HOW THE INTERNET IS AFFECTING RADIO

INTRODUCTION
The internet has served as the universal language of the virtual world since the beginning of the digital era. The internet can be described as a global system of computer networks that use the Standardized Transmission Control Protocol and are usually interconnected. Some of the great benefits of the internet over communication networks are its global presence, easy accessibility and wide scale-scale communication. Since the presence of the internet can be found almost everywhere across the world.
The internet greatly offers rapid communication on a global scale. It delivers an integrated multimedia entertainment that any other mass media cannot offer. The boundless communication it provides makes the internet an important medium of communication. The internet is named after the Internet Protocol, the standard communications protocol used by every computer on the internet.

The internet can powerfully leverage one’s ability to find, manage, and share information. Never in human history has such valuable resource been available to so many people at such little cost. The internet has imparted on every aspects of human endeavor and has brought dramatic changes in them. One human invention that the internet has greatly imparted is the Radio.
Wikipedia (2011) states that Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and vacuum of space. Information is carried by systematically changing (modulating) some property of the radiated waves such as amplitude, frequency, phase or pulse width. When radio waves pass an electrical conductor, the oscillating fields induce an alternating current in the conductor this can be detected and transformed into sound or other signals that carry information.

OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
It seeks to examine how the Internet is affecting Radio.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE INTERNET AND RADIO
Kozamernik and Mullane (2005) state that traditionally, audio programmes have been available via dedicated terrestrial networks broadcasting to radio receivers. Typically, they have operated on Amplitude Modulation (AM) and Frequency Modulation (FM) terrestrial platforms but, with the move to digital broadcasting, audio programmes are also available today via Digital Audio Broadcasting (DBA), Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) and In-Band On-Channel (IBOC).

However, this paradigm is about to change. Radio programmes are increasingly available not only from terrestrial networks but also from a large variety of satellite, cable and, indeed, telecommunications networks (e.g. fixed telephone lines, wireless broadband connections and mobile phones). Very often, radio is added to digital television platforms (e.g. DVB-S and DVB-T). Radio receivers are no longer only dedicated hi-fi tuners or portable radios with whip aerials, but are now assuming the shape of various multimedia-enabled computer devices (e.g. desktops, notebooks, PDAs, “Internet” radios, etc.).
These sea changes in radio technologies impact dramatically on the radio medium itself – the way it is produced, delivered, consumed and paid-for. Radio has become more than just audio – it can now contain associated metadata, synchronized slideshows and even short video clips. Radio is no longer just a “linear” flow emanating from an emission mast – audio files are now available on demand or stored locally for time-shifted play-out. It is convenience for the user, rather than the broadcaster-imposed schedule, which matters now.
Baker (2009) states that traditional radio, the oldest of the broadcast media structures, is used to competing with emergent technologies like net-radio. Television posed the biggest threat to traditional radio when it was introduced in the 1950s. Traditional radio refocused its attention away from formats taken by television and strengthened its alliances with the music industry.

Traditional radio has always had a history of adaptation, ensuring its survival to present times. As Marshall McLuhan (1964: 259-268) argued, because of radio’s speed and portable reception, it commanded a particular mobile attention of listeners, which other media did not. In the late
1960s David Sarnoff, a visionary employee of the first radio company (Marconi),acknowledged that traditional radio’s survival would be severely tested amidst the arrival of new structures like the personal computer and internet technology:
The computer will become the hub of a vast network of remote data stations and information banks feeding into the machine at a transmission rate of a billion or more bits of information a second … Eventually, a global communications network handling voice, data and facsimile will instantly link man to machine – or machine to machine – by land, air, underwater, and space circuits. The computer will affect man’s ways of thinking, his means of education, his relationship to his physical and social environment, and it will alter his ways of living.
Today the competitive threat of other new media technologies has become more serious as traditional radio faces an increasingly crowded media market place. While other digital radio platforms (iPods, satellite radio, HD Radio) have taken charge, none has managed to garner the global audience that net-radio has.
Net-radio, which is audio streaming over the internet, began as an emergent technology in the early 1990s when the internet descended from the military domain into the commercial realm to become the World Wide Web (WWW). David Black (2001: 403) said that net-radio’s history is divided into two parts.
The first stage of net radio history is what Black (2001: 401) calls “internet radio 1: internet radio in internet history”. He argued that in the early 1990s net-radio was a new cutting-edge, progressive medium.Net-radio, also known as internet radio, web radio, streaming radio and e-radio, is a far more complex, networked technology than traditional radio.
Traditional radio is a structured and linear system of mass communication that is domestic in scope whereas net-radio is associated with a non-structured, non-linear system of digital-networked information technologies that is international in scope. The popularity of net-radio stems from the fact it is a hybrid technology that both updates and globalizes traditional radio.
Net-radio is a global technology whose audio streams may be delivered live or archived to be accessed on demand; but in both cases audio files are initially created for alternative programming and delivered to an audience of more than one.
There are two types of net-radio: radio online and net-only radio. Radio online consists of regulated, traditional radio broadcasters with existing audiences, which have incorporated the internet as an adjunct service.
In contrast, net-only radio, which webcasts exclusively over the internet, is generally unregulated. Net-radio, in both forms, draws its powers from five distinct characteristics of the internet and digitalization: (i) It is a multi-media digital platform of converging print and audiovisual texts; (ii) It is interactive; (iii) It is a global medium; (iv) It provides on-demand access to a 24-hour database; and (v) It is a network of networks in a close-knit, virtual online community. Net-radio’s characteristics mean that its’ “user defined personal involvement” and interaction defines its global consumption practices and audience profile (Friere 2008: 97). In contrast to the “traditional discourse of radioness”, the real revolution of net-radio lies in its radical mode of personal audience address (Friere 2008: 97).

