Should U.S. radio have a unified online platform? Inside Radio readers vote

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Issue Date: 
Sep 30 2011 - 11:00pm

From Issue:

Industry news source Inside Radio polled its readers yesterday on whether the U.S. radio industry needs "a single industry-wideInside Radio logo streaming app to help defend against Pandora and other pureplays." That is, imagine a receiver as universal as a transistor radio, but that would receive every broadcast stream from every broadcast station in the nation.

Opinion was split, slightly (55% to 45%) in favor of a national online aggregator.

One supporter of the idea wrote, "We’ve created a veritable Tower of Babel for listeners wanting to use our Internet streams — they shouldn’t have to take lots of extra time figuring out how to download the correct app and player to hear us."

RadioplayerSuch an aggregator actually already exists, as you may know, in the UK. Radioplayer is a non-profit consortium of media companies (the BBC, Global Radio, Guardian Media Group, Absolute Radio and RadioCentre) that has created a standard online audio player for live, on-demand and podcast radio from hundreds of stations in the UK. RAIN reported last week (here) the 282 stations streaming via Radioplayer attracted 6.7 million unique visitors in August. Radioplayer launched in March of this year.

A critic of the idea suggested, "Competition is critical and should be encouraged — uniformity means compromising."

Subscribe to Inside Radio here.


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What about Windows Media Guide - Bing visual search ?

Windows Media Radio Bing visual search is very simple to use : genre, location... all stations have signed papers to be in this guide, it seems to be more professionnal than other guides. The bad thing is you can't listen in the browser, a player like windows media player is needed !!

About iTunes radio tuner : it's the most popular and listened tuner but how to find a station there ? 1000 stations in international, 200 beginning with the letter "A" only because they want to be at the top of the list... sorry for the ZZ  !




Instead of splintering the already, splintered audience even more than it already is a unified streaming platford would make it even easier for listeners to find their favorite content no matter where they are.

Just think of a big RADIO button on every smartphone and car dashboard making every station available anywhere and everywhere. Listeners would know where to go for programmed audio content of any form whether its from NPR, CBS, Clear Channel, or the local mom & pop AM.

Of course putting every station on an even level is exactly why it won't happen, but there's got to be a way to make it worthwhile for everyone. As James Cridland mentions above the UK has made it work. Find a way for broadcasters to control on screen content and advertising along with premium subscription content. As an example perhaps a nominal subscription fee for say all of CBS' local Sports stations that allows them to keep 95% of the revenue, with the other 5% going into the non-profit that manages the player.

Lance Venta

May all that is needed is a standard protocol

How about a torrent-style, peer-to-peer protocol. Content streams would serve as the seeds, while the clients would use a peer-to-peer network to search for stations. The client could then directly connect with their selected streams while playing.

It gives the content providers/industry control, while allowing others to join in as the industry grow. All that is needed is the specs for the clients, as well as a standard way to set streams as seeds.

There may be a started client to more or less showcase teh plateform, but the open nature of the protocol would allow others to make their own clients, with extra features if they wish.

Everyone would win with this. The industry would get a cheep way to compete with pureplays while keeping some control, and listeners would have a choice of clients to choose from that will work with every stream.


Tapin Radio fits the bill

i use Tapin Radio - its free and portable program that has close to 20,000 stations now(worldwide). they grab the stream url for their database so it has CBS(streamtheworld?) and most of the Clear Channel stations now part is it has a search function so you just put in the call letters or the freq or maybe the state or country of the station and there it will popup...very easy...the database isn't complete yet because of the enormous number of internet-only stations but if i search on a U.S. radio station that actually has a transmitter, about 90% of the time it will already be in the Tapin Radio database and is ready to play...otherwise you can grab the stream url and add it to your favorites and you can also submit it for addition to their database...

best part is you don't have to open all those webpages and flash players and bog down your web browser with all that junk...i think its only uses like 11 MB or so of memory...

iTunes is a huge driver of traffic

Let's not forget about ITunes radio...that directory, although simple, is an incredible traffic generator for any live stream web radio, either terrestrial or pureplay.

People get fed up of their music collection and click on the radio tab to get new material very easily with no registration. Apple TV also uses this directory and anyone home-sharing their iTunes sees the radio tab in their iPhone.

Other good directories are vTuner and Shoutcast.

Not as huge as it used to be.

Not as huge as it used to be. It's very diluted now.

because Apple has played down the radio part of iTunes

Almost seems like iTunes wants out of the radio biz.

It already exists...

It already exists, of course, and it's called TuneIn Radio. But the radio industry doesn't control it, and can't use it to earn revenue or present its brands in the right way.

Surely it's better for the industry to retain control?

(The Radioplayer - who is a client of mine - has ensured that uniformity of the basic user experience is also accompanied by innovation from each broadcaster in the lower half of the player: no compromise in functionality here.)

- James Cridland

Sadly and unfortunately CBS

Sadly and unfortunately CBS and ClearChannel stations aren't available through this route. They require, need and actually have the need to whore themselves with crappy ads and stuff whilst I attempt to use their apps on the iPhone and wish to tie themselves to Facebook too. Nasty world out there!

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