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Traditional Radio Endangered By New Tech

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the on-the-way-out dept.

Communications 287

Rob wrote to mention a Reuters article discussing the danger to traditional radio posed by new new technologies. From the article: "The radio industry could find itself at the kids' table in the media banquet hall, as new technology threatens the business, advertising executives said this week at the Reuters Media and Advertising Summit. Satellite radio, digital music players and the Internet are slowly encroaching on traditional radio's stronghold on local entertainment and advertising. Plus, radio ads themselves are less memorable and creative, these executives said."

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287 comments

Stay tuned for another bandwidth auction... (4, Insightful)

jmp_nyc (895404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195596)

It's only a matter of time before the bandwidth gets reclaimed for something more lucrative. The only question is whether or not the Feds will reclaim first it so they can raise money from an auction.

If they do, it'll mean that the spectrum only goes to established companies who can afford it in auction. If they don't either the current media conglomorates that own most radio stations will sell the spectrum for more than the radio stations are worth, or they'll liquidate it at rock bottom prices as unprofitable until someone innovates in the space.

Knowing the current administration, I'd bet that the conglomorates will strike it even richer than they already are.
-JMP

Re:Stay tuned for another bandwidth auction... (2, Insightful)

metlin (258108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195774)

That need not necessarily be a Bad Thing (TM). Use of that spectrum could mean services that you need to pay for, but like everything else, it might be shared with other tech.

With things like SSMA, you might be able to spread your use of the spectrum widely enough to allow for shared applications.

Quite honestly, I'd much rather have that bandwidth being used for something that I might actually find useful. Of course, the problem then would be of internationalization - there are a lot of countries out there where radio still means a lot, and the radio is one of those few things that has been fairly universal. But that might change.

Combine it with HAM operators and the percentage of folks that do listen to the radio in the US (for instance, morning drive-to-work listening), it's unlikely that it will COMPLETELY go away. More likely that it will amalgamate with other apps and evolve into something more.

Besides, auctioning a spectrum to a corporation might actually be beneficial. Resources + reach is something that Joe Schmoe does not have. Besides, built a strong enough transmitter (if you needed it that badly), you might be able to over-ride just about any transmission (of course, the legality of the issue would be another thing altogether).

Re:Stay tuned for another bandwidth auction... (3, Interesting)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195881)

I'd much rather the govt buy back (or jsut take back) the spectrum and release it to public use. The small amount of public spectrum we have has given us such useful things as wireless phones and WiFi - much more useful than a broadcast of Jessica Simpson's latest hit - so why not collect more of the spectrum for those useful things. If we could collect back all the spectrum sold for radio and tv use we could have a lot more spectrum to work with. Faster Wifi with fewer problems with overlapping AP's maybe.

Re:Stay tuned for another bandwidth auction... (1)

div_2n (525075) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196020)

Don't hold your breath. Owners of FM/AM licenses are good paying customers to the Friendly Candy Company. They won't shut down that revenue stream anytime soon. While the profits of radio stations do stand to suffer, they aren't going away anytime soon.

There are many people that listen to radio that are not going to stop regardless of what competing technology is available. Radio is free for people to listen and thus will always have a loyal following. While there are still listeners, there will be advertisers reaching for that market.

Re:Stay tuned for another bandwidth auction... (1)

josecanuc (91) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196066)

The media companies cannot resell their little slice of the RF spectrum for any use other than FM broadcast. They do not own the frequencies, they only have a license that allows them to use it for a specific purpose.

They can transfer their license to another entity, but that entity must transmit the wide FM RF that the license allows for. Not many alternate uses.

So if the FM broadcast spectrum gets "repurposed", it most definitely will go back to the FCC first and be re-auctioned (if the new purpose is still commercial).

Satellite Radio Sucks (3, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195605)

The encoding artifacts hurt my ears. I tried listening to it once, and found myself REALLY glad I hadn't spent the money to buy one.

Re:Satellite Radio Sucks (3, Funny)

goaliemn (19761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195691)

I've never noticed any artifacts. If there are any, it may be overridden with the variety over broadcast and the lack of commercials by my own mind.

Re:Satellite Radio Sucks (5, Insightful)

VAXcat (674775) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196060)

Yah...traditional FM broadcasters have managed to produce a product that people will not only not accept for free, but will pay $10.00 or so a month to avoid....

Podcasting Satellite Radio (1, Interesting)

ikewillis (586793) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195954)

Satellite radio is totally pointless. Why do you need realtime delivery of prescheduled content?

Podcasting is the solution: Get the data when you're connected to a nice, high speed land line, store it on the digital media player of your choice in nice high quality formats where you don't have to make compromises due to transmission speed limits, and then listen to your heart's content. Don't like a particular show? Skip it, no waiting for the show you want to come on. It's all the content [i]you[/i] want constantly at your fingertips.

And best of all it doesn't gib when you go into a tunnel...

Podcasting is getting big with sites like ClickCaster [clickcaster.com] , Podnova [podnova.com] , and Odeo [odeo.com] . I really do think that Podcasting will bring about the death of traditional radio, and hopefully we'll see Vidcasting as a replacement for TV.

