WIUM Tristates Public Radio

The Future of Commercial Radio News

May 7, 2013

The Shop Talk panelists discuss a column by RTDNA Chairman Vincent Duffy, who said he is worried about the future of commercial radio news for three reasons:

  1. Fewer students are interested in radio.
  2. Radio is losing its immediacy advantage.
  3. Local radio will have trouble replacing the local coverage provided by newspapers.

Panelist Mike Murray, who teaches broadcasting at Western Illinois University, agreed fewer students are interested in radio. He said it’s been many years since he had more students interested in radio than TV. But he added that those who prefer radio have a strong interest in it.

The panelists agree mobile devices have cut into radio’s immediacy, though local radio might be able to provide follow up context and details not available from an app.

As for local newspapers, the panelists point to the number of job cuts at papers in recent years and the industry’s struggle to make the on-line model work.