On Radio's Last Advantage
by Doc Searls Friday, September 28, 2018

In this Radio Ink piece, a guy calls for completely lifting ownership limits for radio stations. Here's my comment under that:

I can already see a future Onion headline: "Sirius, Murdoch Buy the Rest of Radio."

Substitute other names if you like. Amazon, Apple and Google are all possibilities.

Even if that doesn't happen, the big clue to the future will be what's on dashboard infotainment system screens. Bear in mind that there's already more radio on phones than on any radio dial, and that most new cars come with a cell connection and a satellite antenna. The old whip antenna, which is still the best way to receive AM and FM signals, has been replaced by inferior substitutes embedded in windows. AM is already gone from electric cars such as the Tesla. In time, the land on which most AM transmitters sit will be worth more on the real estate market than their stations will be in the broadcast one—if that isn't the case already.

The real trend is from analog to digital. But don't think of Google and Amazon as models for the digital world. They're the trilobites of digital's Cambrian explosion. (See https://www.theonion.com/evolution-going-great-reports-trilobite-1819571228.) Bet instead on people. Those have already mounted the biggest boycott in human history—against the kind of spying-based advertising Google and Amazon specialize in.

Perhaps radio's last advantage in advertising is that it *doesn't* spy on people. Meaning radio may be the last medium where listeners still have privacy. More on all that here: http://j.mp/adbwars.