Sunday, November 22, 2009

Terrestrial Broadcast Radio Losing It's Relevance?

The newest threat to radio broadcasting, whether it be local FM, Medium Wave AM,  or Shortwave RF technology has been on the list of threatened communications for a long time now. It seems that Reciva has developed something they are calling "Internet Radio". Streaming audio has been on the rise everyday since the technology was invented. Radio stations have had to change with the times. Listeners have changing tastes, wavering attitudes that change with the popular trends in society. 

Articles at FRRL Wordpress go into great detail about the changing radio marketplace. Whoever wrote these pieces over there is truly someone who is in touch with everything that is happening, and one smart individual! From the business perspective, the author makes some really substantial points to the ends of being quite compelling. One of the best points made is that the author went to a location that should have had at least reasonable reception of a 50,000 watt local station, but that "blowtorch" couldn't make it outside of the metropolitan area of Chicago.

Another argument made by the FRRL wordpress author was: Who would want to deal with RF challenges when they can use an "Internet Radio" to tune in thousands of stations from across the world on one of these internet radios? 

I want to talk about why internet cannot be relied upon and why internet radio isn't radio at all! This change in the listener market has deceived many because they make this box cleverly designed to look like a radio, giving the perception to the public that this is really a radio. This "radio" look - alike depends on a stream of audio from an I.P. Address. The I.P. Address is assigned electronically to a computer server somewhere, and the computer feeding into the server may or may not be feeding live "broadcast" programming. 

No one is broadcasting at all with this internet radio. Internet depends upon a heavy infrastructure that has all sorts of holes in it, making it unreliable. The biggest flaw is that the internet can be taken down easily by anything or anyone or any circumstance powerful enough to be reckoned with. What happens when the internet is gone? Your signal to your "internet radio" stops! The term "signal" in this case is a misnomer. Satellite Radio at least depends on a real Satellite using RF to deliver a real signal. 

It's like a radio amateur who doesn't have a radio, or can't hook their radio up because of restrictions. This goof gets on Echolink and thinks he's somehow participating in radio. This can be equated to internet radio. We hams call it Hinternet. 

Any computer tech can more substantially make the argument about the internet being unstable and unreliable in the context this is being presented in. In any sense, even though it makes no logical sense, REAL RF Radio is being put into a corner by these developments. Forget about the old resistance to change that alot of people will make. Conspiracy theorists have united in the radio circles to call this a method of controlling the media, the flow of information, etc. They could be right however, it would be more likely to be true by accidental result of what the new technology is. 

This whole mess should concern the radio broadcasting industry, radio hobbyists, and our respective listeners enough that a stand should be taken. I mean a noticeable stand that shows concern in the scientific and business contexts. If a stand is to be taken, it needs to make a provable case for itself. Preserving radio ought to be a top priority for every reason there is. Every reason you can think of is a good reason to preserve RF communications! Add it all up everyone! It will be enough evidence to make even those promoting internet radio think twice if they know their profits could simply dissapear with any major event powerful enough to cause major disruption for more than a reasonable time. 

REAL RF Radio will still be there to inform the masses if anything described above should ever happen. Radio Communications is a proven science that cannot be overlooked nor forgotten about. The world is in major conflict constantly, and radio gets the news to everyone. Let's take a stand for REAL RF! Find a way to stand behind your local and shortwave broadcast stations, keep them on the air!

In the FRRL Wordpress artcle, it is mentioned that radio hobbyists aren't the focus of broadcasters. The article mentions that a station - radio hobbyist relationship is undesired, and that stations are more focused on those loyal listeners who believe in the station's content. This is as it should be to a certain extent. Who do these stations think a large portion of their daily, loyal, believers are? I think they would be stunned to fnd that these same people are educated people who come from a history of listening to their radios, and they have learned how radio works. In essence, they are all radio hobbyists!

The articles are here. Read them and follow the links. There will also be a link to an old Pop Comm article about radio facing a threat due to the changing demands of listeners


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