Tom Webster has some wise words at The Infinite Dial on the future of radio in the Internet age:
Here is a station in a major market. It features a morning show from Chicago; a drive-time show from Nashville. There are no local shows. This, in the very short term, is a compelling option for some broadcasters today. With such low overhead (i.e., no "talent.") it may even be throwing off some cash with a modest amount of local advertising.
Some stations are genuine entertainment sources, others merely provide "services." This particular station provides a service of convenience–rebroadcasting some national shows into the market–but that service is no longer unique in a world where "repeaters" are irrelevant. IP is the new FM. Very, very soon, every iota of programming on this station will be available everywhere, either live or on demand, from sources other than this particular station, wherever mainstream Americans want to hear it. If I have a relationship with Mancow, or Phil Hendrie, then the advertising power of that relationship rests with them, and not with the utility that happens to rebroadcast them in my local market….
When the service provided by stations like this becomes irrelevant, they are probably just going to go away. This is not radio's strength. Radio's strength has always been about shared experience, local community….Stations that master local relationships will survive. Stations that own unique, strong music positions with passionate communities will survive (that playlist, after all, is also unique content–and most stations don't do enough to capitalize on that online). 10 years ago, stations that did neither would change formats until they did. When IP is the new FM, those stations might just go dark. The market is already making that decision, for some.
Some of us have been sounding similar alarms for a long time. Meanwhile, to see some of the ways that short-sighted, risk-averse stations are ignoring actual popular music that ordinary listeners demonstrably want to hear, check out this Infinite Dial post from Larry Rosin.