Millennials: Hopeful Aspirations, Harsh Finances

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By Adam R Jacobson
RBR + TVBR Editor-In-Chief


milennialsMillennials.

“We just don’t get them, do we?”

That question alone is problematic for the radio industry, as it says everything we need to know about our future.

It will be a gray one, with salt and pepper sprinkled across the nation.

Last week’s 2016 Radio Show could have had AARP as a sponsor.

This observation came from yours truly, the editor-in-chief here at the Radio + Television Business Report.

Please send your hate mail to [email protected]

I am 44 years old. Across three days at the Omni Nashville, I kept saying to myself, “If I’m the young guy in the room, this industry is in serious trouble.”

In conversations over wine with aging yet brilliant industry leaders, ideas over youth-focused incubators for not only talent infusion, but ownership and investment, were discussed.

This will be a difficult task, since all of the VC money and focus is on virtual reality and holographic technology; they’re not even investing in streaming or apps.

In a column shared with RBR + TVBR readers last week, two 21-year-olds in attendance revealed themselves as Middle Tennessee State University students in media-industry internships. Each shared their thoughts on radio. Both 21-year-olds expressed an interest in NextRadio, the Android-powered app that brings live FM radio to their smartphones. They said it “spoke to their generation.”

If we can attract Gen Z, perhaps we better begin to understand the millennial.

That’s where a new survey of Millennials from EY (formerly Ernst & Young) and the Economic Innovation Group comes into play. The study, released late last week, gauges the views of the most-talked-about consumer group on such issues as the economy, education, American institutions, and the challenges they continue to face almost seven years into the recovery from the Great Recession.

The results reveal a lot about a generation that is often derided as spoiled, lazy, self-absorbed and disconnected by Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.

Perhaps the generation told to never trust anyone over 30 should start taking advice from everyone under 30. If not, that salt and pepper is going to taste pretty awful when the lights go out one final time.

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