What is the biggest threat to terrestrial radio?

First we heard that Sirius and XM Satellite radio was going to kill off regular terrestrial radio. No doubt it has put a big dent in the advertising dollars conventional radio stations bring in, especially with the number of satellite radio customers increasing in numbers. Then we heard that podcasts were going to kill off conventional radio. While podcasts have increased in popularity they still are not as mainstream as radio, even since iTunes pushed podcasts closer to the mobile entertainment forefront. I don’t think either of these platforms pose the biggest threat to terrestrial radio, no sirree. If not these forms of entertainment then what?

Cell phones. That’s right, the lowly cell phone. Let’s face it, there are more cell phones in existence than any other electronic gadget and carriers and handset makers are jumping on the entertainment platform as fast as they can. Will they make an impact on local radio? They already are. You don’t hear much about it yet, but that will soon change. An article recently published on the Radio and Internet Newsletter points out an interesting fact:

“Sprint Nextel is now in the radio business, working with Sirius. Cingular is in. Virgin is in…, Motorola has iRadio with 435 channels from Clear Channel; Nokia is getting in, CBS Radio is working with Hewlett-Packard on a “visual radio” concept… “

I think the cell phone may be the straw that broke radio’s back.


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