Ripped from the Radio Headlines

August 29, 2006

Couple of bits caught my eye today.

From Inside Radio

Bonneville’s going to charge $4.99 a month for access to its Washington, D.C. classical service.
This isn’t just any classical service — it’s the “” choral/vocal stream. It’s very popular and Bonneville says that’s the problem — “the increase in royalty and streaming expenses has outpaced our ability to support the station commercially.” Starting Friday it goes commercial-free – and subscription-only.

Who the hell wants to pay for radio . . . I mean geeze.  ,-)

I hope we’ll find out what happens to the service – does it thrive under the subscription model – or die on the vine?

I also wonder at what point along the axis does an internet stream become so successful it can no longer be supported with ads that would make it a viable AM/FM format.  Is there a hole between them – is that where Satcasters are living?   Is there a PAY RADIO space where terrestrial radio companies can/should be playing in?

Should we be investigating this BEFORE we go shooting off our mouths about how “no one should have to pay for radio”.

And this

Christina Aguilera picked to host new Clear Channel online video show 

What do you mean online video show?   Aren’t we in radio?  ,-)

Back in July I posted

New Technology levels playing fields and removes barriers .

It means Newspapers don’t need FM transmitters or FCC licences to create audio entertainment that competes with radio. Neither does TV.

It means TV networks don’t need a printing press and a distribution channel to deliver written content that competes with Newspapers. Neither does Radio.

It means Radio doesn’t need space on a cable network to get the scoop on a world premier of a music video. Neither does Newspapers.

This the future of media – and it’s open to everyone that chooses to participate.

Clear Channel gets that.  But here’s the thing.  It’s not JUST other RADIO operators that we’re competing with – it’s ANYONE with a good idea.

As Hugh McLeod said in one of his cartoons –

The World is Changing  – and the parts that aren’t no longer interest me.



I’m way too cutting edge

August 28, 2006

Certainly living in the San Francisco Bay area for the last . . . . holy cow – almost 10 years  – has immersed me in a very tech savvy culture.

I often take for granted and as a given things like broadband access, watching video online, downloading & buying music almost exclusively online, blogs and blog search engines, getting my news through an aggregator so that by the time I get home and my wife puts on the “evening news” it’s all old to me.

It’s really easy to forget how far out in front I am from most people.  This is not  a boast – just an observation because most people don’t do all these things.  Yet.

But I was that way even before moving out here.  In the early 90s cNet had a Sunday morning tech show – remember that one?

And Soledad O’Brien hosted a tech show called “The Site” with a virtual character Dev Null.  Anyone remember that?  That was awesome!

Yes it’s true . . . I’m way too cutting edge.  ,-)  It’s important to me to be aware of where things are trending – but also not get so lost in being out on the edge I forget where everyone else is.

Anyway – by way of Scoble (who is a blogging SuperStar! but still – a very small fish in the very large mass market pond)  we learn that “98% of people don’t use RSS”.

At first I was shocked – and then immediately – almost the entire content of this post flooded into my brain.  It wasn’t really a surprise  – but it’s good to be reminded there’s normal people out there who are still totally unaware – who still have yet to discover some of the things tech geeks have already taken for granted.

Zune news

August 28, 2006


Microsoft’s Zune Player More Than Just Music

August 28, 2006
More details have surfaced about Microsoft’s upcoming Zune MP3 player, which is designed to rival the iPod. Apparently the plan is for Zune to use its wireless capabilities to be a social networking device, and not just a music and video player. According to documents filed with the FCC, Zune users will be able to play the role of a deejay, sending streaming music content to up to four other devices. With the device’s wireless networking abilities turned on, people can send and receive photos, as well as “promotional copies of songs, albums and playlists,” according to CNet News. Users also can choose whether to stream to any nearby Zune user or only to people on their friends list. With the deejay setting on, the music sent is the same as what the deejay is listening to. If they stop listening, the stream is interrupted. Toshiba will be manufacturing the Zune device.

Microsoft also has said that Zune will come preloaded with videos from the EMI label, but has not discussed the details of any music or video service it plans to offer. Microsoft does plan to have one model available in time for the holiday season, and the company expects the Zune effort to take years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars, according to CNet. Other features of the device will be a 30GB hard drive, a three-inch screen and an FM tuner. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.

I wonder which device radio will be more inclined to use as give-aways on air?

It sounds like they’re loading the thing with everything the iPOD isn’t.

Could be a great strategy – could be a miserable failure.

Many people argue the iPOD lacks many important features – exactly the features MS Zune seems to be including.  But those are features often requested by geeks – and not average users.

While the wireless sharing sounds like a neat idea – is this something people will really do?

Sirius offers Interweb only streams

August 28, 2006

According to Sirius Backstage

Sirius will offer

online only subscription called “Sirius Internet Radio Plus”.  The service will offer CD-quality sound on the music channels and select talk channels including Howard 100/101 at 48kbps.

Hate to be a stickler – but 48kbps is not CD quality.
Cost – $12.99 per month for newbies – and and extra $2.99 per month for existing subscribers.

Not sure what the point of this is.   The extra boost in stream quality doesn’t out-weight the fact the content is still tethered to a computer device with an internet connection.

