The future of radio is at stake. As we quickly move into the 21st Century, our consumers are changing their listening mediums and we must stay abreast of those listening needs and modes.
Traditional college radio broadcasts may be lost in translation if they cannot keep up with technological changes. Some radio broadcast owners are ignoring these trends, which may hurt their ratings if listeners increasingly move away from traditional college radio to college radio on the Internet. Still others perceive college radio on the Internet as a dead medium, however it can be revived if colleges continue to research listener audiences and trends.
Benefits of Having College Radio on the Internet
1. More formats are available than traditional FM college radio stations. Hundreds are available from jazz and blues to Broadway and opera, to Indie rock and adult alternative and many more.
2. Ability to listen while in multiple places such as home, work, college, library or wherever you have available broadband access.
3. With college radio on the Internet, there is no “dead air”. Some college and traditional radio stations have their last broadcast ending at midnight, and the next one starts between five and seven in the morning. However, utilizing college radio on the Internet and the growing demand from students and consumers, this has the potential to increase funding and the listening audience base.
4. Set and leave it on one station without having to remember station call letters or numbers. No longer do listeners have to remember where they heard their favorite tunes on the dial. Having a college radio on the Internet can be easily bookmarked in your Favorites’ list or even set as your homepage.
5. Colleges are able to increase their fan base among alumni and exchange students because with having college radio on the Internet, it can be accessed worldwide.
6. Many college radio stations on the Internet tout commercial-free listening or at least minimal interruptions. This is an important advantage for listeners who do not like all the interruptions between songs or song sets with station breaks and commercials which can last two minutes or longer.
7. Allows more opportunities for unsigned bands and musical talent to be heard on the radio. With additional opportunities for more format types, bands of all styles will have a medium in which to play their music for a specific audience. As with MySpace, unsigned or lesser known musicians and bands are trying to gain an audience base and frequently release a couple of their songs so members can upload them to their homepages. College radio on the Internet can increase that audience base by featuring the group or musician on its station and have listeners send their comments via email, blog, online poll or phone call.
8. Unlike a traditional radio station, college radio on the Internet enables listeners to skip a song. If the listener does not care for the song, he or she can merely select “skip” and move onto the next song. Only college radio on the Internet and satellite stations have this advantage.
There are many benefits to keeping college radio on the Internet. Although some college stations have abandoned this medium because it did not reap the rewards as quickly as was expected, now it has listeners’ ears and they have more invested interest with this medium.
The top online radio networks include Shoutcast, Radio@AOL, and MSN Music as reported by MeasureCast, a company which provides next day audience size and demographic reports for online media networks. Only the top college radio stations online have made the top 10 list, which include a few Ohio college radio station programs too.
The top college radio broadcasts include KALX, Berkeley, CA; WNYU, New York, NY; and KTRU, Houston, TX, which was reported by Radio-Locator.com. Furthermore, a notable Ohio college radio station has a list of eight college radio on the Internet stations that are broadcasted from various locations across the U.S., especially where a broadcasting school is located. Colleges and universities who have the ability and interest to support college radio on the Internet stations are able to employ its own students to undertake all tasks and responsibilities of running the online radio station. Student listeners create an instant audience base because their music interests vary and they are attracted by a variety of formats.