Can Radio Benefit From An Open Source Society?


(By Buzz Knight) There is no question that competition yields better products in a marketplace. In fact I can make you the argument that we have lost many of those fierce battles of the past that are part of historical lore in the radio business.

You just don’t see stations going head to head in a market like they used to. It clearly exists today but consolidation in the marketplace has watered it down.

But I think the radio industry can benefit from some of the traits of an open source society.

What is open source? Open source is computer source code that is freely available for others to make modification and improvements before eventually going to market for redistribution. This is a common practice used by other industries that inherently advances improvement and innovation.

Let’s take the automotive sector for example:
Tesla has adopted an open source philosophy albeit with some conditions. Their patents are free to use if you do not enforce any right against Tesla or enforce another patent right against another party or if one does not oppose Tesla’s patents or copy Tesla’s designs.

Elon Musk’s decision to open source was based on the fact that he wanted the electric vehicle market to grow more rapidly. Ford has also been quite aggressively embracing an open source strategy regarding their connected car platform also with their own set of rules to help guide the mission and to keep their footing of a competitive advantage.

What are the biggest benefits from an open source society for radio? The biggest obviously like Mr. Musk hoped for is to grow overall market share for an industry.

This is something that radio certainly needs.

  • Are there baby steps for the common good of the industry that could be applied carefully?
  • Could the industry rally around one focal point of importance to put multiple brilliant minds together?
  • Is one potential option around the important real estate in the car dashboard that radio needs to protect?

Innovation in an ecosystem with ideas, concepts and prototypes that aren’t bound by business needs and man hours can be the fuel that builds other products.

Watch the Healthcare business showcase this factor as it is in the process of incredible disruption.

Radio has never been on the leading edge as an industry full of tech oriented companies so open source can be a solution that allows these companies to focus on what they are good at – delivering amazing content.

Isn’t that the name of the game?

Collaboration in the spirit of open-source could be an engine for much needed growth as well.

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


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