CBC Radio Podcasts

Post ImageCBC has launched their updated podcasting initiative, with a broader array of content, an updated website, and regional podcasts. Tod Maffin explains:

It’s taken many months of planning, training, software development, and consultation — but I’m finally pleased to announce that CBC Radio is now making an unprecedented number of programs available for free download or subscription, including “best of” editions from THE CURRENT, DISPATCHES, DEFINITELY NOT THE OPERA, IDEAS, OUTFRONT, AS IT HAPPENS plus comprehensive highlight packages of regionally-based radio programs.

This is really great news for Canada and for CBC – I’m really happy that our national broadcaster is now one of the world’s leaders with regards to podcasting. You can check out all of the shows at the new website, http://www.cbc.ca/podcasting/. If you’re in Alberta, you can subscribe to the new “Alberta This Week” show here.

Read: Tod Maffin

Podcasting and Radio

Post ImageRadio industry research firm Arbitron has released a new report that has some information related to podcasting, though they consider it a form of radio. I wondered the other day, as I have in the past, if podcasting was stealing some of the audience away from traditional radio, and the Arbitron report seems to answer no:

According to the report, “Seventy-seven percent of Americans say they expect to listen to AM/FM radio as much as they do now despite increasing advancements in technology.” For people that have listened to podcasts, 27% expect to listen to less radio, and among satellite radio users, 36% expect to listen to less radio.

I guess we’ll find out won’t we? The report also states that 22% of Americans have heard of podcasting, and that 11% have actually tried podcasting. Evidently, the people that are using podcasts are young and relatively affluent.

Read: Podcasting News

Edmonton Radio Ratings Spring 2006

As you may recall, back in December I posted about 96X becoming Big Earl and the reasoning behind the switch, which was based mainly on ratings. Now that the first quarter of 2006 is complete, the radio station ratings have been updated, and it doesn’t look good for poor old Earl:

The Spring book measured Edmonton radio audiences from January 9th to March 5th, 2006.

CKRA “Big Earl 96.3” (Newcap) had a more disappointing book than newcomer Magic 99, posting an all-time low at 2.7 for station formats occupying the 96.3 frequency. Despite the popularity of the country format in Northern Alberta, Big Earl seems to have repelled listeners rather than attract. If Corus is to take some good news from this book it would be that CISN seems bulletproof.

Yeah no doubt! CISN fell from 11.2 to 10.5, but still easily occupied the second spot. I am impressed that The Bear made such a comeback, rising from 5.5 to 8.7, totally didn’t expect that. You can check out the full listing and commentary at lastlinkontheleft.com. The site also contains the Fall 2005 data, and links to more detailed data sources.

In a somewhat related story, it seems that podcasting and MP3 players are in fact stealing some of the audience away from radio:

According to Dave Van Dyke, President of Bridge Ratings, “By 2010, today’s 94% penetration for terrestrial radio will have sunk to 85%.”

27% of people 12-24 attribute their reduced use of radio to MP3 use; 22% attributed it to tired radio programming; 3% attributed it to podcast listening.

I can only expect that last number to grow as podcasting becomes more widely adopted. And once it does, advertising dollars will follow. Too bad there is no geographical data. It would be interesting to know if the audience in Edmonton has shrunk at all because of MP3 players or podcasting or something.

UPDATE: Check out the new 630 CHED helicopter which launched on Wednesday, April 12th!

CBC Radio One coming to Edmonton FM

Post ImageLooks like Edmonton will be getting another FM station, this one run by CBC, according to radio-guru Tod Maffin:

The CRTC CRTC this morning approved CBC Radio CBC Radio’s request to add FM transmitters to serve listeners in Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg.

The AM transmitters in those cities will remain on to continue to serve outlying areas, but the Commission agreed with the CBC CBC that “urban growth, the construction of high-rise concrete and steel buildings, increased electrical noise from overhead wires, large and small appliances and portable radio transmitters have impeded the ability of its radio stations to deliver reliable high quality AM signals to listeners.”

I wonder if this will really have an impact on the number of listeners? I mean, I tune into 630 CHED when there is a program I want to hear (usually hockey), and that wouldn’t change if it were an FM station, its not like I’d randomly keep it on or anything.

