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Communications Technology

Traditional Radio Endangered By New Tech 287

Posted by Zonk
from the on-the-way-out dept.
Rob wrote to mention a Reuters article discussing the danger to traditional radio posed by new new technologies. From the article: "The radio industry could find itself at the kids' table in the media banquet hall, as new technology threatens the business, advertising executives said this week at the Reuters Media and Advertising Summit. Satellite radio, digital music players and the Internet are slowly encroaching on traditional radio's stronghold on local entertainment and advertising. Plus, radio ads themselves are less memorable and creative, these executives said."
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Traditional Radio Endangered By New Tech

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  • by jmp_nyc (895404) * on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:07PM (#14195596)
    It's only a matter of time before the bandwidth gets reclaimed for something more lucrative. The only question is whether or not the Feds will reclaim first it so they can raise money from an auction.

    If they do, it'll mean that the spectrum only goes to established companies who can afford it in auction. If they don't either the current media conglomorates that own most radio stations will sell the spectrum for more than the radio stations are worth, or they'll liquidate it at rock bottom prices as unprofitable until someone innovates in the space.

    Knowing the current administration, I'd bet that the conglomorates will strike it even richer than they already are.
    -JMP
    • That need not necessarily be a Bad Thing (TM). Use of that spectrum could mean services that you need to pay for, but like everything else, it might be shared with other tech.

      With things like SSMA, you might be able to spread your use of the spectrum widely enough to allow for shared applications.

      Quite honestly, I'd much rather have that bandwidth being used for something that I might actually find useful. Of course, the problem then would be of internationalization - there are a lot of countries out there
      • Like so many other things, it will be a hardware issue. When the country is blanketed in wifi, and I have hardware in my car that lets me listen to shows without "radio" I'll switch to something else. But for now, I listen to a ton of AM radio (almost no FM- for music I like XM and my iPod). This reminds me of the iTunes TV shows. Sure its an awesome idea, but it wont take off until we have the hardware, in iPod TVs case, a way to watch it easily on the Boob Tube in my living room or bedroom. Same with rad
    • by MikeFM (12491) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:30PM (#14195881) Homepage Journal
      I'd much rather the govt buy back (or jsut take back) the spectrum and release it to public use. The small amount of public spectrum we have has given us such useful things as wireless phones and WiFi - much more useful than a broadcast of Jessica Simpson's latest hit - so why not collect more of the spectrum for those useful things. If we could collect back all the spectrum sold for radio and tv use we could have a lot more spectrum to work with. Faster Wifi with fewer problems with overlapping AP's maybe.
      • I'm all for the government buying back the spectrum - but I also think that a part of the spectrum should be 'lent' to corporations simply because they've more resources to do cool stuff than joe user off the street.

        If you must, insist that a bunch of corporations share the responsibility, that way you can be sure that there isn't exactly a monopoly of sorts.
    • Don't hold your breath. Owners of FM/AM licenses are good paying customers to the Friendly Candy Company. They won't shut down that revenue stream anytime soon. While the profits of radio stations do stand to suffer, they aren't going away anytime soon.

      There are many people that listen to radio that are not going to stop regardless of what competing technology is available. Radio is free for people to listen and thus will always have a loyal following. While there are still listeners, there will be advertis
    • The media companies cannot resell their little slice of the RF spectrum for any use other than FM broadcast. They do not own the frequencies, they only have a license that allows them to use it for a specific purpose.

      They can transfer their license to another entity, but that entity must transmit the wide FM RF that the license allows for. Not many alternate uses.

      So if the FM broadcast spectrum gets "repurposed", it most definitely will go back to the FCC first and be re-auctioned (if the new purpose is sti
  • by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:08PM (#14195605) Journal
    The encoding artifacts hurt my ears. I tried listening to it once, and found myself REALLY glad I hadn't spent the money to buy one.

