Slacker Mobile can now be part of an iPhone package. The system allows subscribers access to over 100 pre-programmed stations, and also allows them to set up and fine tune their own radio stations based on their own personal likes and dislikes. Included in the latter package, which is reminiscent of Pandora (also available on the iPhone) is the ability to mark songs as favorites and to blackball others permanently off the personal playlist.
RBR/TVBR observation: We have tried Pandora, and we learned of more new music – that we would pay to own — within a few hours than we did over the course of a year listening to radio. We admit we are a special case and do not fit easily into any particular commercial radio format, but anybody would likely tune to the channel they personally set up rather than a station set up as a collaboration of an overworked program director and pushy label marketing agents.
If radio is going to head off the ever increasing assaults on its turf, it will have to take an inventory on what is has that is unique. The most obvious of these, ladies and gentlemen, is the tower. That means three things: Local, local and local.
If radio tries to go head to head with internet music sources, especially using prepackaged and overly repetitious playlists, it can only lose. That is reality.
However, Pandora and Slacker don’t have the first clue about local traffic or weather, or what happened at the last the city council meeting, or the club scene, or anything else. The better job radio can do providing intelligent, personable local talent to deliver essential local information, along as much musical adventure as the station’s core audience will tolerate, the better its chances for survival.