Entercom CEO David Field is once again speaking out to defend the entire industry. This is not something new for Field. He’s been one of radio’s biggest, loudest cheerleaders for years. Here is the memo he sent out to staff this week which is worth reading
“As most of you already know, iHeartMedia declared bankruptcy last week. The story received prominent news coverage across the country. Coming on the heels of a similar announcement from Cumulus Media, the iHeart news has spawned discussion on the implications for the Radio industry and its future. Since there seems to be a considerable amount of misinformation and inaccurate speculation floating around, I thought it would be constructive to share some facts and thoughts to help clarify the situation. You should feel free to share any of this with friends, colleagues, partners, and customers.
“First, iHeart and Cumulus went bankrupt because years ago prior management teams made ill-advised decisions to place too much debt on their companies. Period, full stop. The bankruptcies have nothing to do with Radio. In fact, any company in any industry that takes on too much debt will suffer a similar fate.
“Unfortunately, some reporters and observers have created an erroneous and misleading narrative that the bankruptcies are a result of challenges within the radio industry. They could not be more wrong. The fact is that Radio is a healthy business that generates large amounts of earnings and operating cash flow. And as you know, Radio has recently emerged as the #1 Reach medium in the United States touching over 270 million Americans weekly. It also generates superior ROI for customers and is the #1 medium in the country from 5am to 5pm daily. While other media have been highly disrupted by changing consumer habits and suffered severe audience erosion, Radio has more listeners than ever before. In fact, even in the latest cars with the newest technology, Americans listen to 13x more Radio than all streaming services combined (source: Edison Media Research – Share of Ear study).
“If Radio has an issue, it isn’t the size of our audiences or the value of our product or the health of our business model. No, our issue is that we are highly undervalued and receive far less than our fair share of total ad spending. With Entercom’s newly enhanced scale, advocacy efforts, marketing capabilities and customer outreach, we intend to change that. And with iHeart and Cumulus emerging from bankruptcy, the industry will be even healthier going forward and that’s good news for all of us.
“On a final note, in the wake of these announcements, it is a good time to reflect on how well positioned Entercom is to compete effectively, grow and thrive in the years ahead. We did not make the mistake of overleveraging ourselves and yet we still emerged as one of Radio’s two largest companies with the scale, brands and capabilities to compete to win. We are a leading media and entertainment company, reaching over 100 million people each week through our robust collection of highly rated radio stations, digital platforms and live events. We are also the #1 creator of live, original, local audio content and the nation’s unrivaled leader in news and sports radio. And even after our competitors come out of bankruptcy, we will still have the industry’s strongest balance sheet, providing us with the financial strength to build and grow and invest and play offense for the years ahead.
“Let’s make sure we get the word out so that our advertisers, partners, and other key influencers understand the facts and don’t come away with any false perceptions.
What’s the frequency Kenneth?
What do people need to know to tune into your radio station? In most cases it’s your frequency. But in the digital age, where lots of in vehicle systems or clock radios no longer have knobs to tune up or down the dial until you find your favourite radio station, it requires you to know the actual frequency of the station for you to listen to it.
I was recently visiting a radio station for the first time. I had listened online and checked out the station website, and completed all my usual workup on the station. I knew the call letters, station name, branding and frequency, or so I thought. As I got within listening range I tuned to the station frequency, but there was only static. A few minutes later as luck would have it, I passed a billboard on the highway that had their station name and frequency in very large letters. So as not to embarrass anyone, I have changed the name and frequency, so we’ll call this station Polka 88. My North American built vehicle has voice activation to control many of the functions. By the way, it handles my funny accent much better than the European motor vehicle I used to drive. Voice activation in my old Beamer was less than stellar, and provided for some amusing and sometimes frustrating results as I tried to make phone calls using the voice activation tools. Ford, on the other hand, has done a much better job of developing voice activated systems in their vehicles. I pressed the button on my steering wheel and asked the system to tune to 88 which it did. But all that came out of my speakers was static. I pressed the seek button and it rolled up the dial and stopped on another station. I tried again with the same result. It turned out that the station frequency was 87.8, but someone decided to round up and market this station as Polka 88.
