If I could own a commercial radio station, I’d own one of two formats: 1. Sports radio (either talk radio or live broadcasts of games) or 2. Some sort of culinary broadcast. The reasoning for sports is obvious–I’ve played just about all of them, I love to stay active and fit and it would give me an outlet to discuss and observe sports (preferably the MLB or NCAA basketball) with like-minded colleagues. Cooking, however, isn’t a terribly popular topic of radio discussion but I personally would love a culinary broadcast. I love to cook and discussing recipes, ideas for meal plans, exotic dishes and other edible endeavors sounds fantastic.
Sports radio is already doing it–after a Royals game finishes, the sportscasters will shoot the breeze about the highs and lows of night and callers can phone in to provide their own opinions. This sort of interactive discussion naturally fosters interest in communities. If you’re excited about a medium, you’re more likely to interact with its subject. If you’re going to airing your opinions on the radio to other listeners, you’re more likely to research your stance so as to sound well-learned in the matter. Hearing a slew of diverse opinions from other callers can expose you to other viewpoints you make have never considered. The benefits are endless in this respect.
Big-business internet radio doesn’t offer the same intimate, local feel that a downtown broadcast radio station can. The insights aren’t as personal and the hosts can feel less approachable. That being said, I’d push for establishing a presence online as well. The Internet is currently an unstoppable force and, as history has proved, most forms of legacy media are far from immovable objects. While I think it is important to be based in the personable charm of local broadcast, the Internet is where radio can achieve the staying power it desires.