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The real issue here is what author Seth Godin calls, “a wasting industry”. In ten years broadcast licenses are going to be worth much less than ten years ago, or even today. This is because broadcast license owners spend most of their time protecting their licenses and huddling with other broadcasters to discuss how to close the ranks. This practice is for the purpose of protecting their dwindling market share and competitive position. They say, “Lets do a study to produce a credible selling point.” One of my professors in marketing once told me, “Never trust statisics, they lie.” Does it make sense that they try to protect that which is evaporating right before your eyes? Do they develop strategies to attract new listeners? Why didn’t the NAB or NPR create satellite delivered product with hundreds of choices that could be heard by FM modulators in vehicles? It used to be the big guys could run the runt out of town. It makes more sense, today, to embrace new ideas and new technologies; to get ahead of the parade. The old marketing adage says, “When being run out of town, get ahead of your pursuers and make it look like a parade.” Preparation and opportunity equal success.
The fact that these devices have been installed in vehicles and are being used to listen to other broadcast sources will not be changed by having ‘big brother” have everybody turn in there FM modulators. There are currently hundreds of thousands, if not nearly a million, of these devices in circulation. Please understand, this is NOT an interference issue. If Part 15 radio stations, iPods or WiMax begin stealing away enough listeners from licensed broadcasters, will owners of these devices be the next target? NPR and NAB members are not going to force people to go back to listening to their formulated offerings. There are, today, too many other choices. And the number of choices is exploding daily.
Instead, it has been suggested by leading edge marketing analyst Seth Godin, thinking small can help all media outlets to become big. Here are the new rules according to “Small Is The New Big”, by Seth Godin.
1) Respect the individual. Imagine your audience as a single listener and serve the need(s). In fact anticipate the need(s).
2) Be quick. Be flexible and able to make changes on a moments notice.
3) Be responsive. Be able to anticipate your listener’s need(s) and address it before anyone else does.
These are all ideas Part 15 broadcasters can take to heart. If you can know your potential listeners, their needs and measure their loyalty, you have exactly what every advertiser in the world wants; a customer.
Do you see that your micro-watt media outlet has value? If so, you are on the cutting edge of contemporary media growth.
Whether licensed broadcasters or their lobbying groups and associations, see the real truth, is yet to be seen. The fact is, this genie can’t, and probably won’t, be put back in the bottle. The issue for Part 15 broadcasters, yardcasters and experimenters to consider is, how all of this will affect our future? Will the FCC wake up and smell the coffee or will they stick their regulatory heads in the sand again. Will low power community broadcasting finally be given its rightful place in the media mix or will we continue to be moved further toward the provervbial “back of the bus”? Maybe someone should remind the NAB and NPR broadcasters they don’t own the air waves, we all do. To them I say, grow up, get used to it or get over it.
Marshall Johnson, Sr.
Senior Pastor, President
Rhema Christian Fellowship, Inc.
Rhema Radio – The Word In Worship
AM 1660 – FM 93.5