This got me thinking about how radio stations miss out on the opportunity to grow tuning by attracting new listeners, and reminding current or P2 listeners how to find the radio station, because their frequency is not accurate in their marketing. Buying a large billboard on the highway can be expensive by the time you get the art work produced and pay the monthly rental space, and while it may seem obvious to some, why would a station not list their actual frequency as large as possible, even if it does not match the station name?
Where possible, it’s always better to include your exact frequency in your station name. 104.5 CHUM FM is a good example of this. But it becomes a problem when you call your station Polka 88 but your frequency is really 87.8. Ideally the station in this fictitious example should be rebranding to Polka 87.8.
More and more vehicles are rolling off the assembly line with improved voice activation systems so the driver can easily find an address, make phone calls, and give commands to the entertainment system like changing the radio station. The SYNC 3 system in my vehicle is very intuitive. I can say “1010” and provided I am in listening range of that station it will find and play CFRB for me. If I want to listen to something else, I can say “find 88.1” and Indie 88 will start to play. I can control my apps and playlists as well as other audio sources, all via simple voice commands. But if I want to listen to a terrestrial radio station, I need to know its actual frequency unless it is saved in my pre-set list.
These days it goes beyond the vehicle dashboard, because more and more products are coming to market that are voice controlled. From voice-powered personal assistants like Siri and Alexa, to behavioral algorithms, suggestive searches and autonomously-powered self-driving vehicles, we are quickly moving to a voice activated world, where you can use voice commands to change the channel, make a phone call, or control devices in your home or business. Voice activated products are catching on quickly because of the developments in AI (Artificial Intelligence), and because they use the most natural of human behaviours – the voice – to command, interact, and control devices in your home or office. Speaking is something almost everyone can do, and requires no learning curve. Chances are AI is in your life today and you may not even be aware of it. Here are three examples: Apple’s Siri helps us find information, gives directions, add events to our calendars, and helps send messages;Siri uses machine-learning technology to predict and understand our natural-language questions and requests; and Amazon is using AI to predict what we’re interested in purchasing based on our online behavior. Another example is Netflix that uses predictive technology based on customer’s reactions to films. It analyzes billions of records to suggest movies that you might like based on your previous reactions and choices. Experts say it’s early days and the growth of AI will completely change the way we do things. Expect to see the mouse and keyboard disappear from computers, and buttons from phones within the next 10 years.
Apple have a smart home kit that allows you to open the shades, start the coffee pot, or adjust the temperature in the house. The latest Samsung TV’s can be totally controlled by your voice. No more fumbling with a remote control. The latest kitchen fridges are connected to the internet, have a touchscreen, and built-in scanner that can read bar codes. They can create a shopping list and warn you of expired or recalled items. Some now have voice control and SmartThings integration which is an open platform allowing you to control your home and automate thousands of devices and brands.
Smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Microsoft Cortana are becoming more and more popular and are likely to be the most popular gift under the tree for gadget guys and girls this year. You simply ask a question or give a command and the device will send the audio of your question or command up to the cloud so computers can instantly work out what you want and the device will respond. And while today these devices may not be as smart (or frightening) as Hal 9000 in the movie “2001 A Space Odyssey”, they are using artificial intelligence and voice activation to allow a human to control a device. These smart devices can tell you the weather, the latest news, find you any song or genre of music you wish to listen to, and query Wikipedia. It will also wake you up, and allow you to set reminders, so you never forget your wedding anniversary or someone’s birthday.
Of course, they can also tune into your favourite radio station with a simple voice command. If you say “Alexa tune to 98.1” it will find CHFI if you are in Toronto and immediately start playing it over your smart speaker. By the way, this is a great way to get your radio station back into homes and offices, but your station frequency or name needs to be top of mind with your listeners.
