Scott "DJ Skee" Keeney is a longtime producer, curator, DJ, television host and veteran terrestrial and satellite radio personality, as well as the founder of digital broadcast network Dash Radio, which he debuted in 2014.
On May 10, the news broke that Emmis Communications was planning to sell Los Angeles hip-hop mainstay Power 106 for almost $83 million. While that number might seem impressive at first glance, it pales in comparison to Radio One’s acquisition of 92.3 FM for nearly $500 million in 2000, or the 2008 sale of 100.3 FM for $137 million. Add to this a bevy of well-publicized problems at iHeartRadio, and the future doesn’t look very bright for traditional AM and FM stations.
Certainly, plenty of people still listen to the radio -- it is still the No. 1 source of audio consumption -- and in certain genres it remains the most important way to get in front of a potential audience. Country radio, for instance, has a unique relationship with the artist community, but consolidation in the space has tightened playlists and the audience is now beginning to push back. But in genres like hip-hop, the most powerful tastemaker is no longer the program director at a big station; instead, labels now focus on courting playlist curators at streaming services, and many stations have taken to following their lead. FM radio has lost its foundation of introducing artists to the world and turned into a follower instead of a leader in breaking music, often not playing songs that have peaked digitally until months later.