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.