Field Report: StreamGuys and AdsWizz

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Most of us in broadcast radio feel a connection to the medium that is beyond simple explanation. I'd argue that this is emphatically true for those of us serving in the public media space, where the diversity of programming and community-minded radio creates a special bond with our audiences.


Terrestrial, over-the-air transmission remains an important delivery vehicle for public and commercial broadcasters. The cautionary tales of radio's demise in the face of digital media are exaggerated: A recent audio report from the Pew Research Center confirms that most Americans own at least one AM/FM radio, and that terrestrial listening remains an influence.

That same report, however, also notes that radio's growth and momentum almost exclusively depends on digital streaming.

It should be no surprise to anyone Internet-based media is more than a fad, and radio stations that embrace streaming media are essentially stating that they refuse to be left behind. Consumers around the world have assimilated more technology into their daily lives, and in the process the ratio of terrestrial versus online listeners has inevitably shifted. And it's certain that this shift will continue.

At the same time, radio of the 20th century provided us with certain time-tested techniques and quality standards that should not be ignored. I believe it's important that new technologies, techniques and delivery platforms serve as an addition rather than a replacement. In this way, online streaming becomes another avenue to deliver content without sacrificing the processes and quality that made the content valuable in the first place.

The ability to deliver broadcasts worldwide is certainly an important advantage. All Classical Portland, which this year celebrates its 30th anniversary as one of the few remaining pure-format classical radio stations, has had a streaming presence since the turn of the century.

My mission upon joining the station in 2011 was to evolve our streaming platform, which remained unchanged for ten-plus years, to a higher service tier. We switched to a new content delivery network (CDN), StreamGuys, to help us increase streaming listenership, and now offer eight continuous streams offering two levels of audio quality.

  Performance at a glance  
  ■ Deliver personalized ads to listeners
■ View real-time and historical trends
■ Track listening habits
■ Reports can monitor campaigns
■ Various ad formats
We have drawn more listeners by making the online listening experience as easy as possible. This way, the listener can forget the technology is there and let the music be all that matters. Our programming decisions are meticulous and our hosts are knowledgeable, friendly and laid back - but online listeners will quickly tune out if the experience is choppy and underwhelming. CDN companies are instrumental in sustaining high levels of streaming reliability to increase online listener enjoyment.

- continued on page 2

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