Are You Already Offering Premium Content?

Written Feb. 25, 2008 by Sean Ross in Content + Internet Radio + Terrestrial Radio with 4 Comments

A lot has been written here about the mess that many stations make of the on-line streamed versions of their stopsets. Some stations are doing a better job of selling local spots to parallel the national ones that would create an AFTRA issue. Others are still giving the audience 4 to 6 minutes of dire-sounding PSAs, bad incidental music, repeating morning show promos, fill songs, or some combination thereof.

In recent weeks, I've been spending more time than usual with Internet-only radio, and I've had the following moment of clarity (which I admittedly could have had a year earlier if I didn't do most of my on-line listening to terrestrial).

Almost every major on-line service offers a premium subscription level with no stopsets -- even though their stopsets are much shorter than most terrestrial stations. Terrestrial stations that at least do the work to fill their stopsets with actual songs are effectively giving the listeners that for free.

So while the best scenario would be to actually resolve the AFTRA issue (and the accompanying Arbitron issue of separately tallied stream listing), and the second best would be to sell more Web-only spots, stations that can't do that have a pretty clear mandate. It's time to fill those breaks up with songs, not fill music or McGruff the Crime Dog (the undisputed king of streaming PSAs) and to tell your stream listeners that they're getting commercial-free music without paying extra for it.

Reader Comments

Your 2¢, in chronological order — add your comment below.
1  Will on February 25, 2008 1:57 PM

Funny you should mention this...I'm listening to KISS right now, and they just rejoined their terrestrial broadcast halfway through "Give It To Me." Sick stream.

2  Scoot on February 25, 2008 8:19 PM

The worst offender of this WABC New York. They have a voice that keeps repeating, "Thank you for streaming WABC. We'll be back in just a minute" over a bed of music. The voice repeats this phrase every 15 seconds or so, sometimes for 5 minutes or more. I find that I cannot listen to their stream as a result, even though I like the Saturday Night Oldies show. That voice is pure torture.

Note: There is also something wrong with their stream that makes some of the music and voices not show up. A little like one channel (left or right) being off.

3  Randy Sherwyn on February 29, 2008 3:08 PM

This is another case that with so much consolodation, now the PD must become the Web Traffic Director as well. With breaks on a Monday at the begining of the month sometimes 2 minutes, late in the month 6 minutes...I hope another alternative someday that we can interface the Web breaks to match actual terrestrial station breaks as far as time. It's difficult when the spot breaks vary in time so much.

4  Chris on February 29, 2008 6:17 PM

I remember KPLX Dallas (99.5 The Wolf) was one of the first to block their commercials by playing local Texas Country music. It was almost like the start of HD2, but years before HD2. Though it was annoying to lose a song in the middle, it exposed me to music I probably would otherwise never have given a chance. I ended up knowing those songs better than the powers! Because of that, it became my stream of choice.

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