Computerized Competition Pays Off?

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First the "Jack" format restored a bit of variety to commercial radio playlists. Now San Francisco will see America's first all-podcast station:

Infinity Broadcasting, a terrestrial radio company whose business model is being challenged by the iPod phenomenon, is borrowing a page from its rival's playbook.

Next month, Infinity will convert an underperforming station in San Francisco to a format that will play only "podcasts," or amateur recordings distributed via the Internet to listeners' iPods and other digital music players….

Hollander described the format change as something of an "experiment," saying the company had not decided how long it would try it before deciding whether to keep it.

For some ancient ruminations on radio's future in the Internet era, go here.

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  1. It couldn’t be more obvious that the logical end product of all this is an iPod with XM capabilities. I’ll be buying stock in whoever runs with it…

  2. I itch to have an ipod with some sort of satelite driven “launchcast” type function that lets me shape what gets played by rating each new song that comes over the airwaves.

  3. I had the opportunity to be part of a phone survey on radio- the lady asked me what radio station I listened to, and I had the pleasure of telling her that I only listen to radio over the internet. She seemed kind of surprised, which I find surprising in this day and age.

    Re-reading the older article, I see the limited-connections problem. Used to be I could connect to my favorite station anytime I wanted. But as time has gone by I have a harder time connecting. (quick plug for http://www.kuoi.com, college radio from my home town!)

    The model I look forward to is when wireless phone bandwidth becomes cheap enough that one doesn’t have to be reliant on an 802.11 network to get internet radio while away from home. I look forward to having internet radio via some future 4G phone, for true portable internet radio experience.

  4. The more I read about this, the more I’m convinced that “podcasting” is a meaningless buzzword. I don’t see the difference between a “podcast” and “file sharing.” Until an iPod has bluetooth or some sort of wireless networking built in, I don’t see anything new. It’s just uploading audio files, which someone else downloads. What am I missing?

  5. dead elvis – iPod’s not the only game in town, and Nokia’s on it.

  6. iPod’s not the only game in town, and Nokia’s on it.

    I’m not counting on the phone manufacturers; they are too beholden to the network operators, who are intent on making sure that whatever new things people decide to do with their phones, that they get a slice of the action. In other words, a phone which streams radio is likely to be locked into an operator’s choice of stations or a particular music service, which they will charge extra for. What I’m looking for is an open third party device similar to mp3 players, or simply being able to use the phone as a modem for a handheld computer, car-puter, or laptop.

  7. It’s just uploading audio files, which someone else downloads. What am I missing?

    The transport mechanism. Podcasts are syndicated via RSS. The ability to subscribe a portable audio player or computer to one or more audio feeds that are automatically updated with new content on a regular basis distinguishes podcasting from the usual file sharing model. It’s like the difference between, say, looking up each individual episode of The Simpsons in TV Guide and setting up a Season Pass for the show on your TiVo.

    File sharing also implies that you’re making content available for download to others as well as downloading content for yourself. As far as I know none of the major podcasting clients include provisions for sharing the feeds you’ve downloaded with other users…so not much sharing going on there.

  8. People have always told me I had a radio voice. I should try this “iPodding”. In fact, I already feel myself getting irrationally exuberant over using 70s-era technology to deliver “now” content.

  9. What’s the frequency, Kenneth?

    Doesn’t it seem odd for a news article about a terrestrial radio station to omit the station’s frequency? (1550 on your dial, based on Googling “KYCY”…)

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