Radio Control


iTunes Radio is coming. I wonder if Siri is doing the phone-in show. Don’t expect any strong opinions or debate from Siri. If someone calls up and says “All politicians are crooks”, Siri is just going to say, “I don’t understand ‘All politicians are crooks’. But I could search the web for it.”

My point is, radio needs to be about opinions and debate because that’s what Apple, Pandora, Spotify and the others can’t do. Unfortunately for the last twenty years at least, most commercial radio stations have been doing their best to remove the human element, the thing that makes them unique. They’ve become a juke box of highly researched songs interspersed with slogans like “More music, less talk”.

“More music less talk” makes no sense. “Talk” is the only thing that makes a station unique. Why do less of what’s original and yours, and more of what every other radio station can do? Ah, but the music is highly researched they say. OK, playing people twelve seconds of a song down the phone and asking if they like it is one thing but a streaming service that offers you the chance to “like” the song that’s playing and suggest other songs that you might like, then adds those songs to your playlist goes way beyond any research radio stations can do.

Some say that iTunes Radio is not “radio” There’s debate over when a music streaming service becomes radio? The question we should be asking is, “At what point did radio become a music streaming service?” Apple are calling their new service “radio” because it’ll be the same as what radio has become, only better.

“More music less talk” is a slogan Apple Radio could use about their own service. It’s as if people from Apple Radio went back in time, called themselves “consultants”, and convinced radio programmers to make radio as easy to compete with as possible in the future.

“The research says that listeners don’t like it when the DJs talk too much,” that’s true but instead of just putting that research on the air in the form of a slogan, how about getting the DJs to say something interesting? When the research says, “We don’t like this music, you don’t play LESS music, you play better music”! Why not do the same with the talk? Teach people to be more engaging on the air or hire people that have actually got something to say. Otherwise you might as well listen to Siri.

Craic on!

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One Response to “Radio Control”

  1. 1 Paul Vos

    I agree with you 110 percent. Sometimes I put a news channel on instead of music, simply to hear a human speak. Those stations that listen to you comment and act on it will come out winners. I don’t need radio to behave as a juke box. My own PC can do that better.

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