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…
One of radio’s oldest formats has found a new home on Internet radio. Talk radio, long the stalwart of the AM broadcast band, is alive and thriving online.
Sure, the big name hosts like Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Schlessinger and Savage are all streaming their broadcast shows online. More interesting is the long list of talkers who are using Internet radio as their primary distribution channel. That list is growing, and so is the audience.
The number of conservative talk shows online is really growing, according to a recent article in the LA Times. BlogTalkRadio, a streaming platform that enables anyone with the desire to easily start their own show, has seen a 25% increase in the number of conservative talk shows this year, while progressive talk shows are up about 14%. All of that has resulted in bigger numbers of people listening as well.
Take the case of Marie Stroughter, founder of African-American Conservatives. The site is home to her radio show, which features “topical political commentary from a right-leaning, cultural perspective.” She’s interviewed the likes of Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich and Steve Forbes, among others. She uses the BlogTalkRadio platform for her webcasts, and her show has become one of the more popular in that network.
Talkers Magazine, the self-proclaimed Bible of Talk Radio, agrees. This year they published their second annual list of the Frontier Fifty most outstanding webcasters, a list that features names both known and unknown. “This new platform is well on its way to becoming the establishment at an exponentially increasing rate of acceleration.” says Talkers Magazine founder Michael Harrison. “Keeping that in mind, we should savor this creative, opportunity-rich period of its infancy while we still have it –– a colorful chapter of new media history that this list endeavors to celebrate.”
By enabling such a wide array of voices and points of view, Internet radio is on its way to re-inventing one of radio’s oldest formats. It’s a good thing, and one that broadcasters can easily take a lesson from. Got an interesting local character in your community? Give them a voice for an hour a week or even a day and offer the stream on your website. Now that’s a thought worth talking about..