and engineers know the industry is at a crossroads. To retain radio’s
competitiveness, they want to improve the quality of content, and
place it on as many platforms as possible.
IPAWS Program Manager Al Kenyon, left, was a panelist while NAB
General Counsel Larry
Walke helped facilitate ‘Radio Regulatory Jeopardy.’
by Jim Peck
was the theme of many conversations at the fall Radio Show in
Orlando, Fla. — and it seems especially important as radio faces
more challengers in the car, where the medium has dominated listening
next five years will be critical as the digital dashboard takes hold,
speakers predicted. Will radio rise to the challenge? How can it be a
part of the connected car discussion and not swept along by decisions
made in the automotive world?
digital in all forms, be that via streaming, HD Radio or other
platforms, is a way to keep radio competitive and mobile, according
to some group executives who attended.
executives reminded attendees — as well as their new competitors in
Internet audio — that, for all the hype about digital, traditional
broadcast radio still dominates U.S. audio listening. Yet the
industry can’t take that position for granted, they said. Several
talked about the need to get rid of so-called “crappy” ads and
long stopsets. Executives also jumped on a “live and local”
theme, decrying the use of voice-tracking, thus verbalizing a
criticism that many have aimed at the radio industry over the years.
are news highlights from the Radio Show and immediately afterwards.
‘THE FUTURE OF RADIO IS BRIGHT’
digital media entrants tend to paint radio as a dinosaur, Entercom
Communications President/CEO David Field says traditional radio is
sky is not falling for broadcast radio. The ecosystem of radio is
enhanced by competition. The success of one form of radio does not
necessarily come at the expense of another,” said Field. He spoke
at the Radio and Internet Newsletter Summit preceding the Radio Show.
says traditional radio continues to innovate and that listeners
remain attached to their local stations. He cited the recently
announced Cumulus-Rdio partnership as an example of “major”
innovation, as well as the Sprint-NextRadio deal on the FM chip.
Further, roughly half of new cars will have built-in HD Radio
receivers or technology by 2015, according to Field.
future of broadcast radio is bright, said Field, mentioning the
medium’s “massive” reach. He says traditional broadcast radio
is undervalued and that if it continues to innovate, it will grow.
“We are living in the golden age of radio. Its best days lie
‘DOMINATES’ TOTAL LISTENING
also noted a “massive” gap in percentage of listening share
between traditional broadcast radio and Pandora. His criticism comes
as Pandora opens more local sales offices in top media markets and
cites listening data in advertising pitches that compete with
broadcast radio and its streams.
Entercom executive said Pandora’s claimed listening levels don’t
quite add up.
after the show, Pandora released September audience estimates, saying
its total share of U.S. radio listening for the month was 7.7
percent, up from 6.53 percent for the same period a year ago.
says Katz Media Group estimates Pandora’s share of total U.S. radio
audience at closer to 4.4 percent, followed by other webcasters at
3.2 percent — while broadcast radio “dominates” audio listening
at 92.4 percent.
of Pandora’s listeners leave their streams on all day, Field said.
“They may be out — yet that listening counts.”
radio has 20 times Pandora’s listening, he continued, noting that
Arbitron data showed radio’s audience is 242 million.
claimed 72.7 million “active” listeners for the month of
September, a 25 percent increase from a year ago.
APPLE ITUNES RADIO
iTunes Radio launched just before the Radio Show. Many tech media
outlets, like CNET, dubbed it a “Pandora killer.”
to comment about the Apple product during the RAIN Summit, Pandora
Business Development Director
Geoff Snyder said, “We’re aware of what they’re doing.” He
said Pandora, no stranger to competition, remains focused. “We’re
not going to change course.”
Senior Vice President of Business Development Steve Cotter said, “We
see it as a validation of what we knew six to eight years ago when
this company started.”
best content is “going to win,” predicted TuneIn Vice
President of Programming
Publisher Kurt Hanson believes the launch will help the audio product
category in general to grow. “Competition is good.”
to a GroupM Next survey of Internet audio users, respondents said
iTunes Radio is “probably” more integrated and easier to use than
Spotify; and they either hated Apple products or loved them. In fact,
34 percent of Internet audio users said they’d switch to an Apple
streaming radio service from their current favorite (Pandora,
Spotify, iHeartRadio or Slacker) based on Apple’s brand name alone.
could be a game-changer, or not. We’ll see,” said the GroupM Next
executives Steve Sherfy and Jesse Wolfersberger. GroupM Next is part
of GroupM, a global media investment management organization.