Net-radio has definitely arrived, but is seemingly confined to technology-rich countries in the Western world. Net-radio consumption is a centre-periphery issue because the northern hemisphere is the centre of the industry and the southern hemisphere is the periphery.
Today net-radio is no longer an emergent technology. It has been streaming for nearly sixteen years. Both types of net-radio are examples of alternative media because they stream over the internet and encourage what Chris Atton (2002: 27) called “alternative sites for distribution” to the mainstream media. Atton’s claim is backed by research undertaken by Wen Ren and Sylvia Chan-Olmsted (2004) who conducted content analysis of web content from 176 radios online and net-only radio stations in North America.
Ren and Chan-Olmsted (2004: 6) found that both types of net-radio have different audience functions to mainstream media: radio online is an “information provider” while net-only radio is a “communication facilitator”.

Radio over the Internet differs from other delivery media in three ways:

1) It is a relatively new way to experience radio via a computer device. The consumer uses a new interface (screen, keyboard, and mouse) and is able to search and select different content according to the station name, country of origin, genre or style, as well as viewing the currently played programme (“Now Playing”). The station’s frequency (as in FM or AM) or multiplex (as often in DAB) is irrelevant. The users can shortlist their preferences by compiling personalized
favourites lists. In addition, it is possible to generate a virtual station schedule according to one’s preferences. An “on-demand radio” is also offered by many traditional broadcasters on their websites; this allows the user to click and play the archived programme items which were broadcast via conventional terrestrial channels during the previous seven days or so.

2) Internet Radio (IR) widens the choice of service providers. These can be traditional radio broadcasters, new (Internet-only) stations, portals or independent users.
3) Radio content on the web can differ from radio broadcasting that has evolved over the last century. Whereas on terrestrial networks the choice of stations is relatively limited, there are thousands of IR stations. It is often possible to choose from a list of most popular stations or to find a station which is playing a particular song from a “Top 50” list. Since computers can use hard disc memory, it is possible to time-shift the play out.
One of the fundamental differences between Internet Radio (IR) and conventional radio is the absence of barriers to public transmission. Consequently, even a small local station can potentially become a global player, or at least an international station.
Since 1995, most traditional broadcasters have set up websites in order to provide complementary information for their listeners and viewers. These websites can provide a variety of textual and pictorial on-line services, as well as on-demand audio or audio/video clips associated with news events and live (continuous) reproduction of existing radio and television programmes.
For conventional broadcasters, IR could usefully complement existing on-air broadcasts. IR works best as a narrow-cast medium targeting a small number of concurrent users. Should this number increase to more than a thousand (or several thousand), the Internet streaming servers are generally not capable of providing the streams economically.
In other words, IR is only really useful if it is kept relatively small.
IR is best suited to niche content, such as education, specialist music, and programmes aimed at ethnic minorities, which may be of interest to a relatively small number of people. Often it is considered too extravagant to use scarce spectrum for such programmes. Internet Radio (IR) can offer a solution for communities scattered across the world. For example, there may not be
enough fans of gypsy music in a given part of the world to justify a local broadcast station, but if we add listeners around the world who are interested in this kind of entertainment, the potential audience will look a lot healthier.
While it is easy to introduce a new IR stream for niche radio programmes, it is more difficult, if not impossible, to find spectrum for new FM stations, particularly in some large agglomerations where spectrum is already very congested.
The scalability of IR is a major issue. When audiences are relatively small (e.g. several hundred concurrent listeners), the required bandwidth – and thus the cost – is reasonable. However, when audiences increase, the operational costs may escalate. In a way, a station may become a victim of its own success. A peer-to-peer (P2P) approach may help reduce the distribution costs. Multicast is also an option, but it requires multicast-enabled routers which may not be readily available everywhere.
Also, multicast excludes on-demand delivery.
Internet Radio (IR) is inherently interactive. IR websites are places for listeners to interact not only with the station, but also with each other. These interactions are usually achieved through text messages, e-mail forums or chat rooms as well as, in a growing number of cases, audio and video messages. Indeed,
Theoretical Explanation
This research work employs the assumption of Rearviewmirrorism propounded by Marshall McLuhan in 1964.
McLuhan’s (1964) concept of “rearviewmirrorism”, which described how a new technology copies the one it is destined to supplant, is important to draw on when comparing traditional radio and net-radio. In a McLuhanistic sense, in order to understand a radical new media technology like net-radio, inventors first relied on preconceptions formed through listeners’ experiences of traditional radio and then attempted to address weaknesses of the old and supplanted new strengths onto the new medium.
Net-radio “rearviewmirrored” traditional radio when it first began by adopting conventional formats, like news, talkback and so on. However the implication of “rearviewmirrorism” has meant that net-radio needed to establish its own distinct characteristics, rather than “looking behind” and mimicking traditional radio, in order to compete in the complex, multimedia global environment.

