NPR management shift includes a promotion for Kinsey Wilson

Friday, February 24, 2012 - 11:00am

NPR's new executive structure, designed as "a unified and strategic approach... in radio and in digital and in the Web — and in all the mobile applications where NPR finds its content," includes naming Kinsey Wilson EVP/Chief Content Officer.

NPR President and CEO Gary Knell announced Kinsey's promotion today (those are his words quoted above), along with naming Margaret Low Smith SVP/News on a permanent basis. Wilson (pictured), as GM of NPR Digital Media, was the RAIN Summit West keynote speaker in 2010 (announced here).

"Radio is not going away, radio is going everywhere," said Knell, who replaced Vivian Schiller as NPR CEO in December, following her March 2011 departure.

Read more here.

Friday fun: Sonos' "The History of Radio" timeline

Friday, February 10, 2012 - 11:25am

Streaming radio device manufacturer Sonos has a pretty neat graphic in its Sonos Blog. "The History of Radio" is a winding timeline beginning in 1892 with Tesla's first experiments, through the evolution of the radio industry, up to today's latest technology.

The timeline is divided into six segments, the last of which begins in 1990 with the Birth of Internet Radio.

Read the Sonos Blog and see "The History of Radio" here (or click the image, which is a fragment of the entire chart).



Clear Channel CEO Pittman discusses radio, mobile, and social media with AllThingsDigital

Friday, February 10, 2012 - 11:25am

AllThingsDigital's Kara Swisher interviewed Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman last week at D: Dive Into Media. You can see video of the entire half-hour video here.

When talking about Internet radio and iHeartRadio, Pittman mostly stuck to his official stances ("radio" and Pandora are two very different things, personalized streaming is simply a "feature" of iHeartRadio, not a focus, etc.). He did make a few interesting, though perhaps not entirely surprising, points:

  • Most of listening via the iHeartRadio app is to streams of broadcast stations, not the personalized radio.
  • Likewise, by far the most listening to station streams is via the radio stations' websites, not the app.
  • Pittman likened Pandora more to Spotify and iTunes as "music collections" and even "retailing," and though Clear Channel offers personalized streaming, stressed that this is "not what we do... it doesn't play to our core strengths." He also hit on the difficulty the company has had with consumer acceptance of advertising on personalized streams.
  • Finally, Pittman did stress the importance of making their franchises available "wherever our listeners are," and that's the value of iHeartRadio as an aggregator.

Again, see the interview here.

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!

Young: Web piracy now "how music gets around"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 11:00am

Neil Young"I look at the Internet as the new radio. I look at the radio as gone...Piracy is the new radio. That’s how music gets around...That's the radio."

So said legendary singer/songwriter Neil Young in an interview at the Dive Into Media conference in Los Angeles. And tech publication GigaOM agrees.

"Comparing piracy to radio is a smart way of looking at the issue," writes Matthew Ingram in GigaOM. "In the early days of the music business, when live performances and record sales were the main revenue generator for artists and publishers, radio itself was seen as a form of piracy (as sheet music was before that)."

But of course, radio became a "huge revenue driver" and "publicitiy engine" for music.

GigaOM writes that online file sharing may be on a similar path, though: "File-sharing and monetization aren’t mutually exclusive, and in many cases a certain amount of so-called 'piracy' can actually be good for business, as authors, musicians and even game developers have come to realize."

Additionally, GigaOM writes (here) consumers often engage in copyright infringement because it's easier than navigating distributors' "cumbersome" routes to official content. One could perhaps argue radio offered the same benefit to music lovers when buying records or attending live concerts were the only alternatives.

What do you think? Is Neil Young right that piracy is the new radio for music? Sound off in the comments!

Radio's biggest group drops "Radio" from its name to better reflect multi-platform business

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 12:25pm

Editor's Note: RAIN will return on Tuesday, January 17, 2012.

Clear Channel Radio today announced its immediate name change to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, a move it says "better reflect(s) the evolution of its business... (and) clearly signals its successful expansion into new areas."

"Clear Channel Media and Entertainment represents our evolution as we prove our relationship with our listeners is so much more than just our transmitters and towers," Clear Channel Media and Entertainment CEO John Hogan said in the press release announcing the change. "We will continue to serve our increasingly diverse audiences and local communities... wherever they expect it, while supporting advertisers, strategic partners, music labels and artists with creative, multi-platform marketing opportunities..."

The new moniker covers Clear Channel's 850+ broadcast outlets, but also online (via iHeartRadio and on its stations’ hundreds of websites), HD digital radio, satellite, mobile (smartphones, tablet devices, and in-vehicle entertainment and navigation systems), and live events.

RAIN Analysis: This move is logical, especially if you buy into the notion that radio's future will be as itself a single strategy executed by multi-platform media companies (see TargetSpot's Andy Lipset's guest essay today, or our coverage of Jerry Del Colliano's blog yesterday, here). What's harder to comprehend is how, on one hand, radio's biggest player can so deeply accept its future as a multi-platform venture as to drop the word "Radio" from its name; yet on the other hand, there are those in the broadcast industry maintaining that Pandora and other pureplay webcasters belong in a completely separate sandbox. -- PM

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