Gordon Borell is a big fan of history. He's studied the ever-evolving mediascape of the past century, and today he made a chilling pronouncement to the broadcast industry: Half of the terrestrial AM/FM radio stations will be gone in the next decade.
Borell's prediction shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that has a smartphone and any number of streaming audio apps at the ready.
Pandora plays an endless stream of your favorite artists using its Music Genome algorithm. Spotify, Rdio, Beats, and others let you stream nearly any album by any artist anytime you want. And apps like TuneIn and any number of specialized news and podcast players deliver the content you're after exactly when you want it.
Speaking with Radio And Internet News (RAIN), Borell likened the changing face of car dashboards to the advent of radio in a print world and television in radio world.
Now the industry is undergoing another significant change. The dashboard is similar to the television competition that ripped away the primetime audience. Now, what are the core assets? The industry's mandate is to figure out: What next?
Sorell isn't predicting the death of all radio stations – nor does he mention satellite radio, which is dealing with its own problems – because the strongest broadcasters with the biggest names will continue to survive. And he also predicts that there may be a renaissance of smaller stations retaking the airwaves, like a local church, college, or community organizations.
But the larger takeaway is that "stations" are on their way out. "There are other means of sending out audio," says Borell, and "you won't need an FCC license."