    • I've never noticed any artifacts. If there are any, it may be overridden with the variety over broadcast and the lack of commercials by my own mind.
      • by VAXcat (674775) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:47PM (#14196060)
        Yah...traditional FM broadcasters have managed to produce a product that people will not only not accept for free, but will pay $10.00 or so a month to avoid....
      • by Hugonz (20064)
        Remember when subscription TV did not have any commercials either? it is not a matter of the technology, but the whole system. Radio is mature, and it has commercials. Satellite radio does not have commercials because very few businesses would invest publicity money in it. Whenever it goes mainstream, it will have them, and you won't have broadcast radio to fall back to.
    • Seeing as the quality is better than standard radio, I'm not sure what your complaint is. Unless, of course, you are a music elitist who refuses to listen to mp3s unless they are 192 VBR -ape. ;)
      • First, the quality is not "better than standard radio". That's marketing hype. Second, you don't have to be a "music elitist" to dislike the loss in fidelity inherent to lossy encoding schemes, you only have to have a set of ears and to have been exposed to decent speakers. But if your idea of of hi-fi is a four-letter word that starts with "B", I can certainly understand why you hold this opinion.
        • In fact, if you aren't deaf, it's nowhere near the quality of FM. With FM, the broadcasters end up compressing it somewhat because of limited SNR. Digital radio gives you improved SNR and thus in theory, you could get away with less compression, but really you still need it because people rarely listen to radio in their living room these days. They listen in the car, walking down the street, etc. where uncompressed (classical) music turns to silence for long periods, so you end up with compression on sat
    • by Brett Buck (811747) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @05:18PM (#14197137)
      Sucks is a strong word, but hi-fi it ain't. I went back and forth with Sirius over the sound quality, and they were pretty responsive and helpful, but they couldn't fix it. Lots of assuming that "my equipment was bad" - I was discussing my home system and mentioned the various high-end (real high-end, not 'audiofile' "good-sounding speaker wire and shakti stones" crap) parts, like my semi-custom AVA amplifier, and they mentioned that I might "upgrade" to Pioneer or Yamaha, for example. But the bottom line was the sound issues are a function of the encoding. It's not very good. The kicker was when I hooked up to the streaming audio over the internet and it was absolutely no different than the broadcast sound.

            It's *very* obvious in the DJ speaking voices, but it happens in the music similarly. The worst is a sort of a "hollow" reverb effect.

            By the way, the best feature IS the streaming audio, which is free if you subscribe to the broadcast service (or, is included, if you prefer that perspective).

            I listened to mine on broadcast for 6 straight days on a car trip, and I had a lot of opportunity to compare it to FM stations along I-80. The best Sirius channels are nowhere near as good in terms of audio quality as a good FM station, and the talk channels are worse than AM. I tried various encoding schemes from CD to compare, and somewhere in the range of a 96 kbps MP3 was pretty comparable to the very best Sirius channels. In other words, just barely good enough for most people, and not a whole lot worse from what a lot of people tolerate on their iPods (128 kbps is what I think you get from the ITMS - whatever it is it's on the edge of tolerable quality-wise). Which I guess is what they were shooting for.

            couldn't even find a bit rate low enough to replicate the worst of the talk channels.

            I think it's *probably* worth the money, but if you are expecting CD quality sound you will be sorely disapppointed.

            Brett
  • by ellem (147712) * <ellem52@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:08PM (#14195607) Homepage Journal
    Ahhh yes. Radio as we know it will soon be the 8 Track of media. Unless, like broadcast TV they are allowed to piggyback onto Satellite Radio.

    Let us all come together and hope that the FCC doesn't try to regulate that which we pay for.
  • If its just going to be another corporate run ad fest (which it will eventually), then what's the difference exactly, and why should I care?
  • NPR (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ducatier (669395)
    I have switched to listening to NPR on the radio as have alot of people. The ads and DJ's on other stations always seem to be yelling as if somting important were happening. On NPR that does not happen. I believe this is one of the major reasons why NPR has seen so much growth in ratings
  • by StressGuy (472374) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:11PM (#14195658)
    Radio stations will just add internet broadcasting and/or simulcast on satellite. It's not a restriction, it's an increase in avenues of broadcast. If and when radio waves no longer become viable, they will already be broadcasting through these other media. If not, then they've no one to blame but themselves.