Read: Tod Maffin

Big Earl 96.3

If you’re scanning the radio dial here in Edmonton, you’ll notice we have a new station. Or, more accurately, an existing station that has for the thousandth time changed formats. What was known most recently as 96X is now Big Earl, who apparently “plays everything country.” There are some really great posts in their forums, like this one:

I wonder how many of these loyal 96X listeners would convert to listening to country if they gave it more than 10 minutes of listening. I personally know of two people who HATED country music until they listened to it and then it became all they listened to!

I think a lot of people would be surprised if they actually gave country music half a chance.

And of course there are some not so good posts, like this one:


With this reply:

I HATE U STUPID BIG EARL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

To be truly honest, I really don’t care. I almost exclusively listen to music or podcasts on my Zen Touch in the car now anyway, and if I do happen to listen to the radio it’s to either The Bear or Joe FM (yeah I have come to like Joe FM). That being said, it’s always fun to throw out my two cents.

I think what happened is that The Bounce and Sonic started to take away listeners from 96X, so they “did some research” as their program manager said on the 6 O’Clock news tonight (must have been a slow news day) and decided country would be the way to go. The format is actually a copy of a Big Earl station that launched in Camrose last month, and that one is probably a copy of another station. In my opinion, Big Earl is doomed to failure. We already have a very successful country station in CISN, and unlike 96.3, they don’t change their format every year destroying any sort of listener base they might have managed to accumulate.

Futhermore, we already have the “play anything” format in Joe FM, so will a subset of that be successful? I guess we’ll find out, but I doubt it. The only thing that’s for sure is that being a program manager at 96.3 must suck.

UPDATE: My mistake, there are two country stations in Edmonton – CISN and CFCW. Also, looks like both 96X and The Bounce lost listeners in the Fall 2005 ratings while CISN and CFCW gained listeners. You can see the ratings here. Oh and the official website for Big Earl is http://www.bigearlonline.com. While we’re on the topic of new radio stations, did you know that MAGIC 99, a Smooth Jazz/Adult Standards station launched on Thursday? Check it out at 99.3 or online at http://www.magic99.ca.

UPDATE 2: Found a better ratings page complete with descriptions and commentary.

UPDATE 3 (3/28/2008): The station has changed once again, to Capital FM! You can read about it here.

Podcast is Oxford Dictionary's Word of the Year

Post ImagePodcasting has had an amazing year, and it just keeps getting better. Steve Rubel reports that the Oxford Dictionary has chosen “Podcast” as its word of the year for 2005 (press release also available):

“Only a year ago, podcasting was an arcane activity, the domain of a few techies and self-admitted ‘geeks.’ Now you can hear everything from NASCAR coverage to NPR’s All Things Considered in downloadable audio files called ‘podcasts.’ Thousands of podcasts are available at the iTunes Music Store, and websites such as iPodder.com and Podcast.net track thousands more. That’s why the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary have selected ‘podcast’ as the Word of the Year for 2005. Podcast, defined as ”a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player,“ will be added to the next online update of the New Oxford American Dictionary, due in early 2006.”

That’s a very broad definition though, don’t you think? Shouldn’t there be a requirement for a web feed (RSS or Atom or something)? The podcasting naysayers will be quick to point out that there’s nothing new about “a digital recording…made available on the Internet for downloading” and they are absolutely right. It’s the addition of a web feed that makes podcasting a fresh take on old technology!

Read: Steve Rubel

Podcasting and Model Airplanes

Post ImageI have written quite a bit about what I call “Average Joe Podcasting“, or podcasting for normal people who don’t want to turn it into a business. I have also mentioned that I think the most common form of podcasting will indeed be this kind of hobby podcasting, not radio-style business podcasting. Unfortunately, it seems rare that someone else understands this, but today I found another person who does:

Rob Walch, a podcasting consultant and host of the popular 411 interview podcast, says he’s bombarded with questions from people looking to strike gold with podcasts. His advice? “I tell people that over 80% of podcasters will never even break even,” he says. “This is a hobby. You don’t expect to make money from flying model airplanes, and chances are you aren’t going to make money from podcasting.” Still, for trailblazers like Curry who are quickly forging links to one another, it won’t be for a lack of trying.

