Monthly Archives: September, 2010

The Howard Stern App For Internet Radio

The Howard Stern Show

Image via Wikipedia

There’s buzz around the Internet that Howard Stern will leave Sirius XM at the end of his $500 million contract at the end of this year. Stern has hinted at ending his run with Sirius and turning to the Internet as his next frontier. He’s not alone. Dr. Laura Schlessinger recently announced she will leave terrestrial radio at the end of the year and has hinted that she may head for an Internet based audio platform where she can “say what’s on her mind”.

Howard Stern is arguably the most popular, most listened to radio personality ever. His move to satellite radio revved up Sirius and enabled them to eventually win the battle against XM and gobble them up.

Rumors that he’ll move his show to Internet radio next are exciting. Internet radio could provide a multi-media platform that would be entirely compatible with his larger than life image. Imagine Howard Stern apps, streams, in-studio videos, side channel audio and video programming, all wrapped into one online platform.

If he’s smart, and I think he is, he’s not just thinking about an audio stream, he’s thinking about how his audio show gets unleashed from corporate control and becomes a mega brand, a huge online destination the likes of which Internet radio has yet to see. Yeah, I think Howard Stern would be good for Internet radio. And Internet radio would be good for Howard…

Looking Good: Internet Radio’s Next Challenge

Smartphones and other Internet radio devices have increased Internet radio’s mobility and moved Internet radio into much closer competition with broadcast radio, according to a briefing of the Station Resource Group. Wireless Internet radio will not completely replace broadcast radio, however it will continue to expand.

Handheld devices are becoming a popular mobile Internet radio listening device, and although easy listening is complicated by the need for specialized applications per station or service and device operating system, that will likely change with updates to browsers and technology. New interest and developments are heating up for connected automotive devices, which will grow listening to Internet radio as well. However the study notes that these in-car listening stations will also offer AM/FM receivers and won’t replace broadcast technology in cars.

An important aspect of radio’s new delivery systems is the screen that many devices have that can deliver graphical displays and even video. So as not to be considered deficient on these devices, broadcasters must develop alliances and strategies for offering visual content compatible with their audio content.  

It’s an interesting briefing that acknowledges the increasing impact the Internet radio is having on broadcast radio stations. There’s wisdom in the recommendations that radio begin to identify itself as a visual medium and develop visual content solutions that can entice listeners. This video by Slate Magazine gives an overview of some Internet radio stations’ visual approaches and also made me think a little more about videos as well…

Internet Radio’s Big Event

Have you made plans to attend RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter’s RAIN Summit East yet? The agenda is shaping up to be one of the best yet. Two panel topics will focus on how to make money – one featuring advertisers and one featuring sellers, with lots of useful info on what advertisers are looking for and what stations should be doing to make money.

Other panel topics will cover programming issues, royalty updates and how new technologies that put Internet radio in automobiles will affect the industry.

The list of speakers is impressive and includes industry leaders such as Bruce Reese, President and CEO of Bonneville International Corporation as the keynote speaker, plus strategic research presentations by several industry analysts, ad agency executives, network sales executives, and programming experts.

All jam packed into one afternoon at the lovely DC Grand Hyatt Hotel, and followed by the best cocktail party the Internet radio industry has ever seen, on a lovely downtown DC office building rooftop overlooking our nation’s capital.

Really. All for 75 bucks! Register today!

The Driving Force Behind Pandora’s New Genre Stations

Pandora, the darling of the US online radio marketplace, recently rolled out genre stations – format based listening channels that enable fans to simply choose a channel and listen to a professionally programmed stream of music. The channels have been in the background for a while but have recently been given more prominence online. Apparently, Pandora is finding out that some listeners want the simple option. Interactivity may be too much work for some listeners.

“I think there’s a huge percentage of the population that will always love what the Pandora brand stands for, which is an approach where you start with some artist names and song votes and build your own channel.” says Kurt Hanson, Founder and CEO of AccuRadio, an Internet radio service that offers channels that emphasize professional programming and some, but less interactivity. “But there’s another segment of the market — an older segment, more mainstream  — that will prefer an approach that doesn’t take as much effort.”

A factor that may be driving Pandora’s new promotion of “genre stations” is the prospect of Internet radio in cars. Pandora has b een leading the industry into automobiles, announcing deals with  Ford, Pioneer and Alpine this year. In car listening is the final frontier for Internet radio – the place where broadcast radio dominates and lots of folks tune in. It remains a huge untapped potential for audience growth for Pandora and other Internet radio stations.

In order to maximize that opportunity, Internet radio must be easy to listen to while driving.  While it might be fun to build playlists by typing in favorite artists, and giving thumbs up and down to songs, that’s not something that people are able to do while keeping their eyes on the road. It may well be that cars are exactly what’s driving the creation of Pandora’s new genre stations…

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