Brilliant minds think alike – iPod/Smart Radio

September 9, 2009

Apple finally put an FM receiver in an iPod.

Of course Apple upped the game by making it “smart radio” with itunes tagging and 15 minutes of live pause. Excellent news indeed.

This whole “Smart Radio” thing sounded familiar to me – so I checked back on this blog’s archives and found the source of my deja vu.

This post of mine in December 2006 about the promotion of HD Radio.

In 2005 I submitted a :60 promo and over-all marketing idea to the HD Radio Alliance as part of a contest they were running.

My idea was based on positioning HD Radio as being “Smart Radio”.

My promo [mp3 file] for KFOG in San Francisco served as a template for an idea easily customizable by any other station’s offerings.

Of course my idea not only didn’t win, it received not a single comment from the Alliance.

But the reason was obvious. As you can read in that post – my promo was aspirational.

It was all the things I WISH I could have said about HD Radio, but couldn’t because it just wasn’t true.

HD Radio in reality, was a boondoggle created not to improve the listener’s experience – but to make Radio Companies feel like they were “doing something” against XM and Sirius Satellite Radio.

So here we are – 4 years later and rather than any Radio company making radio “Smarter” (read: better) – it’s Apple that does it with a fraction of the features.

I mean come’on radio – I’m on the friggin payroll for crying out loud.

And I am by no means the only one in this biz who has thought up stuff like this. There’s dozen of people.

I’m not claiming to be ahead of the curve.

I’m claiming Radio companies are way behind the curve.

So when you feel like catching up radio – remember – you’re already paying me.



Radio’s Safe haven – is no more

August 3, 2006

According to THIS Apple Computer press release –

Apple has teamed up with Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Mazda to deliver seamless iPod® integration across the majority of their brands and models, making it easy for iPod users to enjoy and control their iPod’s high-quality sound through their car’s stereo system.

With the addition of these models, more than 70 percent of 2007-model US automobiles will offer iPod integration.

Poof – like that.

With auto exclusivity completely gone – I wonder if Big Radio will wanna get the podcasting rights thing settled yet?

UPDATE: From RadioWorld online comes this little ditty about HD’s Auto Efforts.

To meet what it says are increasing demands for support of HD Radio implementation in new vehicles, Ibiquity Digital has expanded its automotive staff.

The “demand” they speak of is NOT from consumers – but rather – Radio Execs.

My prediction – moving forward, modular device media will thrive – fixed device media will stagnate.

Content needs to be able to flow EFFORTLESSLY between static media and modular media devices.

MTV’s “everywhere” philosophy

August 1, 2006

Contemporary Radio copied a lot from MTV early on – mostly in terms of style – quick cut production – goofy, hip, irreverent “imaging” and packaging of music. But it seems radio pretty much stopped with those early lessons even as MTV continued to evolve.

During a recent keynote address at the CTAM Summit as reported by MultiChannel News, MTV Networks chairman and CEO Judy McGrath said something that I’ve been trying to communicate for a while now –

“New technology has inspired new consumer behavior, unleashing pent-up demand. … You have to evolve or die. Those are the stakes,”

That’s the thing we often loose sight of.

We can relish that Satellite Radio isn’t attracting a MASS audience – or that no single player is even close to dislodging Radio as the MAIN MASS channel for receiving audio content – but that assumes everyone is playing the same game we’re playing. And they are not.

The point were missing is that collectively those OTHER channels are CONDITIONING (or inspiring) the market as a whole to demand an experience from media that radio currently isn’t providing.

More from McGrath’s keynote:

McGrath spoke about the “everywhere” world philosophy enveloping Viacom Inc.’s MTVN, which has been reorganized to place digital content alongside linear TV production.

The impetus: Consumers are seeking media on an array of platforms and will follow good content across different platforms.

This is another lesson Radio would do well to copy from MTV.

We may think Radio is an EVERYWHERE medium – and to the 35+ crowd clearly it is. But increasingly Gen Y and younger don’t think radio is EVERYWHERE. If it’s not on their devices (ipod,psp,laptop, phone etc) it’s not “everywhere.”

HD Radio is PART of everywhere. But AM/FM/HD is no longer EVERWHERE. It doesn’t get your morning show – or my favorite music program from your station into my life when I want it – on MY device.

HD Radio  – while an important digital upgrade – shouldn’t be the SOLE effort to modernize the radio medium.

Verizon Challenges iPod?

August 1, 2006

That’s the headline – Verizon Wireless Challenges iPod With ‘Chocolate’ Phone.

The phone – looks like a media player but doesn’t share the iPod’s robust data storage – or I’m guessing it’s simplicity.

But with all phone carriers – the devil is in the monthly services fees.

Prior to this device – the “old school” Verizon charged $15.00 per month for it’s VCast mobil digital download service (minutes on the network not included) and then .99 cents per song which you had to order online.

Geeze.  Nuff hoops and fees?  Does Verizon hate it’s customers?

Now – the new “we get it and want to take on the ITMS” Verizon dumps the $15.00 per month subscription (so far so good) and then . . . . and I quote . . . .

Users of the Chocolate phone will be able to pay $1.99 to download songs directly to their handsets.

Be able? Wow – I can’t wait to BE ABLE to pay $1.99 for songs I can ONLY play on my phone – the same phone I will only have for 1 year because then Verizon will be pimpin the latest hottest greatest NEW phone that I simply must have.

