The Future of Audio


(By Buzz Knight) In our continuing series on tapping thought leaders about the “Future of Audio” today we talk with the President and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association Gary Shapiro and later on to put a rap on this edition we talk with Steve Goldstein.

Every year many of us make the pilgrimage to CES in Las Vegas to see the future and Gary and his team provide a tremendous backdrop to the world around us and how we can best adjust for the ride.

Buzz: As an observer of the intersection of media and tech how should radio be focused on its digital future?
Gary Shapiro
: I grew up listening to radio! My mother would listen to radio talk show programs whenever she had the chance, and she always told me “If I learn one thing for each hour of listening it’s worth it.” Radio doesn’t just entertain; it also helps quench people’s thirst for knowledge.

Radio stations need to support a variety of listening mediums-such as voice assistants and smart speakers. Like retailers, radio stations need to go omnichannel. Streaming on the internet is understood, but support for social media and podcasts are critical to maintain an audience and keep them tuned in.

Buzz: What are the key leadership challenges for the next five years for those in the audio business and specifically for those in the radio business?
Gary Shapiro: Audio businesses have experienced growth in recent months driven by innovations in streaming services and wireless audio.

According to Consumer Technology Association’s twice yearly, U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts report, future growth will come from skyrocketing popularity of streaming services and wireless earbuds among other 5G connectivity and artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled devices driving innovation for the U.S. consumer tech industry.

Bright spots in audio include on-demand music services including Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify which will total 9 billion in revenue-with room to grow as consumers adopt smart speakers and wireless earbuds.

Speaking of smart speakers and voice that’s a nice transition to a conversation with Steve Goldstein, the Founder of Amplifi Media about the Future of Audio.

Buzz: What is Radio’s opportunity in the future when it comes to voice and its growth and evolution?
Steve Goldstein: Radio needs to master voice. Over 20% of searches are voice-based. That’s over 250 billion searches.

Most occur on mobile devices where radio has low penetration. So that’s worth thinking about. As Voice moves into the car, radio is not just 50 local stations, but a word or phrase away from 900,000 podcasts, giant streaming serves like Spotify and Amazon Music, 100,000 radio stations-in short any type of audio one can imagine.

It’s tricky. It’s not linear. Radio needs to get in front of a shift in how people interact with devices.

Buzz Knight is the CEO of Buzz Knight Media and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


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