    • Which side are you arguing? Newspaper is dead. They still exist, but readership and influence - and with them, profits - have been declining for decades. The last statement any industry wants to hear is "good news, you're all set for the growth and dynamism of the newspaper industry."
  • Clearchannel (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:11PM (#14195660)
    Clear Channel is the threat to radio. Computers are just the new medium.
    • Careful your ignorance is showing. The truth is, the number of Clear Channel stations over all hardly equates to a monopoly. I believe the last number I heard, granted about a year old now, was 1750 or so and that's world-wide. Clear Channel is an easy scapegoat because they were deemed "Conservative Friendly" by liberal watchdogs because of the Rally For America rallies, which, btw they didn't sponsor. However, since many of the talk show hosts that encouraged and sponsored the rallies themselves were CC h
    • mod parent up!
      clear channel owns radio stations all around the usa (sometimes more than five in one city) and does it on the cheap by broadcasting the same crap! it may be too late to save fm radio's spectrum, but with stations around the web it may not be needed.
  • And...? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by turnitover (881504) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:13PM (#14195677)
    If it means a break in the Clear Channel et al stranglehold on the traditional radio marketplace, I can't cry all that much. However, if it leads to another auctioning off of the public radio spectrum and endagerment of things like college radio stations, it's not so great. On the third hand, it's exactly some of those smaller concerns who are finding not competition, but new opportunities in these alternative distribution methods. Check out what KCRW (www.kcrw.org) has got going on: they stream music and news and simulcast, and have used this to break into a national market so that they can promote events across North America. (Though, I should note, KCRW is one of the behemoths of public radio.)
  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:14PM (#14195700)
    I would say that lack of compelling content will kill all but actual, "local radio." Where I live, radio stations like New Jersey 101.5 FM and WWFM, The Classical Network, provide me with up-to-date access to information I need to function in my community (snow closings, traffic info, local news and discussions). The big commercial stations don't give me anything I can't already get on my iPod. Satellite radio will have its heyday for a while because it's new and offers variety, but I can't see it surviving a revolution in nationwide, wireless internetworking (ie WiMax). When that happens, I think local radio will have already made the jump to internet broadcasting. In fact, the two stations I mentioned are already available via streaming through the net.
    • Sirius channel 150 is Los Angeles traffic and Weather. The also have NY, Orlando, Boston, etc. I predict this will evolve into local news, etc. With modern communications tech, its not difficult to have these stations originate in the local city. Outlaw Country broadcasts from Nashville!

    • Yes, Content is King. The broadcasters (and I suppose that really means Clear Channel these days) need to realize that it's not the medium, it's the business model. Clear Channel broadcasting in digital quality is still the same business model with less static. And it's not the static that's driving people away.

      I'm no expert, so I welcome correction by better informed people. From what I understand of the radio industry, it basically works on a version of the Payola scheme modified to have enough laye

  • by jpiggot (800494) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:15PM (#14195708)
    Yes, let us scurry to save the hugely government subsidized current radio system, for I beam with girlish glee everytime I listen to the same song 40+ times a day, as well as the constant performances of "Under the Bridge" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

    Yea, for this awesome display of man must be saved, so as to bore the crapnuts out of future generations.

  • Public Radio (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slaker (53818) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:16PM (#14195726)
    Wow. ClearChannel and Infinity are bitching that they're becoming irrelevant.

    Who cares? Public Radio (NPR in the US and the CBC in Canada, at least) are vibrant and entertaining.

    I used to work for ABC Radio. I remember installing a device that removed "umm..." and "dead air" from the announcer's speech just so they could slide in an extra commercial or two over a one hour period. Everyone who bitches and moans about the 25 minutes of commercials per hour deserves the media conglomerates.
    • Re:Public Radio (Score:4, Informative)

      by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:56PM (#14196167) Homepage
      You get the BBC World Service in the US as well... around 1am in the morning when they are running syndicated stations. It's great for night driving to keep you awake :)

