Are Smart Speakers the Bitcoin of Radio?

Smart speakers seem to be the Bitcoin of radio.  Clearly, smart speakers provide great upside for radio, and the fervent rush to employ smart speakers seems to have no end in sight.  But, there is another side of the coin that radio should consider as it develops the best smart speaker strategies. The Good Smart speakers and voice activation are great for any company that works in audio as it’s a new distribution outlet.  The recently released NPR Smart Speaker research has plenty of positive news from smart speaker users.  The adoption rate has been faster than any other recent technology of late.  Users say smart speakers are essential because the speakers encourage more listening and simplify their lives.  Over one-half of the heaviest smart phone users are under age 35, which is a younger profile than overall radio usage.  Operators would be wise to check the demographics of early these adopters, as the demo of users generally indicates what type of content they would want on demand. The Bad  However, Sound Exchange fees increase due to higher streaming demand, so the cost of customer acquisition is higher than free broadcast radio.  The early financial winner in the smart speaker evolution is Sound Exchange, not radio. Monetizing smart speaker audiences is currently elusive.  If your station simulcasts the broadcast signal on your stream, then that’s a win for your advertisers who pay for broadcast ads and are essentially getting the smart speaker audience for free.  If your station uses ad replacements on the stream, then it’s possible that it MAY help raise streaming cost per thousand pricing, but so far there is no evidence of that happening. The Ugly  The greatest benefit to smart speakers…voice [...]

By | December 10th, 2017|Creation, Interactive|0 Comments

VuHaus adds Vocalo Radio, its first Chicago station

Original story posted on: RainNews Date: November 16, 2017 Written by: Anna Washenko Public media video app VuHaus has added another Chicago station to its roster of affiliates. Vocalo Radio 91.1 is an urban alternative station with programming in hip-hop, R&B, dance, and DJ culture. It is a sister station to Chicago public media station WBEZ 91.5, and is the inaugural Chicago source to join VuHaus. “Vocalo brings a local audience from the third largest U.S. radio market, plus a diversity of music and culture that widens the music discovery on VuHaus,“ VuHaus Brand Manager Mike Henry said. “Chicago has a vibrant local music scene that produces national talent, including Jamila Woods, who is one of the first Slingshot artists in VuHaus’ collaboration with NPR Music.” VuHaus stores music videos, interviews, and special performances from 20 public media stations. For more details, check out the RAIN News test drive of the platform from its debut in June 2015. See original story here:

By | November 16th, 2017|Creation, Direction, Interactive|0 Comments

Where is the Heartbeat? It’s Music Radio’s Turn to “Take Action”

Our nation is overwhelmed in the wake of the Charlottesville tragedy. It’s almost impossible to avoid social topics everywhere you turn, and emotions are running high. Now, weigh the current national temperature with new research that shows millennials who go to concerts and festivals are tied at the hip with social causes. In fact, 8 in 10 millennials are more likely to attend a concert or festival with artists who support social change and to show their support. Millennials, and likely many music lovers of all ages, are connected between their ears and their hearts. Meanwhile, music radio stations are mostly staying on the sidelines. Yes, the primary role of music radio stations is to entertain and that must always be in the forefront. But, we’ve never seen a political climate like this in our lifetimes. Ignoring the anxious reality of listeners’ lives today leaves a wall around the heart and soul of your radio station, denying listeners the heartbeat they sorely crave. Do you have to “take sides?” No. Can you have opinions? Yes. Frankly, in my world, unequivocal human and social equality is a given. Not everyone agrees, but (I believe, or hope) the vast majority of us do. So, instead of “taking sides,” why not promote a positive culture of “taking action?” At a minimum, “Take Action” is a term every music radio station can get behind. It’s self-empowering to the listeners without being one-sided. Acknowledge what is happening in our world and run “Take Action” promos and live reads that send listeners to your website for a list of links where they can take action. “Just go to our website and Take Action!” Use your social platforms to inform listeners of [...]

By | August 20th, 2017|Creation, Direction, Interactive|0 Comments

Music Format Highlighting Hip-hop, Other Genres Seeks Home on Public Radio

Original story posted on: Current Date: 08-17-17 Written by: Mike Janssen, Digital Editor Hip-hop and R&B could become staples on public radio, or at least more widespread, if a new CPB-backed format catches on among stations looking to change up their programming. Under development for more than a year, the format is now poised for wider adoption. CPB is looking for a consultant and up to three stations to collaborate on creating and testing the format over a two-year period starting no later than October. Dance, hip-hop, R&B and indie rock will be the musical mainstays of what CPB is calling Urban Alternative, “an innovative approach to attracting younger, multicultural audiences to public media.” Some noncommercial stations already air hip-hop, dance and R&B. But few have based their entire sound, audience and identity on those genres. More often, listeners may come across a hip-hop show wedged in among an eclectic mix of other styles on a college or community station. One exception is Chicago Public Radio’s Vocalo, which has gone all-in on a format that is serving as a template for the new Urban Alternative. Its audience can hear lesser-known local acts alongside a bevy of big names like Beyonce, The Roots and Janet Jackson. Some shows on noncommercial stations are “emblematic of what this format would be — an underground hip-hop or mix show,” said Silvia Rivera, Vocalo’s managing director. “But there’s never been an effort to make it an entire format.” Last year, CPB gave Vocalo and Chicago Public Radio $450,000 to further develop the Urban Alternative format with insights from market research and focus groups with listeners. Two stations licensed to historically black colleges, Baltimore’s WEAA and WNSB in Norfolk, Va., also participated [...]

By | August 18th, 2017|Creation, Interactive|0 Comments