More and more stations are working with companies who specialize in building what is called a “skill” which is like an app for the Amazon Echo. Developers create custom skills which Echo owners can download and install on their device from the Alexa skills store. And while an app has a visual interface, skills have a voice based interface, where you speak with the device to have it do something. Already lots of radio stations are doing this. For example, the Cox station in Houston; “The Eagle”’ has their skill on the store and if you say “Alexa, play the Eagle” you’ll be listening to 106.9 The Eagle. You can also say “Alexa, ask the Eagle what’s playing” and it will tell you.
And if you think that AI is not being used in media, already AP, Fox, and Yahoo are using AI to write simple stories like financial summaries, sports recaps, and fantasy sports reports. AI isn’t writing in-depth investigative articles, but it has no problem with very simple articles that don’t require a lot of synthesis. Automated Insights, the company behind the Wordsmith software says that e-commerce, financial services, real estate, and other “data-driven” industries are already benefitting from the app.
All this technology is available today, and who knows what the future will hold. So “Kenneth”, this is why you need to get your actual station frequency in your branding, so listeners can easily find you, via their radio, online or voice activated device. By the way, for non-R.E.M. fans, Michael Stipe wrote the song, “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth,” because of something that happened to CBS News anchor Dan Rather in 1986. If you want to know the rest of the story, ask Siri or any one of your AI-enabled devices or Google it. If you like, you can also pick up the phone and give me a call, and I’ll be happy to tell you.
18 July 2017 – Stats Canada have released Private radio broadcasting revenue figures for 2016. The profit margin before interest and taxes was 21.6% in 2016 which is down 0.1% from the previous year. However operating revenues in private radio broadcasting fell 3.3% (-$52.5 million) from 2015 to $1.6 billion in 2016. This third consecutive annual decrease in operating revenue was attributable to a 5.4% decline in local advertising sales. In 2016, 98.4% of total operating revenues in private radio broadcasting were generated from advertising sales.
The profit margin before interest and taxes fell from 18.9% in 2015 to 18.6% in 2016, and profits before interest and taxes totalled $289.0 million, leading to a 3.3% decline in operating revenue to $1.6 billion. Operating expenses fell 2.9% to $1.3 billion in 2016. Sales and promotion posted the biggest decline, down $20.2 million or 5.4% from 2015 to $355.9 million in 2016.
Private radio broadcasters in Quebec were the most profitable in the country in 2016. Quebec was the only province to post higher operating revenues and profit margin before interest and taxes. Operating revenues in Quebec rose 1.3% from 2015 to $311.3 million in 2016. A 3.5% decrease in operating expenses in 2016 contributed to a 3.9 percentage point increase in the profit margin before interest and taxes to 22.2% ($69.1 million) in 2016.
In Ontario, the profit margin before interest and taxes in 2016 was unchanged from 2015 at 21.9%. Operating revenues ($552.4 million) and expenses ($431.3 million) both fell by 0.5% in 2016.
Operating revenues in the Atlantic provinces fell 0.6% in 2016, while operating expenses were identical to 2015. This contributed to a decline in profit margin before interest and taxes from 16.8% in 2015 to 16.3% in 2016.
The biggest decreases in operating revenues were in the West, where they fell 8.2% from 2015 to $589.4 million in 2016. In Eastern Canada, operating revenues edged up 0.04% to $965.9 million.
Alberta posted the biggest decrease in radio broadcasting operating revenues, coinciding with a significant decline in gross domestic product in 2015 (-3.7%) and 2016 (-3.8%). Operating revenues totalled $247.6 million in 2016, down 12.9% from 2015. The profit margin before interest and taxes was 17.7% ($43.7 million), its lowest level since 2000. Operating expenses declined 7.4% to $203.9 million in 2016.
In Manitoba, operating revenues fell 7.6% to $57.7 million in 2016. Manitoba had the lowest profit margin before interest and taxes in the country at 8.7% or $5.0 million, compared with a profit margin before interest and taxes of $7.4 million in 2015.
