Monday, May 23, 2011

Radio will not survive the Internet streaming Internet radio
This morning on the drive to my favorite breakfast joint, I tried something I haven't done in months. I tried to listen to the radio. Scrolling through the many stations, I looked for anything to catch my attention—music, talk radio, anything.

We all know radio sucks. Anybody I ever talk to about it all say the same thing: "All the stations play the same old crap over and over again." This was never more apparent than this morning when all I heard was the same cheesy Madonna song, "Like a Prayer," again and another station, which seems to have Miley Cyrus's "The Climb" on freaking repeat. From there, still going along the FM dial, I passed at least three spanish stations, and everything else in between was commercials.

Hoping for something better in the AM world, I switched over only to immediately get an ear-full of Glenn Beck. Typically, he doesn't really bother me that much, but for some reason, his voice was simply too irritating to me this morning, and I wasn't really in the mood to be preached to. Switching around the spectrum, I found a couple more Spanish-speaking programs and more commercials, until I found the best thing I had heard all morning: a jazz station. How bad is it when jazz, also known as elevator music, is the best choice for one's car-ride entertainment?

The jazz lasted for about 30 seconds before I gave up.

I couldn't help but be amazed at what garbage this medium is now. This is it? This is the best that radio has to offer? Seriously?

If radio has any real hope of surviving, networks need to focus on excellent content and real professional radio personalities that can drive listenership. Just take Adam Carolla, for example. Recently, he decided to keep doing his free podcast than to take a 7-figure salary to start a new radio gig in his hometown of Los Angeles. That's saying a lot. Beyond just competing with a censorship-free satellite radio, now podcasting has made it to the mainstream of broadcasting that will eventually take over as the premiere medium for listening entertainment.

Never has that been more obvious than now. Look at Pandora, a personalized music service playing only the music you like. And Stitcher, a mobile application for streaming internet radio shows and podcasts over the Internet. This is the generation of ubiquitous, on-demand content—content that listeners choose and support.

Not to mention, most traditional radio stations are broadcasting their content over the Internet now, too.

Soon after this debacle in my car, I opened up the Stitcher app on my iPhone and loaded up one of my favorite new podcasts, Jay and Silent Bob Get Jobs, from S.I.R. (SModcast Internet Radio)—a show that wouldn't exist without the Internet and is completely void of network executives telling people what they can or cannot say or do in their show.

Goodbye radio. We will never speak again.

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