Due to the rapid evolution of technology, radio has transitioned from an exclusively airwave format to a largely online format. This merging is a form of media convergence, the “merging of previously distinct media technologies and media forms.”
Many people, including journalist Jason Gilbert from the Huffington Post, argue that the convergence of the internet and radio is among the most important, “Soon, Internet music listening will surpass the radio and physical media, and the Era of Internet Music will officially begin.” Evidence of this statement lies in the sheer quantity of individuals who have made the transition from AM/FM radio to internet radio. According to a study cited by Statista, As of 2012, 46.76 million Americans used internet radio and on average listened to music online for nearly 10 hours every week.
While these numbers seem to support Gilbert’s claim, scholars such as those at the University of Sunderland claim that AM and FM radio will continue to exist:
whilst the internet is an important platform for content distribution it is not solely where our future lies; it will be an integral part of the ecosystem but it will not replace FM or digital broadcast technologies, or at least not within our lifetimes.
This persistence may be due to factors such as large funds required to pay for music royalties.
So, what is actually happening?
The transition to internet radio increasingly makes itself more apparent, however, there is minimal evidence to suggest that airwave radio will completely disappear. In fact, completely shifting to internet radio would go against the interest of branding as “The cross-media advertising induced more positive attitudes toward the brand.” Here lies the necessity of media literacy. In order to understand the evolution of radio entertainment, one must have knowledge of more than the trend, they must also be able to interpret the trend and the implications behind such information.