With the Popularity of Internet Radio Streams, Why Need FM Tuners?

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A CEA (Consumer Electronics Association) survey shows that Americans oppose mandatory FM tuners in cell phones. Around seventy percent of cell phone and smartphone users say they are not interested in having FM tuners on their phone. The study, FM Tuners for Cell Phones - Measuring Consumer Interest, found that an even broader majority - 80 percent - does not support a government mandate that would force manufacturers to include an FM radio in mobile phones.

Many broadcasters, along with record labels, have proposed to Congress a compromise performance royalty plan that would include a mandate that all mobile phones sold in the United States include a radio tuner.

“With broadcasters asking Congress to force consumers to buy mobile phones with FM radios built in, we thought it was time to ask consumers what they want. This study proves there is little consumer demand for radio-capable cell phones and consumers don’t want the government telling them what features their phones should have,” said Gary Shapiro, CEA president and CEO. “For those few consumers who want a radio in their mobile phones, manufacturers offer several dozen such devices that are already on the market.”

CEA also found that 75 percent of US adults agree that manufacturers, not the government, should have the final say. Consumers reject government mandates for products and features of their devices even beyond mobile phones and FM tuners.

“Americans continue to want consumer electronics products designed by market demand rather than government mandates. The [consumer electronics] market is the most innovative and growing sector in our economy. We understand that radio broadcasters are facing competition from new services and technologies, but rather than rely on government mandates, we encourage broadcasters to provide innovative services that Americans actually want to use,” concluded Shapiro. “CEA and its member companies encourage Congress to leave such unwanted and unnecessary mandates out of any performance royalty legislation.”

Bridge Ratings Analysis: Changing Tide of Internet Radio

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There has been considerable interest in the growth of Internet radio listening in recent years, especially with the arrival of Internet Radio measurement company Ando Media.

Founded in 2004, Ando Media is the leading provider of real-time audience measurement and ads management solutions for the internet audio market.

Consumers Speak Out

In a January 2010 Bridge Ratings analysis, on-line Internet radio listening was dominated by AM/FM radio simulcasts. The report found that 84% of the total on-line Internet radio listening group regularly listened to AM/FM simulcast streams in a typical week; 62% regularly listened to pure-play Internet radio streams.

The report showed that these two groups often listened to both types of streams but terrestrial streamers predominately spent most of their time with terrestrial simulcast streams and vice-versa.

In a follow-up study fielded for this special report, a change in behavior is underway. And based on behavior tracking through the first eight months of 2010, Bridge Ratings' proprietary predictive analysis suggests that without renewed programming and marketing strategies, terrestrial Internet stream audiences will continue to decline through 2014.

Satisfaction levels among AM/FM simulcast streamers has plummeted overall as Internet-only or Pure Play Internet radio stations, led by Pandora, are gathering momentum as primary listening posts for Internet radio listeners in general.

A March 2010 Bridge Ratings study focused on Streamies perceptions and found that almost half of those interviewed were spending more time with Internet radio than they were six months previous.

Clearly this new study reflects a changing landscape. We wanted to know why current Internet radio consumers have been listening less to terrestrial simulcasts on-line and why they are projecting continued reduction in listening unless listening options change.

Bridge Ratings' latest projections based on these interviews. If terrestrially delivered content opportunities don't change AM/FM simulcast primaries (those who spend more of their on-line time listening to terrestrial simulcast content) will shrink to 50% by 2014.
Internet Pure Play stations are gaining in the all-important at-work location where the significant consumption of on-line radio takes place.

Stretch or Shrink Audio Programs in Real Time

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You can stretch or shrink audio programs in real time, allowing additional material to be added with no loss of content, or shortening programs to fill up a time slot with the 25-Seven Program Length Manager.

The Program Length Manager shrinks or stretches program segments by 5%, or 3 minutes per hour, without pitch changes or glitches and is clean enough to use on stereo music programs and live events.

The unit is easy to setup, operator friendly, and requires little training. Stretching or shrinking a file can be done very quickly - you simply set the input time (length of the original file), the output time (desired length), and rate at which to perform the stretch/shrink.