Re:Satellite Radio Sucks (2, Informative)

aztec rain god (827341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195976)

Not only that, but I heard my friend's xm radio, and they started putting ads on some of the stations (the comedy station was the only one I listened to). I dislike commercial radio as much as the next guy, but at least I don't have to pay for the privilege to listen to ads. sheesh.

Re:Satellite Radio Sucks (1)

nadadogg (652178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196027)

Seeing as the quality is better than standard radio, I'm not sure what your complaint is. Unless, of course, you are a music elitist who refuses to listen to mp3s unless they are 192 VBR -ape. ;)

The Howard Stern Effect (3, Interesting)

ellem (147712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195607)

Ahhh yes. Radio as we know it will soon be the 8 Track of media. Unless, like broadcast TV they are allowed to piggyback onto Satellite Radio.

Let us all come together and hope that the FCC doesn't try to regulate that which we pay for.

Re:The Howard Stern Effect (2, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195657)

Instead of hoping, how about writing a letter to your congressperson and senators?

Re:The Howard Stern Effect (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195897)

But it's much more fun to complain about government than it is to engage in it!

Howard Stern rules, dickheads! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195620)

BaBaBooey to you all!

Radio as a public service (1)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195630)

If its just going to be another corporate run ad fest (which it will eventually), then what's the difference exactly, and why should I care?

XM Radio, I love it. (-1, Redundant)

PlayfullyClever (934896) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195641)

Having had XM for a few months, I can not even begin to tell how absolutely sucky broadcast radio is. I know you think you know that it sucks. I thought so to. But I just didn't realize how horrid it had become until I had a wealth of listening options in my car. Just the thought of yet another inane "radio personality" (I refuse to use the term DJ... they're not) screaching at me makes me shutter. And if I have to go somewhere in my wife's car (sans XM)... ugh.

Right now, I think they need to grow the subscriber base and I don't know as if the competition between XM and Sirius helps matters. I've heard a lot of people say that they're waiting to see which one survives before jumping on board. That's not a good thing for the long term viability of either one.. They're competing against the status quo and against "free" broadcast radio. That alone should keep rates down. I don't think the XM vs. Sirius competition really means as much.

-PlayfullyClever

Beats FM, but not by much (1)

Kunta Kinte (323399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195905)

Having had XM for a few months, I can not even begin to tell how absolutely sucky broadcast radio is.

I don't like popular media either. I've switched television with Netflix and Blockbuster and had Sirius over FM. Six months ago I switched to XM.

Both XM and Sirius are much better than FM, hands down. But Sirius, to me, has the same annoying DJ problem, and XM will play just about any track on anybody's album. If I hear "That was 'rocking your naval' by 'CmdrTaco and the Trolls'..." someday, I won't be the least surprise.

XM, in my opinion, really needs to shorten their playlist a bit and Sirius needs less talk and to lengthen theirs.

Re:XM Radio, I love it. (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195971)

Dude, get an iPod. They're only a little more expensive than an XM receiver, but there's never any cut-outs, the unit fits in your pocket, you get a pause and rewind button, and podcasts inherently have a broader range of content than satellite radio does (for example [yahoo.com] ).

I want a radio station (0, Offtopic)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195653)

It is seemingly too expensive to get one's own radio station, though I'd like to do this in my area -- in the same way that people are blogging or podcasting. There used to be Radio Carson [radio4all.org] here in Pittsburgh, which had some great (and not so great) electronic music. Now what do we have? Right-wing propoganda, 3 classic rock stations, and the usual dirth of lite-rock and wannabe-rock. Best thing going for broadcast radio is WRCT [wrct.org] from CMU. What about a geek-propoganda radio station?

Re:I want a radio station (1)

helix_r (134185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196110)


Hey, I remember radio carson!

They were taken off the air by the FCC, very rudely, and fined a lot of money. Ironically, the biggest problem the FCC has with "micro-radio" (pirate radio) is that they do not conform to the rules for "public service". Of course the whole purpose of pirate radio is to provide a public service, one that is definately NOT provided by the boring commercial radio stations. In the case of radio carson, they played music that would not be touched by any station except WRCT: Drum and bass. In the 90's everyone was dying to hear it, but it was not played on commercial radio because it was not released on big labels with music videos and all that crap.

Perhaps now the FCC will loosen their death grip on the FM bands and allow REAL people to make their own stations.

NPR (3, Interesting)

ducatier (669395) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195655)

I have switched to listening to NPR on the radio as have alot of people. The ads and DJ's on other stations always seem to be yelling as if somting important were happening. On NPR that does not happen. I believe this is one of the major reasons why NPR has seen so much growth in ratings

Our local NPR has a great music station. (2, Informative)

MondoMor (262881) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195911)

Minnesota Public Radio launched The Current [publicradio.org] about a year ago and it's fantastic. It's like having a good-quality college station, but with better production values.

I switch between The Current and MPR's "news and information" station. It's rare I don't find something worth listening to on either.

I can't listen to commercial radio any more.

Yea, just like newspapers huh? (2, Insightful)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195658)

Radio stations will just add internet broadcasting and/or simulcast on satellite. It's not a restriction, it's an increase in avenues of broadcast. If and when radio waves no longer become viable, they will already be broadcasting through these other media. If not, then they've no one to blame but themselves.

Clearchannel (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195660)

Clear Channel is the threat to radio. Computers are just the new medium.

