Local rock radio will survive if it knows "its job to do," Fred Jacobs tells Forbes

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Issue Date: 
Mar 18 2013 - 12:20pm

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Forbes asked Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs how FM rock radio will survive in the new digital world.

Jacbos pointed to "disruptive innovation" authority Clayton Christensen and his concept of knowing the "job to do:"

"The stations that have had the most success – and will likely thrive in the future – are the ones that have a strong grasp on what jobs consumers are hiring them to do." Jacobs said. "Proprietary personalities, a hometown POV, solving local advertiser needs, and serving their communities."

Forbes contributor Michele Catalano points to online-only services' lack of "the human connection" as an Achilles heel, one that broadcasters should focus on to compete. Jacobs agrees.

"We’ve seen research that points to key downsides with Pandora – listeners feel detached from their hometowns and often miss hearing personalities they love."

That said, successful FM stations embrace digital technology for the advantages it affords, "rather than seeing it as a foe," Jacobs says. He cites data showing as much as 15-20% of some FM rock stations' listening coming from online and digital.

Read more at Forbes.com here.

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