Monday, October 13, 2008

Interactive Radio Sites or Intergalactic

It is very difficult for me personally to think about radio, because to be blunt, I never listen.

I do have a car in Boston but it has a CD player, and for no reason I can pin-point, the radio really irritates me. It's much more relaxing and easier for me to listen to music that I choose, rather than listening to music radio which never has anything decent on it or to talk radio which really puts me to sleep.

With that being said, it does make sense to me that radio is thriving while newspapers are suffering. Radio is a free way to get the news for Americans while they drive to their offices in the morning and home in the evening. My father listens to conservative radio whenever he can, he drinks it in as if it's the elixer of Americanism, the talk show hosts ranting with their lib-hating and lib-terrorism remarks that sound like non-factual bullshit to me but somehow seem very contrite to my father. These talk shows and the deliverance of the news on the radio seems to me to be quite an "American" past-time and I believe is something that reminds the children of the baby-boomers (like my father) of their childhoods, the time of a purer America.

I really don't know anybody aged 18-25 who listens to news radio, we get our news on the Internet. Period. Even though radio may be thriving now, I do believe that it too will experience a large drop off in audience as the older generations go deaf and as more and more of our world of information gathering and producing is geared towards the Web.

NPR gets this. Their website has a lot of interactive portions with video, photos, and blogging.
WBUR has some really great ideas also looks to be a (McCain/Palin unrealted) maverick in joining the hands of radio and the Internet. The Listener Photo Project is a WBUR link to flickr where WBUR listeners can post their photos and comment on others as well. As good an initiative this is from WBUR, I don't like how this is set up at all. I think it's annoying that one can only access these photos from a seperate Web site ( instead of the photos being directly uploaded to the WBUR site is not user friendly and explains why the last post was from February.

The future of radio Web siteslies in totally linking the two. WFAN, a New York based sports radio station does this well. While listening to WFAN, the listener will notice that a plethatude of listeners call up just to trash talk; rival teams, weekly opponents, and most of the time their own team! New Yorkers just love to complain, even when things are going alright. This brings such strong personalities to the airwaves that it makes the trash talking a lot of fun, WFAN has found a way to bring the same trash talk to their website. They have a special section called Rants and Raves, which makes it very easy for listeners to comment on every single part of the station or their teams, the conversations are limitless and hilarious. WFAN makes it very easy for these comments to be posted as well, it supplies three fields for "Name," "Web site," and "comment," once the user fills out the three (of which they can choose just to fill out just one, the comment form) and press post and it's on the Web site. It's very simple and very easy, I also like that it doesn't make anyone register for anything, it makes for a very smooth post.

The two other news radio stations I'm familier with WCBS and 1010 Wins, both New York based did not have anything innovative in the form of combining the radio and Internet experience. Both have the basic podcasts and videos that are now expected on news sites. Neither of these sites are paving the path in conjoining radio and Internet into a combined experience of awesomeness. They both look a lot like your basic news website.


Why not record every single time a listener calls up to comment on their programs. Take those recordings and upload them on the internet with a comment field so others can discuss what these regular listeners had said. Therefore anytime a listener wants his friends and family to hear what he said on the radio he can pull up the exact broadcast on his computer. Another benefit from this, it will censor all the idiots who call up and talk out of their @$$, because they too will be subjected to the endless critisism of their Internet peers. Take that all you lib-smearing idiots.

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