Therefore as net-radio developed and audiences grew, by 2000 it encompassed new levels of innovation with new music formats, multicasting and interactivity, thereby providing users with more choices and power over their listening programs. This was a significant departure from traditional radio formats where listeners were restricted by the station manager’s formats and music selection. The internet’s built-in feature of interactivity, converging multimedia, narrowcasting of specialized music genres and global access provided characteristics to net-radio that traditional radio has always strived for but never fully achieved (Priestman 2002: 229).

Kozamernik and Mullane(2005) state that the comparatively low entry barriers for broadcasters have led to a proliferation of Internet Radio sites. This has increased the importance of promotion and product differentiation. However, public service broadcasters enjoy a significant competitive edge. They benefit from both strong brand recognition and the ability to cross-promote across Internet, radio and TV networks.
In order to promote their Internet services, broadcasters must communicate the all-important web addresses to listeners.
It is not the aim of this article to explore marketing techniques, but suffice to say that broadcasters can achieve this in a variety of ways: during live programmes; in advertising campaigns on radio, TV, the Internet or in print; and with e-mail marketing campaigns, press releases and give-aways. Where Internet Radio really comes into its own is as a marketing tool in its own right. Radio is an “experience product” which the consumers must sample before they become regular listeners.
There is evidence from the BBC and others that Internet Radio players can boost listening figures for traditional radio by encouraging listeners to experiment and discover new programmes.
In addition, some shows already have as many “catch-up” listeners online as they do for the original live broadcasts.
One way that the BBC encourages users of its radio player to discover new shows is by providing links and lists of the most popular programmes by topic and genre. It is likely that later versions of the player will offer a suggestive service, along the lines of the “if you liked that, you may enjoy this” feature of Amazon and Q-Magazine. As things stand, the BBC claims that its player adds millions to the overall listening figures.
Internet Radio is also a useful platform for collecting data and for building communities of dedicated listeners. Message boards and chat rooms create communities, with the added benefit that in order to register; listeners must fill out customer profile forms and give their contact details. Information gathered in online competitions can also contribute to listener databases for the purposes of market research.

Conclusion
The Internet has opened up a new possibility for radio enthusiasts. During the last ten years or so, Internet Radio has been a major focus of technical innovations and operational experiments. Now Internet Radio has become a mature medium with its distinctive characteristics. There are many tens of thousands of Internet Radio stations worldwide, ranging from big portals down to small local and individual streaming stations.
The main assets of Internet Radio are its global reach, interactivity and personalisation. While today the users need a computer device and a broadband connection to access Internet radio stations, in future they will be able to enjoy it on a number of portable wireless devices. Internet Radio will become ubiquitous.
Internet Radio has proved to be most successful if associated with conventional radio broadcasting over terrestrial or satellite networks. Nevertheless, many standalone Internet Radio stations have reached a break-even point to become commercially successful.
Internet Radio redefines radio content. Not only does it introduce new music and speech formats, but also can embellish them with text, graphics and video. It allows users to listen to a wide selection of audio items when and where it is convenient. These on-demand radio services may dramatically affect the pattern of listening and listening habits.

References
Andrea J. C. Baker .(2009). Comparing the Regulatory Models of Net-Radio with Traditional Radio. International Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society.Vol. 7, No. 1, 2009, pp: 1 – 14.
Atton, C .(2004).Alternative internet, radical media, politics and creativity.Edinburgh University
Press, Edinburgh.
Black, D .(2001). Internet radio: a case study in medium specificity.Media, Culture & Society,
vol. 23, pp. 397-408.

Friere, A (2008). Re-mediating radio: Audio streaming, music recommendation and the
discourse of radioness. Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcast and Audio
Media, vol. 5, no. 2 & 3, pp. 97-112.

F. Kozamernik and M. Mullane.(2005) An Introduction to Internet Radio.EBU Technical Review No. 303, July 2005. http://www.ebu.ch/departments/technical/trev/trev_303-octoshape.pdf.

McLuhan, M (1964). Understanding media: the extensions of man. Mentor Books, New York.
Priestman, C (2002). Web radio, Focal Press, Oxford.
Ren, W & Chan-Olmsted, S 2004, ‘Radio content on the World Wide Web: comparing radio
stations in the United States’, The Journal of Radio Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 6-25.
Sawhney, H & Seungwhan, L (2005). Arenas of innovation: understanding new configurational
potentials of communication technologies. Media, Culture & Society, vol. 27, no. 3, pp.
391-414.

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