Old media outlets - especially newspapers - are scrambling in 2007, trying to figure out how to combat the tyranny of choice that consumers have before them. Newspaper readership is especially shaky, so the industry is especially verklempt, trying to figure it all out.
More and more, you hear the term "hyperlocal" described as a way out. A recent New York Times article (of all places - from a newspaper that actually tries to be national) talks about how various newspaper strategists have determined how local matters. They reference a staff memo from LA Times publisher, David Hiller, who writes, "Our strategy is being authentic and indispensable in the eyes of people here, not on the East Coast and not in Chicago."
As a result, some newspapers are focusing on neighborhood home prices, detailed box scores and info on high school sports, and other hyperlocal info from restaurants to weekend activities organized by zip code.
After reading about the gyrations that the print media is going through, it seems to me that much of this information can still be accessed on search engines, like Google (or will be available in the not-so-distant future).
Maybe what they're missing is the soul or vibe of a community - something that local radio can do very well. Whether it's the way that The Bone in San Francisco started "peopletizing" its web site many years ago, or the way that X96 in Salt Lake City so completely speaks to its audience in a personal, cynical, and knowing way.
You can read all about X96's quest to greatness in a piece written by Dave Beasing. As they continue to knock out great numbers - and even more impressive market equity because of their local relatability - X96 is less about what an Alternative station is doing, and much more about how a radio station can deliver a unique, compelling, and hometown product in a world littered with iPods, XM, and Pandora.
In radio, "local" truly matters.