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RadioInsights: NPR's Online Efforts are Sputtering
June 16, 2014 - An interesting blog post was published on June 9 by Richard Harker & Glenda Shrader Bos on the blog RadioInsights. I'll let you draw your own conclusions. (What follows is not the entire piece.)
"In a 2010 post entitled Radio's Digital Future Revealed Radio Insights noted NPR's aggressive digital initiatives. According to then NPR CEO Vivian Schiller:
'We are agnostic about whether somebody listens over broadcast or listens to the exact same radio stream on the Internet. As younger generations are consuming content on their cellphones or on their iPhones or on their iPads or on their Android phones or whatever, we want to make sure that we're there.'
"As we noted at the time NPR was following the game-plan of those who declared that radio must move faster, lest it miss the digital revolution all together.
"Ms. Schiller went on to predict that in the next five to 10 years Internet radio would take the place of over-the-air broadcast radio.
"Four years later, Ms. Schiller is no longer with NPR, and 93.6 percent of NPR listening is still done the old fashion way, on broadcast AM and FM stations.
"Live streams total only 6.4 percent of NPR consumption. That, after four years of an all-out digital effort.
"NPR is radio's canary in the digital coal mine.
"If a multi-million dollar attempt to transform (don't call it radio) NPR into a digital product is already sputtering, what's the likelihood we'll be melting down broadcast towers and turning them into wind turbines anytime soon?"
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