Social Media, Ernie Harwell & The Future Of Broadcasting

site_image_55sh_lSocial Media is going to change the broadcasting landscape in the not too distant future. Recently Detroit Tigers Hall Of fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell, announced that he has inoperable cancer. To a roaring crowd he came out to wish the city of Detroit goodbye and delivered an incredibly classy and moving speech. In the face of the unknown he recently said his “voice had always been around. Day after day! Year after year! Barbecue after barbecue, booming through summer thunderstorms…it’s just there!” His statement about his voice being an icon for Detroit and the surrounding suburbs, got me thinking about technology and Social Media.

Ernie Harwell, Vin Scully and Bob Murphy are the end of “the voice of baseball teams”. As technology becomes more readily accessible, the future of broadcasting will involve several voices calling games. It has already begun with podcasting and a number of notable unknowns growing in notoriety for their commitment to sharing and broadcasting. Look at iTunes, the robust list of radio stations grows daily. I suspect we are just months away from iTunes introducing a number of independent broadcasters to the equation. Eventually, anyone will be able to login their feed.

XM/Sirius Radio has already started a push where the listeners pick the new songs that are “cool”. It is only a matter of time and technology that can organize millions of feeds via keyword that there will be independent broadcasters broadcasting anything and everything. Soon, you can be Rush Limbaugh! Soon your neighbor can be Howard Stern, and as these independents grow a following, they will start getting fantastic guests- thus giving Rush and Howard competition. And yes – anyone can become Ernie Harwell! It will then come down to creativity, content and over time traditional marketing coin.

So what is the point Derek? The point of this post is to hammer home the need and commitment to unique content. From March to September, from 1960-2002, Ernie Harwell broadcast the Detroit Tigers games with his flair. Unique content and a commitment to bringing that content to life is the key to making money in the business world and yes…Social Media! The future of broadcasting will be driven not by the technology (technology is leveling the playing field for everyone to deliver information and content), but by the value and creativity of the content being delivered. Brands of ALL kinds need to find their voice in these channels, add value to the world to help get their brand recognized and maybe even evolve the product to the voice of their prospects and customers. Ernie Harwell is nothing more than an old school community manager for the Detroit Tigers. He delivered the brand in the format technology allowed at the time. Today, technology is allowing brands to deliver their message and value in a multi faceted approach. So the question begs to be asked, who is your organizations Ernie Harwell?

Best wishes Ernie Harwell and his family. May the last days of his life be as fruitful as the first 91 years.

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