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In 10 years more people will be streaming music into their cars than over the terrestrial air waves – if terrestrial radio even exists.
Spotify, Pandora, Sirius/XM, iHeartRadio, YouTube, iTunes Radio, and all the other niche streaming sites that will pop up over the coming couple of years, will win out over terrestrial radio. Streaming is a solution both now and for the future.
The younger Millennials aren’t turning to AM/FM radio for discovery; they’re turning to Pandora, YouTube and Spotify.
Once all of these services are integrated seamlessly into cars there will be no need for terrestrial radio. Personalized radio and curated playlists will takeover. Terrestrial radio will die. Local radio will stay put, but in a streaming, digital form.
Norway has set a date to end broadcasts by traditional means. From 2017, digital terrestrial radio – which is already listened to by more than half of the population – will replace FM completely. It will be the first country to entirely do away with FM broadcasting.
Ford is making Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available on all 2017 vehicles equipped with Sync 3 in North America, starting with the all-new Ford Escape. What this means is that, beginning with 2017 auto models, the new car will essentially become a smartphone with wheels.
At some point any radio or TV station with clue has to ask: why broadcast over the air at all? Most technologists know that within the next few years it will be possible to get a connection to the net in a moving car and receive Internet-based “broadcasts” in the form of (what is currently called) a podcast.
The reality is that the Internet will win out, sooner or later. There’s no stopping it. Though the audience for audio has been growing overall, nearly all that growth is happening online. For good reason: online you can fire up your favorite podcasts whenever you please—instead of tuning in and hoping against hope that something you’ll like is on.
From the point of view of a person recording a podcast in a garage, it’s a breeze to distribute audio content over the Internet, with little in the way of startup costs. Like, for instance, one needn’t erect an enormous radio tower.
How comfortable is NPR with the Internet? In 2010 it declared that its R doesn’t even stand for radio anymore. It foresaw early on that its audience would steadily move online, and it made its peace with that. It kept on nurturing in-house talent and creating shows—such as Planet Money and Radiolab—that were unique and that translated well to the podcast format.