In Saskatchewan, the profit margin before interest and taxes was down 0.5 percentage points from 2015 to 9.9% in 2016, attributable to a $3.4 million decline in operating revenues and a $2.6 million decrease in operating expenses.
In British Columbia and the territories, operating expenses fell 2.8%. This decline did not offset the 4.0% decrease in operating revenues in 2016. The profit margin before interest and taxes fell from 13.8% in 2015 to 12.8% in 2016.
The profit margin before interest and taxes for the private FM radio sector remains steady.Operating expenses in the private FM radio sector fell 3.9% to $1.3 billion in 2016. The profit margin before interest and taxes edged down from 21.7% in 2015 to 21.6% in 2016, which translated into a profit before interest and taxes of $274.1 million.
The profit margin before interest and taxes for the private AM radio sector was down from 6.0% in 2015 to 5.3% in 2016. This decrease was attributable to a 0.2% increase in operating expenses to $269.3 million in 2016, while operating revenues fell 0.5% to $284.3 million.
Higher operating revenues for French-language stations
The operating revenues for French-language radio stations rose 1.2% to $265.9 million in 2016. The profit margin before interest and taxes for these stations also increased, from 16.5% in 2015 to 20.1% in 2016 on account of a 3.2% decrease in operating expenses.
English-language radio stations saw their operating revenues fall 4.3% to $1.2 billion in 2016. Their profit margin before interest and taxes decreased from 19.6% in 2015 to 18.4% in 2016.
The profit margin before interest and taxes for ethnic radio stations increased 0.4 percentage points to 14.9% in 2016, with a 1.5% decline in operating expenses offsetting a 1.0% decrease in operating revenues.
More information and tables can be found at Statcan
If you have an HD car radio or an HD Radio and you live in the GTA you may have noticed that the two big Bell FM stations have quietly switched on HD in the past few days. 104.5 CHUM FM and 99.9 Virgin Radio are now broadcasting on both FM and HD. The HD2 channel of 104.5 CHUM is rebroadcasting their AM TSN (CHUM-AM) signal, while 99.9 Virgin Radio(CKFM-FM) has 1010 CFRB on it’s second HD Channel. An HD Radio station can broadcast up to 4 different audio channels, by the way.
This is now the 5th station in Toronto to move to HD, after CJSA the 800 Watt Ethnic station, Rogers Kiss FM and CFMS from Markham. These stations are broadcasting from the top of One Canadian place, so their signals are more limited. Most of the high powered FM stations in Toronto are broadcasting off the CN Tower, but could not go HD until a large investment was made in an HD combiner. This has not happened as yet, but I am told that Bell has made a work-around and installed an HD sleeve on the CN tower.
With 2 HD Radio stations broadcasting from Hamilton there are now lots of HD stations that can be heard in the GTA, and there will be more in the next few months. Across Canada there are now more that 30 HD channels available and many of them are listed here.
All this is good for the radio industry because:
a) It makes radio cool again
b) It gives the listener a much richer experience in terms of data and information pushed to the vehicle audio stack.
c) It improves the audio quality of the AM stations that are broadcast on the sub channels in many cases.
d) It can provide a better than FM quality experience depending on his it is configured
Look for Bell to roll out a traffic service on HD in the coming months to provide real time traffic data in some cars including Toyota/Lexus, BMW, Volvo, Jaguar, Land Rover, TomTom.
The other difference on CHUM this week is that Jay Michaels is filling in for the vacationing Roger Ashby. Jay sounds fresh and hip and perhaps may find himself in that seat more frequently moving forward.
Jeff McHugh is a well respected talent coach from the USA and he published some great advice from anyone who works behind a microphone. As you read Jeff’s 7 things that will get you fired, I am sure you will agree with the first 6 points, and tell yourself that you would never be silly enough to make such a mistake. But I encourage you to read number 7 very carefully. This is the one that ends more careers than the other 6 combined in my experience. There are so many talented broadcasters who either do not get promoted or head hunted or even get terminated because they are too hard to work with. Don’t be that person.
