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Radio That Strips Out Spots and DJs Draws Strong Reaction

Readers liken concept to Napster, with big ramifications for advertisers and radio industry

Several readers wrote in, reacting to my story about the Myine Abbee radio that strips out the commercials and DJ patter on an FM station, leaving the user with MP3 music files.

One engineering consultant considers this a big story, and said, “If this stripping technology really works, it will be another reason for advertisers to question whether they are getting value for their radio advertising dollar.”

Another reader, Del Dayton of Maverick Media of Eau Claire, Wis., writes that the concept is alarming, both for the ailing radio business and the ailing music industry:

“I think the two industries need to lobby hard and fast to outlaw or regulate these devices. The other possibility would be a model to make them available to consumers on a subscription basis, in which the radio stations and music industry are reimbursed for the cost to their businesses. Otherwise, devices such as these, and similar software on the market, are simply another way for the consumer to get their music without any cost to them, and to bypass the advertiser, whom makes the entire model of free, over the air broadcasting or streaming possible.”

He believes the device and software should fall into the same category as Napster did when it was used for illegally copying and distributing music and content; Napster has now has become a reasonably priced “for-pay” model, notes Del. “The general public perceives the current model as ‘free,’ when in fact there is a fee; that is the time spent listening to the advertisers and promotional messages that ultimately pay for our services and the music industry’s royalty based income model.”

And still another reader wrote in that people don’t dislike DJs or commercials, but rather, they don’t think too much of “poor DJs with nothing to say and huge commercial blocks backloaded into the last quarter hour.”

He says further: “This story intimates that old folks don’t use iPods because they’re above seniors’ technology thresholds. It follows, then, that the hardware solution shown is aimed at seniors. Most seniors I know, on fixed incomes, do not have $250 to throw away on gear whose only purpose is to remove commercials. Further, that demo gravitates toward talk radio, so the use for such a device is limited. Younger adults who might like what the device does have already left FM for iPods, so where’s the market there? I can only predict that this device will be a failure in its target market.”

As always, let me know what you think at [email protected].