Doc Searls asks how radio can unsuck itself, and ends up here:
"...Why shouldn't radio be like the Net? By which I mean: every station, every source, is available everywhere the Net reaches".
Doc, I feel your pain - radio in the States utterly blows. But this model will produce the opposite
of what you want. Why? Scale economies and weak network effects will mean that there will be strong winner-take-all dynamics in such a market. Think GigaClear Channel.
Instead, spectrum shouldn't be treated as property - it's really not anymore. Look at it this way: the single driver of innovation in radio in London (which arguably has the world's finest radio market and stations) has been...pirate radio. You can constantly hear the freshest, coolest, sickest stuff on pirate radio.
It's a never-ending challenge for the lame broadcast radio networks. But at the same time, pirate radio doesn't
have a profitability constraint. Because radio isn't a purely licensed oligopoly in London, it's forced to innovate and stay fresh - otherwise it will lose it's listeners to pirate stations (no kidding).
But if it does
compete with pirate radio in terms of innovation and quality, it will always win - because the transaction costs of finding pirate stations are pretty high. And this is pretty much what happens - and it's good for stations, listeners, and even advertisers, because unlike in the States, people haven't been numbed to paralysis by radio.