Internet Radio and its personal advantage

Posted by Simone Redelinghuys
Simone Redelinghuys
A student journalist currently specializing in New Media at Rhodes University. I
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on Monday, 28 May 2012
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The hype surrounding South Africa being granted the majority hosting rights of a giant radio telescope intended to help scientists figure out more about our universe was heard on almost every radio station and published in news headlines last Friday. This ultimately got me thinking about the advancement of radio production and how increased technology forms have shaped radio consumption, usage and delivery.

Most of my previous posts have focused on the advancement of television broadcast and technology. While this form of broadcast is changing in terms of use, features and capabilities for the user; I have neglected to emphasize that so too is radio production.

Recently Memeburn highlighted the increased use of online radio and smartphone usage. In their article it was noted that TargetSpot conducted a survey in the US which found an increase in tablet ownership and Smartphone usage. While the popularity of these connected devices seems hardly surprising, the study highlights that the way in which radio is delivering content is changing in both developed and developing markets such as South Africa.

Worldwide the youth market listening to traditional radio is in decline. This has become a known social fact for some time and so came the introduction of streaming audio, podcasting and on-demand listening via the internet. In addition the use of internet radio has seen an increase the regularity of users.

The days of simply buying a FM Radio seem numbered as consumers want more features and more autonomy: they want a radio, a mp3 docking station or station that is adaptable to their smart phone and they want to listen to what they want, when they want too.

Your TV may be smart, but your radio can be too.


 The idea of ‘new’ forms of radio production and distribution has been circulating for some time. Most of us have become accustomed to streaming music, voice and podcasting via the internet in some way. In particular straight streaming content seems to be the most used by consumers who formulate their own 'internet radio' with on-demand streaming content from services such as Spotify and, podcasts from various radio networks of bloggers. Much like the software used in Smart TV to create and categorize broadcast content according to individual likes and dislikes, on-demand music streaming services use algorithms to identify music choices and audio based on what it notes you like and listen too.

But it’s not just about on-demand content. People still want presenter driven radio, they want intimacy and conversation. It’s no surprise then that Memeburn reports that presenter driven streaming radio is gaining popularity in several African countries. The introduction of purely web-based radio stations within the last five years, such as 2oceansvibe or the Taxi Radio, have shown that FM or AM licensing  can be pushed and that the strength of online radio is here to stay.

Recently MyBroadband published that Interwebsradio is listed as the first South African online radio station included in the iTunes radio catalogue. Interwebsradio claims to have taking streaming further by being South Africa’s first domestic online radio station to be included in the iTunes radio catalogue, It publishes the artists’ names, song titles and advertiser information on the listener’s device and as an online station is listed under the Alternative Rock genre.

ts clear that the advantage of internet radio is plenty; it carries less advertising, can hold a listener for longer as individuals cannot simply 'switch' channels and caters for niche markets and audience members. Much like social and smart TV is currently making headlines in its ability to allow consumers to switch through adverts, online radio offers less advertising, while streaming and on-demand audio almost none. It's personal and you should like it.

Why we need more?

The problem lies in the fact that it is internet radio and internet is not yet readily available or assessable in South Africa when we need it. Importantly it is not assessable when most individuals listen to the radio, in their car. While developed nations are making advancements with in-car entertainment, our broadband and internet connection dilemma means it will be a while until South African motorists are enjoying listening to their chosen internet radio stations while driving to work. What is promising though is the increase in Smartphone usage which does allow for internet connectivity and internet radio applications.

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A student journalist currently specializing in New Media at Rhodes University. I have previously specialised in Radio Production. These views are my own.


Jude has not set their biography yet
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Jude Monday, 28 May 2012

Meanwhile in South Africa...

While audio has an exciting future and digital and networked audio access has changed the way that many in the North access and interact with their aural world, you would still do well to consider the South African context of radio and audio use. This SPI blogpost by Linda Kunene makes some valid points:

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