      I actually know some construction workers in MA who tape it overnight and then listen to it at work instead of the normal programming.
    • Re:Public Radio (Score:3, Interesting)

      by iamlucky13 (795185)
      I certainly won't cry when Clear Channel bites the dust. It seems (contrary to what I'd expect) that the smaller guys are able to operate more efficiently than Clear Channel affiliates, since they always have fewer commercials and local DJ's. More importantly, the non-clear channel stations have a far more diverse musical selection, and their DJ's spend less time talking than playing music and are much less annoying, sometimes even entertaining or (gasp) intelligent sounding. I was extremely disappointed wh
  • Odd (Score:2, Interesting)

    I've tried XM for a little more than a year, only to cancel it for what I have found to be the better option. NPR for local news, and my ipod for music. I can no longer stand the advertisments on either radio. XM or free broadcast.
  • It's all wasted (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Wansu (846) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:17PM (#14195738)


    Traditional radio is a wasteland thanks to outfits like Clear Channel and when they move into digital radio, it'll become a wasteland too.

    I listen to ballgames when I'm driving. Sometimes I listen to Clark Howard or the news. Radio went into a downward spiral in the early 80s and with the advent of Clear Channel, it hit bottom and started to dig.

  • by bADlOGIN (133391) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:18PM (#14195752) Homepage
    It doesn't take long to get sick of hear over 20 min. every hour of ads on the air in any market where almost all the stations are owned by the same bunch of morons (Hi there Clear Channel, you bastards!). If you're not hearing the same add when you skip stations on the dial, you're hearing the same "crossed over" music on the today's mix station that you hear on the so-called hard rock station (one more round of Photograph by Nickleback and I'm going to say 'Goodbye' and move right to Satellite. Big stupid companies have been killing "Free FM" for years. It's sad, but it's just gone to hell and that's the way the people who are about to lose all thier money choose to run it.
    • I don't have any mod points to give but if I did I would throw some your way. True that!
    • Satellite raido is going to go the same way as satellite TV - in a few years time you will have exactly the same crap there when the execs realise that terrestrial raido is dead and they can squeeze out a few more pennies by running adverts.

      The only defense is to get the government to pay for more ad free stations like NPR (but make it conditional on being ad free and give them editorial independance and a budget that cannot be touched in retaliation for bad stories) because experience with television has s
      • The existance of one or two government funded stations *forces* the commercial competition to keep their standards up to remain competative. Without that, there is no hope of a good service.
        Actually, the US government is pretty much mandated not to compete with private industry. I only found this out recently when a piece of software I wrote for the Air Force looked like it could be useful enough to be used outside of the Air Force itself. I was told that if that were the case, it couldn't be released for
  • by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:20PM (#14195765)

    Plus, radio ads themselves are less memorable and creative, these executives said."

    Ever notice that 90% of the stuff pitched on traditional radio is the same crap that we're constantly spammed with? I'm talking "herbal" sexual aids, non-FDA approved hair loss and weight products, "start your home business" and other get rich quick scams, "learn to be an MSCE for $10K" ads, etc. The targeted demographic doesn't care how creative the ads are.

  • Last.fm (Score:3, Informative)

    by captainclever (568610) <rjNO@SPAMaudioscrobbler.com> on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:22PM (#14195785) Homepage
    Traditional radio is becoming more homogenized, and clearchannel rules the roost.
    Personalised radio programmes based on induvidual taste are the way forward!
    Compulsory Last.fm [www.last.fm] reference :)
    • Re:Last.fm (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Saige (53303)
      Yep.

      Personalized internet streams such as Last.fm [www.last.fm] and Pandora [pandora.com] give people a much better alternative to radio while they're working at a computer. You can get the music you know you like, while at the same time get exposure to new music - and not new music that the labels are promoting like crazy, but new music that will fit into your existing tastes.

      Then you take this information to buy music that fits you more, toss it on portable music players such as an iPod, and you've got a ton of music wherever you g
  • XM/Sirius question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tsiangkun (746511) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:23PM (#14195788) Homepage
    How well do their portable recievers work indoors ?

    Can I be in the basement of a building and still get a signal ?

    • Their ability to work indoors is directly praportional to your ability to install the external antenna. (sad but true)
    • They sell antenna kits that you stick out doors and run a line into your house. I think you need a line of sight to the sky.
    • You can buy a repeater for XM that re-transmits the signal within the house so you can pick it up in the basement. It's not cheap ($120 would be a good deal), but it is available.
    • by blackmonday (607916) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:53PM (#14196128) Homepage
      I get Sirius while at work at my desk. I don't have the antenna up high or anything, its in the standard position on the boombox. FWIW I work in a highrise on the 23rd floor, with a Window view.

