As the Bridge Ratings hath shewn, the big growth area to be realized by radio-like industry will likely in the realm of internet radio. See this graph for an eye-popping projection. By 2020 those numbers fast approach those of the slowly declining terrestrial radio. HD Radio is far behind.
Manufacturers are lining up. The most recent device garnering buzz is the TorianWireless device. There are several phone/PDA/Treo-like devices that have the capability to play internet radio / audio, but they are quite expensive and require a bit more of the users. The simpler Torian product looks to be the first dedicated portable wifi radio. It will certainly be one of many upcoming products that will feature wifi radio.
The Edge, a rock station in Toronto, has created a landing page for cellphones and PDA devices. Radio World reports that this is set to coincide with the rollout of city-wide wifi.
Other stations, I presume, will follow suit. Those stations with a great presence and relevance in the community should do quite well by this. Make the web stream [or more than one — be the trusted curator of content] available and promote it as part of the station’s stance on cutting edge technology. Tell the listeners about the option to listen to via PDAs, mobile phones, and wifi units.
Most likely, this will provide more listeners than an HD2 or HD3 stream. Especially if those Bridge Ratings predictions pan out. More and more communities are installing city-wide wifi, and the 4g mobile network is right around the corner.
Don’t fear it.
Take advantage of it.