Please mod parent down to Troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14196120)

An insightful troll? You're kidding!

In other news (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195661)

from the gee-no-shit department

Eight-track and VHS sales are at an all-time low. Is obsolescence bad for business?

Re:In other news (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195780)

Radio isn't obsolete. It simply has been perverted over the last ten years by the two companies who bought every station in the US.

It would help... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195672)

It would help if the radiostations wouldn't play the same 20 songs over and over again.
Thank you, recordcompanies of the world, for providing us with such diverse commercial music!

And...? (3, Interesting)

turnitover (881504) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195677)

If it means a break in the Clear Channel et al stranglehold on the traditional radio marketplace, I can't cry all that much. However, if it leads to another auctioning off of the public radio spectrum and endagerment of things like college radio stations, it's not so great. On the third hand, it's exactly some of those smaller concerns who are finding not competition, but new opportunities in these alternative distribution methods. Check out what KCRW (www.kcrw.org) has got going on: they stream music and news and simulcast, and have used this to break into a national market so that they can promote events across North America. (Though, I should note, KCRW is one of the behemoths of public radio.)

Radio is free (1)

bilbravo (763359) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195679)

"Why would you pay for something you get for free?" asked John Hogan Exactly.

Re:Radio is free (1)

goaliemn (19761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195734)

I remember people saying the same thing about cable tv.. More choices, better product.

Re:Radio is free (1)

laughing rabbit (216615) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196042)

Woo-hoo!

And didn't that turn out to be a serious stretch of language.
When I can order channels a la carte...then cable will have lived up to it's promise.

Radio is free, but not all radio is the same (5, Interesting)

Divide By Zero (70303) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195966)

Because what you get on XM (I've never had/heard Sirius, but this should apply equally) is NOT the same thing as you hear on broadcast.

Sample choices on FM: Alternative, rock, country, or Top 40. Commercials for five minutes every half hour.

Sample choices on XM: All traffic, 80's hits, bluegrass, comedy, each baseball game being played, hard rock, progressive rock, folk rock, classic rock. Twelve different talk stations, from far-right to far-left, sports and news. Commercials on the comedy and talk stations, but that's it.

When you have 200 stations, you have to keep them different, which means... and this is the kicker... you have to DIG DEEPER INTO THE FEATURED GENRE. Example: I like Rush. (I'm a nerd, I'm on Slashdot, whatever. My taste in music is an example, not the argument.) On FM, I hear three or four different songs by Rush, maybe one a day. I'm done with Spirit of Radio for a while, thanks. On XM, on their ProgRock station, I hear obscure stuff from unpopular albums that I like. You won't hear Analog Kid on ClearChannel stations. I also hear other groups who don't get the press who play a similar style of music. This depth of genre (obscure songs from well-known bands and obscure bands) simply isn't available on FM. Hell, I heard Side One of Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull on XM the other day. The whole thing. It's on the order of 30 minutes long. Nobody on FM will play that - it's not "radio friendly". So I don't get to hear it if I only listen to FM.

That's why I shell out $13/mo for XM. IT'S NOT THE SAME AS FM, and it's a service I'm willing to pay for. When I have the choice and depth that I get from this service available to me for free, that's when Hogan's argument becomes relevant.

Re:Radio is free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195991)

Then why didn't Netzero, Bluelight and the other free ISPs survive? And there are endless more examples-- from cable TV to prostitution...

Not that it needs to be explained, but customers will pay for quality if the free alternative is lacking.

Re:Radio is free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195997)

I thought it was George Costanza who said that in reference to going to a prostitute.

Radio, a stupid idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195690)

I think that flooding the EM spectrum by a high-powered broadcast in all direction was stupid to start with.

Ah, the old blame game (5, Interesting)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195700)

I would say that lack of compelling content will kill all but actual, "local radio." Where I live, radio stations like New Jersey 101.5 FM and WWFM, The Classical Network, provide me with up-to-date access to information I need to function in my community (snow closings, traffic info, local news and discussions). The big commercial stations don't give me anything I can't already get on my iPod. Satellite radio will have its heyday for a while because it's new and offers variety, but I can't see it surviving a revolution in nationwide, wireless internetworking (ie WiMax). When that happens, I think local radio will have already made the jump to internet broadcasting. In fact, the two stations I mentioned are already available via streaming through the net.

Chicken Little (1)

Red_Foreman (877991) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195704)

Satellite Radio isn't going to kill local radio any more than Cable/Satellite TV killed local TV channels.

You can't get local news, traffic, and weather on a satellite channel. There will still be a demand for this.

Now, the amount of broadcast stations may decrease, but will anyone really notice if ClearChannel runs 2 stations in their town instead of 5?

Re:Chicken Little (1)

Chemical (49694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195853)

The only reason anyone watches broadcast networks anymore is because cable and satellite companies make them available on their systems. Very, very few homes have an antenna for receiving over the air broadcasts, and if cable/satellite didn't provide them, people probably wouldn't bother.

And why couldn't you get local news/traffic/sports/etc over satellite radio? If satellite TV can provide local feeds for certain channels, why not satellite radio?

"Clear Channel Killed The Radio Star..." (3, Insightful)

jpiggot (800494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195708)

Yes, let us scurry to save the hugely government subsidized current radio system, for I beam with girlish glee everytime I listen to the same song 40+ times a day, as well as the constant performances of "Under the Bridge" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Yea, for this awesome display of man must be saved, so as to bore the crapnuts out of future generations.

