: Fred Wilson says I’m wrong about radio’s reinvention happening online and in satellites it will come from HD radio. He’s a big fan (and investor). Hope he’s right. But I’ll take a wait-and-hear attitude.
While the technological aspects of HD radio are fantastic, it still has one problem – radio sucks when it comes to programming and commercials. Until PDs get their act in gear ON THE WHOLE, it will continue to do the same. Sure, HD radio brings addressable radio to some extent – but there is still the programming problem. People aren’t leaving over-the-air radio for any one reason more than commercials and lack of variety. Plus, listening to the same station ANYWHERE has its advantages.
Satellite TV isn’t such a head fake as compared to what digital cable is because a> digital cable still has the same bogus pricing schemes that regular cable does. Satellite is absolutely cheaper to purchase channel packages, especially premium programming. Satellite, though, does not have the “on demand” capability in the same manner that cable to the prem does, however. That’s a big thing.
Both have their pros and cons, but neither is the clear winner, at least not yet.
Saying “If you don’t agree, go buy XM and Sirius at 36 to 150 times sales (there are no earnings). If you do, you can buy Clear Channel today at 2 times sales and 11 times EBITDA.” is great and all, but if you’re going to say that Clear Channel is trying to provide a music service to its listeners, you’re obviously kidding themselves. They’re in the advertising business – news, music, or sports radio-wise. If HD radio sets up a model where I can pay a nominal cost per month for 100+ channels that I can get anywhere, and have all the music stations be ad-free, then we’ll talk.
The delivery doesn’t matter at all, if the content still sucks. “The same crap, only clearer” won’t get any money out of my wallet.
Last weekend, driving home from Boston, I was stuggling to listen to the Steelers-Eagles game over bad static. I wanted to hear it. It’s either staticky Steeler or Yankee games, or a CD.
Who cares how clear I can get Britney or some shitty alt-rock band.
As an aside, can ANYONE out there actually receive a clear AM signal?
There’s got to be some pretty compelling stuff out there for me to pay for radio. Howard Stern aint that.
I say podcasting is a bigger threat to radio than satellite or HD or anything else.
The reason you can buy Clear Channel and the like at 2 times sales is because the chains are treating their operations as cash cows and going strictly for maximum revenue. (Which means lots of commercials and sucky programming.) THEY obviously have no faith in the long-term prospects of their medium, why should anyone else?
Somehow or another I find it difficult to believe that buying a new radio so I can get 25 program streams of Clear Channel (instead of the 5 I get now) is going to improve things any.
OT to Angelos- I have been EXTREMELY pleased with the “Monsoon” radio in my ’03 Volkswagen. I didn’t buy it for the AM, but it is wideband (good fidelity), quiet (low interference), and sensitive. It’s got the best AM section I’ve had since my 1952 (!) Ford.
Old Grouch – Also OT, I have a friend who just leased an ’04 Passat, and he says the same thing – it apparently schools his ’00 Jetta that he just got rid of. Good job by VW =)
Thanks. I’ll have to check out an upgrade to Monsoon.
HD Radio will not reinvigorate broadcast radio, and particularly not in the US where your IBOC transmission system privides little opportunity for extra program associated data or, most importantly, new services. This approach, taken by your radio industry and backed by a shortsighted government, to develop a transmission system that protects the status quo and limits new services in a time time of massive audience fragmentation, is mind boggling. It is a decision that will kill broadcast radio stone dead in the US, and sooner rather than later. In the UK, which has the highest and fastest take-up rate of HD radio in the world, it is the provision of new services that is is spurring people to go out and make the investment in digital radio receivers. The UK transmission system (Eureka 147), is designed to make way for large numbers of new operators offering programming options that just didn’t exist a few years ago. The only way people can hear these new services is to go digital. Under the US IBOC system there will be no new services. It’s essentially a one-for-one replacement plan that will offer little in the way of improved transmission quality and new programming and, therefore, little reason for the consumer to make the investment in a new HD receiver. Beyond that, there is broadband, which could even wipe out HD radio in the UK. The beauty of broadband is that it breaks the linear programming hold that broadcasters have had over audiences for years. Why sit by a radio (HD or analogue) listening to a whole lot of stuff you don’t like in order to hear one or two things you do like? Why not have what you like delivered to your iPod/mp3 device (via podcasting) or stream it on demand or download it? Whichever way you cut it, broadcast radio – Clear Channel, Viacom, the little mom and pop operators – all are cactus. Broadband is the future of radio.
My bet is on 3g cellphones and the web. Anyone can create their own radio and “shows” can be called when desired. People can also “stream” through their phones linking all the people on their message list.
Look at gmail as a storage grid for songs, it needs to figure out.
I suspect in 10 years most local radio frequencies will be sold off for low power broadcasting of neighborhood and block networks. We’ll want that bandwidth.
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