Broadcast radio's about to die. No, seriously. Says so right here, in The New York Times today. Gonna happen; just a matter of time. CBS is selling off stations; Clear Channel might have to as well. Anyone with an iPod, XM or Sirius or access to an MP3 blog and a CD burner can tell you that much. And, no, ain't no schmuck in the world dumb enough to buy into "HD Radio," which is the world's most meaningless phrase behind, "No, really, I will definitely call you tomorrow."
So it oughta be fun next week when National Association of Broadcasters holds its annual Radio Show convention next week at the Hilton Anatole Hotel--where, at the very same time, the Radio & Records Convention (known in the biz as R&R) will be taking place with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and American Idol's Randy Jackson making special (?) appearances. But all the industry bigwigs will be at NAB: Lewis W. Dickey Jr., the chairman and CEO of Cumulus Media Inc.; Mark P. Mays, Clear Channel Communications, Inc.'s CEO; and Jeffrey H. Smulyan, chairman of the board at Emmis Communications Corporation. Arianna Huffington will attend, as will FCC commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Robert McDowell. And they'll give away the Marconi Awards, for which George Dunham and Craig Miller and Gordon Keith at KTCK-AM (1310, The Ticket) are nominated once more.
But expect much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands at the NAB gathering; this ain't exactly a celebration. If it were, how do you explain panels with such titles as: "The Pod Squad: Getting the Drop on Podcasting," "Finding the New Pool When the Pool Looks Empty," "Disconnecting Cable's Dollars: Successfully Competing with Cable TV," "It Ain't Just Radio: Where Else Can You Find New and Bigger Revenues?" and "How to Make Your Radio Station Website the Newspaper of the Future"? And you thought just newspapers were dying. Also, as The Times points out: "It is also a sign of the times that the convention's opening reception does not have a broadcaster as a host. Instead, Google will be buying the drinks." And probably plenty of 'em. --Robert Wilonsky