The Internet is Fucking Up Radio (And Here’s Why)
This blog post is about money.
This blog post is about listeners.
This blog post is about you.
You’re doing it wrong.
Statistically, more and more listeners are tuning in on the Internet. It’s how I listen to Sports Radio 810 and 610 Sports during the day. If I’m out and about, I’ll turn on the iPhone application and listen. Occasionally, if I’m jogging, I’ll listen to one of the shows on the Internet.
We’re doing it wrong, (or we’re doing it the Jack Butler method) and here’s why:
We learned it as a child, success or failure of our favorite shows, whether they be Lost, or Firefly is based on ratings. Ratings set advertising rates. Not general ratings, but very specific demographics.
Those ratings are tabulated using a company called Nielsen. If the ratings in those key demographics (24 year olds to 54 year olds). In radio, those ratings are done by a company called Arbitron. And they tabulate their ratings in two ways:
- Listener Diaries – Where the listener documents what they listen to throughout the day and mail it in.
- Listener devices – Similar to a pager, it is worn on the listener and picks up what that person listens to.
Only approximately 1,000 people participate in this survey in Kansas City. But statistically, that’s enough of a statistical basis for them to set ratings which then set advertising rates which then set what you listen to on a daily basis.
Sound boring? I’ll bet it is.
What does this have to do with the Internet? Well, as people transition to listening on the Internet, those statistics don’t factor into Arbitron ratings.
As radio stations recognize that listenership on the Internet it increasing, they are also realizing that those statistics aren’t getting factored into their ratings. By listening to your favorite radio station online, you’re taking money out of somebody’s pocket.
Until technology and ratings systems catch up, they don’t want you listening to the radio on the Internet. More importantly, just like with television shows, they don’t want you “time-shifting” your listening. The 810 Radio App allows you to pause live radio just like a DVR. Most shows heavily archive portions of or their complete show for listening later.
Plus, if you’re more used to listening to the radio online, what’s stopping you from listening to the radio from another city? Or another online-only radio station? Or a podcast? Or Pandora? No, they didn’t want to build it, and they don’t want you to come.
It’s fucking up the numbers.
Just to be a dick, I continue to listen online.
I know, I’m doing it wrong.