Monday, January 14, 2013

So many topics, so little time

By Don Keith N4KC

It is difficult to keep up with rapid technological change and how it affects media, society and amateur radio. And even more difficult to keep this blog updated on that subject.  Some quick comments on some cogent topics in a feeble effort to keep up:

  • Is it just me or will the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) issue an unlimited number of FM translator licenses to existing broadcasters?  Apparently all you need to get multiple FM signals (albeit relatively low power but on the air nonetheless) is an AM license in a city.  There are some here in my hometown that give a station identification as "Birmingham" but are so covered up by other signals on a typical car radio that they are unlistenable.  Will the broadcasters be able to make money with these things?  Costs are likely very, very low, but one assumes they will have to garner some ratings or give advertisers some results if they are worth fooling with.  All I see them doing is cluttering up the FM band with more automated music or talk programming and further diluting the listenership of the other full-powered stations...all of whom are carrying automated music or talk programming.

  • Pending the approval of the government regulators, Arbitron will soon be sold to Nielsen.  Arbitron is "the leading supplier of radio audience listening estimates," as we were always required to say when I worked there.  Truth is, they are really the only one that sells radio ratings.  We were seeking a partnership with Nielsen, the TV ratings company (among many other things), when we developed the PPM device that could measure any medium that made a sound.  That included radio, TV, internet streaming, and more.  Nielsen showed signs of seeing the value of such a partnership since it would finally allow them measure TV viewing in sports bars, hotel rooms, and other places unreachable by their set-top boxes.  Ultimately, though, they shunned such a seemingly good marriage.  Now, with the purchase, it appears they see not only the value of the technology but Arbitron's monopoly on radio.  Only problem is Arbitron is joined at the hip with radio at a time when the medium is in deep, deep trouble and one has to wonder how much longer broadcasters will cut that huge check to Arbitron for estimates of a smaller and smaller piece of the media pie.  Stay tuned.

  • Just did a delightful interview with Nick Gale, a book blogger based in Great Britain.  Nick's an example of an entrepreneur who is using the virtually free platform of the internet to build a publicity business for a niche market.  It helps me promote books and my books helps him promote his site and services so it works well for all involved.  You can see the interview HERE.  We discussed everything from WIZARD OF THE WIND to THE SPIN to the state of self-publishing and how it is affecting the traditional book-publishing business.  Nick wants to do another session and delve more into that realm.  Followers of this blog know how I love to talk about that subject!

PS: Note that I now have a byline at the top of my blog posts.  Google is making changes again and their robots dearly love having names in bylines at the beginning of content.  And whatever Google loves I adopt! If they tell me I should put flying monkeys up there, I put flying monkeys up there.


Chris Webster said...

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