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Hold the date: April 19th!
If you're thinking about attending NAB 2005, this may push you over the edge: Plan to join us for the second annual "RAIN Las Vegas Summit" on Internet radio, to be held Tuesday afternoon (4/19), 2:30-6pm, at the Bellagio Hotel.

We are currently developing the following five panels:
Streaming 101
: The basics of getting your station(s) online
Stream Monetization: Agency attitudes, audience measurement, subscriptions, and available sales networks
Programming Online Radio
: What do listeners want? Where might podcasting fit in?
Working with Labels: How can webcasters and record labels work together?
Envisioning 2009: Where is technology headed? How will consumer behavior change?

It may be the most valuable 3-1/2 hours you spend this year!

Headline: "Emmis Chicago alternative Q101 sets programming to 'shuffle'"
From Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times: "Calling it a 'redefinition' of its alternative rock music format, WKQX-FM (101.1) is expanding its playlist from 200 to nearly 1,000 songs and reaching back over 25 years in the genre. Starting at 10 a.m. Friday, the Emmis Communications station will declare that its music is 'on shuffle' -- evoking the jargon of iPods embraced by its primary target audience of listeners between the ages of 25 and 34.

"The format adjustment comes just days after Q-101 posted an all-time low 1.4% audience share in the latest Arbitrends.

"Mike Stern, vice president of programming for Emmis Radio Chicago... emphasized that the playlist expansion has more to do with changing lifestyles and new technology...

"'As consumers become used to having a wide variety of choices available to them, radio has to find ways to step up to that challenge and remain relevant to our listeners' lives,' Stern said...

"Q-101 tested the 'on shuffle' playlist concept last weekend and reported overwhelmingly favorable listener response."

Read Feder's entire column in the Sun-Times online here.

This is an interesting idea: Rather than fighting an unwinnable battle against the popularity of iPods, here's a radio station that's trying to leverage an associated concept (the "shuffle" feature) to its own benefit.

Of course it's really more of a marketing ploy, in that the station will no doubt play currents and recurrents in a power rotation, meaning that it won't be a true re-creation of an MP3 player's "shuffle" feature. -- KH
Frankly, to me, this idea smacks of desperation...

"Hmm... let's try and convince people that our station offers nothing more than a replication of a 'digital lazy susan'... except of course the station couldn't possibly imitate the breadth of music on even one person's iPod, much less a city's. And, of course, we'll put 16 minutes of commercials in there."

I understand and appreciate Kurt's idea of attaching to the positive association of the iPod. But to me, what this station (and others) are doing would be like trying to sell the concept of the Internet with the idea that "it's as good as TV!"

Want me to listen to your station? Give me a reason why it's better, more vital, more compelling, more engaging, and offers a better entertainment value than my own record collection. -- PM
Headline: "Internet ad spending leaps ahead of local radio in 2004"
From the TNS press release: "Total advertising expenditures for all media in 2004 increased 9.8% to $141.1 billion compared to 2003, according to data released by... TNS Media Intelligence...

"'Advertising spending expanded steadily throughout 2004 and has now grown at a faster rate than the general economy in nine of the last 10 quarters,' says Steven J. Fredericks, president and chief executive officer, TNS Media Intelligence. 'Gains were seen in almost all forms of media...'

"Almost all of the media measured by TNSMI experienced growth throughout the year, with the Internet, Outdoor, Cable TV and National Syndication showing the strongest gains...

"The Internet showed the most robust year-over-year gain for 2004 posting a 21.4% increase to $7.4 billion in ad spending versus 2003... This strong growth reflects both organic growth and an expansion in TNS Media Intelligence’s measurement base."

1 - Figures are based on the TNS Media Intelligence Stradegy2 multimedia ad expenditure database across all TNSMI measured media, including: Network TV, Spot TV, Cable TV, Syndication, Hispanic Network TV, Consumer Magazines, Sunday Magazines, Local Magazines (31 publications), Hispanic Magazines, Newspapers (local and national), Hispanic Newspapers, Network Radio, Spot Radio, Local Radio, Internet and Outdoor. Figures do not contain public service announcement (PSA) data.

2 - Spot TV figures do not include Hispanic Spot TV data.

3 - Cable TV figures based on 44 networks.

4 - Local Radio includes expenditures for 35 markets in the U.S. provided by Miller Kaplan.

5 - Hispanic Media includes expenditures from Hispanic TV (Univision, Telemundo, Telefutura and Galavision), Hispanic Spot TV, Hispanic Magazines and Hispanic Newspapers.

6 - FSI data represents distribution costs only.

7 - The sum of the individual media may differ from the total due to rounding.

Read this entire press release online here.

Headline: "Yahoo! launches Canadian version of Yahoo! Music service"
From the Yahoo! press release: "Yahoo! Canada Co. an affiliate of Yahoo! Inc., today unveiled Yahoo! Music, Canada, its new and unique digital music destination offering Canadians a customized listening and viewing experience through Internet radio, music videos, music news, interviews, performances and much more...

"Yahoo! Music, Canada provides music fans with a wide range of audio and video music and music-related editorial content free of charge to Yahoo! Canada registered users...

"LAUNCHcast -- Users can customize their own Internet radio station to their tastes with 'My station' or listen to one of 70+ pre-programmed radio stations categorized by theme and genre. With LAUNCHcast, users can rate artists, albums and songs to fine-tune their listening experience... Each user has their own Member Station page and the ability to find other user station pages that show their music tastes...

"Rogers Yahoo! Hi-Speed Internet subscribers already enjoy a broad range of premium Rogers Yahoo! Music features including premium ad-free high-quality audio and video, unlimited song skipping and exclusive preprogrammed stations on the Rogers Yahoo! Hi-Speed Internet portal."

Read the press release online here.


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    Kurt and Paul, this is deep background -- don't quote me!



Upcoming conferences
April 12 Future of Music Coalition D.C. Policy Day: Washington
April 16-21 NAB 2005: Las Vegas
April 19 2nd Annual RAIN Las Vegas Summit: Las Vegas
May 1-4 MUSEXPO - International Music & Media: Los Angeles
May 17-18 Streaming Media East 2005: New York
June 23-25 Radio & Records Convention 2005: Cleveland
July 21-24 Conclave XXX: Minneapolis
Sept. 11-13 Future of Music Coalition Policy Summit: Washington