As a lifelong fan and coach of media personalities, I am sad when talented people shoot their career in the foot. We all know that you will inevitably offend somebody if you are being authentic and entertaining, but the line keeps moving. Career-ending mistakes usually involve egregious content and/or workplace behavior.
When it comes to content, some complain that today’s politically correct audiences can be oversensitive to edgy humor that used to get laughs.
Many times an audience member is concerned that someone might be offended and it kills their own appreciation of the content. If that concerned audience member is one of your advertisers…guess what happens next?
Great entertainers know it is the audience’s perception of the content that matters. When smart players’ content is offensive or hurtful, they change it. The world is evolving into a more inclusive place, and you evolve with it.
How you interact with others off-air is important. When I started in broadcasting in the 1980s, there were fewer lawyers, corporate suits, and HR rules. Many of us behaved like drunken louts.
Let’s learn from the mistakes of others. Here are seven easily avoidable transgressions that cost some talented media personalities their job or reputations.
1. Violence as content. Kathy Griffin’s photo holding a severed, bloody head of President Trump was beyond the pale. Severed, bloody body parts were funny in the black knight scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” A fictional character and ridiculous premise is safer than a real-life sitting President with a polarizing personality.
2. Racism. Bill Maher made a poor decision to use the N word in an off-the-cuff joke, and that word has been off-limits for some time. So has “yellow,” as Australian personality Red Symonds learned last week while interviewing an Asian woman. The Greaseman’s spectacular radio career ended permanently in 1999 because of his inability to stifle racially offensive content. Anything based on negative group generalizations is a bad idea. How sensitive are things today? Reporter Katie McHugh was fired recently for tweeting hate about Muslims… from the alt-right-friendly/Muslim-unfriendly website Breitbart!
3. Falsehoods and lies. Sean Hannity began losing sponsors when he knowingly pushed a false conspiracy theory about a murdered Democratic employee. Alex Jones, whose radio show is known for fantastical conspiracy theories (he’s the guy who claimed the Sandy Hook massacre never happened), was sued and had to apologize for lies he broadcast about Chobani Yogurt. It happens in the mainstream media too. Remember Brian Williams, banished from NBC to MSNBC for “misremembering” being in a helicopter that was shot down? And remember Dan Rather, disgraced for not fact-checking a George W. Bush story for the CBS Evening News.
4. Threats and abuse. CBS Philadelphia reporter Colleen Campbell went viral recently with her tirade and physical assaults against police officers on the street. Troi Torain, aka “Star” was fired from WWPR New York after threatening the child of DJ Envy at Hot 97. That was 2006. He has not been back on AM/FM radio since.
5. Sexual-harassment and assault. Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes, Gian Gomeshi at the CBC. Everyone should keep their hands and any gender-specific commentary to themselves.
6. Drugs and alcohol. We showbiz folk get a little more leeway than your average accountant, but far too many act as if it is the Burning Man festival at work. Your talent cannot shine if you are high. If you are at a work or client party, aspire to be the most sensible person there.
7. Being uncoachable. It is not “your” show. The show belongs equally to cohosts, producers, program directors, music directors, promotion directors, website managers, social media directors, market managers, vice presidents, presidents, and (a tiny bit) to your talent coach. There are many tragic stories of high-profile personalities who lost it all because they wouldn’t listen to good advice.
Jeff McHugh is known for developing remarkable talent for both morning and afternoon drive. He brings an uncommon mix of positivity, creativity, and strategy to the shows that he coaches. He is a member of the team at the Randy Lane Company.
Republished with thanks to Radio Ink
The Chairman of the Canadian Radio, Television and Telecommunications Commission gave a farewell speech to his staff in Ottawa today (16 June). He talked about achieving goals and congratulated the staff on a job well done. He mentioned television in passing and talked about broadband (Telecommunications), but there was no mention about radio in his speech. Remember the organisation he worked for for the past 5 years is called the RADIO, Television and Telecommunications Commission. But alas no mention of radio.
