Sunday, April 02, 2006

Want Some Cheese With That Whine?

Yahoo! Top Stories - Howard Stern Lashes Out at Some Fans

"Howard Stern is angry more fans haven't followed him to satellite radio. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the 52-year-old shock jock lashes out at those of his fan base who haven't made the transition to Sirius Satellite Radio."

Well, duh. It would take a certain type of person to follow an over-rated radio personality from free radio to a subscription fee service. According to the article, there are 4 million of that type of person out there, which is a bit disturbing. He should be glad he's got that many subscribers. Instead, he whines about those that haven't signed up and calls them cheap. Geez, shut up already.....on the upside, at least there are some people who are now absorbing something else with their gray matter...

Comments on "Want Some Cheese With That Whine?"

 

Blogger The Original LRU said ... (April 03, 2006 3:21 PM) : 

I don't know why people are buying radio either. Sirius satellite radio seems to me to be a replay of cable TV. I'm sure someday people will want to play commercials on it after sufficient people have paid and joined.

If you're already paying for something, you shouldn't have to watch commercials with it as well. But greed and cost cuts seem to make things continually worse in our commercial world.

I was reading more information on Sirius at Wikipedia. One of the interesting things mentioned there is that the Howard Stern show was voluntarily not available in Canada. i.e. the company itself chose not to make it available.

This should send warning flags to anyone technically savvy, and anyone concerned about freedom for the consumer. Isn't satellite radio supposed to be available everywhere in North America? Isn't that one of the draws of satellite? Then how can the company choose who gets to listen to certain shows?

From the wikipedia article, it notes that satellite radio receivers can display the name of the song. That implies digital.

So either there are different satellites for the US and Canada (could very well be, I don't know), or it's digital and protected with some form of DRM-like technology (Digital Rights Management). Maybe both.

DRM is coming to your computers, your TVs, your computer monitors, and your radios apparently. And its primary purpose is to shift control away from you the listener, and to the broadcaster or content producer.

This leads to grey market activities, just like with satellite TV. People pay to get hacked or "illegal" access to content that should be available anyway, or that would be available if older technology was used. There is no way to segment your audience with conventional radio, but apparently there is with satellite radio. And you're paying for the privilege!

This kind of thing burns me up, if you haven't already guessed. I urge everyone to be wary of technology like this, and vote with your pocketbooks. Unfortunately, not everyone has the technical savvy to notice when these chains are placed on them, or they just don't care. The former I can try to help with information. The latter are aiding their own captors.

On a political note, Sirius Satellite radio in Canada is backed by the government-funded CBC. This is even worse. For one thing, it calls into question the entire business model of Sirius radio. I'm sure CBC programming is being funded publically. What does this imply for the other shows? Is Howard Stern completely funded by his share of the Sirius subscription fees? Or does he get other funding? What about the other radio shows? If the subscription fee doesn't cover the whole cost of production, it's almost guaranteed that commercials will arrive someday.

Then we'd have the worst of all worlds: a content restricted by DRM, with commercials, that you pay for! Agh, why doesn't anyone see this?

In addition, CBC shouldn't be anywhere near commercials, or subscription radio. This is a publically funded operation, not a commercial enterprise. The minute you allow commercials and alternate streams of revenue to influence your public broadcaster is the minute you undermine the whole reason for having a public broadcaster.

I'm sure this is what some people want. It is definitely not what I want. I want a strong, publically funded broadcaster that is not beholden to any commercial advertisers, and whose only goal is to produce quality, Canadian news and entertainment. There has to be a balance, and we already have lots of commercial media. It's the public media that is hard to maintain and needs to be maintained.

Even the CBC website has banner ads now. What am I paying my taxes for!?

Anyway, I should probably stop ranting here before I start a whole new blog inside yours, Eaglewing. :-)

 

Blogger The Original LRU said ... (April 03, 2006 3:50 PM) : 

After all that, I forgot to mention the other alternative to radio: podcasts.

This is almost the polar opposite of satellite radio: it is free, it is in an open and copyable format, and anyone can be a producer.

The quality ranges, but some are pretty good, and have a loyal following. It is getting to the point where people can basically download their radio to their iPods and carry it around with them to listen on their own schedule.

Everything from official news to silly entertainment to free music of different genres to specialized interests. It's worth checking out if you're tired of conventional commercial radio.

If you're willing to buy a new device for satellite radio anyway, perhaps an iPod and some internet searching will get you just as far, and without the monthly fee.

 

Blogger Eaglewing said ... (April 04, 2006 3:30 AM) : 

Interesting points. You should have a blog or podcast to point these things out internationally instead of this go nowhere blog :)

I don't like the infestaion of DRM crap either. I'd like to watch videos on CMT.com, and more often than not, that stupid DRM message pops up, so I surf somewhere else.

It's all about greed and control, I guess. Thank goodness for the internet and enterprising people putting up podcasts. They're great, and you can put them onto any MP3 player, and away you go. I'd like to try making my own, but I have nothing to say...which is a shame, since I have the perfect face for radio :)

 

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