Friday, October 12, 2012

Internet Radio: Keeping Rad In Radio

by Jeremy DeHavilland, 

Fora number of years now, Internet Radio had been a swirling, underground phenomenon that has now leapt out of hipster circles and permeated the global mainstream arena. Led by Pandora, Slacker Radio, and Spotify, 2011 saw the prominence of terrestrial (AM/FM) radio continue to show its gray hairs and crumble away in favor of the more convenient and technologically savvy product of Internet Radio. A plethora of car manufactures have committed to Internet Radio and have begun installing the technology into cars because Pandora Radio alone has had such high ratings in the 18 to 34 age demographic. This is a pretty amazing feat especially since the vast majority of radio listeners are work commuters who listen in on the terrestrial (AM/FM) radios that is optional with the majority of all cars made after 2005... along with satellite radio. 

Internet Radio provides advantages that terrestrial radio can't touch. This has reinvigorated a medium that has been stale and painfully outdated for so long. Now there are droves of excited listeners flocking to it like teenagers to a prime time show on vampires. The first thing one notices right off the bat in listening to radio online is the CD-esque quality. Internet broadcasts don't utilize the heavy compression used by terrestrial radio broadcasts that squash the bass and treble dynamics together in volume. This heightened spectral listening experience catches the highs and lows that were intended to express the emotional timbres of the artist.

This superior sound quality also avoids being interfered with by static, because the broadcasts are global, not just regional. Beyond the technical aspects, the variety and selection of what is broadcast is much more expansive and free from the constrictions of the generic formats of traditional classic rock or oldies stations, while featuring much less commercial interruptions than its predecessor. Many stations have algorithms that can create qualitative suggestions based on previous user selections that transcend genres. Oh yes my friends, we can have Elvis, Bob Marley, and The Black Keys rocking out on the radio back to back to back!

Even with all of these clear technological advantages, the most intriguing part of Internet radio is in the boundless possibilities that are presented through the means of digital convergence that the web provides. The Internet has become quite the force that it is simply due to interchangeable mass media that allows us to intuitively shift between film, music, radio, and virtually any other medium on the same device. This opens up a new artistic frontier that allows new combinations of communication and entertainment that can arise from anyone who wishes to attempt something new. YouTube has memes that have made instant celebrities out of people broadcasting out of their bedrooms and now the sites and allow anyone to set up there own Internet Radio show while having milk and cookies in bed.  

Blog Talk Radio allows people to host live web based broadcasts over the Internet with merely a computer and a phone. No downloads are required, just a password that lets you pick your time slot and a special number which allows your phone to connect to the broadcast and act as an on air microphone. CinchCast dumbs down the process even further by allowing its user to create podcasts with only the need of a RSS feed. So if you're stuck in traffic flipping through the played out barrage of terrestrial radio commercials and screaming out the window that, "this sucks!"; now's the time to log on and experience Internet Radio, or begin practicing your radio voice so when you get home you can bust out your music collection and start your very own Internet radio show!

Born in London, England on the same day as the infamous Amityville murders, Jeremy DeHavilland has never strayed from the eye of the storm. Moving to New Jersey at a young age he was forced to forfeit his English accent in exchange for a license to fist pump. Jeremy is currently a composer & multimedia producer, who is an associate producer for and plays guitar in the popular San Diego based rock/punk band Comfort in Chaos.

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