Unless you would rather hear more about the elections – Let’s talk baseball!!!

There’s nothing like playoff baseball. It has all of the makings of a good drama, the happiness, the love, the heartbreak, the meltdowns, the fights and the rivalries. We have some die hard baseball fans hear at C. Crane, since we’re in Northern California, we have a lot of Giants lovers (who were elated when they got the Wildcard and then heartbroken when they didn’t make it out of the division series playoffs) but we also have a few folks who root for the A’s, the Dodgers and the Cubbies.

Baseball and radio have a long history and some of the best voices in radio (in our humble opinions) are sportscasters. Just listen to Jon Miller from the San Francisco Giants call the game, or recently retired Vin Scully who had called the games since 1950. We get comments from customers regularly who buy one of our radios so they can get their favorite baseball game or take it to the games with them so they can listen to the play by play.

When sitting in on a conference about Sports Talk Radio, we learned that in order to be successful in a popular sports market like Boston, Chicago, New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles, sports radio hosts had to be some of the most knowledgeable and well-studied hosts in the market. Where else would radio show callers expect the host to know everything about a pitcher from 50 years ago, even if the host is only 40? That host has to know who the pitcher was, if they won any awards, how they compare to the current pitcher, if there were any scandals, etc. And that’s just one position! They need to know the history of the franchise and the management and the owners. You’ve heard a great host. It wouldn’t do and the market wouldn’t accept someone who had no idea about those kinds of details. The panelists at this conference brought up how difficult it is for an outsider or someone who didn’t grow up in the area to come in and be successful because they have to learn so much vs. someone who grew up going to the games and listened on the radio and is really passionate about their team and their city.

Sports Talk is one of the few areas where radio has seen growth and we believe a big part of that is the local talent. It can’t be syndicated (at least not widely) because it’s specific to the market. Most people in New York DO NOT want to hear about the Dodgers and people in Los Angeles really, really don’t want to hear about the Giants. We think maybe regular radio would do well to take a page out of Sports Talk’s programming book and look for and develop strong local talent with content that’s specific to their market. From what we’ve seen, the most successful stations do this.

We would love to know if you listen to baseball on the radio and who’s your favorite team?

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 Radio.com (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!