Last.FM and CBS

CBS paid $280 million to buy the social networking site Last.FM.

Sites like Last.FM and Tim Westergren's founding effort -- Pandora -- represent "an" aspect of the future of radio because fans can in effect program their own music and these sites are social networking sites - very significant with the next generation.

The name Last.FM is a little creepy seeing as how a traditional media company is buying it. Maybe Next.FM would be a better name.

As RAIN Publisher Kurt Hanson told his readers yesterday, "Whereas Pandora operates by creating playlists based on songs' musical characteristics (tone, tempo,&hellip

Can Sony Make HD Radio A Winner?

This does it.

Now consumers are now going to rush out and buy new HD radios.

Sony just announced it is planning to sell a table-top radio. AM/FM/HD, clock with sleep timer and alarm, wireless remote and auxiliary input jack. Store 20 AM and 20 FM stations. Your low-low price: 200 bucks.

Question: when was the last time you spent $200 for a table-top clock radio? What locale will have to freeze over before you pay it now? Can you think of 20 AM and 20 FM stations you'd like to store in its memory? Or any memory? Your memory? Are there 20 AM and FM stations in the entire nation worth storing in memory. Hey,&hellip

RADIO: People Meter Gets The Last Laugh

The radio industry which has fought everything from AM stereo and high definition radio (back when it was really new technology) right up to the Arbitron People Meter ratings system is proving once again why radio has lost it.

The Portable People Meter (PPM), an imperfect but necessary update to the paper diary system in this digital age, is turning out to be -- well, not so bad after all.

PPM is live and working in Philadelphia, the original test market. And while there have been problems such as a station being left out of the totals, the People Meter is reporting lots more radio listening than the diary has ever&hellip

Vanishing Fast: Radio Careers

We have had consolidation in radio for over ten years now and even after a flirtation with virtual voice tracking, the industry is fast becoming a nonstarter for serious careers.

In television, the increasing side effects of running public companies for every penny that can be eeked out of them and the collateral damage to local newsrooms is devastating. Local news, once the profit machine of local television, is not immune from taking a hit.

I am well aware that the radio industry wasn't the poster child for a "normal" career. I've got a lot of radio friends in the business and each one can tell you another indignity&hellip

The iPhone Tipping Point

Apple's much awaited iPhone cellular device will be available to consumers in about one month.

The svengali Steve Jobs has written the script and executed it with the precision of a skilled surgeon. His announcement was long enough ago to give a heads-up to cellular customers who had contracts expiring soon.

Jobs even created the theater behind the introduction of the iPhone. Just go to the Apple web site and see if you can't get excited about it.

Mobile experts are touting this phone as the killer app -- the first intuitive mobile device that integrates everything the next&hellip

HD Radio — It’s The Programming, Stupid!

You've seen me write about my lack of enthusiasm for HD radio (misnamed "High Definition" radio which is neither high definition nor the best radio has to offer).

In the tradition of KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) and the Bill Clinton campaigns election motto "It's The Economy, Stupid", when it comes to HD radio I'd like to add "It's the programming, stupid".

Take WCBS-FM's HD 2 oldies stream in New York. Please.

It is a shell of the former great Joe McCoy oldies station that has been shoved to the Siberian outpost we in radio now call HD radio. You can hear it over the Internet and the fidelity is, of course, as&hellip

Radio’s “Tom Terrific”

The longtime Inside Radio editor Tom Taylor is leaving at the end of the day today to take an executive editor position at

I am proud to say I hired Tom to help us develop the original Inside Radio fax in 1990. It's hard to believe that we had to pioneer our way through thermal fax paper, non-standardized sizes and the hope that we could make a radio publication a daily thing when everyone else was a weekly. All this well before the Internet became available.

Tom and our Inside Radio President Steve Butler (now a programming&hellip

Texting’s Effect on Media

I read recently that text messaging has increased a whopping 95% over the past few years. That is, young people (mainly) are going nuts text messaging friends. This is not just a casual addiction, it's compulsion and it can detract from traditional media's presence in their lives because of one significant and undeniable reason.

Gen Y reluctantly gives up their phones and mobile devices to a charger at night and the rest of the time their phones are with them, on them, turned on and being used. No Walkman could ever make that claim of dominance or loyalty. It's an unfair comparison in a way, but it underscores just how much&hellip

The Shock Jock Is Dead

I think we've finally reached the tipping point on shock jocks who compromise radio's prized and precious right to free speech and disgrace a consolidated industry that has been compromising itself since 1996.

And we may have Dan Mason, CBS' new president, to thank for kick starting the end of our long national nightmare.

Barely on the job in his new position, Mason has spoken with a firm voice that he's not going to tolerate boneheads on-the-air at CBS. And he's going to take it in the shorts for a while by upsetting the fragile billing at CBS stations but he's sending a message loud and clear.

Mason fired "The Dog&hellip