Infinity Tries All-Podcasting Format
April 27, 2005
By Seth Sutel, The Associated Press
Infinity Tries All-Podcasting Radio Format
Infinity Broadcasting Corp. Tries All-Podcasting Radio Format at Underperforming Station
By SETH SUTEL
The Associated Press
Apr 27, 2005 â€” Infinity Broadcasting Corp., a terrestrial radio company whose business model is being challenged by the iPod phenomenon, is borrowing a page from its rival's playbook.
Next month, Infinity will convert an underperforming station in San Francisco to a format that will play only "podcasts," or amateur recordings distributed via the Internet to listeners' iPods and other digital music players.
Infinity, which is part of the Viacom Inc. media conglomerate that also owns CBS and MTV, announced Wednesday that it would convert its KYCY-AM station in San Francisco to the new format on May 16.
Podcasts have become popular in the past several months with the booming use of Apple Computer Inc.'s iPods and other portable digital listening devices. Podcasts are essentially audio files that people make on their own and then upload to Internet sites. Listeners can then copy them to their devices and play them whenever they want.
A huge variety of podcasts is available through aggregator sites like iPodder, ranging from random musings on pop culture and sports to music or commentary on movies. Unlike radio broadcasts, they can be stored and listened to at any time, paused and replayed.
Joel Hollander, the CEO of Infinity, said the station, which would be promoted under the name KYOURADIO, would run material submitted by listeners but screened to make sure it conforms with federal broadcasting standards for decency.
Hollander described the format change as something of an "experiment," but he said the company had not decided how long it would try it before deciding whether to keep it. He said the station won't charge or pay for the podcasts contributed by listeners.
Infinity has been one of the hardest-hurt traditional radio broadcasters as Wall Street frets about stagnant advertising revenues and declining listenership. Parent company Viacom took a $10.9 billion charge in February to recognize the declining value of its radio holdings.