RAIN 7/23: Crowdfunding web service Kickstarter could "change public radio forever"

Michael Schmitt
July 23, 2012 - 11:30am

99% Invisible on KickstarterIf you're a regular RAIN reader, you're probably familiar by now with crowdsource funding web service Kickstarter. We highlighted several radio services taking advantage of Kickstarter in April (here) and then later wrote about the online-only Q101's Kickstarter campaign to bring back the Jamboree music festival (here).

Now GigaOM pens an article explaining how Kickstarter and other crowdfunding services could "change public radio forever." Kickstarter could replace the "recurring nightmare" that are pledge drives, GigaOM writes. In fact, several radio programs are already doing this.

GigaOM points to Blank on Blank (a show that "resurfaces 'lost interviews'") and design show 99% Invisible -- both distributed by Public Radio Exchange (PRX) -- as examples. Blank on Blank recently raised $11,337 on Kickstarter. 99% Invisible's Season 3 Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $100,000 as of publication, with 18 days left.

"The potential Kickstarter has for shows like 99% Invisible and Blank on Blank is indeed exciting, because it gives the audience a new way to support them at a much earlier stage," writes GigaOM.

Wired writes, "Because it’s cheaper for local radio stations to play national content than to produce original programming, the projects that get funded are hour-long, weekly, high-production value shows... But the growth of the Internet as a distribution channel is beginning to level the playing field."

Said PRX CEO Jake Shapiro: “It’s a new way to bootstrap new programs, new voices."

"I guarantee that independent public media will never be the same," 99% Invisible producer Roman Mars writes.

Blank on Blank"Mars’s success may end up opening the floodgates for other independent radio producers eying Kickstarter as a funding source," comments Wired.

Both shows are also great examples of how radio programs can innovate on platforms other than the radio dial. Blank on Blank hopes to turn their interviews into animated YouTube videos, while 99% Invisible has created products "so cool, you’d want them even if you weren’t a fan of the show" to raise money on Kickstarter.

GigaOM ponders if this burgeoning trend may spell trouble for public radio local affiliates. "Crowdfunding threatens to further circumvent the local affiliates and their pledge drives — and the effect could be dramatic. What if listeners stopped giving to their local stations and instead just spent all their money to directly fund producers via Kickstarter?"

“They have to rethink their relationship with their audiences,” said PRX's Shapiro.

You can find GigaOM's coverage here and Wired's article on 99% Invisible here. You can also find 99% Invisible's on-going Kickstarter campaign here.

Paul Maloney
July 23, 2012 - 11:30am

Noting that "in just two years, the astonishing growth of mobile information technology — exemplified by smartphones, tablets, and many other devices — has only made the demands on access to spectrum more urgent," an advisory council to the president recommends the U.S. identify 1,000 MHz of government-controlled spectrum to share with private industry for wireless broadband.

The advisory group is called PCAST, for President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. You can read its report here. Instead of "clearing and reallocating" spectrum already used by federal agencies, the team advises a "sharing" model —  the model used for "white space" technology in the television band, which uses empty TV channels for "Super WiFi." In fact, PCAST says sharing should be the norm —  not the exception.

"Improvements in performance make it possible for devices to deliver services seamlessly even in the presence of signals from other systems, so that they do not need exclusive frequency assignments, only an assurance that potentially interfering signals will not rise above a certain level," reads the report.

Ars Technica covers the story here.

Michael Schmitt
July 23, 2012 - 11:30am

Pandora and Triton Digital have released new local AQH and cume ratings for June 2012 which show the webcaster making gains over their earlier figures.

Those earlier ratings for March 2012 were released in May, when the companies announced Triton Digital would measure Pandora's national and local audience using the more-traditional AQH and cume metrics as part of their new MRC-accredited Triton Webcast Metrics Local report (RAIN coverage here).

Pandora's local ratings for June 2012

The new ratings for June (technically 5/24 to 6/20) show Pandora with an AQH rating of 1.1-1.3 for nearly all of the top 10 markets among A18-34s. As for A18-49s, Pandora's ratings fall between 0.7 and 1.0. Pandora's cume ratings range between 24 and 30 among A18-34s (the top market being San Francisco with a cume rating of 30.2), while among A18-49s the cume rating falls between 17 and nearly 23.

"Pandora has a weekly cume of 25,333,249, a 6% increase from the March 2012 weekly cume of 23,874,175," the company said, "which ranks Pandora as the largest adult 18-49 radio network in the U.S. when compared to radio networks in the Arbitron June 2012 RADAR 113 report."

You can find Pandora's press release here. Below you can find our charts tracking Pandora's AQH from July 2011 through the latest June 2012 numbers.

Pandora AQH 18-34

Pandora ratings 18-49


Paul Maloney
July 23, 2012 - 11:30am

Digital audience measurement company Umbel announced last week that it's joined cloud platform content delivery firm Akamai's NetAlliance Solution Partner Program.

Using Umbel techology, Akamai clients will now have access to audience measurement and analytics including "rich interest data, demographics, media usage and more."

According to a press statement, "By combining the log or client-initiated streaming data from Akamai with the social registration and big data from Umbel, publishers will be able to gain a much greater picture of who the consumers are that are engaging their digital platforms."

Akamai streaming clients include CBC, Clear Channel, Internet Broadcasting, Fox Interactive, and MTV Networks. Umbel is a relatively new Austin-based analytics startup, whose CEO is former Arbitron and Ando Media exec Paul Krasinski (in RAIN here). Read the press release here.