October 31, 2006

KCRW's Active Internet Audience

Sarah McBride:
KCRW is a leading example of how public radio stations are aggressively pushing high-definition radio, live streaming of programs, podcasting and other technology-driven improvements -- and in the process demonstrating the potential the Internet may hold for all radio stations, public or commercial.

Such moves have helped public stations expand their audience at a time when commercial broadcasters are seeing the listener base shrink. But while the initiatives have helped public radio stations expand their reach, the bar for success is also lower. Public stations rely on sponsorship and listener donations and are under less pressure to make money on their audience-growing online initiatives, such as selling ads on their podcasts.

"They have less to lose," says David Bank, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets. "They're all about delivering their content to the audience, without worrying about how [new technologies] might displace the audience and the advertiser." Now, he says, commercial radio is wishing it had moved faster and earlier in this area, although it has a big effort to catch up in the past year or two. Many big radio companies now sell advertising for their streams separately to their broadcast advertising, and start most podcasts with an ad. Industry-wide, online revenue now runs well north of $100 million annually.
KCRW's music programs are, in my view, the best around and a refreshing change from the usual commercial practice of playing the same old songs over and over and over and over. Posted by James Zellmer at October 31, 2006 8:03 AM | Subscribe to this site via RSS:
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