simulcasts

Broadcasters ignoring streaming, says Rhoads, pushing web listeners to better alternatives

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 12:50pm

Rhoads"Radio is foolishly ignoring streams today," writes Radio Ink publisher Eric Rhoads. "Streaming will be your primary source of revenue," he tells broadcasters in a new editorial, predicting that by 2016, "your transmitter will make up only a small percentage of your listening."

Rhoads sees broadcasters tripping over the same mistakes when it comes to streaming as they did with HD Radio: allocating minimal resources and trying to do things "at the lowest possible cost" with the least effort. The results are eerily similar: content that sounds "badly programmed" and feels like an "afterthought." Is it then any wonder "why HD Radio has not been embraced" by listeners, or why streaming audiences are smaller than they might be?

This "sloppy" approach imperils radio's future, Rhoads argues. "Radio must put its best foot forward in everything it does," he writes. "You have to sound great."

But it's not just a matter of improving stream quality. As a broadcaster, you must "be everywhere your listener is, which means on every device," because "the transmitter is no longer [radio's] only form of distribution" and it could be flat-out "irrelevant" in the future.

Radio Ink

"If you’re not streaming, don’t have a mobile app, are not on aggregators like TunedIn or iHeartRadio, if you cannot be found in every possible device, you’ll dilute the impact of your brand. If people want to listen and you’re not there, they will find someone else."

Rhoads concludes, "Ignoring [streaming] is ignoring millions of listeners, and they all have other alternatives."

You can find Rhoads' full post in Radio Ink here.

RAIN Summit Dallas will include an entire panel dedicated to issues like those discussed by Rhoads. The "Online Strategies for Local Broadcasters" panel will feature members of CBS Radio, Triton Digital, Emmis Digital, TargetSpot, Marketron and more. Click here to find out more.

Saga's streaming move prompts more feedback from Radio Ink's Ed Ryan, Abacast's Rob Green

Monday, 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."

New company adds video to radio stations' web streams

Monday, 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.

Mobile and web radio listening growing strongly among women, Alan Burns & Associates study finds

Friday, July 13, 2012 - 12:00pm

Stats from Alan Burns & Associates new study of women radio listenersOverall radio listening isn't decreasing, according to new research, it's just migrating to the Internet and especially to mobile devices. A study by Alan Burns and Associates of more than 2,000 female radio listeners, aged 15-54, found that daily listening to AM/FM radio -- no matter the device -- is up around 2% year-over-year.

Looking deeper into the numbers though, daily listening to AM/FM on a radio is down 24% year-over-year, while listening to AM/FM online is up 282% and listening on a mobile device grew a whopping 750%.

In other words, increases in digital radio listening are apparently more than making up for traditional radio listening's lost ground. Those gains might be larger if one were to include web-only music streams, which nearly half of those surveyed said they listen to at least weekly.

However, AM/FM listening on radios remains a juggernaut: 86.6% of the women surveyed said they listen to AM/FM on a radio on a weekly basis. And listening to AM/FM on a radio is still more than twice that of listening to AM/FM via the web and on mobile devices combined.

Alan Burns & AssociatesBut online, "custom music streams" are slightly more popular than AM/FM simulcasts among the women surveyed: around 49% of those surveyed said they listened to cusom music streams on a weekly basis (up from 39% in 2011), compared to around 43% who said they listened to AM/FM web simulcasts on a weekly basis (up from 34% in 2011).

The fastest growing area, unsurprisingly, appears to be mobile. Nearly 50% of the women surveyed said they had downloaded a radio app and 26.2% listen to mobile radio at least weekly (up from 15.4% in 2011). And time spent listening to AM/FM on a mobile device reportedly grew around 400% year-over-year.

Just under half of those surveyed agreed with the statement, "I can foresee a day when I won’t need or want to listen to music on radio because I can get it online and/or on my phone," (compared to around 37% who agreed with the statement in 2011).

You can find the results from Alan Burns and Associates' study ("Here She Comes 2012 - Insights Into Women, Radio, and New Media") right here (PDF).

Saga to limit streaming to top 100 markets, points to high costs

Friday, June 15, 2012 - 12:40pm

Saga CommunicationsSaga Communications has reportedly decided to stop streaming to markets outside the top 100. And for webcasts within the top 100, it will place geographic limits so only local listeners can tune in. However, the company has also reportedly added online streams for some news/talk stations.

"If you’re putting on an AC station or a country station, the Internet is littered with choices. In the communities where we are news providers that is something that listeners might go to the website and stream," CEO Ed Christian told Inside Radio.

Saga says it thinks the costs of a music streaming radio station are too high. Streaming expenses run to about $800,000 per month, said Saga, most of which goes to SoundExchange for music royalties. News/talk formats don't incur such high royalty costs. Additionally, streaming represents a "very small" percentage of Saga's overall listening.

The company is looking for other ways to reduce streaming costs, like placing a 90-minute listening timeout on streams. At that point, the listener is asked if they are still listening. Apparently 8% of listeners don't respond. "While that’s a small number, when you look at what SoundExchange charges it can add up," said EVP of operations Warren Lada.

But Saga is still open to expanding its streaming offerings in the future. "We’re still a radio company and we can always re-establish streaming at any point in time and have everything back up in a week or two," said Christian. But for now, "we want to allocate the resources where it’s best for our company."

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