Satellite Radio, Rich Content and the Threat of Wi-Fi/Wi-Max

What is it about Satellite radio that has caused over x subscribers to sign up for Sirius over the past x months? Is it the superior technology? I’ve seen some of the installations of the portable satellite tuners and heard the quality of the streams that are being beemed to its subscribers. The new eye sores on Americas dashboards and barely differentiating sound quality are not driving subscriptions at thirteen bucks a month.

Howard Stern left FM because adversisers and regulation had stemied the ability to build rich and provocative content on America’s open airwaves. Starting in the 1970’s Stern worked day after day to understand radio listeners and the content they enjoyed. Whether you’re looking at XM or Sirius, you’re looking at services that are activly creating content that people can get their money’s worth from. Whether it be specialty radio stations or channels of consistant right-wing discussion, rich content is the only lure satellite radio has to draw and maintain a customer base.

Wi-Max is the same wireless internet connection you enjoy at your local coffee shop, only it is spread across entire cities. On April 13th, the City of Portland announced that 134 square miles will be covered by Wi-max.

How are these three topics related? First, remember that the internet is providing the single greatest conduit of information in the history of mankind. Children to senior citizens have embraced the web as a platform for delivering their own personal and original rich content. Second, consider for a moment that Howard Stern (and any other radio personality) control only a temporary pool of content consumers. Once Stern retires or public interest wanes it is the burdon of content providers to fill the gap.

Wi-Max means that anyone in possesion of what will be a viral explosion of connected personal digital devices will have the chance to connect to any content provider in the world. They will be limited only to the quality of decentralized content.

As more standards for rich content delivery develop, enormous audiences will be built around new ideas in hours or minutes. Simply serving up commercial free music won’t cut it.

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