As more broadcasters struggle with "the digital thing," it becomes critical that there's strategic vision in the boardroom. There's too much at stake, and too many silos demanding funding. From where should radio's investment in digital technology be siphoned? At a time when stations are starving for promotion, marketing, and content dollars, how to best invest in the future?
We have tried to shed some light on these questions with our annual Technology Polls. For many stations, this research has provided a statistical road map to better understand what listeners are doing - and will be doing - to entertain themselves.
The problem - and the opportunity were underscored in this past Sunday's New York Times. An article about Time Warner's long-term entertainment and distribution plans caught my eye. In it, Warner Brothers Chairman Barry Meyer had a great quote about digital growth and his movie studio:
"I probably spend three-quarters of my time talking about things that are about 10% of our business."
I think many of us feel the same way. But it's this ongoing discussion that is so important to our business at this challenging time. That's why Leo Laporte - a guy who is a tech maven and also working in radio - is the perfect choice for a key Summit panel next month. Leo "gets" both worlds like few others, and we're excited to hear his prescription for radio's next moves.
In the same issue of the New York Times, there was a great piece on Peter Gabriel. We all know him as that genius from Genesis, and later, the master of a brilliant solo career. But all the while, Gabriel envisioned many things that label execs could not see, including digital distribution, content creation, and smart monetization. Today, Gabriel is an investor and a mover/shaker in a number of tech companies that work with music and distribution to shape the digital future.
Radio is no longer competing with the station across the street. As we've discussed in this space before, our competitors are everyone from Steve Jobs to Jeff Bezos to Michael Dell. It's going to take some clear heads, some keen minds, and the willingness to think differently. At Summit 13, our hope is to continue the dialogue.