Well, here we are. Day 1 of our summer workshop. I gotta say, Friday afternoon, ending Soundcheck's 10 year run at 2pm, felt weird. But my initial, uncertain reaction to this move has been replaced by a certainty that, for our next 10 years, we will need to follow the old saying and "fish where the fish are." And the realization is now settling in to the radio world that the fish, increasingly, are online.
I remember silently congratulating myself a couple of years ago for my brilliant, forward-looking suggestion that within 10 years our digital audience needed to be bigger than our radio audience, or we'd be in trouble. Now I feel like grandpa congratulating himself for getting the VHS player to stop winking "12:00" at him all the time. Ten years? Try five, max. Hell, our office neighbors at Radiolab have an online audience that completely dwarfs anything their actual radio shows can draw - and that happened FAST.
There's an obvious analogy here to what's happened with the music industry that we've covered for so long. It used to be that the album was everything. It was how you established who you are, and what your place in the musical ecology, and economy, was. You toured to promote the album, to boost the sales that enabled you to continue. Then the digital thing happened. Now the album is your calling card: it's what gets you in the door with club owners, concert producers, and of course the film and tv coordinators who choose the songs for the various ads and shows and movies that have replaced, ahem, radio as the new hit-makers. If you're just a band with a record, you're in trouble. Unless you're also a band that goes out to where its audience is.
For us, the on-air shows are no longer the be-all-and-end-all. They will be our calling cards. And we’ll need to back them up by going out to where our audience is – in this case, online. I can’t tell you how many times we wrapped up a segment on Soundcheck and said to ourselves, we needed more time. Well, now when that happens – when something piques your interest – we’ll use an expanded digital home to satisfy that curiosity.
We're actually off to a good start: Patti Smith is coming in today. You'll hear that interview as Thursday's podcast. Meaning that you can hear it anytime on or after Thursday, instead of missing it if you happen not to be near a radio at 2pm. Today's podcast, meanwhile, is a fun look back at this date in Soundcheck history. Check it out, and check back in often during our summer workshop.