Guest Feature: Your Radio Alarm is Going Off
Someone has to kick radio stations in the ass. Radio is probably one of the biggest whiners out there right now, well maybe for the exception of Fox News about Trump.
First radio got all fired up about satellite radio. Sirius/XM really hasn’t done that much to hurt your local radio station. They did show the public that there is another audio road and this one is uncensored. Which to some is refreshing. Radio is being told one of the reasons you have crappy ratings is that your listeners have fled to satellite and the Internet. There are now thousands of internet radio stations. Some sound pretty good and are run by folks that know what they’re doing. On the other hand, a lot are crap and seem to be just a platform for kids to drop the F-Bomb over and over again. The Auto Industry are putting Internet radios in some cars and even outfitting vehicles with Wi-Fi. How does radio, in their infinite wisdom, answer this looming threat? Just about every station have now cloned their signal so you can hear it over the internet. Yes, the same signal that forced listeners to flee in the first place, but it’s on the internet and they have a flashy webpage to go with it. Now they have, not just the local audience, who put them at the bottom of the rating pile, but don’t mind showing off to a Worldwide audience, which proves the locals were right. We then hear from radio when asked, “The internet side really isn’t doing that much for us.”
We all know that your local radio station or terrestrial radio has to play within the rules set out by the FCC in the US, and the CRTC in Canada. If they don’t, they might be shut down and believe me that has happened.
After working in Radio for the better part of my life and it really was the “better part”. I don’t know how many times I heard, “WOW if I could just run this station, it would be #1.” I heard that from GM’s talking about PD’s, PD’s talking about GM’s and Announcers talking about both. I even heard it from an accountant that was running a station that went into bankruptcy. All very creative people with very creative ideas on how to move forward.
The time has come for local radio, that’s playing on the internet, to do *something* or get off the pot’.
We asked the FCC and the CRTC what they’d allow radio stations to do. The CRTC was first to reply “There are no CRTC licensing requirements for radio or television stations in order to operate over the internet. Therefore, terrestrial stations can not only broadcast their feeds on line, they can broadcast programming completely different.”
Handling the FCC was Corey Deitz from radio.about.com ”So, on your Internet radio station you are free to broadcast whatever music you choose, no matter the content. The same can be said for any spoken word including pre-recorded or live comedy, poetry, political, social or cultural discussions.”
With tablets, smartphones, laptops, apps there has never been a better time for radio to take the next step and show the World how creative it can be. Come on radio you’re being given a blank internet slate to play on. Don’t be lazy and do what everyone else is doing, repeating your tired old radio signal.
I don’t want to say that station owners are cheap, but how was copper wire invented?. Two station owners fighting over a penny. You can create an added revenue stream by doing something new. Yes, you might have to hire extra producers, maybe on-air, a writer or two and a web person.
I can hear the excuses, “Oh you can’t really measure how many people are listening!” Yes you can, there’s a company with an app for that. I was talking to an ex-radio friend that runs a Toronto internet station he gets a wealth of information from, how many are listening, in what country, to how long they listen. His average minutes tuned per listener is over a staggering 45 min. “We’ve noticed that more people listen to our station and not the web feed”. I’m sure someone in Japan said, “What, those waves, just tickling my toes, Tsunami, Pastrami, ha ha ha”. One word for you, “ADVERTISE!!”
So Mr/Mrs Radio, you play country but you’ve always wanted to play Rock & Roll or maybe you run a talk station but you’ve always wanted to throw in comedy. You can do it now, over there, on the internet. You can stay as local as you want, or go as Worldly as you want. There’s a ton of great content out there from some very creative people. Right now, some *kid* dropping an F-Bomb, is getting better ratings than you. Ya, and you can tell that kid, “Hey Get Off My Lawn!”
Bryan Cox is a guest poster on Broadcasting World. Bryan has been in Broadcasting, in some way, for over 35 years. He worked his way up the trenches of being an On-Air DJ through the 70’s 80’s and some of the 90’s. Bryan is also an accomplished Stand Up Comedian. He’s been the opening act for Wayne Newton, Tom Jones and more. We must mention the thousands of shows he’s done from one end of this Continent to the other. He’s also helped raise millions of dollars for charities of all kinds. You can read his blog, 'Hey, Get Off My Lawn' here.
Yes River, terrestrial stations could beat webcasters. They are to lazy By the time they wake up, you guys will be so far ahead of them, they'll be eating your dust. All I'm saying is that they better get their shit together. There's a mighty force coming and you're a part of it. Rock on my friend Rock On!
As a radio pro by day, and hobby internet broadcaster by night, the big challenge I find is not having the resources to do what I'd like on the net. Sure I'm confident about how I'd run an FM station and win in the ratings, but that would include a full air staff, promotions budget, street team, studio space, etc. Hard to really get an internet station to "take off" .. That said, it's fun just to program the thing as a hobby and to see people tuning in from all over the world. Personally I just find it difficult / impossible to get an internet station to match my vision. Don't have the resources or money.
Great Article, but it almost comes across as telling the terrestrial stations how to beat the small webcasters. The First few years of my Webcasting Career, i run the siriusXM "uncensored" model, and while it gained a few listeners, it also got stale quickly as the novelty of being uncensored wore off. I from time to time will still let a song or two run uncensored, but only based on the context, like "S.O.B." from Nathaniel rateliff and the nightsweats as an example.