(Radio Passioni) – Sean Ross, della newsletter Ross on Radio, riflette sulla possibile dipartita della radio satellitare negli USA e spiega perché la notizia non deve necessariamente entusiasmare gli editori della radio terrestre. Sono 20 milioni di ascoltatori che non ritorneranno, scrive Sean. Anche perché si sono abituati a un’idea di radio a copertura nazionale che le stazioni locali terrestri non sono in grado di ricalcare. E non è detto che decidano di andare sulla radio digitale terrestre – che sta in effetti puntando sul multicasting di canali tematici ripetuti da diverse stazioni, attraverso i flussi secondario e terziario di HD Radio – perché la radio digitale è meno intuitiva del satellite.
If Satellite Radio Went Away Tomorrow
Entry by Sean Ross
Feb. 11, 2009
Okay, the reported pending Sirius XM Radio bankruptcy filing is a reorganization, hastened by a potential struggle for control of the company, it’s not a liquidation. But you can be sure it’s already inspiring no amount of wishful thinking on the terrestrial radio side. “Satellite radio crashes,” reads the headline in this morning’s Inside Radio. So there are undoubtedly broadcasters this morning licking their chops and wondering, “Well, what if Sirius XM does go away?”
That one isn’t hard to answer. If Sirius XM suddenly ceased to exist tomorrow, it would in no way “solve everything” for terrestrial commercial broadcasters, who have already gotten way too excited about satellite radio attracting “only” 20 million subscribers. Local stations will not automatically repatriate all those listeners. And here’s why:
For starters, Sirius and XM, as separate services, found their early adopters in the people who were never going to be satisfied with mainstream terrestrial radio. That wasn’t a large enough number of people to make satellite profitable. It wasn’t as large a group as the daily newspaper radio/TV writers (many of whom fell into the group themselves) would have liked to believe. But it’s still a few million people who aren’t coming back. And you can ask the PD of any commercial Triple-A station if those listeners have been missed in recent years.
More important, Sirius and XM also changed the expectation of 20 million listeners. Those listeners are comfortable with radio being national – not that terrestrial broadcasters haven’t been helping the rest of us with that transition. They are accustomed to commercial-free music, particularly when choosing a station for a public place. They are no longer willing to wait for “traffic on the eights.” They are used to Howard Stern in any market at any hour. Most important, they are used to having over 100 channels available, even if they only want to use the most mainstream handful of them.