Category Archives: radio

Mashable/Socialised Radio? Is this the future of the medium?

You may have noticed that radio — the good old-fashioned AM/FM type, not the fancy digital or satellite offerings — has been having a rough old time of it since the invention of the iPod by Al Gore.

Seems that those pesky consumers have preferred roll-your-own music to that pre-digested by programmers in Milwaukee or Boston or Dublin (or wherever).

Now comes the news that Listener Driven Radio, LDR — crowdsourced radio, to give it a sexy Web 2.0 label — is the Next Big Thing.

According to “Inside Radio”, Citadel Media is now making the LDR service available in the US:

Launched in July [2009] in the U.K. , France and Australia , the software enables listeners to impact playlists, request songs and upload or vote for new music through radio station websites, smartphones and social networks. You Pick The Next Song, for example, lets listeners choose from three songs based on clocks and rules set by the station’s PD.  Housed in a widget on a station’s website, the system collects audience feedback and integrates it into the station’s music scheduling and automation systems. Stations can go as far as turning an entire daypart or weekend over to listeners, within specific parameters.

“Radio has been scratching its head about how to embrace and make money from social networking,” says Citadel Media senior VP of programming and distribution Carl Anderson. “With this, programmers can keep their hands on the wheel as much as they want, while endearing their stations to listeners in a whole new way with constant interaction and research to program the station together.”

Listeners can paste the widget into their own site, blog or social networking page. McVay New Media president Daniel Anstandig, who developed the system, says it was built to influence P1 listener TSL and loyalty and allows stations to evolve from broadcasting to crowdcasting.  “It gives the keys to your car to more P1s and gives them the opportunity to shape your programming, while giving programmers more real-time feedback.”

Clearly the breathless writer of the press release had never heard of radio request programs, made possible by that dazzling technological wonder, the te-le-ph-one — in operation ever since, oh, the dawn of radio in the 1920s.

Now we’re trading telephone and email for widgets and apps. How thoroughly modern.

Deloitte Shock Horror Statistics: $35 Million In Radio Airtime Wasted

Deloitte was quoted last week by South Africa’s BizCommunity.com as reporting that “an average of 9% of all radio ads booked [on South African radio] are not broadcast as scheduled. Based on an estimated spend of R3 billion on radio advertising in 2008, this error equates to R270 million [USD $35.6 million] erosion of ad spend per annum.”

“Through our research and market testing of this concept, it’s become apparent to us that there are significant operational inefficiencies in radio and television broadcast where advertising campaigns are flighted incorrectly. The scope of errors which we verified were not aired at all, broadcast in the wrong time channel or flighted as scheduled but the wrong material was used,” commented Audine Brooks, business leader for Deloitte’s Advertising Broadcast Certification service.

In the last month, some of the Deloitte findings show:

  • Client’s radio campaign ran at a 24% error rate – resultant compensation claim was thirty fold the related certification fee
  • Another major advertiser’s radio activity consistently results in an 8% error rate, damaging the reach and frequency intended by its marketing strategy
  • Another TV campaign ran at 5% error rate, R149k in value booked but not broadcast accurately.

This report was quickly questioned by commenters on the BizCommunity website, suggesting that the results were not representative of the industry as a whole; and it’s perhaps fair to question Deloitte’s motives in releasing the data, given that they seem to be offering a broadcast monitoring and certification service that would address any such problems in a timely fashion.

Nonetheless the whole story is a useful reminder of the transient character of the broadcast medium, and the need for proof of broadcast in some form.

If a radio station broadcasts in the forest and there’s no-one there, can they charge advertisers for the airtime?

New iPods: FM Inside

Digital Radio has been trialled in this country but never been released commercially – no-one has been able to muster a sound business case for disrupting the existing radio environment for relatively minor gains to the services already on offer. Digital Radio does offer some cool stuff – comprehensive details on the artist and tracks you’re hearing, the ability to live pause, rewind or fast-forward, and naturally the facility to purchase music that you like – but not enough real improvements to justify the major cost of replacing existing broadcasting equipment (oh, while also rendering every existing receiver obsolete).
Now it looks like none of that will be necessary – we’ll be able to leapfrog what’s suddenly become a dead-end technology and move straight to the next step in the evolution of radio, courtesy of a most unlikely saviour, Apple and the iPod.
The new iPod Nano, launched late last week, includes a larger screen, a video recorder, and an HD Radio FM tuner with a live pause function and, of course, iTunes Tagging to mark songs as they play, for later purchase from the iTunes Store.
Here’s how Apple describes the new FM features:
The new FM tuner lets you see the names of songs and artists. And two amazing features — iTunes Tagging and Live Pause — make listening to the radio nothing like listening to the radio.
Live Pause
Say you need to take a quick break from listening to your favorite radio station. The iPod Nano lets you pause it with a click. Another click and you’re listening to your station again. You can even rewind paused material as far back as 15 minutes, then fast-forward to catch up to the live broadcast.
itunes TAGGING
It’s quite a dilemma: You’re listening to the radio and you hear a song you like, but when you go to iTunes, you can’t remember the name or even who sings it. Enter iTunes Tagging. Now, you can use the Click Wheel on the iPod Nano to tag the song as it’s playing. iTunes creates a list of all your tagged songs so you can easily preview or purchase them when you sync your iPod Nano to iTunes. The new iPod Nano is available in NZ now, but Apple notes that “iTunes Tagging is currently available only in the US, and only on radio stations that support iTunes Tagging”.
While we’re waiting, however, we can always listen to FM radio via our mobile phones. Finnish manufacturer Nokia has reportedly become the world’s largest producer of FM radio receivers thanks to inclusion of the facility in many Nokia mobiles. Expect any FM services offered by Apple to be quickly copied by the cellphone industry.

