Internet Killed the Radio Star

In my mind and in my car, we can’t rewind we’ve gone too far.
Pictures came and broke your heart, look I’ll play my VCR.
You are a radio star.
You are a radio star.
Video killed the radio star.
                — “Video Killed the Radio Star”, The Buggles (1978)

The Buggles were wrong: Video never killed the radio star. It took the Internet to do it. That became clear toward the end of today’s session at the Bank of America media conference in New York. One radio exec after another had been making excuses for poor performance, and finally a money manager hopped up and said what was on everyone’s minds:

“It’s 9/11; it’s the war; it’s no [Atlanta] Braves; it’s just lame. The economy has grown 32% over the past five years. That radio has not grown at all is pretty lame.”

And where has the audience — and advertisers — gone? You guessed where:

[The money manager] tried graciously to end on a high note, by saying, “The Internet has gotten very expensive and is taking a lot of money from core media.” He then expressed hope that radio would benefit from some of the Internet advertising runoff.

Fascinating, non? Radio growth has become tied to faint hopes for spillover ads from the Internet. Who would have thought that five years ago?