Doug Kaye (host and producer of IT Conversations) suggests that downloading radio programs from the net is superior to the old radio frequency broadcasting:

This started for me when I blogged about Doc’s suggestion that we all call our local public radio stations and request they carry the new show. It took me no time at all to realize how little sense that made. There’s no doubt that if KQED-FM were to broadcast the show at all, it would be at some obscure time of day when I wasn’t likely to listen. No, that’s not even correct. There’s no time of day that would be good for me. I don’t plan my days around a radio or TV schedule because, quite frankly, I don’t need to. I have an iPod and I can listen to what I want, where I want and when I want. And given that there’s already more good programming than I have time for, anyone who doesn’t make it easy for me by providing an RSS feed with enclosures simply won’t make the cut. Even in my car, unless it’s just a trip to the grocery store, I no longer tune in a broadcast station.

While I do agree with the general assumption that channel subscription can be a better solution for special interest programs I think general interest radio has some advantages that will not go away soon:

  • it can be recieved with extremely low tech equipment
  • the progam shedule for regular listeners structures the day like a clock
  • the predefined time slices require editors to focus their material
  • it will help to introduce topics to people they probably would not subscribe to

Doug Kaye maybe is a special interest guy – so his view may not be representative for a mass audience. I am simply sceptical about the superiority of subscription for main stream media. If there are cheap and easy to use devices available I do think these could replace FM radio technically – but their success will be limited if these can’t mimic the old form of distribution: live streaming radio. We know that new media always resembled the old ones.

BTW: There is also a NY Times article about people getting their program (even TV) from the Web.

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