President/CEO Bob Struble told Radio World, “I think iTunes Radio
will be another brick in the wall of digital competition that we need
to address. It’s part of a broad set of new technologies that
compete with us in the car, and in the home.” He said it argues in
favor of an upgrade to HD Radio “because people expect to have a
certain set of features and services that cannot be delivered by
analog radio. When you’re listening to iTunes Radio you’ll see
album art. When I listen to analog radio I’m not going to see album
dead. It’s a waste.”
said Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting CEO Larry Wilson
during a Radio Show discussion by group executives about radio’s
future. He said stations need to be live and local to succeed, a
sentiment echoed by several of his fellow panelists.
Media President/CEO Mary Quass agreed. “We’ve got to get people
energized into the business. We need live overnight guys again.”
whether radio’s ability to recover from the recession is hampered
by the emergence of Apple iTunes Radio, Connoisseur Media’s Jeff
Warshaw said, “While any competition is a concern, we think one of
the things that potentially insulates radio is having a live
presence.” That relationship with listeners is not easy to
replicate, he said.
who said he was an early adopter of Pandora, described the service as
background music. “There’s not a mic that opens and someone
entertains and informs you,” as traditional radio does.
common theme among the executives, however, was that radio can’t
sit on its laurels but must figure out how to air compelling content
without boring ads that turn off listeners.
said that while the industry gets “caught up in talking about the
digital age, we’re still terrestrial stations,” and most revenue
still comes from analog signals. “We’re letting the product go
downhill. We’re running crappy ads. The
commercials have got to be compelling.”
for radio’s competition from online audio, Cumulus in particular
sees the audio universe as expanding. Explaining the company’s
recent deal with Rdio, Cumulus Chairman/CEO Lew Dickey said, “We’re
thinking of Rdio as a complement to our business. We want to be able
to play across the entire audio ecosystem.”
days are numbered for so-called “Franken FMs,” those low-power TV
stations operating on analog audio carriers of TV Channel 6 signals
at 87.7 and 87.9 MHz.
analog LPTV stations, including those essentially operating as radio
stations, have a limited shelf life; they’re due to soon sunset.
Analog LPTVs or TV translators operating on Channels 2 to 51 must end
analog operation and convert to digital by Sept. 1, 2015.
existence of a sunset date is probably why the FCC has avoided
addressing concerns of radio broadcasters about whether these
“Franken FMs” are permissible, according to Scott Flick, partner
in Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. Some radio stations, especially
those at the lower end of the FM dial, complain that the LPTV “radio”
stations cause interference.
a problem that that’s ultimately going to solve itself,” said
Flick during a “Regulatory Jeopardy” panel. He thinks some LPTV
operators might seek a waiver to extend that deadline, but they
“would need to meet a high hurdle” to get a waiver.
automakers and manufacturers of infotainment systems build the
so-called “digital-dashboard,” radio should make sure
broadcasters have their say.
argues Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs. He floated the idea of an
industry consortium to protect radio’s place in the dash. “Radio
needs a voice” in connected car discussions, he told a room full of
attendees at a session in Orlando.
hoping this gets some lift and becomes a reality,” Jacobs told
Radio World afterwards.
Media and Strategy Analytics project there will be 140 million
connected cars on the road globally by 2017. The companies said that
as new infotainment systems come online, consumers can be confused
about all the options available to them.
Jacobs and Roger Lanctot, associate director of Strategy Analytics’
Global Automotive Practice, showed video clips of consumers
struggling to turn on the radio and tune stations on a variety of
in-dash big-screen infotainment systems. Jacobs and Lanctot urge
broadcasters to test-drive connected cars and let OEMs know that
radio wants to be a part of the connected car’s future.
Another takeaway of
the session: “Rethink HD Radio,” Jacobs said. “Most OEMs
believe the technology is a major player in the connected car,
especially because of the big data pipe.”
after the show, Ford announced it had acquired Livio, which makes
and software tools to support smartphone/car connectivity. Its
Livio Keys, a software package that helps app and content partners
work with OEMs for promotion and marketing in the car. Another, FM
Traffic Button, involves software code that’s added to an embedded
app on the in-dash display; no smartphone is required to feature
traffic reports from Clear Channel’s Total Traffic Network.
purchase allows Ford and Livio to share technologies, intellectual
properties and engineering talent. Their stated goal is to work
toward an industry standard for in-car connectivity and
CARS: GAME CHANGER
so-called connected car is an unsettled frontier for the delivery of
mobile services. Each automaker is using a different technology and
user interface to deliver radio and other entertainment to new,
big-screen displays, and this can be confusing for buyers.
has become a major factor in car-buying decisions, and dealers spend
a lot of time explaining the new systems to consumers, even after
purchase. Executives from automotive, receiver and Internet audio
services discussed the state of in-dash integration at the RAIN
a driver “connects” to a car using either an embedded in-dash
solution or by tethering a smartphone to the vehicle, with the phone
controlling action on the display. Research company eMarketer
predicts there will be some 40 million “connected” cars by 2014,
and calls coming advancements a “game changer.”
