(By Buzz Knight) For this week’s discussion about “The Future of Audio” I spoke to Charlene Li, Author of “The Disruption Mindset” and a senior fellow at Prophet which is part of Altimeter. For the past two decades Charlene has been helping people see the future as a respected advisor to Fortune 500 Companies.
BK: What are the key leadership challenges for the next five years for those in the audio business?
CL: Dealing with huge uncertainties driven by the coronavirus crisis, technology changes, and continued shifts in how people consume their media. Audio is huge but making money at it continues to be a challenge. The broader context of the COVID-19 crisis is that the land is shifting under the feet of everyone, so having conversations with advertisers/sponsors will be difficult in the short term and will continue to shift over the medium/long term. Scenario planning to figure out alternative futures will be crucial in developing a strategy, creating products/services, and hiring the right people.
BK: What effect will autonomous driving have on the future of audio?
CL: When autonomous driving becomes a reality, people will be doing things other than listening to audio, such as watching video or doing work. So it will eat into drive time significantly.
BK: How can leaders in radio be better equipped to seize new opportunities for industry growth?
CL: Question everything and develop scenarios that seem completely implausible!
Even if there’s a small chance that it might happen, using that scenario will push you to think out of the box. If there are things you can do to prepare both for the likely average growth AND the unlikely high growth, then it makes sense to double down and get it done sooner than later.
BK: What effect has the crisis had on radio?
CL: Working from home is having an impact on drive time radio as commutes have not existed. People will continue working from home as a new normal has been established. Radio may also create new opportunities for more asynchronous shared experiences that replace broadcast radio, where “appointment radio” shows may be listened to not as a personal podcast experience but more like a Netflix Party where people listen to the show together.
Buzz Knight is the CEO of Buzz Knight Media and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]