When I was a kid who loved listening to radio stations like WOKY and WRIT (where a teenage Bob Pittman was a DJ for a while), and later WCFL and WLS, and even later WDAI and WLUP, I was listening to my favorite stations primarily for the music, but they also served lots of other functions in my life — they were my primary sources of weather forecasts, traffic reports,...
Kurt Hanson is Publisher of the daily web-based newsletter called “RAIN: Radio And Internet Newsletter” (www.kurthanson.com) and is considered one of the world’s leading experts in the field of new delivery mechanisms for radio (including Internet radio, satellite radio, HD radio, and podcasting).
Kurt is also CEO of AccuRadio (www.accuradio.com), the world’s leading independent, multichannel Internet radio property. AccuRadio reaches nearly a million unique listeners per month with its 300+ channels of rock, pop, jazz, classical, country, Broadway, Celtic, and more.
In addition to its vast breadth and depth of channels, AccuRadio is unique among major Internet radio properties in that it specifically targets the 25-to-54-year-old audience (primarily at work).
Kurt originally developed his reputation within the radio industry as the founder and CEO of Strategic Media Research (SMR), a market research firm respected throughout the radio industry (particularly for its “STAR” program of professional call-out music research and its “AccuRatings” product), which he built into a $10 million business.
In Fall 1999, Kurt launched “RAIN: Radio And Internet Newsletter,” which has become the leading voice of Internet radio worldwide. In that capacity, he speaks at conferences, trade shows and industry events, both in the U.S. and around the world, and has provided consulting services for clients in both the broadcast radio and Internet radio industries.
In Summer 2000, Kurt and his team launched AccuRadio, initially simply as a experimental website to demonstrate the capabilities of Internet radio. Following a public launch during the Christmas 2002 season, it has since become one of the top multichannel webcasters in the world.
AccuRadio is one of only five webcasters in the world -- and the only commercial webcaster -- nominated for the 2006 Webby Awards ("the Oscars of the Internet") for Best Radio.
Earlier in his career, Hanson worked at various terrestrial radio stations, including WOKY/ Milwaukee, WLS/Chicago, WDAI/Chicago, and WLUP/Chicago. He holds a B.A. and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
"The Future of Radio"
(a/k/a "Opportunities for Broadcasters in the Broadband-Enabled Future")
In his current keynote speech, Kurt discusses sociological and technological trends that are changing the way consumers will use radio (and other broadcast media) in the future -- and the opportunities for broadcasters that will appear as a result.
For example, new satellite and Internet radio services, featuring incredible breadth and depth of music plus, in the specific case of Internet radio, interactive features ("skip" buttons, customizable streams and more) are providing appealing content to consumers and in fact changing consumer tastes (just as the availability of Starbucks cafes changed consumers' tastes in coffee)...
Similarly, a wide variety of new distribution mechanisms are becoming available to get video content to consumers (e.g., cable systems' on-demand offerings, paid downloads, on-demand Internet streams, and more).... Then, with the continuing rollout of ubiquitious, wireless broadband Internet (via 3G cellphone networks, WiFi, WiMax, and MobileWiMax), consumers will soon have access to the Internet everywhere, all the time...
And for the final piece of the puzzle, new devices -- cell phones, PDAs, and Internet-enabled MP3 players, and home networking gear (to solve the "last room problem" of getting audio from the PC to the stereo) -- will allow consumers to listen to radio (and watch video) via the Internet as easily as they listen to terrestrial broadcasts...
This will create significant competition for traditional broadcasters... but also offers vast opportunity for those broadcasters who choose to compete in these new areas.