Radio goes digital?

I was reading Wired News (not something I do regularly, no) and this popped up:

“Radio knows that it needs to make that jump to the digital universe,” said Tom Taylor, editor of the daily newsletter Inside Radio, which is published by a division of Clear Channel Communications.

Isn’t it a bit late for radio? Especially in the US – Digital Audio Broadcasts have been going for many years here despite the high cost (and general awful reception*) of the receivers…maybe that’s why podcasting took off so big in the States and not so here?

More interesting – someone here mentioned Jack and this article explains it – so returning radio what it was 20-25 years ago – when K-Tel and Ronco compilations happily put PIL and Echo and the Bunnymen next to Strawberry Switchblade and KC and the Sunshine Band…this is a move in the right direction, mixing it up and avoid genre boundaries is what it’s about. I do have a suspicion that it is a way of sneaking 80’s music onto 60s/70s stations.

So why are DJs needed on radio? Exactly?

I remember when the local affiliate of County Sound – Delta – started where I grew up and me and a mate used to listen to the automatic transmissions. They were great – no annoying DJs (and the DJs on County Sound were pretty terrible; local radio at it’s worst with bought-in US stylings), no news, no adverts – just music and some odd automated messages. Very hypnotic, and very cool.

So I think that’s an interesting idea – and breaks the whole ‘radio is there to promote music industry’ link which has been sacrosant. I don’t see the fall of the (generally) annoying DJ as anything but a good thing. They’ll always be niches for the John Peels and the Annie Nightingales, even if it’s just in podcasting…


* John has a Bush digital radio – he uses it to play CDs since the reception in his flat is worse than analogue signals! It’s a really on/off technology (ie. it works, great, but unlike old radio, weak signals just don’t play), but digital static is AWFUL.

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