In a recent editorial, I stated that I think every radio station in the world should be streaming and have its signal on a worldwide aggregator like TuneIn, one of my favorites. I stated that statistics bear out the fact that most streaming use is by in-market listeners who simply find it more convenient to listen to the stream, or who may be out of market at the time and want to stay connected with their hometown.
I'm a big supporter of streaming, and I think every radio station should be doing it.
But there is are problems, which we will be addressing at our Convergence conference in May. There is a giant bandwidth crash coming. And a giant issue related to streaming will be increases in consumers' data plans, which carriers are learning is their big profit center.
I recently gave up my iPhone for an HTC Evo, which I like as much or better. One of the reasons I bought it is because I wanted to find out if having FM on my phone would impact my personal use of streaming.
On day one at the gym, I was able to use the FM on the phone to tune in to the TV broadcasts in front of the treadmill, with the audio being fed via FM. I also started using FM instead of streaming on my phone because of the occasional start-and-stop cutouts of the streams. But the giant issue was battery life. Though the EVO is a great phone, its battery goes down fast when using the data plan, and I found that the more I streamed, the more I killed my battery. Not so with the FM -- I can listen pretty much all day without much battery drain.
There is a great debate going on over FM on cellphones. Some think it's silly and putting old technology into a high-tech world, while others want Congress to legislate FM chips in phones because that would make radio available even when cell towers are inoperable in emergencies. Frankly, that can't hurt and might help -- I've changed my tune considerably on this now that I have FM on my phone.
But I don't want to wait for Congress to take action, and frankly, I think consumer demand is what we need to drive. So, in an effort to stop talking and start taking action, I went to my friends at the Radio Ranch in Los Angeles and commissioned this radio spot, which encourages consumers to say, "I want FM" when they buy a new cellphone.
If every FM station in America airs these spots in heavy rotation for 90 days or longer, it will drive adoption of FM on cellphones by consumers, and it will put carriers under pressure to put FM on more models in the future. Consumers win and we win.
I’d like to ask every person in the radio industry reading this to bring this spot to the market mannager, GM or group head and ask to put it on the air immediately in your unsold FM inventory for at least 90 days, and on your streamed stations. This spot is not anti-streaming, but it is pro-FM. (Sorry, AM people, I wish there were phones with AM too.)
Please report in and let us know if you're using the spots, and the reaction you're receiving from the market (and the carriers).
OR try this link to download as well: http://www.radioinkforums.com/mp3s/Iwantfm_radioInk_radioranch_01.mp3
Thanks to Dick and Sandy Orkin and the staff at the Radio Ranch for creating this ad.