Is the the start of a trend in online broadcasting? | radioinfo

Is the the start of a trend in online broadcasting?

Monday 15 October, 2018

Comment from Wayne Stamm

Last week the began broadcasting as an internet only station from Newcastle and one of the main reasons for the station going to air was the operators' concern at a lack of local content for radio audiences in the Hunter, and what they see as an opportunity to gain a chunk of the local market.
As audiences become more and more connected to the net via smartphone, laptop, tablet and car, the more their launch makes sense.
Newcastle is a great example to study.

With KOFM, soon to be Triple M Newcastle, and its stable mate hit106.9 having reduced the number of locally produced programs, as well as national programming from 1233 ABC, and reduced local content at NEWFM and 2HD, there is the prospect that the will do well. Their only real opposition will be from community broadcaster 2NUR who spent a decade building a huge following based on the over 50 market with 60’s and 70’s music and a lot of local content.
Live and local programming isn’t a new thought in regional areas with several community broadcasting stations becoming much more professional in their product presentation, while still allowing community participation, something that can be a delicate balancing act.
Some are hugely successful at doing it, reaping millions of advertising/sponsorship dollars, and their secret is a mix of great music and local content with ex-commercial announcers manning the mic and providing guidance to volunteer announcers.
At a conference a couple of years ago, just after Kyle & Jackie O moved to KIIS, a content director of one of Australia’s biggest networks argued that good content would beat ‘live and local’ every time, and he’s probably right though I think it is demographically driven with different preferences for under and over 40’s.
Like all regional and rural radio, some will do it well, others will fail at it badly. Legislators should certainly be looking at the way community radio stations are licensed and begin to encourage live and local content. Currently they value community participation more than local content but that reflects legislation that is over 40 years old and isn’t indicative of what regional and rural areas really need.
Good local content isn’t just about covering a fire or a flood one day a year, but about covering the little things that happen in the back yards of these cities and towns and being part of their community every day of the year.
Community participation isn’t necessarily allowing anyone, who wants to broadcast anything they like, access to a microphone and a transmitter, but about allowing a community to have its say in the programming and many of them are saying “we want local programming that includes local news and events”.

If community broadcasters, the ABC and commercial stations can't or won't do it, then there is a case for more online stations, and they are cheap to set up.

All you need is a computer, a playout program or music list, a microphone and an internet connection and you're a broadcaster. 
Could the be replicated across the country? Be surprised if it wasn’t. 
   Wayne Stamm


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