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October 08, 2014



Terrestrial Radio has a couple of big issues to overcome to compete with streaming radio:

1. Quality. Music radio is dealing with digital files that are mastered to sound loud on earbuds, then these highly compressed files are put through their Optimod or Omnia and the squashed audio goes into digital distortion. And when a radio station streams their station, they usually do it at 48 or maybe 64 kbps. Even most HD Radio stations broadcast at 64 kbps bandwidth. The good streaming services are streaming at 128 kbps and above. Streaming audio sounds exponentially better than FM radio. Bring back high-quality FM broadcasting with dynamic range.

2. Clutter. Most FM music stations are running spotbreaks that are close to 8 minutes long. 10-15 units in a break is the new normal. Debt loads by group owners have made radio listening unbearable. Make the User Experience better than what people can get on streaming services by managing these major tune-outs. Find new ways to monetize the broadcast radio station.

Just as there was a big migration from AM to FM in the 70s, now the migration from FM to streaming is underway. Once the train leaves the station, there's no way to bring it back. Urgent attention is needed to keep traditional radio relevant.

Andy McNabb

Regardless as to broadcasters either ability or willingness to commit resources to such necessary multi-platform propositions, our industry's growth in great part depends on being able to generate results that advertisers can measure to the penny. Having walked the talk on this four times in four markets (two in ownership), I can send any interested parties a summary as to how they can do it. andy@andymcnabb.com

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