Link to Limelight Networks
 
 
  Daily news and commentary on the key issues involving radio and the Internet Link to previous issue Link to next issue   
     
 

BY KURT HANSON
After several years of being the perhaps the radio industry's most recalcitrant broadcaster in terms of streaming -- under Mel Karmazin's direct orders -- Infinity is quickly playing catch-up ball... (CONTINUED BELOW)

More speakers announced
for RAIN Las Vegas seminar

Please 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.

New speakers include the head of Susquehanna Radio's interactive efforts, Dan Halyburton, outspoken news/talk consultant Holland Cooke, and legedary rock radio programmer Dwight Douglas of RCS.

Previously-announced speakers include the head of Cox Radio's interactive efforts, Gregg Lindahl, Digitally Imported CEO Ari Shohat, Radioio founder Michael Roe, royalties expert David Oxenford, Net Radio Sales president Jennifer Lane, and CustomChannel.net's Dave Rahn.

Panels
and group discussions will include:
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?

If you're thinking about attending NAB 2005, this may push you over the edge... it may be the most valuable 3-1/2 hours you spend this year!

To register (attendance is free to the first 50 registrants), send an e-mail to vegas@kurthanson.com.
x


BY KURT HANSON
After several years
of being the perhaps the radio industry's most recalcitrant broadcaster in terms of streaming -- under Mel Karmazin's direct orders -- Infinity is quickly playing catch-up ball with the launch of an Internet-only version of its flagship New York City rock station, K-Rock, called "KROCK2."

The launch coincides
with a format adjustment on the FM frequency, which is Howard Stern's home station and has been playing alternative rock the rest of the day. As of yesterday, it has widened its playlist to feature "the best rock music from the '80s, '90s and today,"

The online outlet, dubbed "the evil twin" with a "godless bloodlust for weird new music" will stream 24/7 and can be accessed via the WXRK Web site.

"K-Rock is always looking for opportunities to further connect with our listeners," said K-Rock OM Rob Cross. "Enhancing our playlist, while simultaneously launching a web stream whose sole purpose is to feature breaking music, enables us to serve a wider audience with the music most frequently requested without changing the fabric of the radio station."

Cross added, "K-Rock 2 will be the perfect destination for listeners who want to stay up on the cutting edge of new music."




...
...
Exactly! K-Rock had hundreds of thousands of listeners who liked its alternative rock format enough to listen to it last week.

So if you're Infinity and you're going a somewhat different direction formatically on the FM frequency this week, why not still offer that purer "new rock" format for those listeners who'd prefer it? -- KH
...


 
 

Headline: "South Florida stations latest to go 'off the air, on the Internet'"
From a front-page, top-right-corner story in today's New York Times: "Just a blink after the newly emergent titans of radio -- Clear Channel Communications, Infinity Broadcasting and the like -- were being accused of scrubbing diversity from radio and drowning listeners in wall-to-wall commercials, the new medium of satellite radio is fast emerging as an alternative. And broadcasters are fighting back.

"The announcement on Friday by XM Satellite Radio -- the bigger of the two satellite radio companies -- that it added more than 540,000 subscribers from January through March pushed the industry's customer total past five million after fewer than three and a half years of operation.

"Analysts call that remarkable growth for companies charging more than $100 annually for a product that has been free for 80 years.

"Though satellite radio is still an unprofitable blip in the radio universe, it is pushing commercial radio to change its sound. Broadcasters are cutting commercials, adding hundreds of songs to once-rigid playlists, introducing new formats and beefing up their Internet offerings...

"'At the end of the day, people want to hear what's going on in their local market,' said Joel Hollander (pictured, right) , chairman and chief executive of Infinity Broadcasting, owned by Viacom and the country's second-largest broadcaster behind Clear Channel. 'People are emotionally involved with local radio.'

Too many eggs from the goose
"Beginning in 1996.
..to satisfy Wall Street, station owners cut costs by combining station operations in a given market and pumping up the number of advertisements per hour; meanwhile, programming formats became narrower and more uniform. All these moves nearly doubled the industry's revenue in five years, but they also gave satellite radio its opening.

"'In many cases, radio almost killed
the golden goose by getting it to lay too many eggs,' said Sean Butson (pictured, left), an analyst with Legg Mason. 'If you're going to have a third of an hour of commercials, you're going to turn a lot of people off, and they're going to look for an alternative.' (Legg Mason owns stock in XM.)

"Comedy -- who knew?"
"Genres that receive little exposure on commercial radio, like bluegrass, reggae or talk devoted to African-American affairs, get their own channels on satellite services. Indeed, formats ignored by commercial radio or relegated to its wee hours have emerged as some of the most popular.

"For instance, XM Comedy,
a channel that features the often raunchy stylings of Chris Rock and others, is among the company's 10 most-listened-to. 'Comedy -- who knew?' said Hugh Panero, XM's chief executive...

Commercial radio has begun to change
"But commercial radio has begun
to change. Radio stations in the Top 10 markets played, on average, 11 minutes of commercials an hour during daytime broadcasts in February, down from 11.7 in October, when Leland Westerfield, a media analyst at Harris Nesbitt, began tracking spots.

"Strict formats have also loosened a bit. Infinity, like a number of radio chains, has changed some of its stations to the 'Jack' format...

"Commercial radio, which also is combating the growth of digital music players like iPods, is making investments in technologies like Internet and digital radio as well as podcasts, audio programs that can be downloaded to computers or portable devices..."

Read this entire article on the New York Times website here.


...
...
A recent Bloomberg article on essentially the same subject (here) featured the following quotes:

(1) "Satellite radio alone will probably reduce AM-FM's audience as much as 1.3 percent annually starting this year, Jason Helfstein, director of equity research at CIBC World Markets, said at a Kagan Radio/TV conference on March 16 in New York. "

(2) "Radio executives at Clear Channel and Viacom say satellite radio's effect is minuscule. Infinity Chief Executive Officer Joel Hollander, 49, says that with fewer than 8 million subscribers among more than 200 satellite channels, 'There's nobody listening yet.'''

Comments? Send them to Feedback@kurthanson.com or use the form below. -- KH
...

 

 
 

 


Have an opinion? Drop us a note! (Or, to use your own e-mail software, click here.)

  Your e-mail address:
  Your name (if not obvious from your e-mail address):
    Kurt and Paul, this is deep background -- don't quote me!

        Thanks!

 

 
 
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