The Long Goodbye of Free Speech Radio News

We’re about to lose one of the most important independent voices in grassroots radio journalism. Free Speech Radio News announced late last week that it would cease production on September 27th.
In a nutshell, the problem is money, and the writing’s been on the wall for a while. Free Speech Radio News has been hurting in that department since the fall of 2010, when it first raised the spectre of going dark. Saved by a last-minute crowdfunding campaign, FSRN’s been teetering on the brink ever since, held together by creative management, another emergency fund drive, and the passion of its crowdsourced production base. That can only take you so far, it would seem. Continue reading “The Long Goodbye of Free Speech Radio News”

Deceptive Advertising: Translators as "Metro Stations"

More evidence that the market in FM translator stations is maturing quickly.
Saga Communications, a radio conglomerate that specializes in mid-market acquisitions, owns 91 stations across the country. Of these, some three dozen are FM translators: second-class radio stations limited to a power of 250 watts or less that rebroadcast the signals of other stations.
Saga is an aggressive player in the practice of using FM-HD Radio signals to feed programming to analog translators. Since very few people actually listen to HD Radio, these mini-signals appear to be "new" stations, though in most cases they’re completely canned programming of a format that wouldn’t otherwise be profitable on a real full-power FM station. Continue reading “Deceptive Advertising: Translators as "Metro Stations"”

Radio's Digital Dilemma: The Proto-Book Tour

It’s been less than two months since I turned in the manuscript to Routledge, but there’s already some interest in what’s coming. I’ll be speaking on Radio’s Digital Dilemma in a variety of places around the globe this fall:
Brooklyn College Media Nights, New York, October 15. Consider this a dress-rehearsal of the book-talk, which I first tested on unsuspecting radio scholars this spring in Portland, to some shock and no heckling. This is part of a two-day event organized by my work-home, BC’s Department of Television and Radio, and will feature a variety of speakers on pressing topics regarding media and journalism more broadly. Tickets to Media Nights are free, but you do have to reserve them. For more details on the event, follow me on Twitter. Continue reading “Radio's Digital Dilemma: The Proto-Book Tour”

Radio's Sprint Deal: NextRadio Launches

If you missed it: last month Sprint made good on its commitment to provide analog FM radio reception in selected smartphones. More importantly, the NextRadio app developed by Emmis Communications to make it useful was formally released to the public.
The initial deal between Sprint and U.S. broadcasters calls for Sprint to sell 30 million FM radio-capable smartphones over the next three years, on which the NextRadio app will be preinstalled. In exchange, the radio industry will pay Sprint $15 million dollars a year in advertising inventory and give the carrier a 30% cut of any revenue NextRadio generates. Continue reading “Radio's Sprint Deal: NextRadio Launches”