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RAIN 7/25: Abrams concludes RAIN Summit with call for creative re-invention of broadcasting

Posted on: 07/25/2011

RADIO IS TIMELESS,” BUT IT’S ONLY CONTENT THAT CAN MAKE IT GREAT

Broadcast radio legend Lee Abrams capped off the Conclave by exhorting RAIN Summit Midwest attendees to “bring the magic back” to radio by refocusing efforts on developing great content. Abrams keynoted the RAIN Summit conference with Ten Points on Radio’s Future. The second-annual RAIN Summit Midwest was Saturday, June 16th in Minneapolis, and was The Conclave’s final event this year.

Abrams warned of a “creative crisis” in the content segment of broadcasting, calling for a long-overdue reinvention of the way radio and television are packaged and presented in the current age of Google and Apple.

“Radio’s playbook is on autopilot and hasn’t been updated in 40 years,” he said.

Abrams reiterated his idea that “news and information” is “the new rock ‘n roll.” In the same way that the swagger and passion and excitement of rock music energized and inspired a generation, the rapid, up-to-the-minute news and information cycle — with digital and hand-held technology making it possible to stay on top of it all — is what’s “moving the culture.”

“The reach of radio has never been greater,” Abrams concluded. But in a world of new apps and technology, “it gets down to the magic that comes out of the speakers.” Do everything you can to balance the revenue, engineering, operations, and business efforts “with hard-core creative to drive the medium forward.”

Our next event will be RAIN Summit Chicago, which takes place Tuesday, September 13th, one day before The Radio Show in Chicago. Pandora founder Tim Westergren will deliver the keynote address, and we’ll present the 2nd annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards. Register for the Summit here, and nominate your station or service for the awards here.

PANDORA CATCHES UP TO ITS FEATURES IN NEW SITE

Pandora’s new website, which abandons Flash for HTML5, is rolling out now to premium subscribers. As we wrote earlier this month (here), the new site aims to cut down on load times, adds Facebook-like social features and generally updates the user-interface.

Does it do the job? After playing around with the new site all weekend, I’d say absolutely. The music loads much faster, the social features look promising and Pandora’s features are all easier to use.

Pandora isn’t introducing a ton of new bells and whistles with the redesign, but rather catching up with the features it had. All of the same information is there, but it’s presented in a much cleaner, easier-to-understand fashion.

Beyond content and features, ease of use (or usability) is critical to Internet radio services. Pandora’s had the content and features to attract large numbers of users. Now its usability is up to spec too.

The updated site will roll-out to all users in coming weeks. — MS

STUDY: FAMILIARITY OF IN-CAR NET RADIO LACKING, BUT THOSE WHO HAVE IT USE IT A LOT

Consumers around the world with Internet radio installed in their car frequently tune in, found ABI Research. However, non-users from the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Japan and China show “only…average levels of interest” in Internet radio in the dashboard.

ABI Research predicts more consumers will embrace and show greater interest in web radio once it becomes more familiar. Find more from ABI Research here.

UNDERWRITERS GIVE PANDORATHUMBS UP”

Pandora today received a “thumbs up” from underwriters Wells Fargo, William Blair & Co., JP Morgan and Citigroup — all of whom gave the Internet radio company a Buy rating. Stifel Nicolaus and Morgan Stanley gave a Hold rating.

The “quiet period” for Pandora ended today, allowing the underwriters to issue these reports. Barrons has more coverage here.

ADAGE: BRANDS SHOWING AN INTEREST IN TURNTABLE.FM

Socially-minded Net radio service Turntable.fm appears to be attracting interest from brands. AdAge points out there are a few “rooms” on the service with titles like Pepsi Max, Electronic Arts and Groupon.

“While these efforts are hardly major corporate outposts and, likely, just employees testing out the new service internally, it’s the first sign that brands are paying attention to the social music site,” writes AdAge. Find more coverage here.



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Conference schedules
Sep. 12 SF Music Tech Summit: San Francisco, CA
Sep. 13 RAIN Summit Chicago @ NAB/RAB RadioShow: Chicago, IL
Sep. 14-16 NAB/RAB RadioShow: Chicago, IL
Sep. 24 IBS Radio/Webcast Conf.: Chicago, IL
Oct. 6-7 Digital Music Forum West: Los Angeles, CA
Oct. 13-14 Digital Content Summit/Music: New York, NY
Oct. 18-22 CMJ Music Marathon: New York, NY
Oct. 27-30 CBI Fall Convention: Orlando, FL
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Nov. 19 IBS Radio/Webcast Conf.: New York, NY
Dec. 3 IBS Radio/Webcast Conf.: Los Angeles, CA