Blog Post #10: Radio & Smart Speakers

For us, radio will be here to stay. Whether or not you feel as though the radio industry is dying, there will always be a medium for radio. I enjoy the spontaneity of radio and not knowing what’s coming next unlike a playlist even if you shuffle. 

I enjoy radio in the car, but other than that I will admit I do not listen to the radio. I will occasionally listen to a podcast here or there. I do not listen to SiriusXM or iHeart Radio and only when I’m outside of range for the tri-state radio stations, will I put on Spotify in the car. 

But earlier this week, Ernesto Aguilar of Radio World published an article titled, “Community Broadcaster: “Google, Play Me Community Radio.” He explores how radio and digital have always been rivals and have had to combat the new technology every so often. 

But now with smart speakers such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, Radio has another larger threat unless they partner together which is exactly what Google announced last week.

Google announced that smart speakers will now be able to be customized to your preferences. If you ask for news stories, you will get news tailored to your location and past preferences. 

If radio can find a way to start producing content tailored to people’s preferences because those who listen to the radio are tired of listening to the same songs constantly or the same advertisements, then radio will be able to stay afloat. 

Radio needs to partner with these digital media companies in order to prosper and fight for their lives because customized advertisements, preferences, and settings are the new wave.

The Millennial and Generation Z population prefer customization rather than the notion that ‘one size fits all.’ 

According to NPR and Edison Research

Among the 53M+ smart speaker owners A18+ in the U.S.:

69% of smart speaker owners use their device daily, and households with children are even more likely to use them daily

Smart speaker owners who have owned the device for 2+ years use an average seven (7) skills per week, compared to an average 12 skills per week among those who have owned the device for less than three (3) months.

66% of those who own a smart speaker with a screen say the screen has made it easier to discover new content, and the same number say having a screen makes the smart speaker “easier to use.”

Radio needs to be more accessible rather than on the radio in the car, they need to ride this technological and digital movement. 

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