Re:"Clear Channel Killed The Radio Star..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14196058)

...as well as the constant performances of "Under the Bridge" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

That shit is still on the radio? Are you serious? I guess I really haven't missed much in the years that I've left the radio off.

It's too bad Clear Channel won't run out of money and go out of business any time soon. Given the behaviour of other monopolistic companies when faced with obsolescence, they'll likely just suing people instead. Which means three Slashdot stories a week from now until Armageddon. Oh well.

Public Radio (4, Insightful)

slaker (53818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195726)

Wow. ClearChannel and Infinity are bitching that they're becoming irrelevant.

Who cares? Public Radio (NPR in the US and the CBC in Canada, at least) are vibrant and entertaining.

I used to work for ABC Radio. I remember installing a device that removed "umm..." and "dead air" from the announcer's speech just so they could slide in an extra commercial or two over a one hour period. Everyone who bitches and moans about the 25 minutes of commercials per hour deserves the media conglomerates.

Re:Public Radio (0, Flamebait)

Darius Jedburgh (920018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195936)

I gave up listening to NPR in about 2001. Every so often I try again but it's just the same old thing. Wake me up when they run a story that's not about the Middle East - either about Saudi oil running out, or downtrodden Iranian women architects, or about education opportunities for Afghans, or about he psychology of suicide bombers, or Persian music, or Shakespeare performed in Iran, or Kuwaiti democarcy, or American troops in Iraq, or life under the threat of terror in Israel, or Arab media bias, or bias in American reporting in the Middle East, or about the risks taken by reporters in the Middle East, or discrimination against Arabs in the US, or life on an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, or whatever. What about Tonga? I'm sure stuff happens there too and it needs to be reported.

Odd (2, Interesting)

confusedwiseman (917951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195731)

I've tried XM for a little more than a year, only to cancel it for what I have found to be the better option. NPR for local news, and my ipod for music. I can no longer stand the advertisments on either radio. XM or free broadcast.

yes, but why not change the business model? (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195733)

drop the ads. offer the service to subscribers only. settle for less revenue. remember, acees to "wave" radio is not limited by bandwidth and less by location (think satellite), than net-based radio. there is life for traditional radio after the net, if only they can see the big picture. i hope they do.

It's all wasted (4, Insightful)

Wansu (846) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195738)



Traditional radio is a wasteland thanks to outfits like Clear Channel and when they move into digital radio, it'll become a wasteland too.

I listen to ballgames when I'm driving. Sometimes I listen to Clark Howard or the news. Radio went into a downward spiral in the early 80s and with the advent of Clear Channel, it hit bottom and started to dig.

Crap to Content ratio too high for too long (4, Insightful)

bADlOGIN (133391) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195752)

It doesn't take long to get sick of hear over 20 min. every hour of ads on the air in any market where almost all the stations are owned by the same bunch of morons (Hi there Clear Channel, you bastards!). If you're not hearing the same add when you skip stations on the dial, you're hearing the same "crossed over" music on the today's mix station that you hear on the so-called hard rock station (one more round of Photograph by Nickleback and I'm going to say 'Goodbye' and move right to Satellite. Big stupid companies have been killing "Free FM" for years. It's sad, but it's just gone to hell and that's the way the people who are about to lose all thier money choose to run it.

Re:Crap to Content ratio too high for too long (1)

gregarican (694358) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195838)

I don't have any mod points to give but if I did I would throw some your way. True that!

Re:Crap to Content ratio too high for too long (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196064)

Satellite raido is going to go the same way as satellite TV - in a few years time you will have exactly the same crap there when the execs realise that terrestrial raido is dead and they can squeeze out a few more pennies by running adverts.

The only defense is to get the government to pay for more ad free stations like NPR (but make it conditional on being ad free and give them editorial independance and a budget that cannot be touched in retaliation for bad stories) because experience with television has shown that the free market in broadcast media is fundamentally broken and will only shaft the consumer sooner or later.

The existance of one or two government funded stations *forces* the commercial competition to keep their standards up to remain competative. Without that, there is no hope of a good service.

They said the same thing about the telephone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195755)

And the telegraph industry is still thriving.

No wonder the ads suck (2, Insightful)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195765)

Plus, radio ads themselves are less memorable and creative, these executives said."

Ever notice that 90% of the stuff pitched on traditional radio is the same crap that we're constantly spammed with? I'm talking "herbal" sexual aids, non-FDA approved hair loss and weight products, "start your home business" and other get rich quick scams, "learn to be an MSCE for $10K" ads, etc. The targeted demographic doesn't care how creative the ads are.

Re:No wonder the ads suck (1)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195969)

What the fuck stations do you listen to. I never hear ads for home businesses or herbal aids.

Re:No wonder the ads suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14196090)

The question is, do you want to know the station so you can listen to those ads or are you amazed that radio stations have them?

Last.fm (2, Informative)

captainclever (568610) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195785)

Traditional radio is becoming more homogenized, and clearchannel rules the roost.
Personalised radio programmes based on induvidual taste are the way forward!
Compulsory Last.fm [www.last.fm] reference :)

Re:Last.fm (2, Insightful)

Saige (53303) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195945)

Yep.

