2008: Revolution in The Radio and Web

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You know, when I started writing this blog about a year ago, I  was amazed by some of the things I learned in my research. On a daily basis, I have been shining a spotlight on the evolution of our medium in this digital age. Well, it looks like like I am not the only amazed by the radio-oriented events of 2008. Both Reuters and ReadWriteWeb are calling this a landmark year for radio efforts. In both articles, we see the same two factors cited: embrace of the Internet and mobile technologies.

Each of these news sources touts a different leader in the field. Reuters cites Clear Channel’s innovative web programming and ReadWriteWeb looks at the digital juggernaut that CBS Radio has created. In my opinion, both companies are doing fantastic work in forging ahead with the new technologies, tools that our industry needs to embrace as the information/entertainment landscape evolves.

Via Richard MacManus of ReadWriteWeb:

CBS Radio announced a content and advertising partnership with AOL Music in March and since then 150 CBS Radio stations and 200 AOL Music Internet stations have become powered by a CBS Radio player. CBS also launched Play.it, which enables listeners to create their own stations. Earlier this month CBS Radio announced an agreement to power Yahoo Music’s Launchcast Radio, which will add a further 150 stations to CBS’ growing online radio portfolio. Also, a CBS Radio player will be integrated into the Yahoo Music site. CBS claimed that this made them the No.1 internet radio company in the world, which Internet radio expert Jennifer Lane agreed with.

This has undoubtedly been the story at the top of the news for our industry. The unification of CBS, AOL, and Yahoo’s online radio endeavors has brought about a much needed bridge between old and new media. With the classic radio expertise of CBS combined with the Internet savvy of AOL and Yahoo, I think we are seeing a glimpse of where radio is headed for the coming decades.

One of the big factors driving this evolution is the advent of the iPhone. Now the most popular handset in the U.S., this smart phone is doing more to uncouple the perceived tether that ties the Internet to a computer. As more and more people access the web through devices like this which integrate music player, phone and computer capabilities the ability to deliver radio through Internet connectivity becomes more vital. At the moment it seems like everyone is working on an iPhone application, which is a good thing.

According to some the best is yet to come. This via Ken tucker at Reuters:

And while 2008 seemed like a breakthrough year for radio on the Web, [Doug] Perlson [CEO of TargetSpot]  says the best is yet to come. “It seems like a watershed moment, but next year could also be groundbreaking,” he says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we went from seeing a proliferation of applications to a proliferation of actual users.”

Photo courtesy of LaMenta3, used under its Creative Commons license

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