Friday, June 5, 2009
Move over satellite radio...there's something new in the "Old Wheezer!"
Actually a couple of interesting items to report on today. One gets big play in the radio trade publications:
AT&T teams with RaySat Broadcasting to launch CruiseCast, a $28 per month rear-seat entertainment system that gives subscribers 20 satellite radio channels and 22 TV channels. The service launches as car sales are at their lowest point in decades and consumers are looking for ways to cut expenses.
NOTE: that last sentence is the usual radio-industry spin this particular publication puts on all stories. You know, I don't have any idea if this is something consumers are clamoring for or not. If it were audio only, I'd say it's dead out of the gate, but having TV right there in the back seat for the kids gives it some oomph.
The wild card is how long it will be before wi-fi is ubiquitous and you can have almost unlimited in-vehicle audio, video, games, and more right off the Internet, having 22 TV channels ain't such a big deal.
The other media-related item is about the demise of the long-standing radio trade paper, Radio & Records. For years, having a record "number one with a bullet" on the R&R charts was the epitome of success. It did a wonderful job of keeping up with industry news and trends and its gossip and personality-following made it a must-read every Friday.
Two things killed the paper, though. First, like all newspapers, it had to be composed, printed, and mailed. That meant any news was old, old, old by the time you got the ink all over your fingers trying to read it. And its primary advertiser base was record labels. The only industry sicker than automobile manufacturers and broadcast radio is the music biz.
I had many good friends who worked there, including their publisher and CEO for a while, Erica Farber. They all brought a passion for radio to the paper that has been sorely lacking since Nielsen's parent company, VNU, bought them a while back. Still, it was inevitable that they went the way of many other print media.
Change is a bulldozer. Either hop aboard and help steer or get tread marks on your bum.