In the same way people thought television and movies and the invention of thumb-twiddling would kill the radio industry, people were convinced the iPod would be the thing that pulled listeners away from commercial radio forever. But they failed to anticipate how utterly lazy and uncultured Americans are! Radio gained millions of listeners last year; young people's time listening to radio rose 11%, while their time listening to iPods dropped 13%. The whelps love Bubba the Love Sponge, or whoever is on "the dial" these days! So then why can't radio make any money?

Industry revenue has been largely flat to down in the past five years due to the gradual migration of listeners to MP3 players and online radio — not to mention advertisers' simultaneous migration to other niche media such as cable TV, web portals and, to a smaller extent, satellite radio. Its two core advertisers — the automotive and retail industries — are being slammed the hardest by the financial crisis, particularly at the local level, which is where radio makes more than 65% of its total ad revenue.

There you have it: competition, along with a distinct lack of blowout special sales at the local Wal-Mart and Ford dealership, are combining to take away ad money, even as the slack-jawed American audience tunes in with greater and greater frequency. Save us somehow, Wendy Williams! [Ad Age]