The death of terrestrial radio
Terrestrial broadcasters, including television, but primarily radio, are failing left and right. Read any day's "Radio Broadcast Review" newsletter to get a feel for how bad times are.
Right now the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) is petitioning the US Congress to block the merger of XM and Sirius satellite radio, saying it "creates a monopoly" that is a threat to terrestrial broadcasters. Internet radio is viewed in the same vein, and is being treated equally rough by the NAB and its minions.
The bottom line: terrestrial radio broadcasters pay NOTHING for music, have infrastructure and license costs that are competitive with internet broadcasting, and have less competition in any market than either internet or satellite broadcasters (fewer channels than either satellite or internet on either AM, FM or HD radio bands). Period. Yet they can't turn a profit any more, or at least can't unless they are part of a huge, nation-wide consortium.
Internet broadcasters and satellite have, by any measure, an uphill struggle before they can even begin to approach broadcast radio. Satellite requires an incremental equipment purchase and subscription to the service just to RECEIVE the programming - listeners must truly "opt-in" with their purse - as opposed to having a listening device built into every car for them by default.
Internet listeners must have a PC (an extra cost), a high-speed internet connection (an extra cost), THEN they have to find internet broadcast content. The latter is a serious problem: unlike a car radio or satellite, you can't just "scan the dial" for internet broadcasts: you have to explicitly connect to them.
Yet these "extra cost" services are perceived as a threat by terrestrial broadcasters...because terrestrial broadcasters are failing so miserably to deliver content that their audience wants that they cannot get advertisers to sponsor them any more. An advertiser would much rather have a 5 second spot at the beginning of an internet stream where it *WILL* be seen and heard as opposed to 50 spots on the radio that might get broadcast, but probably not paid any attention to.
The internet radio community is morally "right" to fight the ruling for new charges, but they will get killed anyway because the NAB is a BIG lobby in the US Congress - not to mention that they insure that politicians get free spot time on radio and television.
So, once again, we Americans are showing the world that we truly are led by the decedents of Al Capone and Bugsy Segal. I wish it were otherwise.