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Monday, December 16, 2013
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Denying Denial Within Radio Industry

There's a problem that has overflowed from the broadcast radio industry to pureplay online stations. It's not easy to digest, and certainly nothing printed in radio trade journals signals trouble. Folks who continue to assess radio as vibrant, while predicting long-term health, are still operating with their heads-in-the-sand.
"2014 will be a year when it becomes obvious that advertising dollars will not flow to online radio unless it begins delivering accountability in place of impressions."

On another side, we have people who point to items just now being started within the radio industry as proof there's a bright future. Only, none point to how (whatever the topic is) these "items" should have begun over a decade ago. This afflicts not just broadcasters, but also online radio - hence, the overflow. Most recent, and damning, are thoughts that the automotive industry is going to open up to the broadcast and pureplay radio industries on where each should be positioned in the new center-stack of vehicles' infotainment systems.

For anyone to think that these late discussions will lead to Detroit slowing itself down to allow broadcast, or lesser known online stations, time to integrate is humorous. One trade journal printed the following words this morning, relative to gaining a place on these systems: "This working group should include radio industry affiliated software engineers to ensure that our industry is actively involved in working on the only logical solution to improving the in-vehicle infotainment system user experience...." Where these "radio industry affiliated software engineers" are is anyone's guess, but their numbers are far behind the technology sector engineers who have been working hand-in-hand with Detroit for a very long time.

Online radio is in deep trouble, too. While there are tens-of-thousands of audio outlets online, how many have carved themselves a niche allowing revenue generating options? A better way to ask this is how many online radio stations are selling advertisers anything more than an impression?

Looking at the internet radio industry as a whole, to what end is it represented by one voice that leads? For this to occur you need followers, and they are not present in online radio.

I created and launched RadioRow in 1999. Over the years there have been quite a few items discussed here about radio online that I've become aware of by systematically looking for stations to add to RadioRow. A few major problems are: web site designs that confuse with clutter; difficulty finding the "listen" link; a misunderstanding of publishing nuances that could cause an epileptic to have seizures through myriads of flashing colors and fonts; and the near total lack of contact information.

I've made the decision to stop weekly additions of stations to RadioRow. The web site will now exist solely as a testing ground for concepts - the reason it was created in 1999. Stations will be added only when they truly represent a "new" approach to radio.

Despite a still healthy audience at RadioRow, I question whether it's worth the time spent to hunt down stations meeting the simple criteria of a) having "listen" icons prominently placed, and b) providing easy contact information that's not form-based.

For those online station owners that feature forms for contact, think about times when you've come across a web site you wanted to interact with, where the first thing required of yourself was to provide detailed information so the sales person could respond. It's a ludicrous concept, yet one that's used in massive amounts with stations online.

Online, the radio industry has problems far surpassing a lack of creative content. 2014 will be a year when it becomes obvious that advertising dollars will not flow to online radio unless it begins delivering accountability in place of impressions.

Accepting that internet radio is in denial about its problems is a first step. For the alcoholic, though, it's the hardest step to make - and one that a vast majority of problem-plagued stations will never take.

Today's indie introduction is to...
Blues artist "Mark Anderson"
sample song
Dog On A Chain

Download Song


We listen for songs that evoke emotion; fast, slow, female, male, group, it doesn't matter. When an artist has the power to please, they should be given a chance to be heard.

Give Mark Anderson's "Dog On A Chain" a listen.

Add it to your playlist, free! Such is the new world of music distribution.

It's time internet radio programmers reach into a huge pile of untapped talent.
It is here where new hit songs will increasingly be found.

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