“Once everyone can
hit a button in their car and turn on Pandora just like a local
station, then we’ll see the impact to traditional radio,” GroupM
Next executives Steve Sherfy and Jesse Wolfersberger predicted at the
and their suppliers say they are creating solutions for consumers to
access entertainment the way they want to. Pioneer, for example,
takes a technology — whether traditional broadcast, satellite
radio, HD Radio or Internet radio — and develops a hardware or
software interface, according to Ted Cardenas, vice president of
marketing for Pioneer’s Car Electronics Division. With its
aftermarket AppRadio service, Pioneer brings Pandora into the
what does it mean for Pandora to be “in the vehicle?”
Automotive Business Development Director Geoff Snyder says the
service is available on approximately 100 car models. Other consumers
listen via a phone connected to the vehicle by Bluetooth wireless or
USB port. The Pandora app provides metadata to the radio display, and
the “skip track,” “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” controls
are transferred to the dash. Using the app makes it easier to control
the display, “as opposed to someone using the Aux jack,” said
is in the process of launching its Ford AppLink in Europe and the
Asia-Pacific region, according to Scott Burnell, the global
lead for business development and partner management in Ford’s
Developer Program,. Ford Sync with AppLink enables drivers to
voice-activate apps from behind the wheel. The capability has been on
some Ford models available in the U.S. since 2010.
is the ability to extend command and control of an app running on a
mobile device to the human interface of the vehicle, he explained.
“It’s the ability to take actions and habits you already have
outside of the vehicle and extend those to the vehicle in a more
appropriate way,” said Burnell, with buttons “mapped” to voice
commands and some actions locked out for safety while the car is
planning products, how do companies take into account different
consumer preferences, like those who don’t want to integrate their
phone into the dash? “Maybe you’re not committed to handing over
control to a smartphone,” said Cardenas. That’s why Pioneer’s
AppRadio comes in two versions: with and without a CD player.
However, noting that it’s been more than 20 years since CDs were
introduced and cassette products are still being made, “the compact
disc isn’t going away anytime soon,” he predicted.
NEAR 15 MILLION
HD Radio rollout is still showing momentum, according to iBiquity
receiver sales are approaching 15 million, and some 12 million of
those are in new cars or are auto aftermarket units.
35 to 40 percent of new cars sold in the United States this year
include HD Radio technology. Many of those automakers offer HD as
standard across their vehicle lineups. Where the capability is not
standard, it’s offered as part of an optional package or trim level
on most premium or navigation radios.
President/CEO Bob Struble predicts penetration will rise to half of
all new cars next year. “That growth rate, we think, is going to
continue to rise into the foreseeable future.”
the installed base of HD Radio receivers rapidly increases, so has
listening to HD2/HD3/HD4 programming.
are 1,475 multicast channels, according to Arbitron and iBiquity.
to the latest spring 2013 Arbitron Radio audience estimates, more
than 4 million people listen to an HD2, HD3 or HD4 channel over the
air or online in an average week, an 11 percent increase over fall
2012 listening estimates. That’s an 11 percent increase over fall
2012 listening estimates, when 3.6 million listened to a multicast
channel on-air or online. Arbitron considers both HD signals heard
over-the-air and online to be “digital” and does not break them
released the figures before it became “Nielsen Audio” after the
APP, WEBSITE FOR HD RADIO
redesigned the HD Radio promotional website and launched an HD Radio
Guide app for iOS and Android.
simplifies the message to consumers and broadcasters “so they get
the same experience of what HD Radio offers,” and not from solely a
corporate perspective, iBiquity Senior Vice President Joe D’Angelo
told Radio World. The site uses
geo-location to list primary and multicast stations available in a
HD Radio Guide App is designed to help consumers learn about content
and discover HD2/3/4 stations. Using the interactive station guide,
consumers can connect with stations through SMS, phone and social
media networks. The app includes a guide to receivers including “buy”
links. To get the app, text APP to 25859 or download it through the
iTunes App store or Google Play Android Market.
iBiquity partnered with Toyota to give away a 2013 Scion FR-S sports
car equipped with an HD Radio receiver. Participants have until Oct.
29 to enter. U.S. residents can enter at hdradio.com,
by downloading the HD Radio Guide App or by liking the HD Radio