Satellite Merger: What Will Happen to Radio?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The proposed XM/Sirius Satellite radio merger wasn't necessarily a bad day for broadcast radio. David Allan, Ph.D., an entertainment marketing professor at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia, sees the merger as an opportunity for broadcast radio to reestablish its roots by providing more local content.

"A stronger satellite radio should actually make broadcast radio better," says Allan. "Much like television did with cable. Broadcast radio needs to respond by providing more compelling content and more localization. The best radio is local radio. It needs to get back to that."

Allan says there is plenty of time for broadcast radio to make improvements as the two satellite companies filed their initial merger application with the FCC 70 days ago, and the agency hasn't started the 180-day merger review period. If and when the FCC gives its blessing, Allan says there are still equipment and programming issues to be worked out.

"It's broadcast radios game to win or lose," he concludes. "The radios are free, available in cars, and in consumers consciousness when looking for news, traffic and music. This is a call to action, rather than a signal of defeat. Radio just needs to be more local, because satellite never will be."

David Allan has more than 20 years of experience in radio and is one of only five scholars to receive a research grant from NAB in 2005 to investigate the effectiveness of radio commercial length on recall. His work with Clear Channel Communications in programming and marketing gave him a first-hand look at the radio and entertainment industries, and he applies that unique perspective in his teaching and research.

Allan can be reached for comment at or 610-660-1637.

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