Personalized internet streams such as Last.fm [www.last.fm] and Pandora [pandora.com] give people a much better alternative to radio while they're working at a computer. You can get the music you know you like, while at the same time get exposure to new music - and not new music that the labels are promoting like crazy, but new music that will fit into your existing tastes.

Then you take this information to buy music that fits you more, toss it on portable music players such as an iPod, and you've got a ton of music wherever you go.

But this wouldn't be quite as necessary if radio wasn't getting worse and worse. The variety has gone downhill as ClearChannel and other corporations take over mass control and standardize everything to a small playlist and shove more and more ads in.

XM/Sirius question (2, Interesting)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195788)

How well do their portable recievers work indoors ?

Can I be in the basement of a building and still get a signal ?

Re:XM/Sirius question (2, Informative)

confusedwiseman (917951) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195848)

Their ability to work indoors is directly praportional to your ability to install the external antenna. (sad but true)

Re:XM/Sirius question (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195885)

They sell antenna kits that you stick out doors and run a line into your house. I think you need a line of sight to the sky.

Re:XM/Sirius question (1)

Divide By Zero (70303) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196054)

You can buy a repeater for XM that re-transmits the signal within the house so you can pick it up in the basement. It's not cheap ($120 would be a good deal), but it is available.

Re:XM/Sirius question (3, Informative)

blackmonday (607916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196128)

I get Sirius while at work at my desk. I don't have the antenna up high or anything, its in the standard position on the boombox. FWIW I work in a highrise on the 23rd floor, with a Window view.

By the way, Sirius lets you stream all the music stations to your computer (windows media player required, works on Mac or Windows). So you can subscribe and listen to music without the radio, pretty much whenever you're online.

you're all forgetting one thing (3, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195791)

it's free

you get what you pay for

there will always be a niche for radio, just like after the advent of television, movies, etc., there is still a niche for broadway theatre, just like the interent won't kill newspaper, but it will make newspaper more diminuitive and change it's venue

old media never dies, it just changes

at one time people used to listen to radio serials before tv "only the shadow knows" etc. now radio is driven by drive time: banter and music

radio changes, but it will never die, there will always be a niche for it, no matter how small or different than what was originally intended

Re:you're all forgetting one thing (1)

twd (167101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196063)

Free as in beer, yes. Free as in speech, well, the sanitized and homogenized speech of a very few players, like Clear stinkin' Channel.

Our last truly local radio station sold out last year; now it's next to impossible to find out what's going on locally from the radio.

I've given up, and mostly listen to audio books in the car.

Re:you're all forgetting one thing (1)

underpar (792569) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196079)

it's free

you get what you pay for


Anyone else think it's funny for someone to say that on /.?

It's the pirates... (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195800)

Yeah, that's it. The pirates. All out there downloading illgal music through P2P and not listening to the radio. You know, there should be a law. That's it, a LAW. A law to require the inclusion of AM and FM receiving in every portable audio player. And a special algorithm which prevents the playing of any song from memory that will be broadcast in say, the next 12 hours, or has been broadcast in the previous 12 hours. All tracks will require DRM that catalogs them. No catalog number, no play. If you want to listen to junior's recital, record it on an 8 track. Grandma want's to hear it? Mail her a copy of the tape.

Now, I hear you claim that you "own" your music and you can play it wherever and whenever you want. And I say bullshit. You've licensed that music. What? You own a CD? Don't think that your pooch-pounding, cd-ripping, format-shifting, "oh, it's fair use" means squat to the people who run this country. We're talking about the very survival of people who pay good money to get the right folks elected. Want it different? Fine - just get your own FCC license and run your own station. You can play whatever you want whenever you want, without running afoul of the law. It's a free country - your want it your way, go and pay for it. What's that? You don't have that kind of cash laying around. Well, let me remind you that the laws weren't bought and paid for by the poor.

So there it is - to prop up a business model that is no longer viable, we simply need a couple of laws. That'll fix those damned pirates.

Good! (1)

sgt_getraer (448034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195813)

Commercial Radio has been a wasteland for years. The corruption supposedly cleaned up years ago has never gone away... it's only worse. Payola, collusion, constant ads, and hearing the same song 3 times on the drive home... who is going to miss that?

Traditional radio killing itself (2, Interesting)

Alsier (709917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195814)

As far as I'm concerned, "traditional" radio is killing itself. I finally switched to satellite when I realized I was hearing maybe one song on FM radio while driving to work. It seems like every station has a morning show that insists on talking inanely half the time, then splitting the rest of the time on commercials, inane joke clips that they replay everyday, then maybe a couple of songs. Of course, then I found that the satellite radio still had some talking, but at least I can avoid most of it and just hear music 95% of the time now, instead of 15% of the time I was getting music on FM radio.

Radio sucks (4, Insightful)

RPoet (20693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195829)

Since my early youth back in the stoneages, I've been an eager radio listener. The radio had personalities, and a great mix of the music they loved. But gradually, the DJs stopped playing the music they loved, and was forced into rotating a small set of really annoying "hits" intertwined with an enourmous amount of amazingly annoying advertising. With the recent payola scandals in radio, the spirit is definitely gone.

And this is in Norway. I hear gruesome tales of the situation in the United States of ClearChannel stations.

