Olga Kharif writes:
The radio wars are escalating. In a one-two punch aimed at enlisting regulators to their cause, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and National Public Radio want the Federal Communications Commission to investigate alleged misdeeds by satellite radio companies XM ... and Sirius ...
Link: BusinessWeek. [Disclosure: I'm on the board of directors of NPR, mentioned in the story above, and am the GM of 13 public radio stations in the Northwest. The opinions below, as always, are my own.]
Evidence is that the satellite companies, through higher-than-legal-power FM coupling transmitters, various localization attempts, and some interesting patent applications are taking an aggressive -- some would say scofflaw -- position vis-à-vis terrestrial broadcasting. It's good for broadcasters to keep the pressure on, but I'm not hugely worried about satellite radio. It is providing a lot of choice for listeners who value that over all else and it gives perennial 13-year-olds a place to listen to Howard Stern with nearly all constraints on his own paleo-adolescence removed, but like politics, radio is best localized, as the companies who have done their best to avoid it are now learning.
In recent months, I've come to the conclusion that terrestrial broadcasters have a powerful capability in HD Radio. No, not so much in the multi-channel IBOC part of HD Radio (though that's helpful), but in its open architecture which will permit marrying terrestrial HD Radio channels with as many IP channels as a broadcaster wants to stream -- all under a station's brand. Every station can be XM. I'll be writing more about this soon, so for now just a tease. --Dennis