The argument I hear about television is that we’ll never move completely to a pay-per-program model because the vast majority of people like being able to sit mindlessly in front of a TV screen and channel surf. I agree because that theory has already so clearly played out in the radio world. As popular as the iPod franchise is (we have at least three in my house), it doesn’t take the place of radio.
Maybe it’s because radio is so important that the business of radio is so royally screwed up. The CRB is threatening to kill off much of Internet radio, the two satellite radio providers in existence are cozying up to the FCC in hopes of merging, and few terrestrial radio programs survive on the air today unless they appeal to the lowest common listener denominator. What’s the deal?
Obviously people want radio because companies are busy figuring out ways to stream it to every kind of device. But that technology is going to be worthless if the radio sucks or if subscription fees price the mass market right out of the market. I don’t know what the solution is, but I sure wish someone would figure it out.