I admit to a deep disdain for the cellular carriers. They are relics of old school “we control everything and will charge whatever we want” thinking.  They cripple their phones to control how people can use them all for the purpose extracting maximum fees.  They create arbitrary “packages” designed to get you to pay more per minute than the actual quoted rates.

This system can’t last.

Some perspective – Verizon – by many accounts is seen within the telecom world as being the most aggressive and “innovative” in adopting new technologies.

FWIW – despite constant advertising about the VCast service – I still can’t get it here in San Francisco – the 4th largest city in the country.


My iPod returns – Battlelines & PodShare.

July 18, 2006

My iPod is back from Apple and I’m over-joyed. Actually – not totally.

I have to reload all my “stuff” now and it’s spread across 3 computers and a few DVD back-ups. Bleh.

I guess I’ll listen to some kind of radio while it all copies over. ,-)

Hey Apple – discover Data Recovery service! I’ll pay extra.

I’ve come to realize over the past few days how I really depend on several mediums to complete my personal audio entertainment picture.

  • Radio serves me “what’s popular, new & familiar” at home, at work, and in the car. Don’t forget to write it down!
  • XM Satellite Radio can also serve me that – but I use it to hear music I enjoy in a “radio presentation” that normal radio doesn’t play. Think Niche Radio. Don’t forget to write the check!
  • Internet Radio serves me all of that with even DEEPER niches to explore Don’t forget the broadband!
  • iPod (or personal media player) serves me anything I want, when I want, where I want – it’s my bitch. I put stuff in – it plays it back, pauses, rewinds, plays things over and over – or never again.

They all intersect in my life. But the most flexible medium by far is the iPod (or personal media player of your choice)

I don’t mind listening to radio (FM, XM, Internet) but I don’t listen to as many aspects of broadcasts as I could because they demand my attention at times that may or may not be convenient to me.

While Radio – FM,XM,INTERNET can’t be an iPod – an iPod CAN be all of those things. I know we all tend to think our radio DEVICE is what’s important – but it’s not. It’s what the device enables people to hear that’s important.

Moving into the “infinate dial” universe – the smart battle isn’t trying to GET people to spend less time with iPod type devices and more time with Radio type devices.

The smart effort is in LETTING people spend more time with Radio ON their iPods.

The battleground expands from airwaves – into PodSpace.  Call it PodShare.

Shocked! Shocked I tell ya!

July 14, 2006

By way of Edison Media Research comes a link to this (pdf) Center for Media Research piece regarding the effect of “on demand” media.

Nineteen percent say both the ability to skip
commercials and the ability to time-shift viewing
are equally important.

However, the majority say that fitting their TV viewing into their schedule is most important.

Can we all accept that there is no “stopping” this.

On Demand is increasingly becoming the basic expectation people have about the media they consume.

Our program schedules based on “forced listening” (can we banish this phrase yet?) will no longer control people’s behavior. They’ll only control when the DEVICES show up as a proxy for their owner – to grab content and hold it until master gets around to using it when it’s convenient for THEM.

Adapting to this will require radical thinking – particularly for radio. We love to hate Arbitron – but Arbitron is also trotted out as the number one reason we can’t do _________. (insert anything remotely innovative here)

If the industry took command of the issue of On Demand – and true Portability of our content – Arbitron would be forced to catch up.  We might even find alternate ways to monetize and get credit for this material. Instead – we’re sitting around waiting for one of the slowest organizations on the free-market planet to say it’s OK to move into new worlds.


Meanwhile other people are designing the disruptive technologies that will affect radio’s future.  I disagree with the idea that TiVo doesn’t impact radio .  It impacts the cultural expectations people have of ALL media.

I’ve been without my ipod for a few day now. Among the issues I discussed here regarding it’s effect on my media consumption – there’s another impact.

I find myself EXPECTING to be able to fast-forward, pause and rewind live terrestrial and satellite radio. My XM unit allows me some of that – my radio does not.

I EXPECT to look at my audio device and SEE relevant info about what I’m hearing.  

These “expectations” were created by using media that allows this.
This expectation is not a fluke.

It’s not a fad.

It’ll not remain isolated to a few geeks.

It WILL spread.

It will become THE way. What are we doing about it?

BTW – Fred Jacobs has an excellent post this morning about how NPR is doing exactly this – creating the future for themselves rather than letting it HAPPEN to them. Liberating their content from transmission towers and program schedules to remain and become more RELEVANT to their listeners.

Podcasting Gains says NetRatings

July 12, 2006

According to this Nielsen NetRatings PDF

Nielsen pegs the audience at about 9.2 million people. I know – those numbers are easily dismiss-able by radio folk. Enjoy that while it lasts.

Here’s the demo details

As is often typical with new technologies, young people are more likely than their older counterparts to engage in audio or video podcasting.

Web users between the ages 18 and 24 are nearly twice as likely as the average Web user to download audio podcasts, followed by users in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups, who were also more likely than the average Web user to do audio podcasting.

Video podcasters trended a little older, with 25-34 year olds indexing the highest. Web users above the age of 45 were less likely than average to engage in podcasting of either sort.

Here’s the thing – radio has the most to gain by taking over podcasting as IT’S tool.

We in radio have the ability to bring the idea of “tivo for your radio” to our listeners as OUR innovation – rather than something we’re being forced into by competitive pressures.

Why does it appear we are willing to WAIT for a mainstream audience to develop around podcasting – when it should be RADIO that builds podcasting into a mainstream activity around OUR content?

Let’s get PROACTIVE and tackle the rights issues and get this thing working for us. Heh?