Battle of the Platforms

Boxing gloves

We had an excellent comment from one of our blog readers recently on our blog post Is Radio in Crisis? “…….We need to get back to what made radio great in the 30s and 50s (and 60s and 70s) instead of trying to ‘beat’ the technology game. The PLATFORM is not relevant. The PROGRAMMING is.”

Platform battles aren’t limited to Podcasts vs. AM vs. FM vs. HD, etc. There’s also a battle for the platforms that include/exclude content. This is especially true when it comes to internet radio. When we first started offering internet radios back in 2006 everyone was just trying to stream. The streams weren’t great but you could get a lot of stations and there was a desire for adding listeners regardless of how they got there. The content available on internet and WiFi radio is pretty incredible.

As the technology progresses, different issues continue to appear. Some sites use flash players for their streams, which can’t play on devices without screens where you can press play (like our radios). Other networks, decide that they want you to listen through their app or device so they choose to limit the distribution of their content unless you are able to negotiate a licensing deal. Others change the format that they stream in to a less widely supported format or brand new format again limiting the devices the stream can be heard on.

There are content aggregators, meaning they don’t actually own any of the content. They gather it; host the database and often the website where it can be accessed; and work with chip manufacturers that create chips with access to their content on them. These then are embedded in devices like our radio. These aggregators can usually turn content on/off and add/remove streams (if it’s in an accepted format) – like Reciva, Frontier Silicon and TuneIn. Some have negotiated “premium” subscriptions that allow you to hear content that is otherwise not available via streams due to outside licensing agreements (like professional sports, archived shows, etc.). However, these premium services are often only available through their app or their web portal. There are also networks that own their own content like iHeartRadio (also known as Clear Channel) and (CBS Radio Network). Maybe this provides some insight into why we call it the “Battle of the platforms”.

Our job here at C. Crane is to help listeners connect to their station, show or host regardless of the platform. There are times where an internet radio is the only viable solution such as when a person moves from Los Angeles to Florida but still wants to hear LA broadcasts. Or when Rush Limbaugh or George Noory  are no longer playing on a station they can receive, often we can help the listener find this content on another station.

It’s been interesting sharing “our job” with some of the content providers. Often there seems to be a disconnect within the networks themselves. Digital media in many cases is an entirely separate division or company. Sometimes the representatives don’t know the AM/FM market outside of call letters or what it says on their published papers. Some networks are changing staff, and appear to be working toward some better integration but there is a long way to go from what we see. Eliminating the platform wars and making it easier for companies to get listeners the content they want to hear would be a huge step in the right direction.

More than anything we try to be an advocate for the listener (because we listen too!). If you haven’t tried an internet radio, now might be a perfect time. Whether you choose one of our radios or another manufacturer, make sure to find out if the radio will play the content that you are trying to hear and supports any other functionality that is necessary for you to be happy with the radio (like Pandora, Bluetooth, clock or alarm, etc.).

For more information on what you might here on internet radio, read some past blog posts

Before You Give up Listening to Radio by Ken Hoffman, Columnist Houston Chronicle

A Secret Garden of Music

Check out this video on What You Might Hear

Also, if you’re having a tough time deciding, check out The Pros and Cons of WiFi and Internet Radio

How can we help you find a station you have lost, a host you are looking for? Contact us – we’re here to help!

3 Responses to “Battle of the Platforms”

  1. bruce Atchison - author Says:

    How true it is that it’s content more than platform which matters in most cases. I get bored with local radio and its idiotic commercials. If they put on interesting and thought-provoking material, I’d be more inclined to tune in.

    On the other hand, I like the thrill of receiving distant AM and shortwave stations. There’s something wondrous about snagging a signal which has traveled half way around the world. And now that I have my Skywave radio, I have added incentive to tune in DX.

  2. Gordon Heffler Says:

    I grew up in the fifties and sixties and many a night I spent huddled in the orange dial glow and warmth from the back of my six tube AM radio. In the late evening all of Eastern North America radio stations could be found across the dial from their 50,000 watt transmitters back then. I would listen to my local AM er until 9:pm and then after 10pm as long as I could keep my pre-teenage and teenage eyes open I listened to the DJ’s from the big market hit stations WPTR in Albany, WKBW Joey Renolds in Buffalo, WINS 10-10 New York with Murry the Kaye and WKBW’s Cousin Brucie all pouring out “the hits” nightly…..I can remember even imaging that I was in a hot muggy evening in Harlem as Ben E King wafted over “there is a rose in Spanish Harlem…” To me that was radio AND after the music died of a drug overdose in the seventies I moved on to adulthood and could never recapture that feeling UNTIL a radio friend in Texas told me about his CCrane Internet radio…….he sent me a picture and I immediately felt that it seemed like that old AM radio that I had back then and so I ordered one. The day it arrived and I plugged it into my router and started searching for stations. I was overtaken with emotion that I had got back to what I had missed so dearly all these years….experiencing “new” radio stations from everywhere and hearing what was “local” to them….I stayed up all night that first night and experienced a return to what radio really meant for me back then thanks now to this wonderful little radio that brings me more listening pleasure next to my bed than I have experienced in 50 years!! The small investment in this truly magical radio box has literally taken me back to what radio was in the fifties and the pleasure I have gotten from it is beyond putting a dollar value to. I have even found a station that keeps me up late most evenings, transfixed on that little CCrane radio speaker……WGNY Fox Oldies New York. For me I have gotten back to what radio was and have done it thanks to this little “platform” of a radio that I can only call a “magic box” Yes these stations today think that you are out there dying to receive them on Iphones, tablets,Pc’s and the like but they (and much of the public) don’t realize that the content is still out there but you just require a friendly, simple platform to receive it now…this little internet radio is designed for that purpose and delivers in spades at least to this old time radio enthusiast. I am a local FM station chief engineer now here in Halifax Nova Scotia Canada and I know radio behind the scenes very well….internet radio reception is, as I see it, the wave of the future without loosing the romance of receiving a far distant station and listening in to what is happening local at that station’s location……yes the good old days of radio are indeed with us…….Gordon Heffler

  3. Jim Tedford Says:

    Yes, it certainly content over platform, but platform is more and more central if you are looking for innovative content. Over-the-air radio, almost without exception, is the same tired old musical formats, and syndicated talk programs. There are of course some exceptions (I happen to live within listening range of KBRD, which plays all kinds of heritage music) but for the most part, radio in your town is the same as in everyone else’s town. And thanks to rising levels of interference, over-the-air radio is more and more a futile pursuit. (And to the previous poster’s comment: DX is not the same as actually listening to the radio. I’m a longtime DXer; when I pursue that, I’m not going for content.)

    If you want interesting content, your only option is internet radio. Your web browser, phone or tablet app, or standalone internet radio is the only way you’re going to find unique radio. I own dozens of high-quality, expensive shortwave and AM/FM radios; they mostly collect dust while I rely on my iPod.

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