      By the way, Sirius lets you stream all the music stations to your computer (windows media player required, works on Mac or Windows). So you can subscribe and listen to music without the radio, pretty much whenever you're online.

  • it's free

    you get what you pay for

    there will always be a niche for radio, just like after the advent of television, movies, etc., there is still a niche for broadway theatre, just like the interent won't kill newspaper, but it will make newspaper more diminuitive and change it's venue

    old media never dies, it just changes

    at one time people used to listen to radio serials before tv "only the shadow knows" etc. now radio is driven by drive time: banter and music

    radio changes, but it will never die, there will always be a niche for it, no matter how small or different than what was originally intended
    • it's free

      It's free in the same sense linux is free: Only if your time is worthless.

      ( no, I'm not bashing linux. I love it, and use it everywhere I can. Now put down the pitch forks )
  • Yeah, that's it. The pirates. All out there downloading illgal music through P2P and not listening to the radio. You know, there should be a law. That's it, a LAW. A law to require the inclusion of AM and FM receiving in every portable audio player. And a special algorithm which prevents the playing of any song from memory that will be broadcast in say, the next 12 hours, or has been broadcast in the previous 12 hours. All tracks will require DRM that catalogs them. No catalog number, no play. If you want t
  • As far as I'm concerned, "traditional" radio is killing itself. I finally switched to satellite when I realized I was hearing maybe one song on FM radio while driving to work. It seems like every station has a morning show that insists on talking inanely half the time, then splitting the rest of the time on commercials, inane joke clips that they replay everyday, then maybe a couple of songs. Of course, then I found that the satellite radio still had some talking, but at least I can avoid most of it and
  • Radio sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RPoet (20693) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:26PM (#14195829) Journal
    Since my early youth back in the stoneages, I've been an eager radio listener. The radio had personalities, and a great mix of the music they loved. But gradually, the DJs stopped playing the music they loved, and was forced into rotating a small set of really annoying "hits" intertwined with an enourmous amount of amazingly annoying advertising. With the recent payola scandals in radio, the spirit is definitely gone.

    And this is in Norway. I hear gruesome tales of the situation in the United States of ClearChannel stations.

    Podcasting is taking the air back. For the longest time I couldn't be bothered to listen, because it's such a benign concept on the surface (and the term "podcast" is so braindead). But eventually I got myself a $75 mp3 player and started sampling some of the shows, and now I listen every day, to a wide variety of fun and/or interesting shows. With the "Podsafe Music Network", a collection of independent music approved for play on podcasts, growing every day, there's a decent amount of great music in the shows too.

    If you want to get started with podcast listening, I recommend setting up Juice [sourceforge.net] and subscribing to Adam Curry's Daily Source Code [dailysourcecode.com]. It's a show about podcasts, playing (amongst other things) promos for other shows that you may want to listen to. Before you know it, your subscription list has grown plenty. Some of the shows are just plain crap, poorly done, almost perfectly uninteresting, but then some are really worth listening to. Check out Podcast Alley [podcastalley.com] for some of the most popular shows.
  • I'm not going to worry about the horse and cart and Filofaxes either.
  • It is silly to have each market restricted to so few stations. There should be thousands in each area, and the cost to obtain a license should be low enough that anyone can run one.
    • Well, part of it is the nature of the FM spectrums. Only a fixed number of stations can broadcast over an area without starting to interfere with each other. Also, the FCC has allowed these massively powerful FM stations that hog frequencies far beyond their market. Unfortunately, once someone has a license to broadcast at a specific frequency and power, they're unlikely to give up that section of the dial.
  • Can someone please tell me why in the hell radio ads always use the same crappy sound effects. You know, the electronic increase of frequency/fadeout of a guy's voice, shitty techno in the background (even for classic rock stations), fast switching of voices between right and left channel, and so on and so forth.

