What Does It All Mean?

There are a number of aspects of the radio broadcasting industry that will change with the crossover to the Internet. Until recently, radio has always been a local medium due to the limited power of the transmission signal. It has been ideal for local advertisers because of the limited, local area it serves and the low costs of advertising relative to television rates. By taking the station online, however, the market is instantly expanded to where you now have the potential to serve a global audience. Potentially, these online stations that are simulcasting on the Internet could begin charging national rates instead of local rates. In addition, local stations can begin selling products in association with their programming, such as music.

On the flipside of trying to appeal to a national audience. however, is the dilemma of deciding which advertising to carry. Stations risk losing their local audience by trying to appeal to broader geographic demographics and losing the local appeal. The number of competing stations on the Internet is another drawback to trying to appeal to a broader audience online. There are over 2,500 stations currently broadcasting and that number could potentially keep growing forever since there is no scarcity of spectrum space as there is in broadcast radio. Of course, this unlimited space also means that anyone can be a broadcaster. This should allow for a more diverse range of voices.

For consumers, the continuing development of Internet radio cannot be anything but good. Internet radio already offers an exponential amount of listening options as well as easy access for office workers. Sonicbox has already developed a device that allows users to receive the signal in their FM radio. In the near future, the development of wireless Internet will allow for such a receiver to be placed in automobiles. The one difficulty that Internet radio has right now, signal transmission breakup, will be resolved once high-speed access becomes more prevalent.