Radio AM to FM: March 8, 2002
Satellite Radio Heating Up
Sirius Satellite Radio continues to roll out its service across the country, and is now available in Phoenix, Houston, Denver and Jackson, Mississippi. I was unable to confirm the launch date locally, but the company claims the equipment is available at major retailers in Southern California, so a local launch cannot be far off.
The cool thing is that you can access the music channels without subscribing by going to the web site and becoming a "Sirius Insider." A great marketing idea to get you hooked on the service, a few quick sign-up screens give you access to every channel Sirius provides, as long as you have a good internet connection and Windows Media Player.
As a subscription service, Sirius costs $12.99 per month. This is a great way to sample before you commit to the required special receivers, which cost between $300 and $600 for a typical setup.
Not to be outdone, competitor XM Satellite Radio -- which launched months before Sirius -- is teaming up with satellite television provider DirecTV, and will provide DirecTV subscribers with special incentives to subscribe to XM.
In the wake of satellite radio's spread around the country, the National Association of Broadcasters is pushing the FCC to act quickly and authorize the introduction of broadcast digital radio, known as In-Band, On-Channel (IBOC) digital radio.
"It works, it's ready," says the NAB. The Association hopes to avoid the problems that occurred when the FCC failed to adopt a single standard for AM stereo broadcasts as well as getting the service started sooner than later. Some predict that digital radio will completely replace standard analog broadcasts within ten years.
The National Association of Broadcasters has announced the finalists for this year's Crystal Radio Awards for outstanding year-round community service. Both KABC (790 AM) and sister station KLOS (95.5 FM) are finalists ... and the only Los Angeles stations to be nominated.
The ten winners of the awards will be announced during the Association's NAB2002 Radio Luncheon on April 9th.
With ad revenues continuing to be flat in radio, ad executives are turning to the bottle for help. Not for drinking, though ... it seems that hard liquor ads are showing up more and more on local stations, and may rival beer ads for total revenue in the coming years.
Other growth areas for radio advertising include financial services, health care and entertainment.
Copyright © 2002 Richard Wagoner and The Copley Press.
To subscribe to The Daily Breeze, call (310) 540-5511