Monday, December 3, 2012

What Gives Terrestrial Radio Stations An Edge Over Satellite Radio And Pandora?

Syndicated Morning Show Host Elvis Duran
“It’s easy, accessible, and comes in every car,” said University Of Maryland student Avraham Ginsburg when asked why he listens to terrestrial (AM/FM) radio.  Since Satellite Radio and Pandora have started becoming popular, people have been questioning whether or not the old technology, terrestrial radio, will be able to survive the new technologies. Radio has managed to stay alive using new technologies like Internet radio, smartphone apps, and social media, but most importantly, radio has one thing that Satellite and Pandora can't offer: content. 


The State Of Terrestrial Radio

We live in a time where we constantly see new technology being introduced to the public. One of the industries which has been greatly affected by new technologies is the radio industry. Over the last twenty years, the radio industry and terrestrial radio have experienced much change. In 1994, the radio industry saw its first online radio station. This is something that most of us take for granted today. Almost every radio station now has the ability to be listened to online. You can go to the station’s website and listen to it worldwide, providing a much larger audience. There also many apps such as Tunein and iHeart Radio with directories of radio stations that can be heard online. All these new technologies have an effect on terrestrial radio.

When Satellite Radio and Pandora came out, many people thought that terrestrial radio listening would slow down and eventually die out however, this has not been the case. As seen in the graphic above, a recent report by Bridge Ratings LLC shows that radio listenership has actually gone up since 2006. Even in today’s world, with new technologies constantly being released, over 90% of the United States population still listens to AM and FM radio.

Terrestrial Radio is a Medium Like No Other

The technology in traditional radio very rarely updates, so what is it that keeps listeners attached to their radios? In the video below, radio consultant John Harper tells us what is keeping radio ahead of the competition.

video
As John says, the biggest aspect is content. Content is the key to the continuing success of radio. Radio has always been a content-based medium. Although many people do listen to radio for the music, a station that is purely a jukebox will never be a successful radio station because it does not provide any content. This is what sets traditional radio apart from Pandora, Satellite Radio, or any other medium.

Being someone who works in radio, I see the truth in this. This past summer I interned with Elvis Duran and the Morning Show. When listeners call in to the show, they almost always end the phone call by saying something such as “you guys make my morning so much better” or “I love waking up to you.”

Although SiriusXM also has content similar to radio, it does not have the local aspect. When one turns on their AM or FM radio, they will hear local information that is relevant to them and their communities.

Another large aspect in AM/FM radio's continuing domination of the radio industry is accessibility. Radio can be listened to in many different ways; in your car, on your clock radio, on your cell phone, or on a portable radio.

One of the easiest ways to get the latest news is through terrestrial radio. An example of this was seen during Hurricane Sandy. During the hurricane, New York radio stations played a large role in keeping the public safe and providing them with information. For days, radio stations put their normal programming on hold and provided critical information such as storm tracking, the locations of food and supplies, and the names and locations of gas stations which still had gas. The Vice President of Whitney Media, Kevin Elliott, tells us more about how radio stations helped out during Hurricane Sandy.
Radio listening is easy. If you are driving somewhere and curious about the traffic, many new cars have traffic built into their GPS. There are also websites and apps that provide traffic information. But the easiest way to get traffic is through the radio. People will often have no issue sacrificing a few minutes for the simplicity of radio.

Radio Remains On Top (For Now)

For now, radio remains more popular than Satellite Radio or Pandora because of its accessibility and content. Things could change in the future with new technologies like the availability of Pandora and iHeart Radio in cars but the only thing that could really take down traditional radio is the ability to provide relevant, compelling content to listeners.




Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Future Of Terrestrial Radio


We live in a time where we constantly see new technology being introduced to the public. One of the industries which has been greatly affected by new technologies is the radio industry.

Big Changes

Over the last twenty years, the radio industry has experienced much change.  In 1994, the radio industry saw its first online radio station. This is something that most of us take for granted today. Almost every radio station now has the ability to be listened to online. You can go to the station’s website and listen to it worldwide, providing a much larger audience. There also many apps such as Tunein and iHeart Radio with directories of radio stations that can be heard online.

The Good and the Bad

There are many good and bad results of the change of the radio industry.  One of the big issues of controversy is new technology such as Pandora. Many people have different opinions about how Pandora is affecting the radio industry. Pandora is an Internet only online music source. You can listen to pre-set stations or select a song or artist and Pandora will create a radio station based on that song.

The ability to remotely work and to automate everything also has a big effect on terrestrial radio. Now, on air personalities can remotely record their voice, saying different things, and the station can put it in where they want.  Radio stations can also automate everything that plays, making everything cleaner and giving less room for error.