Well said, and in a way that I think a lot of people will be able to understand. Not that it’s bad for people like Curry to try and make some money from it, every industry needs that, I just feel that it won’t overshadow the rest of podcasting for very much longer.

Read: BusinessWeek

96X Boycott?

Post ImageToday I received a rather interesting email forward. The original email was from Matt Ashdown. I’ll let you read it first before I comment:

Between 9 and 10 am on boh October 12th, and 19th, 96X had on their station what they called the “ADHD HOUR.” During this hour, they only would play the first 90 seconds of each song, and between the songs they would have short vignettes that devalue people with ADHD through humiliation, embarassement, and slander. Essentially what these vignettes are implying is that people with ADHD are stupid. I am quite distressed that after so much human rights legislation, and work has been done, a main stream radio station thinks it is humerous to discriminate against a minority population and gets away with it.

I challenge you to boycott 96X until the “ADHD hour” is removed from the air. Write a letter to the program manager and submit it through either their web site or through me. I will be sending in massed letters next Wednesday October 26th. And finally, you can help through spreading the word to as many people as you can.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me at mattashdown@hotmail.com

Actually, they played it again this morning at 9 AM, and I am pretty sure it’s called the “ADD Hour” – the old acronym for the disorder. Regardless, I don’t think we need to take the show off the air (it’s kind of neat actually) but I would support a name change. It’s probably not the most appropriate name in the world, that’s for sure. You have to give them credit though for at least trying something new. Anyway, now I’ve done my part, by letting you know!

Read: 96X

Do you miss the CBC?

Post ImageThe CBC lockout has been ongoing for more than a month now, and people are starting to reflect on how it has affected them. Barry Reuger over at Canadian Journalist had this to say:

It’s been over a month since the CBC locked out its employees. In that time a flurry of podcasts have started and subsequently been ignored by yours truly. I now find myself reading – although not really liking – the Macleans that arrives in my mailbox each week thanks to the previous tenant.

I find that I’ve stopped missing CBC Radio, except perhaps once each morning when I would really like a newscast. I find instead that I fill my head with American public radio programming.

I would have to say I don’t miss the CBC. I think the lockout came at a particularly bad time for the workers. It’s not like I am going to miss Hockey Night in Canada, because I went a whole year without for the NHL’s lockout and somehow I survived. There are no Olympics coming up that need coverage. Actually, besides those two shows, the only thing I really watched on CBC was The Simpsons. I never really listened to CBC Radio, and I’ve always been a Global (or ITV back in the day) viewer for news.

I think the CBC is in need of a major overhaul! I don’t know what a new incarnation should look like, but The Hour was a good start. I can’t say if I think CBC has been fulfilling it’s mandate, because I don’t know what the mandate was. My generation hasn’t really had to care about mandates or responsibilities of the CBC, until now I suppose. Perhaps that would be a good step to making the CBC relevant again, review the original mandate. And on the committee that reviews said mandate, let’s have some people under the age of 30, yes?

Read: Canadian Journalist

CBC workers to launch competing service

Post ImageNormally I hate unions, but this bit of news caught my fancy. In addition to the current Telus strike, the CBC is facing a labour dispute all across the country. And as Tod Maffin reports, things are about to get interesting:

Next week, locked-out workers of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation will use the Internet to compete against their employer. They are even setting up office and studio space in Toronto.

The site will have a national daily newscast available via podcast or download, released at the usual time of CBC Radio’s flagship World at Six news program (currently off the air). Phase two will include local and regional news, expanded current affairs coverage, and perhaps video-casts.

Watch for the new site at CBCunplugged.com. At least, it sounds like that’s where things will be located:

Turns out a number of locked-out producers have been working on a podcast/news site of their own and they’d planned to call it — go ahead, guess — CBC Unplugged. Great minds think alike I guess. Rather than cause confusion, I’m going to hand the domain over to them and let them run with their own service. So as of next week, CBCunplugged.com will be managed by a different group of people. Stay tuned, they have some exciting things planned!

Will be pretty interesting to watch next week. Apparently if works volunteer ten hours a week on the new site, they only have to walk the picket line half the usual time to get their strike pay. I wonder if anything like this has happened before? I doubt it. Ah, the wonders of the Internet.

Read: I Love Radio.org