Radio Evangelist

Thoughts of a Evangelist for Radio in all its forms

Archive for the ‘Social Media’ Category

Happy 2010!

Posted by Steve on January 4, 2010

Phil Bernstein is a blogger in Portland, Oregon. He’s also an account manager with Portland’s Clear Channel radio stations. And he writes about advertising. He’s on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, too.

Writing about marketing so that his customers can see his thinking differentiates him from virtually every other radio sales person out there.

This is the kind of person that is the future of radio – forward thinking and ready to tackle the marketing of his customers businesses with some marketing of himself. Hats off to Phil!

http://philbernstein.wordpress.com/

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Are Podcasts Dead?

Posted by Steve on October 3, 2009

On Friday, Leo Laporte, founder of the This Week in Tech network of programs, spoke at the Online News Association conference in San Francisco. His comments and the questions from the audience afterwards can be seen here.

The speech is very interesting and it exposes Laporte as a true renaissance man. One of his more controversial comments is a statement that “Podcasting is dead.” This is quite jarring, since it comes from the guy who many of us think as “Mr. Podcast” (OK, Leo, “Mr. Netcast”). He has built a very nice business by delivering 20+ podcasts weekly to an audience now in the millions worldwide. Leo goes on to say that he began to feel that podcasting was “dead” about a year ago and began building a streaming platform so that his network was prepared for the transition. Today, the TWIT Network delivers all its programming both through audio podcasts and via live streams. When there are no live programs to stream, they replay recently recorded programming on the stream.

Of course, he didn’t mean that podcasting was history and that no one is listening anymore. Podcasting has reached a plateau in its growth. Leo noted that for most veteran podcasters, growth began to flatten out about a year ago. To grow audience beyond the people who are willing to put up with podcasting’s current rather chunky user experience, a new archetype needs to emerge. Leo feels that this new archetype is a combination of live and on-demand streaming… different than podcasting’s “store and forward” approach. New dedicated devices like the Roku will provide this kind of service to consumers. In fact, Leo said that he was teaming with Mediafly to provide his network’s offerings on the Roku device.

Many people listen to podcasts right at their PC – either not realizing that they can go portable with their iPod or just not caring too. Many others take their content with them – to the gym, on the road, to work. I have found that loading up my iPod with programming that I want to listen to allows me – with minimal effort – to listen both at home and on the road. My TSL for broadcast radio dropped precipitously when I began doing this and it has not recovered. One of the reasons for this is content; however, the main one is convenience. I can listen to what I want, when I want. The broadcast radio over-the-air streaming model doesn’t allow for that, yet, although the new iPod Nano is providing a baby step in that direction with the “pause listening” feature. On-demand streaming might, but only when the technology reaches mobile platforms.

On-demand streaming is coming – Flycast and other similar services provide a rich portable mobile experience, mixing live broadcasts with some “on demand.” Until ubiquitous wireless broadband is available – and at a price that can be absorbed by the masses – this will remain a platform suffering from similar restrictions to growth that technologies like podcasting are experiencing. Some sort of local storage of content will be needed for some time to come. Many technical folks feel strongly that the wireless IP network is not yet up to the demands of delivering streaming content to portable devices. Today, with relatively few people (some subset of iPhone, Android and Blackberry users) accessing audio streams while mobile, it’s not an issue. Globally, the iPhone has sold about 20 million units. That’s just the population of New York. Imagine all 300 million Americans trying to stream audio at the same time! It’s not a scalable model yet.

So – to answer my rhetorical question – no, podcasts aren’t dead. Podcasts are just going through the same rapid evolutionary process as other delivery vehicles. Smart people, like Leo, are finding ways to augment the audience that the podcast delivery mechanism provides. Others are building alternative distribution channels to iTunes. The concept of podcasts will be with us for a while – until the practical application of technology provides a better solution.

Posted in Advertising, ipod, Podcasts, Radio, Social Media, streaming | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

iPod Shuffle – VoiceOver feature is a great promo vehicle for radio!

Posted by Steve on March 13, 2009

Apple this week released their latest iteration of the iPod Shuffle, a diminutive digital audio player that has no graphical user interface. In fact, until this version, the only user interface it has had is the navigation button.
ipodshuffle_image1_thumb20090311.jpg

With the new iPod Shuffle, Apple has added voice navigation, allowing the listener to press the navigation button and hear the title and artist of the song that is currently playing.

The title and artist information comes from the ID3 tag in the audio file metadata. This could make for an interesting promotional opportunity for creative radio station. Here’s one way it could be used:

Let’s say the I101 is an indy rock station that promotes local, unsigned talent. These acts distribute tracks via the station’s website (free). In return for promoting their act, the station edits the ID3 tag in the track (with the artist’s permission, of course) to include a station promo. For example:

Title: “Drivin'” Artist: “Rich Hannon, brought to you by 103 RNR where music matters”

Listener downloads, listens, presses button to hear the title/artist and also hears the station promo!

So – let me know if you use this idea and how it works. There’s definitely a lot of potential here.

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Radio’s Social Community

Posted by Steve on March 11, 2009

Neal Bocian, an agency guy who is a keen observer of the radio scene, has again posted a terrific commentary on radio, this one addressing the issue of how local radio personalities make the brand of a radio station. Here’s a quote from the article:

Every personality on a radio station has a job to do, and that job is no easy task. They have to create unique content every day to engage their listening audience. That personality is the moderator of a “community”. A community analogous to communities you find online, like blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. It’s people who can relate to that DJ, whether its their programming including views on subjects, poking fun at people, news events, satirical opinions- the list goes on and on. What’s most important is that they add value to the station, and changes the “vanilla” flavor to something that adds “spice” for the listeners. There is such a disparity between “cookie cutter voice tracked programming,” to a personality who can relate to the local community and listeners alike. It is like going from one end of the spectrum to the other. Yes, radio stations CEOs can save money by eliminating the talent on air and replace it with voice tracked programming, but at what price? You save a salary but you deteriorated and cannibalized your audience as a by-product. That same audience you worked so hard to acquire.

When you read the entire article, you will see that he has a different perspective from the normal radio pundit. Neal is someone who believes that the medium is unique in its ability to deliver results for his clients because of the personalities social connections to the local community.

We’re interested in your comments – please write!

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Guy Kawasaki, Robert Scoble and more at Radio Ink’s Convergence 2009

Posted by Steve on February 24, 2009

Convergence 2009 took place 2 weeks ago in San Jose. This is Eric Rhodes’ second gathering of folks who are working to bring radio across the chasm of convergence. Unfortunately, I (and many others, I am sure) couldn’t make trip this year – but Eric has posted some video of the event on YouTube. To make it easier to access, here’s what he has posted so far:

Opening Presentation (A twist on the rather viral “Did You Know?” meme)

Convergence – Day 1

Convergence – Day 2

Robert Scoble eating lunch

Obviously, these are just tidbits of the entire program. I can’t wait for Eric to post more complete versions of some of the sessions so that those of us who were unable to travel to San Jose this year can learn from his great work.

Thanks, Eric and team for putting on this great conference!

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