My ipod rests on a shelf in my closet. It holds about fifty songs that I quickly tired of. I like music but have no time to select new songs for myself. I also have a CD player but I don’t buy CDs. Its not just the thought of contributing to an industry that sues their own customers for file sharing — I don’t like clutter and for me CDs create an uncontrollable mess. I was exposed to an HD Radio demonstration about a year ago and went out and installed one in my car. The sound was very good when you were on a highway or in close proximity to the transmission tower, but the digital service would often skip to analog if I drove behind any obstructions: tree, house, hill or building. The digital and analog signals were often out of sync and added new unfamiliar verses to familiar songs. The biggest dissapointment was that the new “secret” stations as advertised were either over programmed “Jack” or under programmed “deep cuts.” sort of like listening to someone else’s ipod. It was not “Live Radio.”
And what is the reason for AM HD? Not one new Talk Station!?! Glenn Beck is the third most listened to talk show in America and “corporate radio” won’t clear his show in the number 1 radio market in the country. What are they waiting for? (your radio market may or may not be different).
At some point I must have read somewhere that a smartphone with a digital service plan could stream Internet radio. I went out and bought one. I also bought a Bluetooth stereo head set and found it uncomfortable to wear. The solution was to replace the HD radio in my car with a radio that had Bluetooth Audio.
The Bluetooth Audio connects to my smartphone — no antenna is required. Streaming Internet radio now plays on my car’s sound system. Talk shows at 35 kbs sound better than HD AM radio, and music at 128 kbs sounds, to me, better than Satellite radio.
Finally, I’m happy with my car radio. The morning commute is spent listening to Mancow or Glenn Beck. I’m discovering new music on my way home. The Internet rock stations are more imaginative. The Edge Rocks, Radio Paradise and Radio Free Charleston are among my favorites. These are not corporate radio stations — they take risks and introduce new ideas and music. They have a personal stake in the success of the station. The jocks even select the songs! It’s kind of like the way Football used to be when Quarterbacks called the plays. It adds an element of surprise. I’ve spent some hard driving hours listening to PunkRadioCast at ear bleeding levels. Where are you going to find anything like that on corporate run radio stations, without the need to pay for a subscription?
I live in the NY metro and none of the shows or stations mentioned can be heard on my old radio. There are a few minor drawbacks — buffering issues — but not enough to out- weigh the benefits of mobile Internet radio. The service is slam dunk solid if you live and drive near cell phone towers. (There are more cell phone towers than Starbucks in the Northeast).
“Mobile Internet Radio” is what is next for Radio.
Links to all shows and stations mentioned can be found on: TalkStreamLive.mobi