Below are three separate stories on radio’s battle to fend off its many challengers.
- If You Don’t Know Jack..
Radio’s plan to meet the challenge if Apple’s ubiquitous iPods has several names – Bob, Jack, Dave, etc. Those are the names of no-DJ, expanded hits playlist from the 70’s 80’s 90’s and today, format already running in many major markets. It’s the radio equivalent of the iPod Shuffle, and it has generated ratings and industry controversy by way of the unorthodox format. As CNN reports on the format:
Though it waves the “We play anything” flag with pride, the format focuses on music that appeals to 35- to 44-year-olds while tossing maxims about fit and compatibility out the window. Classic alternative from the ’80s is abundant: Tears for Fears, Simple Minds, Talking Heads, Soft Cell, INXS. That meshes with the acts that first put MTV on the map, like Men at Work, Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Duran Duran, and with that decade’s pop-rock crossovers from Bryan Adams, Toto, Prince and the J. Geils Band.
But there is also room for dance and funk from the Commodores, Kool & the Gang and Wild Cherry. Seventies classic rock is another cornerstone, with Foreigner and the Steve Miller Band taking prominent seats at Bob and Jack’s table. And don’t forget adult top 40 from the ’90s and today, encompassing Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Avril Lavigne and Matchbox Twenty.
In short, it is the only place on the dial where Grand Funk Railroad, Norah Jones and the Georgia Satellites peacefully co-exist.Don’t be surprised if a station in your town suddenly announces that it’s “JACK-FM,” playing “the best mix of… everything.” That’s assuming you set down the iPod long enough to bother listening to a radio.
Radio conglomerates Clear Channel and Infinity Broadcasting have announced they intend to stream their terrestrial radio broadcasts on the Web, and both XM and Sirius have pay feeds of their satellite service available on the web. The push into web broadcasting holds the potential to breathing new life in to some of the companies shuttered brand names or transform existing brands that don’t deliver ratings wins. WHFS in Washington D.C, and Live 105 in Philadelphia are examples of high profile alternative rock stations that were victims of format changes due to changing market demographics.
What’s different about the shuttering of these stations is their rebirth online. In the case of WHFS, Infinity bowed to listener pressure and launched an online version of the station via the WHFS.com website and has put HFS programing on it’s Baltimore Live 105.7 talker in the evenings and weekends. Infinity is eying this arrangement as for other stations changing formats down the road. In Philadelphia, Radio One closed the doors on alternative rocker Y100, but the station has been resurrected online by former staffers online at Y100Rocks.
Infinity Broadcasting launches KYOURADIO, the world’s first-ever podcasting radio station on on Monday, May 16. KYOURADIO’s content will be created exclusively by its listeners and available in San Francisco at 1550 KYCY-AM and streamed online at http://www.kyouradio.com/.
“We’re always thrilled when we can incubate new programming ideas and bring them to life on our radio stations in ways we never before imagined,” said Joel Hollander, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Whether it’s creating original formats or adapting new technology to our existing business, Infinity is leading the charge for unique listening experiences. There is a profound shift underway in the way we use technology that allows everyone to have a voice. KYOURADIO harnesses that power by serving our listeners with content developed by them for them and offering a platform to share it with the rest of the world.”
Added Hollander, “We envision KYOURADIO not only as a place to hear a fresh and new perspective created from the outside, but an outlet with which to foster the creativity of undiscovered talent from all walks of life.”
Users can upload their podcasts of varying lengths for free at http://www.kyouradio.com where it will be eligible to be selected for broadcast. Programming on the station will be determined by listener interests and feedback, and be evaluated by producers on a daily basis.
Podcasters will be able to include music, as the company says it plans to cover the cost of music-licensing fees, something that would be prohibitively expensive for individual podcasters.With radio there’s one thing you can be assured of – even a modicum of success (as the JACK format has shown) will spawn rampant herd-like imitation.