    Why are those even used? When I hear that sort of ad I don't want to buy a product. "Holy crap! Some guy has a mixer. I guess I'll buy that shitty mix tape they're pushing on me!"

    If radio is so conc
  • When the auto industry starts shipping cars without AM/FM radios, it's over.

    Could happen. And soon. Consider portable audio players. Some have radio receivers, most don't. It's not a major selling point. Far more cell phones have digital audio players than AM/FM radios. The car is the last bastion of analog broadcast.

    The day the first car ships from the factory with a built-in iPod but no AM/FM receiver is the day the broadcast radio industry begins to die.

    • no ... i think when cars ship w/o am/fm then radio is already dead.
      i'd have to say that radio is already dying. right now. about the last place i regularly listen to the radio is in the car.

      an am/fm tuner costs pennies to add to a multi-ten-thousand dollar product, so i don't see it being removed any time soon. my *2000* nissan altima still had a frikin' tape/cd combo unit...tape! who the hell still has tapes since 1985?!?

    • I hope not. My Sirius Sportster broadcasts a nice FM signal that the car stereo picks up and amplifies. The iPod's iTrip would be SOL also.

  • Sirius: Howard Stern, NPR, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Hawk

    XM: Opie & Anthony, Fox News, Nascar, PGA Tour

    Just an observation.
  • For starters, enough with the Top 40 stations. I have my pick and there's nothing you can do to change it. You will strangle yourselves into oblivion if you keep on turning every station into a Top 40 station.

    I'm willing to sit through commercials if the songs are... decent. I have low standards. Also, my wife doesn't really like John Coltrane. :-)

    Radio is especially good for transmitting information. Chicago has WBBM-AM 780, which is a 24 hour news network, and Sunday Bears games. I listen for traffic

  • by fantomas (94850) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:34PM (#14195914)
    I don't think so. I reckon the BBC will be in the game for a while yet - let me know when the local geek podcast can give me professional production value world music broadcasts, interviews with internationally renowned scientists and artists, history programmes scripted by teams of world experts..... (etc).... without adverts. All effectively for free, and online if you prefer. You can always donate and get the TV shows as well by getting a TV licence - sometimes 126.50 (UKP) a year is an *ouch* but hey divided between 5 of us in the house it doesn't feel so bad.
  • As long as we have the Budlight Real American Heroes and Real Men of Genius ad campaigns on the radio I refuse to accept the argument that radio ads are creatively dead / not memorable. I find them far more entertaining than most TV ads.
  • by Realistic_Dragon (655151) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:36PM (#14195948) Homepage
    Here in the UK raido is doing just fine:

    *No one wants to set up a music player with new content just for the drive to work.
    *The commentary is generally interesting or informative.
    *No adverts! Even the commercial stations have far far fewer adverts than the US.

    It's no wonder the medium is dying in the US where you have to listen to the same ad over and over again followed by a Rent A Moron yelling *more* adverts at you - just disguised as 'content'. Then, to cap it off, you get to hear essentially a paid musical advert.

    Compare this to the UK:

    *Radio 1 - not my thing, but they play popular music and talk about popular events.
    *Radio 2 - some alternative and older music with some other great programmes.
    *Radio 3 - great classical music and discussion about the history and styles and composers.
    *Radio 4 - the one true radio station - all the best comedy, programmes to make you think, news that does more than scratch the surface but takes a deeper look. Humphries (morning news presenter) is an abrasive moron, but you can forgive him for winding up politicians.
    *Radio 5 - sport, waste of bandwidth, but at least it has no adverts.
    *Classic FM - more populsr classical music - adverts no more than once every 5 minutes or so, and no interrupting pieces.
    *All the local stations, BBC - no adverts, good local coverage.
    *All the local stations - commercial - a bit like US stations, but even they have not managed to sink so low.

    If you had that lot available on a device costing $9.50 wouldn't you listen more?
    • You have to remember that the Slashdotters focus on the negative. There *are* good stations still running. 107.7 in Seattle is great 20 hours a day. (The other 4 hours is the horribly unfunny "Morning Alternative" morning show. Guh, I hate that.)
  • Once every city has wireless, people will "broadcast" their own stations to the entire city. A better music selection and no commercials will fuel this revolution. Large companies will hop onboard and compete aswell. Eventually auto manufacturers will offer Wi-Fi players in cars and the rest is history.

