Thursday, January 15, 2009

More In Car Audio

Welcome to readers of Al Peterson's NTS Media Online who are looking for my "In Car Audio" column, about how terrestrial broadcasters have to prepare for the continuing expansion of wimax and its impact on the way listeners will consume audio.

In response, WDNA-FM/Miami Operations Manager Joe Cassara writes,

Paul,

I've been dreaming about wireless internet radio since the days of the Apple Newton. I'm confident RoIP (radio over IP) will replace traditional radio broadcasting over RF. The only question is when.

Consider:

- The Society of Broadcast Engineers continues to face the dilemma of no young talent entering RF engineering. How many folks can build a directional AM station from scratch today in the US? A handful? FM engineers are fading away, too. Where's the young talent going? IT/Network Administration. Who will run the tower sites of tomorrow?

- Thanks to the iPhone and the "me, too" crowd of devices, use of cellular-provided broadband is exploding and will remain a way of life. All you can eat data for $30. And that fee will shrink.

- We're on the cusp of free (or cheap as free) nation-wide WI-FI.

- Young people are not listening to FM. An entire generation of consumers will come of age in a world where radio is not a major media outlet.

- Yes, streaming can be quite an expenditure. But without having to pay for tower space, transmitter space, the electric bill from running an xKw transmitter 24/7, and the personnel/equipment associated with RF, I can channel those funds into wholesale 64/128+kbps stream aggregation.

- HD Radio, our knight in shining armor, is caught with no car to drive himself to the party -- and no one wants to give him a ride.

- RoIP can provide us, as program directors, with instant feedback from listeners. Did that segment on tax reform tickle them? Do they like that new cut from Nine Inch Nails we just played? Even the portable people meter can't provide that level of feedback.

- Click to buy. Boom. Every cut they hear on our streams can be purchased instantly. What a way to prove to record companies that radio, and public radio at that, still matters in the music purchasing dynamic!

- Who needs to listen to the morning show in the morning or Jazz After Hours after hours when it can be delivered to you digitally and stored for later playback?

The BEST move to make radio matter again? Get Radio out of Radio Frequency.