radio stations need to find a way to coexist profitably with the Internet; yet
the clock is ticking.
one big takeaway of a white paper from manufacturer Wheatstone Corp. titled “The Case for Audio Quality and Audio
Processing in Streaming Radio.” Its topic: the viability of streaming Internet radio, and the
impact of sound quality on monetizing those streams. Summarizing, Wheatstone
said the findings argue in favor of “proper audio processing, a solid IP
network and, of course, a sound business/game plan” in setting up a strategy.
other observers, author Josh Gordon notes that Internet radio soon will be a
part of every new car’s dashboard, and that younger listeners with a more
digital orientation will become more prominent consumers. He then sifted
through his own recent research and interviews with industry observers to
explore what role streaming should have for stations in this landscape.
Among people quoted are consultant Bill Tanner, Cumulus engineering exec Gary Kline, consultant
mark Ramsey, station owner and engineer Larry Langford and engineer Joshua
radio will face competition from Internet radio stations for valuable drive
time hours, the paper states; yet while a number of stations stream signals,
many do so with “little enthusiasm and minimal attention to sound quality.”
described a past survey in which radio station personnel were asked how soon
streaming would enable them to charge more for advertising. About a quarter said
they could do it now and about a third thought they could do it within three
years. But another third said they thought streaming would “never” enable a
station to make more money on advertising sales.
is a long time,” Gordon wrote. Referring to the accompanying chart shown here,
he said, “this is a big divide.”
to stations about the audio quality of streams, he continued, “I found a stark
contrast between organizations that had a business rationale for streaming and
those that did not. At stations where streaming could be described as a money
maker, investment in sound quality was high because, in many cases, sound
quality is actually more important to the business success of an online stream
than it is for an over-the-air signal.”
paper concludes that while profits from streaming are starting low for many, some
stations and services are making money. “The key is to use streaming to target and service an
audience better. Whenever an audience is targeted, audio quality must be
maintained at competitive levels to ensure that listeners don’t slip away to other
Download the PDF here.
“The Case for Audio Quality and Audio Processing in Streaming
What’s Next in Radio Technology (2011)