We wish you well John-Pierre, and can only hope that the next leader of the C.R.T.C. will care about all areas of the communications business in Canada. As a radio creator, I am very proud of the difference radio makes in the lives of average Canadians.
Here is what he said in his speech today: Good morning. It’s an honour for me to stand before all of you for one last time. To reflect on everything we’ve done and everything we’ve accomplished over the past five years. But most of all to thank you all for your exceptional work.
We public servants aren’t always celebrated for our accomplishments. Too often they go unnoticed or are taken for granted. I’m here today to celebrate the exceptional job we’ve all done together. As Ralph Waldo Emerson, that great American thinker and lecturer, once said: “The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.”
I feel rewarded for the last five years of my work. You should too. Together, we’ve made important changes to the country’s communication system and positioned it for success now and well into the future.
When I started this job almost exactly five years ago, I had a vision in mind for how my term would unfold. I presented that vision a few months later, in October 2012, at the annual conference of the Canadian Chapter of the International Institute of Communications. In that speech, I looked ahead to this day: the end of my mandate. Here’s what I forecasted:
In 2017, I see the CRTC as an institution that is trusted by Canadians. They trust us to ensure that Canada maintains and develops a world-class communication system. They trust us to defend their interests as citizens, as creators and as consumers.
In our case, trust is the by-product of doing the right thing. Of making the right choices that set up Canada’s communication system—and Canadians as consumers, creators and citizens within that system—for success in the face of change on a never-before-imagined scale. That’s the vision I put forward. And it’s exactly what we did.
Almost from day one of my term, we imagined new approaches to consultations that brought Canadians directly into the centre of conversations about issues of fundamental importance to their daily lives: wireless services, television content and broadband connectivity. In so doing, we greatly expanded and diversified the public record upon which my fellow Commissioners and I rendered our decisions. Dozens of voices became hundreds. Hundreds became thousands. Even more followed—from all parts of the country and all walks of life.
That work, by the way, has not gone unnoticed. Many of you in this room have won prizes for the work you’ve done to help the CRTC better engage with Canadians and for the resulting policy decisions. More than this, other departments and agencies of the Government of Canada have followed our lead. Be proud of that fact. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
In our consultations with Canadians, we learned that the old way of doing business—broadcast quotas, points systems, co-production treaties and other hallmarks besides—mattered less and less in this on-demand, consumer-centric age. Television as a medium is being radically transformed by broadband. The system that supports it had to change too. That’s exactly what we did.
Underpinning all these changes—within the CRTC and across the industry—is broadband. I said as much in my address to the Banff World Media Festival on Tuesday. Broadband is more than just a conduit to entertainment, government services, healthcare, education or even democracy. It’s the very technology that enables these things. It’s why we now talk in terms of living in a digital world.
Enabling access to broadband and shaping the way in which that technology is brought to, and used by, consumers was a recurring theme during the last five years. It was the reason for our decisions on net neutrality, on basic telecommunications services, and even the decision we released earlier yesterday on the review of the wireless code.
I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished as a group over the past five years. I’ll look back on this period of my career fondly. Back in 2012, I set an ambitious plan for change for this organization and I can honestly say that we achieved those goals—with hard work and dedication.
I hope you’re just as proud of what we’ve achieved together. It hasn’t always been easy. Many people have thrown cold water on our decisions. Often, they’re those who never participated in our hearings or contributed to the public record. They’re those who stand at the back of the crowd and criticize our decisions after the fact.
To them, I’ll simply say this: “Leaders think and talk about solutions. Followers think and talk about problems.”
I urge you to continue to think and talk about solutions. To continue to lead.
Some of you have asked whether I want to stay in this job past the end of my term. The answer is no. I haven’t applied because I’ve done what I set out to do five years ago: to put the CRTC back on the path of building trust with Canadians and developing a world-class communication system with Canadians at its centre.
