The late great Pete Fornatale at WNEW-FM said it best. Radio is the most intimate form of communication we have, next to lovemaking.
Lovemaking isn't going away any time soon, but radio is morphing from the medium that gave us the intimacy of Jean Shepherd, the humor of Dan Ingram, the immediacy of all-news, the visceral thrill of hearing the DJ play an amazing song, into whatever we want, whenever we want it.
The rise of content on-demand has programmed us not to sit through commercials. Certainly not long blocks of them. And radio hasn't figured out a way to replace the revenue.
As I write this, a 22-year colleague at CBS-FM just got cut. CBS Newsradio just offered buyouts to half a dozen staffers with an average 30 years experience. And the trend line is clear. This will continue.
There is an undercurrent of fear in radio today. We know the old days are not coming back. We look for salvation in podcasting, Facebooking, Tweeting, and whatever else we can think of.
None of that provides the cash flow to keep this going. And yet radio still remains the most intimate form of communication we have.