    Imagine listening to Launchcast or your friends station in your car. Sounds awesome to me. Radio had been declining for years do to poor music and tons of annoying commercials. It will either evolve or die.

  • Any type of music I want when I want it. When I want to hear some bluegrass music or blues it's right there. An itch for 50's music? Hah, try to find that on the radio. Heck try to find any music on the radio these days. Try driving across the country and not hear the same Clear Channel station playlist all across the country. Sports talk that isn't paid advertising for sports betting which is what I get on the regular radio stations. NPR and public radio without the static and weakness of stations. News w
    • An itch for 50's music? Hah, try to find that on the radio.

      Sad but true.. WCBS in New York, the premiere oldies station, recently changed its format to be more "competitive" (read: homogenized).

      But you do know there's hope even without Sirius: Check out "Eight Track Flashback" on WNCU in Durham, North Carolina (yes, they have Internet streaming available) on Saturdays from 1pm to 4pm Eastern US time.

      It's not as convenient as Sirius, granted, and probably not as clear; I think WNCU only has a 64 kbps fee

  • I have the iPod in the car, public radio for news (NPR/BBC), and excellent streaming audio from KEXP [kexp.org], WFMU, WNCU, and KCRW. (And there's always WCPE when I need my classical fix.)

    And I never subscribed to satellite radio.

    This "commercial radio" of which you speak.. what was it again? And why should I have cared?

  • Thankfully, we have the BBC here, which give me a impressively wide selection of stations to listen to, all free of the sickening irritation of radio ads, which are much harder to manage than those on TV - mute, change channel, go out the room, read something etc.

    I'd never really experienced how bad radio really was until after I'd played GTA, I was shocked. Radio takes the piss of itself. GTA radio had a longer playlist.
  • I just had this chat with a friend of mine who is manager of a radio station here in Oklahoma.

    He was asking me about the quality of sat. broadcasts and I have to say, I agree with him. The quality of satellite radio is below that of OTA FM. You can and do hear artifacts from time to time.

    However, I pointed out that the increase in variety MORE (way more) than makes up for the lack of quality. Simply put: there is no comparison. I've been exposed to music that I would have NEVER EVER been exposed
  • ...As a former college DJ and current podcaster I can say that radio is in need of a bit of a shakeup. The rules that govern radio are so bizarre and Clear Channel/Emmis/etc. has such a strangle on what we hear that radio has become little more than a mouthpiece for the RIAA. Look at the recent settlements for payola. The big labels pay DJ's to play what they want to sell effectively making most "music" just a big commercial for whatever "hot new album" Sony wants to sell. This means that ad supported m
  • Yeah, but will all these new media forms have Payola?
  • Radio died long before the advancement of XM and Sirius.

    Taken from The Myth of Media Piracy: [jmcardle.com]
    It died when in 1996, the US Federal Communication Commission changed the laws on radio station ownership, removing the limits on how many stations a single company could own. As a consequence, Clear Channel was able to take over station after station. Within a matter of years, it owned 1,200 stations across the United-States; including 247 of the 250 largest radio markets.[1] This severely limite
    • Absolutely, 110% TRUE. I can't stand traditional radio anymore. The only reason I listen now is for Howard (who's going to Sirius and so am I) and the news. For years, we put up with repetitive bullshit. The same, generic playlists that no one did anything about. Even DJs lost their power to determine what got played. Well, you bastards in the radio industry, eat what you planted.

      We were also force-fed these false talents left and right like Britney Spears (who should be a slutty porn star, not a lip-synchi
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @03:54PM (#14196143)
    The radio industry could find itself at the kids' table in the media banquet hall, as new technology threatens the business

    Could? Try "already have". Every time I get in the car, I listen to the radio for exactly as long as it takes for the radio to load the cassette adapter for the iPod. Funny that usually the 2-3 seconds of radio I hear each time are...either a DJ, or a commercial. I got an mp3 player for christmas back in '99 primarily because I was tired of spending most of my commute listening to commercials, if I wasn't listening to NPR news.; the iPod finally made it practical. So cry me a river for the radio industry which is NOW realizing a market correction that started at least 2-3 years ago.