RadioMagOnline.com conducted an experiment:

“At Radio Free Asia we needed to test the PLM with programs in our nine broadcast languages. We broadcast in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Mandarin, Tibetan, Uyghur and Vietnamese. Because these languages all have different tone, pitch and vernacular qualities they needed to be tested separately, at different stretch and shrink times and ratios, to determine the amount of stretch and shrink that could be performed. The results, along with the control audio, were given to a representative from each service to listen to and grade. The listeners were not told what they were listening too, they were simply told to listen and rate the file to let us know if it was broadcast quality. Using the most critical examinations we discovered that in our languages we cannot push the PLM past a 7.5 percent shrink or expand. This allows us to stretch or shrink a 60-minute show by up to 4.5 minutes without the listener being able to audibly tell anything was done to the show. Out of curiosity, we also did our own tests in English and discovered that we could go up to 10 percent with no ill effects.”

As you can see, the 25-Seven Program Length Manager can be a very helpful tool in managing time slots. If a segment is too short, stretch it out. If a segment is too long, shorten it. This unit gives you the flexibility to be able to stop the clock or add more minutes to the hour.

Apple Introduces iTunes 10 With Ping

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Ping Social Music Discovery Now Available to 160 Million iTunes Users in 23 Countries

SAN FRANCISCO-September 1, 2010-Apple® today introduced iTunes® 10 with Ping, a new music-oriented social network for following your favorite artists and friends to discover what music they're talking about, listening to and downloading. iTunes Ping lets you post your thoughts and opinions, your favorite albums and songs, the music you've downloaded from iTunes, plus view concert listings and tell your friends which concerts you plan to attend. iTunes 10 also features HD TV show rentals* for just 99 cents an episode and AirPlay wireless music playback.

"iTunes is the number one music community in the world, with over 160 million iTunes users in 23 countries, and now we're adding social networking with Ping," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "With Ping you can follow your favorite artists and friends and join a worldwide conversation with music's most passionate fans."

Ping lets you follow your favorite artists to see what they're up to, check out photos and videos they've posted, see their tour dates and read comments about other artists and albums they're listening to. You can also create a profile on iTunes to let your friends know who you're following, what you're listening to and which concerts you're going to. There's no better way to discover new music than to find out what your friends are listening to, and Ping's Recent Activity feed shows you their posts about artists, albums, songs and concerts, plus a consolidated Top 10 list of the songs and albums your friends and the artists you follow are downloading from iTunes. In addition to using Ping on your desktop computer, you can take it with you on your iPhone® or iPod touch®,** so you're always plugged into your personal music scene.

With iTunes 10, you can rent your favorite HD TV shows commercial free from ABC, ABC Family, Fox, Disney Channel and BBC America and watch them at home or on the go for just 99 cents an episode. Thousands of episodes are available, many the day after broadcast, to watch on your Mac® or PC, iPhone, iPod touch and the all-new Apple TV®, and you have 30 days from the moment you rent an episode to start watching it, and 48 hours after that to finish it.

iTunes 10 also features AirPlay wireless music playback to listen to your music on remote speakers using Apple's AirPort Express® base station. In addition, AirPlay now works without AirPort Express, using speakers, receivers and stereo systems from companies including Bowers & Wilkins, JBL, Denon and iHome, so you can enjoy your entire iTunes music library wirelessly from any room in the house with no extra gear required.

iTunes 10 is available immediately as a free download at http://www.itunes.com/.

The iTunes Store® has a catalog of over 14 million songs, over 65,000 TV episodes and over 10,000 movies including over 3,000 in stunning high definition video. With Apple's legendary ease of use, pioneering features such as iTunes Movie Rentals, integrated podcasting support, the ability to turn previously purchased tracks into complete albums at a reduced price, and seamless integration with iPod®, iPad™ and iPhone, the iTunes Store is the best way for Mac and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music and video online.

*HD TV show rentals require iOS 4.1, which is a free software update available via iTunes 10 or later for iPhone and iPod touch users. iOS 4.1 works with iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and second, third and fourth generation iPod touch. 99 cent HD TV rentals only available in the US.

**Ping for iPhone and iPod touch requires iOS 4 or later, which is a free software update available via iTunes 9.2 or later for iPhone and iPod touch users. iOS 4 works with iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and second, third and fourth generation iPod touch.

***Tour info for Concert pages is provided by Live Nation Entertainment, a provider of live recordings to iTunes.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.