The Experts

The experts I am going to be interviewing are John Harper and Don Stevens.  Don Stevens is the Manager of Station Operations at WVOX-AM and WVIP-FM in New York.  His job is to make sure that the stations run smoothly. John Harper is a radio consultant and does voiceover work, on air news/talk broadcasting, along with many other things.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Digital Divide or Participation Gap? Will Mobile Affect it?


            Over the last fifty years, the way people access information has changed drastically.  A lot of this change began with the entrance of the Internet into our lives, providing a whole new source of information.  The Internet also changed the way that people communicate with the ability to email, instant message and even video chat from across the world.  The introduction of the cell phone has also significantly changed the way we communicate, from long distance phone calls to sending SMS messages.
            As the article Digital Divide or Participation Gap? Will Mobile Affect it? by Kevin Guidry describes, there does still seem to be a digital divide.  This article describes that those who are disadvantage, whether by financial or educational means are more likely not to have home Internet access.  This is a big problem in today’s society.  Now, more and more educational facilities, high schools and colleges are moving towards the trend of using technology in their teaching.  One example of this is Webassign.  Webassign is a website where a teacher can assign homework and quizzes. Sometimes, high school teachers use Webassign for their students’ homework.   What is a student without home web access supposed to do? They can go to a library or a friend’s house to do their work but they are at a big disadvantage compared to a student that has home internet access. 
            The participation gap is the gap of technological knowledge between different people.  Someone who has used a computer their whole life will be able to be more productive on the computer than someone who has just been given a computer for the first time.  This is more of a difficult problem to deal with than the digital divide.  There is no certain way of how to try and go about closing the gap.   
            I believe that as time goes on, the participation gap and the digital divide will become greater.  Technology is involved in society more than ever and the amount to which it is, is becoming greater.  Newspapers, paper forms, notebooks, are all being phased out as their digital counterparts are taking their places.  I also believe that text messaging and tweeting has led to a new way of thinking in short, compact thoughts. Someone who does not have access to text messaging may has a different thought process than someone who does. Although the evidence leads to the belief that the participation gap and the digital divide will become greater, only time will tell. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Unwarranted Cell Phone Tracking?


            When cell phones first came out, they idea of wirelessly talking to people was revolutionary.  Cell phones were very large, bulky and weighed an extraordinary amount.  Then, phones came out with SMS text messaging.  The ability to send text messages wirelessly led towards a whole new trend of not only condensed messages but condensed thoughts.  Later, the trend with mobile phones led toward email and functions such as games and calendars.  Recently, the trend in mobile devices has let to advanced functions such as Internet browsing and GPS navigation.
            The use of a phone’s GPS by external parties such as the police or the cell phone company is a topic of conflict.  Many of us use our GPS to check in on Facebook, Foursquare or for geo-tagging but we don’t realize that everywhere we go, we can be tracked.  In some instances, people’s phones can actually be tracked
Recently, in the U.S. Court ofAppeals’ case of U.S. v. Skinner, the court ruled that pre-paid phones can be tracked without a warrant.  Many people believe this is a complete invasion of privacy.  Unlike in the movies, not everyone who uses a prepaid cell phone is a drug lord or assassin.  Prepaid cell phones usually a less expensive solution compared to a monthly plan.  In the same case, the government also ruled that a prepaid phone can be tracked even if the person who purchased the phone does not know that it was GPS. 
People often think that this is an over reach of the government’s constitutional power.  Right now in New York City, we can see a similar situation of the government reaching further into people’s lives than some people would like.  The mayor of New York City recently banned the sale of fountain soda over sixteen ounces.  The thinking is that the obesity rates are too high and will be lowered if people cannot buy large drinks.  People view this the same way as cell phone tracking.  Most people do not like the idea of having the amount of soda they can buy limited, however many people agree that there is a chance it could help lower the obesity rate.  The same thing applies with cell phones, nobody wants to have their location tracked but tracking cell phones could help catch criminals such as in the above-cited article.  In this case, through the tracking of prepaid cell phones, the authorities detained drug related criminals and seize 1100 pounds of marijuana. 
With modern day technology, tracking such as this gets easier and easier.  The technological resources at the disposal of the government are constantly increasing.  People are also allowing more invasion by using sharing their locations on Facebook and other online sites.  This makes you wonder what the future holds in terms of location tracking.  Will the government be tracking our computers via GPS soon?  So much has changed in the last ten years that there is no way of knowing where we will be ten years from now.