Op-ed: Net radio won't disrupt AM/FM without star-power content

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Issue Date: 
Jun 20 2013 - 11:55am

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Former AOL VP Brad Hill (and former GM/Director of Weblogs, Inc.) says that for all Internet radio's innovation, it won't seriously disrupt traditional AM/FM without "star power and blockbuster announcement material."

He means "killer content." Stern on SiriusXM, or "House of Cards" on Netflix.

And that lack of content relegates the medium as something out of the mainstream... "geeky" is Hill's word.

"Its image is tethered to computers and smartphones. That is a status quo in which the usage numbers of terrestrial radio remain fairly safe," he wrote for Engadget.

Sure, Internet radio still isn't quite as easy to use as an AM/FM radio. And it's not available in as many cars. But those things will change. And when they do, Internet radio's inherent advantages like lower (or nonexistent) ad loads and personalization, will become even more profound.

But Hill maintains that won't be enough for Internet radio, as it lacks the "shades of glamour" of things like video service Crackle's Seinfeld-produced "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee."

"It is up to Apple, or Google, or Rhapsody, or Spotify, or Pandora, or Amazon, or another internet player to break down the perceptual walls within which internet radio is trapped, developing content or importing stars that will compel users to commit more of their attention to the platform," Hill concludes. "Technology alone might not be enough to disrupt the nearly 100-year-old technology of terrestrial radio. But technology plus killer content can do it."

Read Hill's op-ed in Engadget here.

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