Podcasting is taking the air back. For the longest time I couldn't be bothered to listen, because it's such a benign concept on the surface (and the term "podcast" is so braindead). But eventually I got myself a $75 mp3 player and started sampling some of the shows, and now I listen every day, to a wide variety of fun and/or interesting shows. With the "Podsafe Music Network", a collection of independent music approved for play on podcasts, growing every day, there's a decent amount of great music in the shows too.

If you want to get started with podcast listening, I recommend setting up Juice [sourceforge.net] and subscribing to Adam Curry's Daily Source Code [dailysourcecode.com] . It's a show about podcasts, playing (amongst other things) promos for other shows that you may want to listen to. Before you know it, your subscription list has grown plenty. Some of the shows are just plain crap, poorly done, almost perfectly uninteresting, but then some are really worth listening to. Check out Podcast Alley [podcastalley.com] for some of the most popular shows.

Video killed the ... (1)

lilnottsman (936626) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195840)

I thought video killed the radio star...

Re:Video killed the ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14196038)

>I thought video killed the radio star..

How will the iPod nano's screen affect audio podcasting? Look inside a bus in city rush-hour traffic - you'll see white headphones and heads down watching video. I don't blame them, the outside view is only billboards and traffic today.

Traditional radio deserves to die (1)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195851)

It is silly to have each market restricted to so few stations. There should be thousands in each area, and the cost to obtain a license should be low enough that anyone can run one.

Radio ads (1)

goofyheadedpunk (807517) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195854)

Can someone please tell me why in the hell radio ads always use the same crappy sound effects. You know, the electronic increase of frequency/fadeout of a guy's voice, shitty techno in the background (even for classic rock stations), fast switching of voices between right and left channel, and so on and so forth.

Why are those even used? When I hear that sort of ad I don't want to buy a product. "Holy crap! Some guy has a mixer. I guess I'll buy that shitty mix tape they're pushing on me!"

If radio is so concerned about about losing listeners why continualy annoy us with ads? It's bad enough that the general radio format is song, ad, ad, ad, ad, song, song, ad so why make those ads sound like some kid got his hands on audacity?

When cars ship without AM/FM radios, it's over (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195859)

When the auto industry starts shipping cars without AM/FM radios, it's over.

Could happen. And soon. Consider portable audio players. Some have radio receivers, most don't. It's not a major selling point. Far more cell phones have digital audio players than AM/FM radios. The car is the last bastion of analog broadcast.

The day the first car ships from the factory with a built-in iPod but no AM/FM receiver is the day the broadcast radio industry begins to die.

Re:When cars ship without AM/FM radios, it's over (1)

pixelate (916876) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196025)

that will never happen. the radios will just evolve.

HD-Radio [wikipedia.org]

it will sound as good as satellite. still free. and the radio is still the primary channel for mainstream music to actually become mainstream in the ears of the masses. sure, everyone will have an ipod or whatever in their cars pretty soon, but plenty of them are always looking for something new to consume, and the front page of the itunes music store isn't always going to cut it.

Re:When cars ship without AM/FM radios, it's over (1)

dwandy (907337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196108)

no ... i think when cars ship w/o am/fm then radio is already dead.
i'd have to say that radio is already dying. right now. about the last place i regularly listen to the radio is in the car.

an am/fm tuner costs pennies to add to a multi-ten-thousand dollar product, so i don't see it being removed any time soon. my *2000* nissan altima still had a frikin' tape/cd combo unit...tape! who the hell still has tapes since 1985?!?

the REAL FACTS : Percentage of commecial time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14195879)

THE REAL FACTS : Percentage of commecial time!

It used to be FCC mandate that 22.5 minutes of content per 30 minutes on TV and radio.

But that was well over 20 years ago... since then... the commercials just increasing to the the point where USA Networks on Cable TV are 18 minutes of content per 30 minutes and timeslots on Clear Channel when Howard Stern is on, in some city markets... also reaches a sickening 18 minutes per 30 minutes, though usually clocks in at 20 per 30.

20 per 30 is still TWENTY MINUTES OF ADS in an hour!

And the radio execs know that unless ads are cut in HALF people will flee.

It has nothing to do with limiting speech by FCC, or internet or other stuff (programming choices). It has to do with obcene amounts of commercials per half hour of content.

XM and Sirius also choke thier slop with commercials too on most of the 'talk" stations.

And FCC can legally limit (fine) types of speech on Sat radio in theory, if the broadcaster is entangled to USA from geostationary sats, but not likely. The reasoning is that radio waves are a limited liscensed resource to prevent anarcy and radio spectrum is for the public good (whatever the hell that is)

not one poster here gets it.

its PERCENTAGE OF ADS PER HALF HOUR!

Sirius leaning left, XM leaning right? (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195900)

Sirius: Howard Stern, NPR, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Hawk

XM: Opie & Anthony, Fox News, Nascar, PGA Tour

Just an observation.

Re:Sirius leaning left, XM leaning right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14196023)

xm has public radio channel, nascar is moving to sirius, xm has air america.

Re:Sirius leaning left, XM leaning right? (1)

Bent_MG (20897) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196074)

Fox news is also on Sirius, they have specific right-leaning and left-leaning talk channels, and Nascar will be moving to Sirius next year.