What the satcasters really need to be doing online is –
A.) Offer tiered programming packages for reduced costs.

All the rock channels for $6.99 per month.

All the “hits” channels for $6.99 a month.

Mix and match package of 10 channels of your choice for $4.99- $6.99 per month.

Let the Howard Channels become a premium channels for $5.99 per month all by itself.

B.) Offer internet only channels.

I know for a fact the satcasters have ideas and even fully produced concept channels that they simply don’t have enough bandwidth on the satellite to run.  Put’em online.

But hey, I’m just a terrestrial radio guy – what do I know.  ,-)

Consumer Generated Advertising

August 23, 2006

I’ve already outlined HERE my negative attitude towards corporate promotion of “consumer generated advertising” as a way to “get consumers involved in our brand”.

My sole exception was for consumer generated advertising that happened ORGANICALLY – that wasn’t solicited BY a company – but occurs genuinely because some USER really liked the product or service and wanted to express that preference.

Of course – that type of CGA rarely pops up on it’s own (a message to us perhaps?)

How about this “Consumer Generated Ad” for Starbucks found on YouTube.
I find comfort knowing that real people will use the liberation of media to take shots at the system of mass marketing rather than sheepishly prop it up.

BTW – I think Starbucks is trying to get this ad pulled.


Ramsey gets Godin on Radio

August 23, 2006

Mark Ramsey has one of my favorite blogs Hear 2.0– let alone “radio blogs” and today is an excellent example why –  he interviews Seth Godin about radio.

Solid Mark.

Podcasting viewed thru old media lens

August 21, 2006

Mark Ramsey’s Hear 2.0 tackles the obvious resistance radio broadcasters have about podcasting – namely – if I put my “content” online – why would anyone listen to my radio station?

One issue I have with Mark’s post (and I think it’s really with Mark’s articulation of the broadcasters point of view) is his use of the word “audience”. For example –

If you podcast highlights or bits or interviews of your show as online bonuses or delay the podcast for a reasonable time, I believe this will ADD to your on-air audience, ….

If you podcast your entire show online on the same day it runs live, I believe you will SUBTRACT from your audience.

The implication here is the only “audience” worth having is the one listening to your content on the AM/FM device.

To me – audience is audience whether listening online or on an ipod. That’s the leap broadcasters are going to have to get their heads around.

By maintaining this dividing line between online and on-air it enforces the broadcasters view as ” if I refrain offering my content online I FORCE people to listen to my station to hear it”

This – is old school. And it’s also bullshit.

The future is not going to be kind or supportive to systems that put limits on users. Phone carriers are going to start figuring this out too.

Worrying about keeping in use, or forcing people to use certain devices ONLY at certain times to get certain content is increasingly becoming out dated and intolerable.

Radio thinks it can keep that system intact by using the new mediums to put out morsels – or as Mark calls them “teasers” that seek to FORCE people back to the radio at prescribed dates and times.

That’s a nice transitional move to get reluctant broadcasters USED to these new ideas of making content float freely between devices- but ultimately it’s not going to matter.

If you’re not on-demand – you are probably not going to be IN demand.

Scarcity – manufactured or otherwise (as in “appointment” based listening) is an Industrial Age mechanism that is vastly outdated in a digital era.

One of the larger points I think Mark misses here is that of the USER’s perspective. For them it’s increasingly a question of “if your not making your content available to me when I want it to be available – I’m not going to use it.”

Mark uses an example of not listening to the public radio station itself because he can get the shows online.

In the Public Radio world, for example, many of the weekly programs are podcast in their entirety. As much as I appreciate this, it absolutely reduces the listening for many would-be listeners.

Reduces listening to the CONTENT – or the AM/FM device?

My own experience offers the opposite example of Mark’s point.

I love KQED’s Forum – and yet I can’t listen when it’s on the radio in real time. So – I’m NOT a listener.

But once they started podcasting the FULL SHOW – not only did I go from being a NON-LISTENER to a REGULAR listener of the show – I also have a way to tell friends about the show (or specific shows) – some of whom live overseas – and they have a way to use the content at their own convenience.

This is true of many programs. KCRW is now on my radar and I’m a fan of some of their shows because they are podcast. Not only do I NOT have to be FORCED to listen at specific times – I don’t even have to be in the same CITY.

I know this frightens broadcasters in much the same the way selling SINGLES on iTunes frightens record labels.

Letting people get ONLY what they want – and not FORCING them to listen to or PAY for the stuff they don’t want is how it’s ALL going to be.

That’s where things are trending.

I can relate a story from a recent listener panel. A listener asked why we don’t play more world music on KFOG. When we told them we have a world music show they asked when they could hear it. When we said it was on Sunday Mornings at 6am – the room literally burst into laughter.

Its absurd and everyone knows it. If we could – we’d podcast that show (and others) today.
Smart broadcasters – with good content – know that podcasting doesn’t drive audiences DOWN – it expands them. Potentially exponentially.

But we have to let go of the notion that we’re in the AM/FM DEVICE USAGE business.

Sorry – that’s the new game EVERYONE involved is going to have to learn how to play.