Digital Radio has been trialled in this country but never been released commercially – no-one has been able to muster a sound business case for disrupting the existing radio environment for relatively minor gains to the services already on offer. Digital Radio does offer some cool stuff – comprehensive details on the artist and tracks you’re hearing, the ability to live pause, rewind or fast-forward, and naturally the facility to purchase music that you like – but not enough real improvements to justify the major cost of replacing existing broadcasting equipment (oh, while also rendering every existing receiver obsolete).

Now it looks like none of that will be necessary – we’ll be able to leapfrog what’s suddenly become a dead-end technology and move straight to the next step in the evolution of radio, courtesy of a most unlikely saviour, Apple and the iPod.

The new iPod Nano, launched late last week, includes a larger screen, a video recorder, and an HD Radio FM tuner with a live pause function and, of course, iTunes Tagging to mark songs as they play, for later purchase from the iTunes Store.

Here’s how Apple describes the new FM features:

  • The new FM tuner lets you see the names of songs and artists. And two amazing features — iTunes Tagging and Live Pause — make listening to the radio nothing like listening to the radio.

Live Pause

Say you need to take a quick break from listening to your favorite radio station. The iPod Nano lets you pause it with a click. Another click and you’re listening to your station again. You can even rewind paused material as far back as 15 minutes, then fast-forward to catch up to the live broadcast.

itunes TAGGING

It’s quite a dilemma: You’re listening to the radio and you hear a song you like, but when you go to iTunes, you can’t remember the name or even who sings it. Enter iTunes Tagging. Now, you can use the Click Wheel on the iPod Nano to tag the song as it’s playing. iTunes creates a list of all your tagged songs so you can easily preview or purchase them when you sync your iPod Nano to iTunes.

The new iPod Nano is available in NZ now, but Apple notes that “iTunes Tagging is currently available only in the US, and only on radio stations that support iTunes Tagging”.

While we’re waiting, however, we can always listen to FM radio via our mobile phones. Finnish manufacturer Nokia has reportedly become the world’s largest producer of FM radio receivers thanks to inclusion of the facility in many Nokia mobiles. Expect any FM services offered by Apple to be quickly copied by the cellphone industry.

New Radio Station for Christchurch

Christchurch’s “first new commercial radio station for 18 years” is set to launch this Saturday, April 18.
The new station, Pulzar FM, actually began life in 1999 as a low power dance music radio station broadcasting to the inner city. Now the station, currently staffed by volunteers and owned by three Christchurch DJs , is set to broaden its reach to all of Christchurch and indeed to many in the greater Canterbury region.
The company is Canterbury-owned and operated and proudly parochial — “listeners won’t get North Island-centric programming, or weather reports that you can recognize are wrong just by looking out the window.”
Target
Cantabrians 16-35
Format
“an energetic mix of pop, dance and classic tracks.”

Christchurch’s “first new commercial radio station for 18 years” is set to launch this Saturday, April 18.

The new station, Pulzar FM, actually began life in 1999 as a low power dance music radio station broadcasting to the inner city. Now the station, currently staffed by volunteers and owned by three Christchurch DJs , is set to broaden its reach to all of Christchurch and indeed to many in the greater Canterbury region.

The company is Canterbury-owned and operated and proudly parochial — “listeners won’t get North Island-centric programming, or weather reports that you can recognize are wrong just by looking out the window.”

Target

Cantabrians 16-35

Format

“an energetic mix of pop, dance and classic tracks.”

The Future of Radio

The UK regulatory body Ofcom (Office of Communications) has been taking an 184-page look at the future of radio in the United Kingdom – and specifically “The future of FM and AM services and the alignment of analogue and digital regulation.”

The study opens with some interesting thoughts which tend to echo David Kirk’s comments above:

“Radio, the oldest broadcast medium, is in transition.

“The overall amount of listening [in the UK] remains as high as ever and listeners are benefiting from a rapid increase in the number and range of stations they can choose from, including new community stations, additional local and national services and stations from around the world via the internet. All of this choice is available across a wide range of platforms from traditional AM and FM radio, to digital radio via DAB, digital television and the internet. There will be other new technologies to come.

“For established radio broadcasters this explosion of choice brings new challenges through increased competition for listeners and revenues.Broadcasters also face increased costs from having to invest in new platforms and must deal with increased competition from an ever wider range of media. All of these changes create significant pressures on the traditional pattern of local radio, which has emerged as a result of deliberate public policy by successive governments and regulators.

“This situation presents challenges to broadcasters and to regulators. There is evidence that the changes in listening habits, together with emerging new technologies have had a more rapid and profound impact on the radio industry than was foreseen just a few years ago when the existing legislation was put in place. As a result, the familiar ways of regulating radio, designed for a largely local analogue radio system, which have served listeners and the industry well, may be ineffective and disproportionately costly in the digital era.”

The Ofcom report included some useful predictions on future radio offerings which have some learnings for our own market:

“We foresee a radio landscape in ten to fifteen years’ time consisting of a mix of stations, probably all digitally-delivered:

• “National stations with minimal regulation to ensure diversity catering for different tastes and interests;

• “Local stations regulated to guarantee a minimum amount of local programming. We do not believe that the market would necessarily supply local programming, at least not ubiquitously around the UK, as local programming is expensive, and it is always likely to be more profitable to network as much programming as possible, even if that means a drop in audiences. We believe that plurality remains important and that some form of ownership rules should remain. Our view is that some intervention is needed to ensure at least a minimum level of local programming provision and to secure plurality of ownership.

• “Community stations for any community that wants and can sustain such a service. Their primary aim would be social gain and they would operate on a not-for-profit basis.”

Head on over to the Ofcom website to take a look at the Ofcom report. You might also want to sample the public submissions made in response to the report, which you’ll find here.