After making all of my normal online rounds this morning, which includes a pitstop at The Daily Swarm, I found an article that seemed especially interesting. They had linked to a recent story from the Washington Post, in which discussed that the radio industry is hoping that "iPod fatigue" will eventually bring listeners back to the FM dial.
One interesting quote came from Jerry Del Colliano, who is a professor of music industry at the University of Southern California. He said: "They want to be the program director and they insist that the program be free." This was in response to a comment that stated music fans are turned off by commercial radio's advertising breaks. Sure, some radio stations push listeners' patience by extending their commercial breaks well beyond a reasonable amount of time, but that is not the real problem. If there was a quality product that appealed to the blogger/iPod music generation, perhaps listenership would return.
Colliano added: "Young consumers don't have that need that we older folks have to have someone knowledgeable about the music tell them what's new. They have their social network to tell them what's cool." Sure there are plenty of ways for music-hungry consumers to hear about up-and-coming artists, but there are reasons that non-commercial radio stations such as KEXP, KCRW and WOXY have stepped up their games (and listenership). As great as it can be to sift through the various music blogs and websites to uncover cool new bands, it is also nice to be able to sit back and let the music come to you via radio.
The article also states that there is evidence that people are beginning to suffer from iPod fatigue. It says that people "know too well what's stored on their player and they crave surprise." I know that when I'm stuck in Austin traffic, whenever I plug in my own iPod I'm not looking for any element of musical surprise. On those rare occasions that I am, I've got several podcasts filled with new music that are ready and waiting to be listened to.
If radio programmers (terrestrial broadcast, online and satellite) are waiting for this infamous iPod fatigue to help bring listenership back, I've got an even better suggestion. Step up your game give devoted music fans something worth listening to. Gambling on people to lose interest in a piece of technology seems a bit ridiculous, especially when many now use theirs in place of a CD player in the car. Chances are, people will continue to use their MP3 player of choice just as frequently, until they're given a real reason to turn their radios back on.