Mobile is the New Radio

My dear friends in the radio business to a great extent see themselves in the 24-hour news, information and entertainment business. That is going to have to stop. Technology is at work. The TiVo and its clones allow viewers to take from TV instead of waiting for TV to give. Consumers like the control they are getting over their television entertainment. Radio has been awesome at being there for listeners since it was invented, but being there is not going to be enough in the mobile future. I see mobile radio "stations" (if I can call them that) as shorter form offerings. Maybe 30 minutes worth of programming that mobile users can retrieve when they want it. Or ten minutes worth of two minute segments -- jokes? Who knows? The possibilities are endless. The point being that if radio broadcasters want to be the content providers of the mobile future they are going to have to -- forgive me, here -- forget how to be broadcasters and learn how to be content suppliers. Embrace the technology. Help develop it. Push it. Program and innovate. Find new ways to monetize it and run separate, well-funded companies to grow the mobile field just as they have admirably grown the radio business all these years. Failure to do so leaves hungry utility companies as content suppliers. And if that doesn't worry you, it should. After all, a second ranked computer company with only 3% of the market invented and marketed the one device (ipod) that was a category killer for CDs. And then built the incredibly simple and intuitive iTunes that became the category killer for radio's monopoly over hit-making. Terrestrial radio owners should seriously consider what may happen if they fail to become mobile content suppliers -- as contradictory as it is to how they now operate -- before Verizon and their competitors figure it out first.