Kurt Hanson's blog

Time travel into the future this weekend!

If you're an executive who's trying to prepare your radio station (or other company) for the future, wouldn't it be great if you could jump into a time machine, travel forward to approximately 2015, see what's happening, and then come back to the present, so your could prepare your company to be a winner in 2015?

Well, when it comes to the subject of how radio will be used in automobiles in 2015, I believe I can show you a way to do that this weekend!

Here are step-by-step instructions:

(1) Buy or borrow an iPad with 3G data access (as opposed to just Wi-Fi). The Time Tunnel

(2) Set it up in your car (or a borrowed or rented one) in such a way that it's positioned somewhere near the "center stack" -- i.e., if you're the driver, just to your right, either (A) on the dashboard or (B) in front of the radio/GPS/ventilation controls or (C) in front of the stick shift if you have one. Ideally, if possible, plug the audio out from the iPad into your car's audio system.

(3) Imagine that the iPad is actually a 9" diagonal screen set into the center stack.

(4) Now start using the iPad for the weekend: Use Google Maps as your GPS, use your favorite radio app(s), use Yelp for finding restaurants, maybe use a great app called ClockTacular as your clock, etc. (Not to be a braggart, but AccuRadio has a very nice iPad app, with 600+ channels of personalizable music organized by genre, and with a neat "cover flow"-like history display that works really well in this context.)

Voila! This is what driving is going to be like in approximately 2015 for a reasonably typical consumer: Big screen, fast Internet connection, cool apps.

Now come on back and join us in 2012 -- and start preparing for that future!

Spotify is an "online music service," but that doesn't make it "radio"

There have been a lot of references in the trade press recently to the anticipated U.S. debut of Spotify that call it an “online radio service.” I believe that’s a misnomer. Here’s my rationale:

For many decades now, consumers have listened to two forms of audio entertainment. To make the discussion easier, let’s focus on music. Basically, you can listen to the music you own, or you can listen to the radio.

How Pandora could become a $70 stock (in a few years)

Before we begin today’s regularly scheduled blog post, I would like to point out something important about the Pandora IPO situation that no one seems to have noticed: Except for costs associated with the process of going public, Pandora is profitable — and has been for the past year and a half!

Late-night addendum to the Pandora analysis: "Enterprise value"

Now that I think about it, a better way to do the math in the “RAIN Analysis” in our June 3rd issue might be, rather than looking at market capitalizations, to look at the “enterprise values” of radio station groups — how much the stations themselves are worth, as represented by the sum of what the shareholders own (i.e., the market capitalization) and what the banks own (i.e., the company’s debt).

Memorial Day cliche'

Programming legend Lee Abrams sent out the following “think piece” to his e-mail list today (reprinted with permission):

“For your [Memorial Day] holiday media amusement…

Zune's failure proves the way onto devices, for radio, is apps

Microsoft announced yesterday that they’re giving up on their well-reviewed iPod competitor, the Microsoft Zune — one of the most-prominent selling points of which was its inclusion of FM and HD radio.

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