This, by the way, is the same reason why I’m still here with only two days left in my mandate. To leave any earlier—prior to our decision on the review of the wireless code—would have been to leave a job unfinished. Yesterday’s decision lays that capstone. It’s the final reward of a job done well.
Any of you who have visited my office will have seen this figurine. It’s of Merlin, that ancient wizard of Arthurian legend. In his acclaimed account of the life of King Arthur, The Once and Future King, T. H. White imagines Merlin as someone who experiences time backwards. Merlin knows the future. He’s lived it already. This is why he’s the ideal mentor for the king to be.
Merlin was an inspiration for me during my term as Chairman. His presence kept me focused on my vision. After all, he already knew that we would achieve it together!
How is this for a radio station giveaway? Kyle and Jackie O from Kiss FM in Sydney Australia are promising to give away a Hyundai i30 car to every caller who gets on their morning show on May 19th. At this point they are not revealing how many new cars they will giveaway on the 19th but they are billing it as the biggest radio car giveaway ever. The 60 second tease spot has been released and you can see it here.
This is HISTORY in the making! May 19, EVERY Kyle and Jackie O caller who makes it on air gets a BRAND NEW Hyundai i30 car. #reinvented
Posted by Kyle and Jackie O on Sunday, April 30, 2017
The FCC is appealing to smartphone-makers to activate the FM receiver chips that come standard in most U.S. devices, but which remain turned off in more than half. Newly appointed chairman Ajit Pai told audiences at last week’s North American Broadcasters’ Association symposium in Washington DC (17/2/2017) the untapped technology offers a host of benefits to consumers and content-producers alike.
This is what he said ” That brings me to the issue of FM chips in smartphones. Simply put, the world is going wireless. And if you’re in the content business, you need to be exploring every way possible to make your content available on people’s smartphones. I know my remarks are being followed by an hour-long panel on the benefits of FM chips in smartphones, so I won’t spend too much time on this topic, but allow me to offer some high-level thoughts. As you know, the vast majority of smartphones sold in the United States do, in fact, contain FM chips. The problem is that most of them aren’t activated. As of last fall, only about 44% of the topselling smartphones in the United States have activated FM chips, and the percentage is lower in Canada. By comparison, in Mexico that number is about 80%. So it’s not just that the United States and Canada could be doing better. We could be doing a lot better. It seems odd that every day we hear about a new smartphone app that lets you do something innovative, yet these modern-day mobile miracles don’t enable a key function offered by a 1982 Sony Walkman. You could make a case for activating chips on public safety grounds alone. The former head of our Federal Emergency Management Administration has spoken out in support of this proposal. The FCC has an expert advisory panel on public safety issues that has also advocated enabling FM radio chips on smartphones. It pointed out that, “[h]aving access to terrestrial FM radio broadcasts, as opposed to streaming audio services, may enable smartphone users to receive broadcast-based EAS alerts and other vital information in emergency situations—particularly when the wireless network is down or overloaded.” Moreover, most consumers would love to access some of their favorite content over-the-air, while using one-sixth of the battery life and less data. As more and more Americans use activated FM chips in their smartphones, consumer demand for smartphones with activated FM chips should continue to increase. I’ll keep speaking out about the benefits of activating FM chips. Having said that, as a believer in free markets and the rule of law, I cannot support a government mandate requiring activation of these chips. I don’t believe the FCC has the power to issue a mandate like that, and more generally I believe it’s best to sort this issue out in the marketplace. For despite the low numbers, we are seeing progress; in the last two years, the percentage of top-selling smartphones in the United States that have activated FM chips has risen from less than 25% to 44%.”
Wouldn’t it be great if our regulators stepped up and also pushed for the same thing!
You can read his full speech here.
TORONTO, ON (February 10, 2017) Canada’s National Campus and Community Radio Association (NCRA/ANREC) has joined a growing consortium of premier radio broadcasters representing more than 400 stations who have come together to launch the Radioplayer Canada app and desktop streaming player technology in Canada.
