There are 2 forces with very different goals and operating platforms that are clearly set to square off in many markets.
One side is the big platform broadcasters who have stations in much of the top 100 markets and beyond. Really you only have 2 owners - Clear Channel and Cumulus with platforms big enough to cover the territory. Their scope and size clearly opens the door for a much wider view of the markets, talent, budget priorities, product distribution and sales opportunities.
The other side are the smaller groups and individual owners who really can't build a national perspective and their focus is rallying around being Live and Local. The focus is supposed to be stronger on local personalities, community involvement, and a local focus that can easily get lost on a national platform station across the street.
But, does the audience care?
In the end it comes down to the 'entertainment and engagement meter' inside each listener. If you are going to make an impact with Live and Local you have to connect to the audience. It isn't going to happen because it's a buzz word at a convention or if we run 'your local station' sweepers every quarter hour. We all know deep down for Live and Local to work you have to walk the walk and have the talent to talk the talk.
Developing talent into impacting entertainers that truly engage the audience is not something you pull out of the fridge and heat up in the microwave. This takes strong talent, skilled coaching, and a drive to truly engage the local audience.
Will the live and local teams find the resources, budget and patience to build their platform? You know the national players will continue to extend their strongest talent and use regional and national resources to contribute to their products.
In many ways 2014 offers a recovering economy, new opportunities and the Live and Local teams may have more resources to develop the strategy. With 2014 be a turning point year or another year where opportunities are left on the wayside?