    XM/Sirius is complete garbage; a relative has Sirius in his car, and it drops out all the time; tree cover, bridges, tall buildings. The audio quality is atrocious; the casette adapter for my iPod may eat low and high frequencies...but even a 128kbit mp3 through the casette adapter sounds better than Sirius. Plus it doesn't address any issues except the commercials- it's still crap other people want you to listen to, and not crap you want to listen to :-)

    About the only thing worthwhile on radio right now is NPR; the news is superb, and the stuff during the weekends is usually pretty good too (I'm a fan of the old-school radio quiz shows.)

    • "XM/Sirius is complete garbage; a relative has Sirius in his car, and it drops out all the time; tree cover, bridges, tall buildings. The audio quality is atrocious; Plus it doesn't address any issues except the commercials- it's still crap other people want you to listen to, and not crap you want to listen to :-)"

      Wow,

      that hasn't been my experience at all. I have a Sirius Sportster and it's been great. Granted the quality of the sound for the music channels is "ok", but I'd hardly call it "Atrocious." I'
  • yes we know we don't have any newspaper anymore, either.

    all media can adapt by reducing costs and staying unique. take newspapers, new printing technology has made newspapers cheaper to produce and recently (not 2 months ago recent, i mean 20 years ago recent) color printing has increased the appeal of the newspaper.
  • I personally am not holding my breath for traditional radio to go digital. DBOC (Digital Broadcast On-Channel), or "HD Radio" as it is known nowadays, has been percolating for almost a decade, and it's still going nowhere fast. Here's why:

    It's based on proprietary technology which comes from a single vendor [ibiquity.com].

    The startup costs run around $100,000 per station, thus shutting out the few independent station owners that remain.

    You can hardly find the HD Radio receivers anywhere, and even if you can, they s

  • Over and over and over again. The same thing. I went away for six months to Asia and when I came back it was 8 days before I heard a 'new' song on the radio, and even that was crap. It's like an ipod with only 30 songs.

    I helped build the device at PenguinRadio [penguinradio.com] for just this reason--I wanted to hear something new. In just a month of listening to stations from overseas, I've bought seven albums from groups I've never heard of over here. Go figure.
  • by Bagheera (71311) on Tuesday December 06, 2005 @04:19PM (#14196454) Homepage Journal
    It's not just the technology that "endangers" broadcast radio: it's the industry itself. There are so many things wrong with commercial terrestrial radio, that it's become a joke, and the broadcasters themselves don't seem to realize they've worked themselves out of the market and over-valued the stations so much that no one else could possibly come in an FIX broadcast radio.

    Could it be fixed? Certainly. FM Broadcast technology is not inherently sucky. It's quite possible to set up transmitters to provide a killer sound with a nice broad range. Does it happen? Rarely. Station managers want it LOUD so they get heard, and to do it the compress the crap out of the signal and lose all the quality. But it sure is loud when you tune past it! It -sucks- too, but they only care about the advertising dollars their LOUD station brings in.

    It's no surprise people have migrated to MP3 players, Sat radio, etc., etc., etc. It's a better alternative. Better sound, and no 40% commercial load.

    Personally, I'm waiting for the bubble to burst in that media and the bottom to fall out. Once it does, the stations may get into the hands of people who can actually -do- something good with it.

    "You had the time. You had the power. You're yet to have your finest hour. Radio."
    Freddie Mercury: Radio Gaga

  • NEW YORK (1926) - The radio industry could find itself at the kids' table in the media garden party, as new technology threatens the business.

    Television, Printing presses, and even the gramophone are slowly encroaching on traditional radio's stronghold on local entertainment and advertising. Plus, radio ads themselves are less memorable and creative, compared to the in-home experience a qualified door to door salesman can provide.

    "Radio is at the center of a perfect storm of technological threats," said Dav

The F-15 Eagle: If it's up, we'll shoot it down. If it's down, we'll blow it up. -- A McDonnel-Douglas ad from a few years ago

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