Announced earlier this fall, Radioplayer Canada’s free app will give radio listeners access to nearly every style of music, news, talk, and entertainment content on any connected device, at any time of day, from anywhere. This now includes many of Canada’s vibrant campus and essential community stations.
“The opportunity to display the amazing talents of close to 10,000 broadcaster/contributors in the campus and community sector is so important for the radio sector, let alone the non-profit portion of the Canadian market,” said Barry Rooke, Executive Director, NCRA/ANREC. “We are thrilled to work with our partners across the industry to facilitate discovery of all types of radio, and that’s what Radioplayer Canada does. It gives listeners the chance to find something new to fall in love with.”
Radioplayer Canada will allow Canadians immediate access their favourite English and French entertainment, news, sports, and talk radio stations – all in one place.
“Community and campus stations are a vital part of any country’s radio sector,” says Michael Hill, Managing Director, Radioplayer Worldwide. “They’re training-grounds for industry innovators, which is why it’s great that Radioplayer Canada has decided to support them with this initiative. It’s inclusive, collaborative, and egalitarian – values which are at the heart of both Canada, and Radioplayer.”
Listeners will be able to access live and past radio broadcasts across the country through Radioplayer Canada’s browser-player, and on connected devices through the iOS or Android app, including integrations with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Chromecast, and smartwatches.
Radioplayer Canada brings campus and community stations together with those of Bayshore Broadcasting, Blackburn Radio, Blackgold Radio, Byrnes Communications, CAB-K Broadcasting, Central Ontario Broadcasting, Clear Sky Radio, Cogeco, Corus Entertainment, Durham Radio, Fabmar Communications, Golden West Broadcasting, Harvard Broadcasting, Larche Communications, Newcap Radio, Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, Rogers Media, Rawlco Radio, RNC Media, Saskatoon Media Group, Vista Radio, and Westman Communications Group, among others. For additional business opportunities, please visit radioplayer.
About Radioplayer Canada
Radioplayer Canada is a highly collaborative partnership among many of Canada’s finest radio broadcasters to provide listeners with a world class streaming experience across a variety of platforms and connected devices, on mobile, tablet, desktop and in-car. Radioplayer Canada unites broadcasters, fosters competition on content, and allows radio to compete with other digital forms of audio. For more, see radioplayer follow @radioplayercanada on Twitter.
About Radioplayer Worldwide
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Here’s some good news for broadcasters, at least in the USA. Last year, according to the NAB site Pilot, nearly 50% of all smart phones sold had the FM chip installed.
PILOT has observed the activation of FM reception capabilities in popular smartphones since 2012, and has reported its findings throughout the period. When our analysis began, the percentage of smartphones with FM reception capability was in the single digits. In its most recent report, however, PILOT announces that an important milestone has been reached.
In the third quarter of 2016, PILOT’s analysis shows that the number of top-selling smartphones sold with FM reception capability enabled by at least one carrier has for the first time matched those sold without FM capability.
Our analysis further indicates that almost all of the Android smartphones sold during this period had FM reception capability enabled, and that nearly all (94%) of the smartphones sold without FM capability were Apple iPhones.
It is important to keep in mind that virtually all smartphones (including iPhones) include the necessary hardware to receive FM, and so smartphones that do not include the activation of FM reception are purposely designed as such, in that they disable an inherently available capability due to a choice made by the devices’ manufacturer, platform manager or wireless carrier.
Users of smartphones equipped with FM reception capability can enjoy the benefits of “hybrid radio,” via smartphone apps like NextRadio, which provide audio content via FM radio, without the impact that streaming audio has on a smartphone’s data plan or its battery life. (Online audio streaming requires up to 6 times the battery power of FM radio reception.) Hybrid radio also provides visual enhancements to the audio via the smartphone’s data connection, allowing the user to enjoy a richer experience.
The steady growth of FM reception capability in smartphones that PILOT has observed is shown in the year-to-year comparison below.