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RAIN 10/5: Programmers discuss simulcast spot time problems, solutions at RAIN Summit East

Posted on: 10/05/2010

GREATER MEDIA’S BENDER: STREAMING AN OPPORTUNITY TO ENGAGE LISTENERS IN A DIFFERENT WAY THAN OVER-THE-AIR

One of the most interesting panels at last week’s RAIN Summit East was the discussion about online programming, moderated by John Gehron. It focused primarily on how to handle “holes” for spots. When simulcasting AM/FM programming online, many over-the-air ads can’t be streamed due to licensing issues. That leaves a tricky problem for programmers — how do you fill the time?


AccuRadio COO John Gehron moderates a panel on programming at RAIN Summit East

Pete Schiecke, AOL Radio’s Program Director, said they play “filler content” when they don’t have paid ads to run. That includes promos for other AOL sites, or quick highlights of new releases. “It’s challenging,” he said. “We don’t have a budget to create these spots,” but they have to keep things fresh.

Tom Bender, Greater Media Interactive’s VP/GM, said simulcast spots are a “pet peeve” of his. “I think as a programming extension of our brands, we’ve gone out there with our worst foot forward. PSAs are the disease of the day.” It’s not a technology problem, he argued, but a time and staff issue. It’s a priority problem.

Bender applauded Radio 92.9 in Boston and MMR in Philadelphia for handling spot times well, either with up-and-coming music or quick talk radio segments. “Streaming is not a way to aggregate our ‘one to many approach,’” with spots, he said. “I see it as a very different market that is going to evolve as ‘one to few.’ We are going to know exactly who those folks are” listening to spots.

John Meyer, WTOP Director of Digital Media, expressed frustration at how much time is needed to make spot holes sound good. “Hopefully we can soon work on making everything better, rather than just rushing to fill holes.”

He seconded Bender’s observation that it’s a priority issue. Meyer pointed out that their streaming numbers are decreasing while their website traffic is up. People are looking for print and on-demand content, he said. That pulls time and energy away from the stream.

OF PANDORA’S 65 MILLION REGISTERED USERS, 25 MILLION VISIT AT LEAST MONTHLY

At the Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit in Washington this week, Pandora founder Tim Westergren revealed that 25 million people have used Pandora in the past month, with an average monthly session time of 11 hours. That includes one in five 12-24 year-olds, according to new research from Edison (more info here). The service’s total registered user count is up to 65 million, up 5 million (8%) from July. Digital Music News has more on the story here.

Digital Music News also has notes from Westergren’s Q&A session (here). Westergren touches on different business models (“subscription is not the solution”) and who he thinks Pandora is actually competing against (hint: it’s not fellow webcasters or on-demand services…)

ARS TECHNICA CONFIRMS APPS CAN BE STREAMED VIA APPLE’S WIRELESS AIRPLAY SERVICE

In Ars Technica’s lengthy review of the new Apple TV, they confirm that third-party applications can stream video and audio content wirelessly to Apple TVs, AirPort Expresses and certain stereo systems. That’s thanks to AirPlay, a coming feature from Apple that should arrive in November with iOS 4.2.

“If a developer uses Apple’s built-in audio and video classes in their apps, they get AirPlay support for free,” writes Ars Technica. “So, basically any app has the potential to stream video over AirPlay to the Apple TV: MLB At Bat could stream live baseball games (goodbye cable?), your favorite radio station’s app could stream a live feed, NPR could wake up and re-do its app so videos and audio could stream to the Apple TV.”

“The potential for this is, of course, huge.” Essentially, this turns your iOS device (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) into the remote control for a multi-room Internet radio system, possibly using Apple equipment you already own. Find out more from our previous article here. You can find Ars Technica’s review here.



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