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RAIN 01/19: Cell phones, Net radio ushering in a "paradigm shift" says Wired

Posted on: 01/19/2009


The net-connected cell phone is ushering in a “paradigm shift,” says Wired, and its all because of Internet radio. “AOL Radio, imeem, Flycast, Last.fm, Omnifone, Pandora, SeeqPod, Shoutcast, Slacker and others already deliver interactive radio to the cellphone that’s so good, it’s finally a feasible replacement for the occasionally tedious task of keeping your portable music collection fresh,” writes Eliot Van Buskirk (here).

He says Internet radio’s mobile popularity may stem from the fact that “after ten or so years of moving away from programmed music, people are happy to let someone else do the work for a change. We could be moving towards a future when finding music in an online music store or file sharing network, downloading it, then sideloading it onto a portable will be come to seen as a waste of time.” Music companies and Internet radio stations will find sources of revenue elsewhere, like premium subscription options (i.e., Slacker Premium Radio).

Buskirk also sees music blogs soon programming Internet radio stations themselves. He writes, “I suspect that a day when music blogs, magazines and other sorts of taste influencers start offering their own radio applications powered by these larger streaming services isn’t far off. Coming to a smartphone near you: Pitchfork’s latest picks.”


College radio station association College Broadcasters, Inc., (CBI) and student-run WHRB 95.3FM of Harvard University have filed a joint motion to the CRB, asking to extend the deadline for comments on newly proposed royalty rules until March 30. The CRB on December 30 issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require “full census reporting” of all songs played by any online music service paying royalties to SoundExchange (RAIN coverage here). Comments are due by January 29.

However, the CBI and WHRB say that for many of the student stations most affected by the new rules, students are on holiday break for the majority of time between the December 30 announcement and January 29 deadline. Warren Kozireski, president of CBI and general manager of WBSU 89.1 said, “The CRB issued the proposal during winter break and provided us with only 30 days to respond. That is simply not enough time to gather information from stations and provide the CRB with ample information to make informed decisions.” At Kozireski’s station, students return from break on January 26, leaving 3 days to prepare comments before the January 29 deadline. For more, read the CBI and WHRB’s press release here.


While the popularity of mobile radio and other cutting-edge platforms are picking up a lot of attention, Skip Pizzi in Radio World explains that it’s the content that will attract and keep listeners. “Let’s not be overly dazzled by the buzz about mobile broadband of
late,” he writes (here). “The glitz around radio applications for the iPhone, G-1 and other devices make it is easier than ever to think that it’s all about the platform, but it’s not. The content is still the thing that attracts audience, and thereby grows revenues.”

But of course, says Pizzi, expanding to new platforms is advantageous and broadcasters should always keep an open mind. “Programmers should listen to lots of Internet radio and see what’s working there. Managers should be open to new ideas, and if none are forthcoming from current staff, be open to the hiring of new people,” he writes.


Ad insertion solutions company Spacial Audio has hired Michael Dalfonzo to aid the company’s in-house sales department. Dalfonzo was formerly Director of Industry Affairs at radio automation company RCS. “Our hiring of Michael Dalfonzo signals that Spacial is now positioned to distribute its software directly to radio stations, groups, and other online audio and video channels,” said Spacial Audio CEO Bryan Payne. For more, read the press release here.

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