Variety is a *good* thing (1)

lpangelrob (714473) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195904)

For starters, enough with the Top 40 stations. I have my pick and there's nothing you can do to change it. You will strangle yourselves into oblivion if you keep on turning every station into a Top 40 station.

I'm willing to sit through commercials if the songs are... decent. I have low standards. Also, my wife doesn't really like John Coltrane. :-)

Radio is especially good for transmitting information. Chicago has WBBM-AM 780, which is a 24 hour news network, and Sunday Bears games. I listen for traffic on the 8's.

Replacing an oldies station with a Top 40 station won't help your ratings. Figure out why people stopped listening to 60's and 70's music and fix it. I'm pretty sure as many people like The Beatles now as they did 10 years ago.

Classical and jazz stations need to accept the fact that commercials are a way of paying the bills. You know your audience; selling to them isn't taking advantage of them, it's a way to stay on the air.

Speaking of these "minor" players... getting your signal on the Internet is a Very Good Idea. These genres aren't quite under the same pressure as pop music is, so take advantage of it and be... innovative.

In short, I don't really want to pay a subscriber fee -- at all -- for something that's free now. It's not something I value that much.

BBC: traditional but fantastic quality (2, Insightful)

fantomas (94850) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195914)

I don't think so. I reckon the BBC will be in the game for a while yet - let me know when the local geek podcast can give me professional production value world music broadcasts, interviews with internationally renowned scientists and artists, history programmes scripted by teams of world experts..... (etc).... without adverts. All effectively for free, and online if you prefer. You can always donate and get the TV shows as well by getting a TV licence - sometimes 126.50 (UKP) a year is an *ouch* but hey divided between 5 of us in the house it doesn't feel so bad.

Real American Heros (1)

706GL (172709) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195946)

As long as we have the Budlight Real American Heroes and Real Men of Genius ad campaigns on the radio I refuse to accept the argument that radio ads are creatively dead / not memorable. I find them far more entertaining than most TV ads.

Only the case in the US (2, Insightful)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195948)

Here in the UK raido is doing just fine:

*No one wants to set up a music player with new content just for the drive to work.
*The commentary is generally interesting or informative.
*No adverts! Even the commercial stations have far far fewer adverts than the US.

It's no wonder the medium is dying in the US where you have to listen to the same ad over and over again followed by a Rent A Moron yelling *more* adverts at you - just disguised as 'content'. Then, to cap it off, you get to hear essentially a paid musical advert.

Compare this to the UK:

*Radio 1 - not my thing, but they play popular music and talk about popular events.
*Radio 2 - some alternative and older music with some other great programmes.
*Radio 3 - great classical music and discussion about the history and styles and composers.
*Radio 4 - the one true radio station - all the best comedy, programmes to make you think, news that does more than scratch the surface but takes a deeper look. Humphries (morning news presenter) is an abrasive moron, but you can forgive him for winding up politicians.
*Radio 5 - sport, waste of bandwidth, but at least it has no adverts.
*Classic FM - more populsr classical music - adverts no more than once every 5 minutes or so, and no interrupting pieces.
*All the local stations, BBC - no adverts, good local coverage.
*All the local stations - commercial - a bit like US stations, but even they have not managed to sink so low.

If you had that lot available on a device costing $9.50 wouldn't you listen more?

Wireless will replace radio. (1)

gasmonso (929871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195959)

Once every city has wireless, people will "broadcast" their own stations to the entire city. A better music selection and no commercials will fuel this revolution. Large companies will hop onboard and compete aswell. Eventually auto manufacturers will offer Wi-Fi players in cars and the rest is history.

Imagine listening to Launchcast or your friends station in your car. Sounds awesome to me. Radio had been declining for years do to poor music and tons of annoying commercials. It will either evolve or die.

gasmonso http://religiousfreaks.com/ [religiousfreaks.com]

Duh? (1)

diometres (639768) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195963)

I'm not sure about anyone else, but when I got my iPod I pretty much stopped listening to the radio at all. The main reason why? No ads, and I can pick the music I want. Satellite radio fixes half the problem, but there is still the issue of choice. With a la carte music subscription services priced at about the same as satellite radio, is satellite radio a viable product in the long run, or just the last gasp of an old distribution paradigm?

I doubt it... (1)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195975)

As long as XM cuts out in tunnels/overpasses, traditional radio will be around. It's not like the auto industry is just gonna go "Oh, it's ENDANGERED! Better throw MP3 players in all our new cars now!" Yeah right. Radio is still here, and still will be for a long time, because it's cheap, reliable, easy to use, and society-saturated.

Public Radio Model? (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 8 years ago | (#14195979)

As long as I can still get MPR, I couldn't care less what happens to the rest of the spectrum. Perhaps the future of radio lies in the subscriber model anyhow, even broadcast radio. Broadcast to everyone, and at least a portion of those who listen will be willing to pay to support it, just to make sure it stays on the air.

