Internet radio is getting some attention at SXSW and there are several sessions on the agenda that pertain.
Jake Sigal, Founder of Internet radio device manufacturer Livio Radio, will present “The View From Detroit: In Vehicle Music” on Saturday the 19th. Sigal plans to discuss in car listening options that include AM/FM, Satellite, HD and Internet radio. He’ll ask, and may even answer questions like: Will one emerge as a leader as the others fall to the wayside? Are too many options hurting the overall industry? Where are the opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs?
Rebecca McInroy of WKUT, a public radio station affiliated with the University of Texas in Austin, presents a session called: “Baby’s Gotta Face for Radio: Web Based Radio?” It’s described as a panel that “will explore how public radio stations can build interactive visual components with the goal of becoming a hyper-local non-profit multi-media presence while serving a global audience, and at the same time maintaining the standard and mission NPR has developed.”
On tuesday the 15th Rusty Hodge, Founder and GM of SomaFM, is hosting an Online Radio Meetup at SXSW on tuesday the 15th. If you’re in town, don’t miss this chance to hang out with Rusty and other online radio folks.
If you’re trying to think of a creative gift for someone this Christmas, streaming devices could be the way to go. Everyone’s buzzing about Pandora, and I find that when the topic comes up most people are interested in hearing about other ways to listen as well. Here’s a rundown of some options that are getting nice reviews.
Livio Radio. These radios are essentially plug and play Internet radio devices. You turn them on, they find the Internet and in a few minutes you’re streaming your favorite station. Pick a model that’s branded for Pandora or NPR, or one that isn’t (either way you can tune in thousands of stations). CNET and others give it high marks.
Chumby. This cute cube is really an Internet radio and more – it’s actually a tabletop internet ready device, designed to be a digital photo frame and alarm clock that also allows you to listen online, check news and weather, watch videos, play games. Sony liked it so much they licensed its dashboard for their own Sony Dash.
Motorola T505. How about a bluetooth device that enables streaming from your iPhone to your fm car radio? There are several, my husband uses this one and cancelled his Sirius XM subscription over a year ago with no regrets. Now he streams Pandora and other stations to his car stereo with this device. It clips to your visor, tells you where to tune in, and is very easy to use.
Apple TV. In case you haven’t read about Apple’s new AirPlay technology, it’s all about sending streams from handheld devices to home stereo equipment and it’s getting a lot of praise. The Apple TV costs just 99 bucks and it’s getting great reviews for easily connecting your iPhone, iTouch, iPad to your television or home stereo.
Give streaming music to everyone this year – it’s a hot gift that will make them happy and grow the user base at the same time…
In the interest of full disclosure I’d like to point out that I work with Livio Radio as a consultant. And I listen to one too!
Several recent articles have questioned the survival of broadcast radio in the face of Internet radio. In an article last month, the NY Times pointed to the fact that Internet radio stations like Pandora, Slacker and Last.fm allow listeners to customize their listening experience as one reason that Internet radio has grown in popularity with listeners. New devices that enable in-car listening will make listening even easier – Pioneer and Alpine are two manufacturers that have introduced new in-car devices. Other companies have introduced apps that make it easier to use your iPhone to stream your favorite Internet radio station in your car.
Perhaps the most ironic article I have read about the growing challenge that Internet radio presents to traditional AM/FM listening is one in AutoTrader.com, owned by Cox Enterprises – the same company that owns 86 radio stations. The article asks:
“are we witnessing the gradual death of traditional broadcast radio? Far from being shackled to, say, Clear Channel’s corporate playlist or a DJ’s whims, Internet radio stations put users in the driver’s seat and allow them to create unique channels based on criteria such as artist, genre, or song. Yet, a savvy, $4.99 app from Livio Radio, which turns the iPhone into a digital receiver capable of receiving over 42,000 AM/FM and Internet stations, will give users access to more broadcast radio stations than ever before, right down to tiny local stations clear across the country.”
While it’s a little strange that this article appears in a Cox owned publication, the point is right on – if streaming technology is viewed as simply an additional channel to the AM/FM dial, then Internet radio presents not a threat but an opportunity to radio broadcasters. Already in the business of producing audio content, stations now have the opportunity to extend their audience base and increase both listeners and time spent listening on a new channel.
Here’s the thing. Internet radio isn’t going away.
But that doesn’t have to be a threat to broadcasters who are willing to extend their platform and offer streaming as an option to their listeners. The mistake broadcasters make is thinking that they have a choice when it comes to streaming, and proclaim streaming as too expensive. If a station’s listener wants to listen online, and that station is not offering its programming online, they will find another station online to listen to.
Isn’t that a good enough reason to stream?