iPod Killed the Radio Star

It's really interesting to see how Arbitron is positioning the statistics on digital radio it just came out with, specific to the effect of portable media devices.

So here's the first stat:

Fewer than one in ten report less over-the-air radio listening specifically due to time spent with their iPod/portable MP3 player.

Phew!  Ok radio execs... you can all rest easy and breath a collective sigh of relief... oh... wait...

While 70 percent of Americans age 12 and older do not own an iPod/portable MP3 player, and an additional 15 percent report the device has had no impact on radio listening, nine percent say they are listening to less over-the-air radio...  Radio sees the most impact on listening from iPod/digital audio player owners age 12-24.

Ok, hold on a sec.  So, if I'm reading this correctly, 30% of the people who own portable devices are listening to the radio less, and that impact is largest among the 12-24 crowd?

Well, that's kind of a different animal isn't it?  What happens when these 12-24 year olds grow up and get replaced by  another generation listening to the radio less?

To me, this represents a clear trend that should make radio execs worry.

Terrestrial radio is that it isn't net native, and frankly, neither is the iPod.  In other words, neither really takes advantage of all the things the web enables you to do...  discover music, connect to others with the same interest, observe, remember, and publish your own interests.  That's what creates the opportunity for services like last.fm.

The big advantage that the iPod/iTunes combo has is that iTunes gets right in the stream of your consumption with monetization.  You're listening on iTunes, you want more music, and its just a click away.  Have you ever heard a song on the radio and wanted to own it.  It's nearly impossible.  You either need to wait for the DJ to come on to tell you what was playing or you start playing "guess that tune" with your friends.  Clearly, radio needs a compelling reason to bring you to their site to do more than just listen to a webcast...  There's a really interesting opportunity for radio stations to leverage the brand they have created on air, the personalities they promote, and their ability to monetize music to encourage music related engagement on their sites... but what does that look like? 

I'd be interested to hear from anyone involved with the broadcast radio industry on this.