Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Evolution of Radio

Terrestrial Radio - When you've got no other choice, you've got no other choice. Hey, at least terrestrial radio is free. But it's value, thanks to companies like Clear Channel, has definitely fallen over the years. Clear Channel answers to the almighty dollar and radio programming has suffered because of it. I'm reminded of this most often by bands like the Foo Fighters, Daughtry, and Nickelback - bands that I would probably dig if the radio didn't drive them right down into the ground by overplaying them.

Satellite Radio - You've got two choices: Sirius and XM. Of course, they're about to merge and you'll be left with no choice (the almighty dollar strikes again). Also, you've got more than a hundred stations available, but someone is still programming those stations. I get really annoyed by the channel names in Satellite Radio - like Squizz, Fred, Ethel, and Boneyard. Would it kill them to give the channels names that are actually descriptive rather than cute and meaningless. HAVE I MENTIONED THAT YOU'LL HAVE TO PAY NOT ONLY FOR THE SATELLITE RADIOS THEMSELVES BUT A MONTHLY SUBSCRIPTION AS WELL? I'm sorry if I don't get too excited about paying to listen to Fred and Ethel.

The iPod Solution - You can plug your MP3 player into just about any radio these days - in your car and in your home. You can make an endless variety of playlists only hampered by the size of your music catalog. I, myself, have a pretty big music catalog and I've spent time putting together some decent playlists. But it still doesn't quite replace the experience of radio programming. There are no surprises when you're listening to your own catalog. Not to mention that you'll drop a dime on the music as well as the music player.

Enter Pandora - I've built about a dozen stations on Pandora - with names like 80's Rock, Metal, 80's Pop, and Blues. Pandora takes my input and expands upon it with music that is either unfamiliar to me or just music that I would have never thought of adding (this is its great advantage over the iPod). If I don't like a song, I can simply skip it and go to the next song (this is its great advantage over satellite radio). Pandora continually "tweaks" the station based on my input. If the mood strikes me, I can actually combine stations for a mega mix station (like 80's Pop/80's Rock/Old Skool Hip Hop). Have I mentioned that Pandora is FREE?

Here is the only drawback I've found with Pandora - I have not yet figured out how to get it in the car. Some entrepreneurial computer genius out there needs to figure this one out. Pandora streams to AT&T and Sprint phones, unfortunately, I don't have either. Sooner or later, they're going to have to figure out how to stream it to a car. When they do, I'll be first in line.

1 Comment:

darkness said...

Well lets see, you could always go out and buy and iPhone and stream from the internet there while it is connected to your car radio or home. Or there is the option to get an in-car computer system with internet and stream it that way. Unfortunately with both of these options there is money involved.

Only if it is free will there be a draw to this technology.

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