IPrad, TerRad, SatRad

BlogTalkRadio.com

The radio industry is in for a period of upheaval for the next decade or so as people figure out that they’ve got options to the the major media syndicators.  I spent some time last night looking over the beta release of a website called BlogTalkRadio.  Basically, BTR gives anyone with an Internet connection the opportunity to become a globally syndicated talk radio host for free.

The business model of BlogTalkRadio eludes me. Somebody’s gotta pay for all that bandwidth and storage space (they record and podcast the episodes on the fly!), but it’s an example of the type of next generation “radio” network that TerRad (terrestrial radio) needs to contend with.

Satellite radio is already doomed although it pretends not to know it. Evidence: Sirius produced a SatRad receiver recently that also receives WiFi. The new iPhone and AppleTV look like more devices that will ultimately give users the power to listen to Internet audio anywhere there’s a connection. I already pay for a broadband connection; why should I pay for an additional radio service when I can hear stations from all over the world on my WiFi/WiMax-enabled mp3 player, cell phone, laptop, and desktop?

Talk hosts like Bill O’Reilly and Laura Ingraham are taking a short view in their approach to the business.  We have a two-hour black hole in The Eagle 93.9’s audio stream every day from 11 to 1 during O’Reilly’s show and another during Ingraham’s on Sunday evenings from 6 to 9.  O’Reilly and Ingraham want people to pay for the privilege.

Our research shows that about 15% of our listeners use our Internet stream to listen. My gut tells me the right price point for their audio stream is free. Our engineers tell me that feeding a separate audio stream to the web during their shows would basically require a second audio chain, an investment of thousands that management isn’t likely to make.

Conclusion: It will be much easier to dump them in favor of shows whose hosts don’t require that I blow off 15% of our audience when they’re on.

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3 responses to “IPrad, TerRad, SatRad

  1. I visited the BTR website a couple of weeks ago. Can’t remember how I ended up there.
    I think I was looking for podcasts appropriate for a 9 year old and a search engine link
    send me there.

    Your engineers can’t be correct about the need for all that equipment to pipe an different
    internet stream to replace Oreilly. I think they just don’t want to take the time to figure it out.

    I can think of a few different ways to do it off the top of my head – some of those probably
    require some new/additional equipment – but nothing that is out of the ordinary.
    Plus it depends on what you want to put on the stream during Oreilly. A different syndicated
    program, a canned program, the obits:-) etc.

  2. Well, part of the problem is that we have software proprietary (I think) to the company that hosts our IP stream. Another part is that the computer doing the job is an old 400MHz Celeron running Windows 98. The software is clunky and makes it difficult to change from one source to another without manually switching something, which we’d like to avoid.

    The easiest solution is to serve up an hour of something recorded on an audio CD. That would work–in theory, although we haven’t managed to get it to work yet–but it seems lame. We should be able to serve up a live program.

    If I could hook up a Mac with Audio Hijack and Nicecast, I could do it with no problem. But then we’d need to find another hosting company, and since the company hosts our station plus our four sisters in Columbia plus the two in Jeff City and the two in Fulton…

    You see I’m not the only decision maker in this chain.

    And to be fair to our engineers, they’ve got a lot on their plates. Starting a project that will involve buying and installing a new XP (or Vista) machine and routing a new audio chain to it just to cover two hours a day for a few hundred listeners seems, to them, to be a low priority.

  3. Derek,

    The concept of Blog Talk Radio completely caught us off guard. We are new to the site and don’t have any substantive listening experience to comment on but will browse back regularly.

    However, when we found Lee Gooden and the So It Goes Players presenting Radio Blog Theater through BTR, we simply were amazed. By permission, Lee has already given us permission to add Radio Blog Theater to our publication plus we posted a brief introduction to our readers ( http://twoplusplus.wordpress.com/2007/06/28/greetings-to-radio-blog-theater-and-lee-gooden/ ).

    Perhaps the realm of radio drama has another application of technology for reaching new listeners.

    Regards,

    William Spear
    Publisher and Editor
    Lit Between the Ears – Celebrating the Power and People of Radio Drama
    http://TwoPlusPlus.wordpress.com/
    # 30 #

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