The crux of the problem is that local radio broadcasters figure that they're losing out on listeners because people are able to download podcasts and videocasts directly from the producer rather that having to go the local broadcaster 'middleman'.
Yup, that sounds about right to me. The age of the middleman in all businesses has been waning for a while now with the shrinking of the globe and podcasting has never had a middleman. The real surpise for me isn't that the middleman is being left out in the cold, it's the business arrangement that allowed it to happen.
Terry Heaton, a Nashville, Tenn broadcasting consulting is quoted as saying:
Let's face it: The Internet eliminates middlemen,...and your local broadcaster is the middleman.
Well, sure, but if you're the local broadcaster, the real problem is with the contract you have with your provider. If they're allowed to syndicate their stuff willy-nilly then you never really had any guarantees of exclusivity in the first place. And in the age of fast, media rich Internet that's a big deal.
The real competition is taking place in a much bigger arena than the towns and cities. Podcasting is competing with radio, no doubt, but not head on. Much like McDonald's and Smitty's don't compete directly, they are competing for the dining market at large.
Podcating is far too young to compete head on with local radio or televsion stations head on, but it is effectively competing for the precious time that listeners have in general.