RAIN 8/27: Here are the finalists for the 2012 RAIN Internet Radio Awards

Paul Maloney
August 27, 2012 - 1:10pm

The presentation of the third annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards happens at RAIN Summit Dallas on September 18th. Today, we're thrilled to announce the Awards finalists in each of the four categories.

RAIN and Triton Digital inaugurated the Awards in 2010 to recognize the achievements and best practices of webcasters in our industry. As part of the Awards, Triton Digital will award the 2012 RAIN Maker Award to honor the individual who has contributed significantly to advancing digital radio.

The judging staff has now visited, listened, sorted, and hashed out "short lists" of Awards finalists from this year's entries. It is from these finalists that a single winner in each category will be chosen. The Best Single-Stream Webcaster award is for operations that concentrate their energies and passion into crafting just one program of online radio content. Congratuations to this year's Single-Stream finalists: BeachFront Radio, BlackLight Radio, Castlerockradio.com, Floyd's 99 Radio, Radio Paradise, RootHog Radio, and The Cigar Station. The 2011 Single-Stream winner was HealthRadio.net.

Broadcast stations, groups, or online-only webcasters are all eligible for the Best Overall Digital Strategy prize. It's all about recognizing the operation that best harnesses new media tools (mobile, downloads, podcasts, streams, etc.) in a unified, focused strategy. This year's finalists are ESPN Audio, EXA FM, iHeartRadio, Karnaval.com, Spotify, and Sportsradio WEEI/Boston. Hubbard's Washington, D.C. WTOP was last year's winner in this category.

This next category recognizes streaming broadcasters (like our 2011 winner, Rhythmic CHR CJNW Hot 107 in Edmonton). The 2012 winner is among the following: 97.1 FM The Drive (WDRV/Chicago), ESPNRadio.com, and WDST Radio Woodstock.

And finally, the big one! Here are the finalists for the 2012 Best Overall Online Radio Service, which will go to the operation our judges feel provides the best overall online listener experience: 977music.com, AOL Radio, ESPN Audio, iHeartRadio, Live365, Pandora (the 2011 winner in this category), and Spotify.

Thanks to all our entrants, and congratulations and good luck to the finalists. We hope you can join us in Dallas on September 18th for the Awards at RAIN Summit Dallas. Click the link for information and to register.

Michael Schmitt
August 27, 2012 - 1:10pm

VadioPortland-based company Vadio creates video channels out of a radio stations' audio streams. The service plays the music video (from YouTube of Vevo) of the song currently playing on a radio station. And during commercials, stations can display logos and positioning statements. Vadio can also incorporate in-studio webcams and is aiming to add more video ads, including pre-rolls, reports RadioInfo.

All said, it provides online users the option to "watch" radio instead of just listening.

Vadio already has two stations using its service (Seattle's Hot AC Star 101.5 KPLZ-FM and 99.9 Real Country WHFB-FM in South Bend, IN) with "many more" set to go live in the new few weeks, says Vadio's Bryce Clemmer. KPLZ PD Kent Phillips tells RadioInfo page views have increased eight-fold and time spent on the site is up 30% since adding Vadio. 

You can find more coverage from RadioInfo here.

Michael Schmitt
August 27, 2012 - 1:10pm

TennisRadio coverage of tennis matches -- that experience of "listening to the sound of balls being struck, spectators applauding, and an announcer’s description" -- flourished in the 1930s, writes the New York Times. But it "was nearly a lost experience before the advent of the Internet."

Now though, "a growing number of radio-style webcasts have begun appearing around the four major international championships, the Australian, French and United States Opens and Wimbledon."

That includes RadioTennis.com's Ken Thomas, who streams play-by-play coverage of tennis matches to perhaps more than 1,500 listeners online.

"I try to paint a visual picture of the match and its surroundings for the listener," Thomas told the NYT. "I want the listener to feel as if they’re sitting next to me having a beer and sharing a good time."

You can read the New York Times' profile of Thomas and the "revival of a relationship between tennis and radio" right here.

Michael Schmitt
August 27, 2012 - 1:10pm

Radio InkLast week Saga announced it would no longer substitute "online only" content for the on-air ads on its station's web streams (RAIN coverage here). The move sparked criticism from Fred Jacobs, Ken Dardis and Bob Maccini among others (more here).

SagaNow Rob Green, CEO of Abacast (which offers ad-replacement technology for broadcasters among other services) has penned a guest editorial for Radio Ink (here). Green argues that "the radio industry today has, at best, a muddy message about its digital future, and the choice to simulcast looks like a step backward."

Meanwhile, Radio Ink editor Ed Ryan tried listening to a few random radio stations' simulcasts online. He posted the results of his experiment here. "Is the [online] product comparable to what goes out over the air?" The answer is easy, writes Ryan: "The products are not even close."