Sirius Satellite Radio - Better than sliced bread (1)

gadlaw (562280) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196009)

Any type of music I want when I want it. When I want to hear some bluegrass music or blues it's right there. An itch for 50's music? Hah, try to find that on the radio. Heck try to find any music on the radio these days. Try driving across the country and not hear the same Clear Channel station playlist all across the country. Sports talk that isn't paid advertising for sports betting which is what I get on the regular radio stations. NPR and public radio without the static and weakness of stations. News when I want it. John Hogan, CEO of Clear Channel said "Why would you pay for something you get for free?" Well, it's cause you get what you pay for. I'd rather not hear endless commercials broken up by five minutes of content when I can get real music/news/sports/talk when I want it.

Re:Sirius Satellite Radio - Better than sliced bre (1)

Anonymous Meoward (665631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196127)

An itch for 50's music? Hah, try to find that on the radio.

Sad but true.. WCBS in New York, the premiere oldies station, recently changed its format to be more "competitive" (read: homogenized).

But you do know there's hope even without Sirius: Check out "Eight Track Flashback" on WNCU in Durham, North Carolina (yes, they have Internet streaming available) on Saturdays from 1pm to 4pm Eastern US time.

It's not as convenient as Sirius, granted, and probably not as clear; I think WNCU only has a 64 kbps feed. But it is still The Shit nonetheless.

This "commercial radio".. what is it again? (1)

Anonymous Meoward (665631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196015)

I have the iPod in the car, public radio for news (NPR/BBC), and excellent streaming audio from KEXP [kexp.org] , WFMU, WNCU, and KCRW. (And there's always WCPE when I need my classical fix.)

And I never subscribed to satellite radio.

This "commercial radio" of which you speak.. what was it again? And why should I have cared?

There are ads? (1)

matt me (850665) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196034)

Thankfully, we have the BBC here, which give me a impressively wide selection of stations to listen to, all free of the sickening irritation of radio ads, which are much harder to manage than those on TV - mute, change channel, go out the room, read something etc.

I'd never really experienced how bad radio really was until after I'd played GTA, I was shocked. Radio takes the piss of itself. GTA radio had a longer playlist.

I just had this chat (1)

tacokill (531275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196035)

I just had this chat with a friend of mine who is manager of a radio station here in Oklahoma.

He was asking me about the quality of sat. broadcasts and I have to say, I agree with him. The quality of satellite radio is below that of OTA FM. You can and do hear artifacts from time to time.

However, I pointed out that the increase in variety MORE (way more) than makes up for the lack of quality. Simply put: there is no comparison. I've been exposed to music that I would have NEVER EVER been exposed to. And you know what? It made me buy some CD's that I wouldn't have otherwise bought.

I haven't actually tuned in a real FM radio station in about 2 years. Why put myself through the frustration?

Radio in general... (1)

CupBeEmpty (720791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196049)

...As a former college DJ and current podcaster I can say that radio is in need of a bit of a shakeup. The rules that govern radio are so bizarre and Clear Channel/Emmis/etc. has such a strangle on what we hear that radio has become little more than a mouthpiece for the RIAA. Look at the recent settlements for payola. The big labels pay DJ's to play what they want to sell effectively making most "music" just a big commercial for whatever "hot new album" Sony wants to sell. This means that ad supported music radio is really just one big ad.

It also means that corporate radio isn't playing what you want to hear, and they certainly aren't going to play anything that is truly alternative. So the fact that companies and people are doing everything they can to get their music in some other way, including paying more for it, is not really surprising.

Hopefully if corporate focus shifts away from radio then there will be more room for what (IMHO) radio should be for and that is local programming, independent music, giving listeners some choice in hearing new and interesting music, instead of the same angsty teen rock song sliced 10 different ways by 5 different bands or the exact same backbeat and harmony repackaged as a different song by 12 poptart starlettes.

It isn't new tech that's killing radio. (2, Informative)

iSeal (854481) | more than 8 years ago | (#14196114)

Radio died long before the advancement of XM and Sirius.

Taken from The Myth of Media Piracy: [jmcardle.com]
It died when in 1996, the US Federal Communication Commission changed the laws on radio station ownership, removing the limits on how many stations a single company could own. As a consequence, Clear Channel was able to take over station after station. Within a matter of years, it owned 1,200 stations across the United-States; including 247 of the 250 largest radio markets.[1] This severely limited the amount and variety of new music being played on the airwaves. As Touré, a contributing editor to the Rolling Stones put it, "So now if you can't get through Clear Channel, or you can't get through MTV, how does anybody know your record is out?"[2] The fact is, no one can. Furthermore, polls indicated that youths were being turned off by the lack of fresh music on the air.[3]

Radio seemingly play the same 10 songs over and over. It doesn't help that labels like Sony BMG illegally bribed stations to play the tunes they wanted.[4]

These new technologies represent what radio should be: music. Not the worst crap of the 80s/90s repeated every hour. Unfortunately, these technologies either cost money (Sirius), or have to pay such insane royalty fees that they have no choice but to fall in the realm of illegality (Internet Radio). Did you know that an Internet Radio station has to pay $25,000 in royalties every day if it has 10,000 listeners? [5] Traditional radio on the other hand don't have to pay any royalties.

Sources:
1. http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2001/04/30/clear_ channel/ [salon.com]
2. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/musi c/interviews/toure.html [pbs.org]
3. http://www.radiodiversity.com/faceofradio.html [radiodiversity.com]
4. http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/050725/music_probe.html?.v =11 [yahoo.com]
5. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/techpolicy/2002- 07-21-radio_x.htm [usatoday.com]
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