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AG News: 3/15/2007

"Personalized" Radio is Industry's Next Hurdle

Let's place a bet. You're the bookmaker. What odds will you give me that at least one terrestrial radio station will start airing a positioning statement similar to "10X.3 - Personalized Rock Radio, your way"?

Continuing with our little game, let's say that you, still as the bookmaker, just found out there's a new internet radio service that allows a listener to "enter an artist in the search window to create a station based on music from that artist and from similar artists." This service is Wi-Fi based and portable (like an iPod). And it's just another in a growing list of internet radio stations that "personalize" playlists.

Are you going to give me the same odds against the forementioned bet?

This is just a guess, but after the trend to tell listeners a station was on "shuffle" so soon after iPod released its "Shuffle," I'd say look for the "personalized" references from terrestrial radio sooner rather than later. Slacker has been introduced, and its "personalize" feature is the "shuffle" for 2007.

Personalized radio is the latest internet radio industry buzzword. The concept goes much deeper than can be explained here, but it boils down to listeners telling a station what type of music they want. Over a short time, the listener narrows down what's played for them to songs they believe are all hot tunes.

Slacker is the latest in personalized internet radio. Last FM is out there along with Pandora and a few others. The list is growing, and folks are tuning in because it gives "control" to the user.

About Slacker, it does do a few extra neat tricks such as getting internet radio stations away from the computer - via a Wi-Fi refreshed portable unit that fits in your pocket. Now that personalized radio is becoming portable, look for these internet radio stations to start gaining audience, quickly, especially with youth.

Read about Slacker through the link below. Then start thinking how it's nearly a sure bet that we'll be hearing broadcast stations start making some reference to personlizing the station or listening experience.

So, here's the bet now. What are the odds that in the next few years the perception that a playlist tailored to your taste will be the main reason a person chooses a station? My thoughts, pretty good.

And, getting back to our earlier bet about broadcast radio, any takers that we'll start hearing personalized references on terrestrial radio within two months?

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President, Audio Graphics
Ken Dardis
Online Since January 1997

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