Saturday is National Radio Day and it got me thinking about the profession I've been a part of for darn near 30 years.

I can tell you this, a lot has changed in that time. When I first started out, we still had record players in the studios. I'm guessing you would be hard-pressed to find a radio station in Montana that has a record player in it now.

Long gone are the days of 24-hour manned stations. That's all been replaced with advanced software that allows you to do your show from anywhere with a laptop, microphone, and internet connection. Case in point, a few weeks back I had COVID and so I was able to get on my laptop at home and do the things I normally needed to be in the studio for.

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Pretty wild, huh? So does that mean radio is irrelevant?

Absolutely not. In fact, when you mix radio with the latest technologies and trends, I would say it's never been more powerful than it is now. Let me explain. Let's say you have a radio station. If it's marketed well, it will not only have a website, but also an app. So, instead of only being able to listen to the station in a certain area within the radio tower reach, you can now listen on your laptop, tablet, smart speaker, or smartphone.

voice controlled smart speaker

Oh, and you can listen anywhere in the world. See, this is exciting stuff!

Same thing with a business that wants to advertise. Instead of just buying commercials that will play on the radio, you're now able to buy ads that will play on the radio or the app, or both. Not to mention, there is the opportunity to advertise digitally via the station website and/or social media.

Radio's voice and reach have never been bigger.

To answer the questions, yes radio is still important here in Montana. In fact, Montana has over 250 radio stations to serve the people of this state. So while technology has changed and perhaps the reason people listen has changed, radio is still a part of Montanan's daily life.

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