Saturday, January 3, 2009

2008 Changes in Radio

It never ceases to amaze me how the corporate radio owners and staffs have talked “down” on Internet radio. Miss direction and in parts complete “LIES” have become the norm. Internet radio has been called a passing fancy, nothing to take seriously, impossible to hear while you’re in a car and my personal favorite the Internet is for amateurs. The contemporary entertainment market has listened to this crap for the past few years, while the corporate owners were figuring out how to have their own piece of the incredible growing Internet broadcasting pie.

Now comes CBS Radio, making a big move onto the Internet, with 144 of its own stations, its recent partnership with AOL Radio, has added CBS's stations to its own stable of more than 200 channels, including many Internet-only stations. CBS has unveiled PLAY.IT anew software that lets visitors tune into any CBS radio station in the country with a button click - or create stations of their own. CBS owned LAST.FM and PLAY.IT allows music fans to create simple, personalized radio stations, based on personal musical preferences (Advertising is inserted into the stations).

“The AOL affiliation”, says Stephen Page, director of new media-integrations and PD of CBS Radio's KYCY, “has almost doubled CBS's streaming audience numbers. CBS was No. 3 before; it was Clear Channel, YAHOO, CBS. AOL was No. 4. Joining with AOL, we've leapfrogged to No. 1."

Not to be outdone Clear Channel has announced a partnership with Katz Media Group, ad sales subsidiary, to form the Katz Online Network, which will soon offer one-stop access to the two companies' 1,200 affiliates, including stations owned by Cumulus and Entercom, and a host of independent Internet channels.

Citadel, owner of the ABC Radio network, offers 182 streaming radio stations in 51 markets by way of Citadel Interactive. A simple tuner allows online listeners to listen to Citadel stations and shop for music downloads while listening.

The Arbitron “rating” books, which have been delivered for years on compact discs, are coming to an end. The PPM (portable people meter will be the ratings company tool of choice. PPM devices electronically pick up radio stations the carrier is hearing or listening to. The first ratings based on PPM are due out in this fall.

Satellite radio rivals XM and Sirius are now merged into "Sirius XM," with Sirius Chief Executive Officer Mel Karmazin running the combined company. No one knows how the programming lineups will shake out, or about a tuner that can receive both XM and Sirius programs. And, despite the merger, most technology writers are saying satellite radio is doomed. The slow economy plus the addition of WIFI in automobiles and Internet radio (which doesn't require a subscription fee) heading into cars as well as stand-alone tuners.

To make it easier to hear your favorite radio station, Nokia unveiled the Nokia N85, the latest Nokia Nseries multimedia computer made to set new standards for mobile entertainment, gaming and sharing. "The Nokia N85 was created to be more than the sum of its parts, offering a complete mobile entertainment package designed for connecting, sharing and discovering," said Juha-Pekka Sipponen, Director, Nokia Nseries. Each Nokia N85 comes with an 8 GB microSD card, up to 30 hours of music playback time and its high-fidelity sound means favorite tracks can be enjoyed virtually anywhere. Build a personal music collection from the millions of tracks and playlists available from the Nokia Music Store or other online music vendors, or synchronize PC and mobile music libraries via USB cable. Alternatively, consumers can enjoy RDS radio or a wide selection of stations via the internet. The 3.5 mm audio jack makes connecting a top-quality headset simple and an in-built FM transmitter lets the Nokia N85 play wirelessly through a car or home stereo to really crank up the sound.

The days of being tied to a computer are OVER. Now you can receive multiple FM radio broadcast signals, Internet radio programming and a massive amount of online downloads directly to your cell phone.

Don’t think that the UK is going to be left out of the online music explosion. The BBC Worldwide is planning to launch a targeted web music service starting early next year. Users will be able to stream tracks for free with the ad-funded service from BBC Worldwide. Digital rights management-free tracks, which will play across any brand of media player, will be available for download to own. BBC Worldwide's first major online music initiative will originally offer more than 1,300 tracks and videos from BBC radio and TV shows. But it will eventually be expanded to offer the full BBC music archive of more than 50,000 tracks and 3,000 hours of video. BBC Worldwide signed a partnership with EMI in June to provide online access to content by the music label's artists in the BBC archive and is negotiating with three other major labels - Warner, Sony BMG and Universal. The service is being built so that it can "reflect the discussion about music in other parts of the web", including connecting with users' social networking profiles and with recommendation services such as

FlyTunes, a mobile music streaming service, will now deliver Entercom’s Portland radio stations to iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Currently, KGON-FM, KWJJ-FM and KNRK-FM, KNRK’s HD2 channels are streaming, with KFXX-AM, KRSK-FM and KYCH-FM to be added by the end of this month.

2008 radio changes have just begun to transform the radio business landscape.