A friend sent me this link http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/15/pandora-marriage-proposal/ to look at how Pandora used micro-targeting to deliver a marriage proposal via their advertising. It’s a nice story, but to me it’s more about their ability to deliver such highly specific messages. While Pandora is using it to attack local radio, it points out a couple of important things:

1. Pandora lives in the new tech world, so they’re pushing out new boundaries to become more local. We live in the radio world, and are trying to find out how to use social media, another personalization tool, to get people to listen to radio. Which do you think will win the technology battle for personalization in their content?

2. We radio people are more creative than Pandora when it comes to relating to the target and being personal. Or at least some of us are. The question is, are we developing new distribution channels that will help us be more relevant and personal? Are we embracing technology toward the totality of media with the same effort Pandora is in finding ways to be relevant and personal?

I love radio, and believe in its long term sustainability, as long as we’re not blind to the innovation around us. But if we continue to be inwardly focused, looking for ways to use technology and social media to drive people to radio, without understanding that the model has been shifting to being outwardly focused, toward the listener/consumer, we’ll eventually lose. We know that, but we’re so used to doing things the radio way, and seem to believe we have all kinds of time before we need to change.

If we’re not careful we’re going to wind up being those old people complaining about the new fangled things the kids are doing, not understanding why they’re doing it. We’ll be reading old timers magazines about the good old days of radio, just like our parents and grandparents have now.

And that would’ve a shame.