content strategy

NPR and Wi-Fi radios

Whilst listening to KUNI-FM in Iowa this weekend, I was surprised to hear an underwriting spot for Acoustic Energy’s Wi-Fi radios. They are quite interesting little units, with the capability of providing access to online radio stations without a PC.

Why am I surprised? NPR is wasting time doing frivolous studies while offering devices online [and promoting them via underwrinting spots] that serve to fraction TSL on local stations.

Yet, NPR is taking underwriting dollars for the advertising of Acoustic Energy’s WiFi radios, and offering them for sale in their online shop. Just as the products I referenced last week, this item does not contain an FM tuner. Essentially, a radio without a radio in it. Sure, you can get internet radio stations from all over the globe, but you can’t tune into your local station’s free, over-the-air signal?

I suppose that listeners could tune into the web stream of their local radio station [if it is in a format supported by the Acoustic Energy device]. Doing so creates a potential fiscal draw on stations, as many acknowledge that it is the most expensive way to get the audio to the listeners. Not to mention that the audio quality is often a fraction of what it is in a standard FM radio.

There are some in the system that are adamently opposed to satellite radio, as it is seen as direct competition for their listeners ears. How do they feel when NPR is selling radios that give those listeners 10,000 options in lieu of their local station?