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RAIN NEWS ROUND-UP for 02/29: DAB IN AUSTRALIA, JUPITER ON RADIO WOES, "DEVICE OF THE DAY"

Posted on: 02/29/2008

AUSTRALIA NOT ANY EASIER FOR DIGITAL (DAB) RADIO: The plight of digital radio in Australia doesn’t seem to be much different than here in the U.S. In fact, the word The Age (read the article here) uses in its headline is “doomed.” The wonderfully-named Jock Given, a professor of media and communications at Swinburne University, tells the paper digital radio won’t add much to what’s already freely available online and via convenient MP3 players. DAB-tech digital radio (the same technology used in the UK, as opposed to IBOC here) is set to launch January 1 in Australia’s largest cities, and later elsewhere — and, as in the UK, Canada, and the U.S., will require listeners to purchase special equipment. “The sorts of people who are most likely to be interested in new kinds of [digital radio] products seem to me to be quite likely the people who have already taken up new kinds of [online] digital audio products and may find what digital radio is able to offer them a bit underwhelming by comparison with what they’ve already got,” said Given.

ANALYST: TERRESTRIAL HURT BY NEW TECH, LOSS OF LOCAL CLIENTS: Jupiter Research Group media analyst Barry Parr, commenting on CBS Radio’s woes, sees two main problems for broadcast radio in general: the encroachment of newer, higher-tech music options; and the loss of a local advertising market. The former is of no surprise. The growing multitude of streaming and download options, satellite radio, and portable digital music devices mean listeners can more powerfully interact with music in at least as many places as they can listen to radio. But compounding radio’s problems, says Parr, is large national retailers crowding smaller, more local businesses out of the market. These local businesses have traditionally been radio’s bread-and-butter advertisers. And where do these large national businesses advertise? Television, of course. Parr suggests radio leverage its local ties and the inherent scarcity of local content. Parr’s comments were covered in Conde Nast Portfolio here.

DEVICE OF THE DAY: FREECOM MUSICPAL INTERNET RADIO. From the Amazon.co.uk website, here’s an affordable, attractive Internet radio that looks great on a kitchen counter or bedroom nightstand. (To see what I mean, click Amazon’s “See larger image and other views” link on this page.)

FACEBOOK FEATURES BAND PAGESAGAIN: Social networking site Facebook yesterday launched a special music feature for artists and bands to offer streaming music, links to iTunes downloads, and merchandise sales on band profile pages. Somewhat confusingly, many bands already do this on Facebook by way of the iLike application. The competitive target, naturally, is MySpace, largely built on its specialized music pages.

HIDDEN LINK TO RXP STREAM: Tom Taylor in “Taylor On Radio-Info” reports the new 101.9 RXP, “The NY Rock Experience,” is now streaming “in stealth mode.” Go here and click the hidden link (it’s the big photo of the headphones in the upper right). Though we’re nearly certain this stream had been publicly available a few weeks ago, it’s still somehow neat to access something “hidden.”

CUBAN WARNS NOT TO LOOK TO NET FOR ECONOMIC BOOST: No one is looking to newfound productivity fueled by splashy, innovative Internet technology developments to help pull us through the recession. Why not? Because the Internet has matured — it’s like a utility now, says billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban. “When there were boomtimes, as we saw from about ’91 to 2000, technology was given the lion’s share of the credit,” Cuban writes in his “Blog Maverick.” (Today,) “not a single mention is ever made about how increases in productivity from technology will pull us through. That is counter to the recessions of the past 25 years.” Cuban suggest Microsoft’s recent bid for Yahoo! is another sign of an industry that’s more mature than exciting and volatile.

IT’S LIKE THE MOVIES, WITH NO ANNOYING PLOT OR CINEMATOGRAPHY: “Movie Ticket Radio” is a new pre-packaged radio format featuring songs from currently running movies as “currents,” and was created by J.R. Russ Programming and Research and Jeff Goldberg of Ballyhoo! Studios. “Movie Ticket Radio is the first hit-music radio format without an over-researched playlist,” says Goldberg, though it’s hard to imagine that movie producers don’t do a bit of research when deciding what songs to add to their films. By the way, it is just “songs,” no scores or incidental music. Check out the sound of “Movie Ticket Radio” here, and call Zach Braff and Cameron Crowe for this week’s adds!



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