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Chriss Scherer Scherer has been the editor of Radio magazine since 1997. His experience in radio includes work as chief engineer at stations in Cleveland (WMMS-FM, WHK-AM, WZJM-FM, WJMO-AM...more

Archive for March 25th, 2010

Streaming vs. Broadcasting

Listeners can receive an audio stream through many means. Terrestrial radio is obviously a popular method, but streaming continues to gain ground. What surprises me is the reluctance for some broadcasters to embrace distribution methods other than the legacy terrestrial transmission.

The reluctance is not a cost issue. That’s obviously an important consideration, but the arguments I hear against streaming or delivery via a cell phone network are not based on costs, but on service during an emergency.

It’s been proven many times with recent tragic events (earthquakes are the most notable right now) that radio is often the best source for public information. That can’t be denied. But to discredit delivering an audio stream solely on the grounds that it won’t work well during an emergency is short-sighted.

The decision to provide an Internet stream is rarely an either/or situation of broadcast or streaming. Streaming is in addition to the broadcast signal.

And while it’s important to serve the public interest and deliver information during an emergency, how much of a station’s time is really taken up by emergency operations? When a crisis occurs, the terrestrial signal will prevail. The rest of the time, use all the available methods of delivery to make the business succeed.

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