With the power to carry the internet with you everywhere and the ability to listen to music privately via ear buds, is one of the biggest factors to why internet radio will dominate the future. According to Forbes, internet radio is listened to by more 18 to 24 year-olds than FM radio stations; most commonly Pandora or YouTube. In fact, they listen to internet radio more than they watch TV, which was unheard of in the 90s.
In the early days of radio, listeners tuned in for more than just music. The radio was their form on entertainment. This is how they received their news, weather, and activities going on around the area. This slowly faded with televisions because watching was more entertaining than listening, and color TV added more hype to the TV generation. Similar experiences can be found with the internet. It started with dial-up connections and then slowly became more efficient with cable and satellite options. With the speed upgrades, users became more dependent on their fast connections for downloads and streaming.
The time is now for internet radio because all of the technology is in place, and streaming servers are becoming more affordable for small radio stations to open shop. YouTube and Pandora are algorithms and do not represent the spirit and personalities of a live DJ. Internet radio is also easier for listeners to communicate with through apps and social media. Lastly, that old time experience of community and local news and events will always be needed in towns around the world. Local people and local music can once again thrive and keep communities connected.