On January 26, 2010, the Office of Communications Business Opportunities (OCBO) hosted a roundtable on Broadband and New Media Strategies for Minority Radio. The list of the roundtable participants and other details can be found here. The roundtable boasted an aggressive agenda which included topics ranging from the current state of radio and its many challenges to possible collaboration with other media and what the future may hold in a technological environment that is ever-changing.
The participants discussed the shift in advertising revenue from traditional radio to the Internet citing statistics which indicated that, in 2007, for the first time in history, Internet ad revenue surpassed radio ad revenue and that that trend continues. The point was made that the slow economy is something that cannot be overlooked as a challenge to all as ad spending is down across the board. All of this impacts the ability of small businesses to gain access to capital. However, even with the challenges faced by radio, weekly radio listenership still dominates across all forms of media. This led to an exploration of the unique value that radio offers to the public. It is positioned to best serve local markets as well as national interests, e.g., Census 2010 and voter education.
In that vein, the roundtable participants turned to a lively exploration of creative strategies and innovative business models that could take advantage of the new technologies. There was a demonstration of some of the capabilities and applications that currently exist today, such as online radio, and discussion of some of the collaborations that may result in a happy marriage between the traditional broadcast of radio and broadband. The goal for all of us is to ensure that minority radio adapts new methods of delivering content, expands across a multimedia platform, and thrives in this digital age of communications.
We are looking forward to continuing what has proven to be a very productive conversation.