Will Digital Distribution, Podcasting, and Satellites Cause A Creative Renaissance In Broadcasting?

From the USC Annenberg Online Journalism Review: “The rules for the broadcast radio business — the traditional ‘terrestrial’ radio — are changing in many ways, with satellite radio… and the recent ‘podcasting’ phenomenon… letting you play news stories, music shows, comedy and more on your own time via your portable MP3 player…

“Can these new technologies bring a broader range of audio reportage than just public radio, local AM news and repurposed Big Media fare like ESPN Radio?

“The jury is still out, but radio junkies are filled with hope.”

“‘It’s a ripe moment for radio,’ said Jake Shapiro, executive director of PRX, an innovative online exchange for public radio shows. ‘Several trends are converging: digital audio production tools are cheap and accessible; new distribution paths like streaming, satellite radio, digital broadcast radio, wireless and “podcasting” are emerging. And concerns over broader media consolidation underline the importance of independent voices and non-commercial journalism.’..

“Shapiro notes that the Net has become a much bigger part of the radio production process, with easier digital distribution, as well as radio Web sites giving pieces a longer shelf life…

“Beyond… smaller productions, there are now… podcasts from public radio station WGBH as well as KOMO 1000 AM news in Seattle.:

…”While podcasting is only in its embryonic stage, people are already looking beyond time-shifted radio on portable MP3 players. NPR’s (Doug) Mitchell, for one, thinks that ubiquitous wireless Net connections could bring on-demand radio to a variety of devices, cutting out the computer as content server.

“‘The next big thing is…I think eventually you’ll be able to wirelessly download something, stick on some headphones, and sit with your iPod or phone and listen to a program,’ Mitchell said. ‘I think you’ll eventually be able to do that. Handheld devices will keep shrinking. You can already download and listen to shows online.’..

“Blogger Russell Beattie, a technology consultant and programmer based in San Francisco, thinks that next-generation mobile phones will play a vital role in the wireless radio revolution.

“‘Right now there are four million iPods, and yet there are going to be 650 million phones shipped this year alone,’ Beattie wrote. ‘How big will podcasting be when all those phones can be “podcast players”? Think you’re at the beginning of a trend now? Just wait….The phone may not hold the thousands of hours of audio that a normal iPod holds, but it’ll be perfect for the day’s podcasts, no?…Convergence, ubiquity and connectivity are going to change society as we know it. Podcasting is only at the very tip of this.”

Think about what this could means for music programs and promotion…

Read this entire OJR article online here.

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