need to get credit for all that listening and do a better job sharing that story.”
Tim Scheld, Director of News and Programming for WCBS News Radio says radio is winning because its local. “Pandora and Spotify deliver choice and control but they are missing the essential elements that make radio great: personality and community. Local radio provides community. It ties people together. It’s more than just an iPod providing background music. Local radio is foreground.
Mary Ellen Kachinske from Hubbard WTMX in Chicago tells Radio Ink if radio stays focused on producing great content, everything will be fine. “Both services offer music fans individual options but, overall, streaming is quick, easy, and mostly free. Just like YouTube influence. It only underscores the immense need for outstanding local radio talent who engage listeners and keeps them coming back for more. That brand bond, the routine listening combined with strong community involvement, not to mention dependability in emergencies, is what separates us still. That strength has be digitally leveraged more than ever.”
Alpha Media’s Country Format Captain MoJoe Roberts says despite what Pandora and Spotify have to offer, radio is still better. “Pandora can take the guess work out of playlist curation and Spotify fulfills that on-demand gratification, both of which with limited or, for a fee, no commercial interruptions. Radio continues to not only be a free source for music, but also provides a sense of community and a true reflection of the tastes and trends in the local market. And when disasters strike, radio’s true advantage sets it apart from the streaming competitors.”
Bonneville’s Armen Williams from KKFN & KEPN in Denver says it’s all about instant gratification. “Don’t like the song? Hit ‘dislike’ and it goes to the next one. Attention-spans are shorter than ever. These platforms are easily customized to each person’s tastes. And, for a premium rate they offer no commercials. (Ouch. That stings for us radio people.) Local radio will always be able to provide unique, original stories and content that directly affect people. There’s a unique opportunity with terrestrial radio to create local engagement that these other platforms can’t take away. We just have to continue to evolve and be creative in how we reach our audience.