In the 21st century, the success of products and ideas is largely determined by the ability or inability of an audience to connect with a product. Consequentially, there has been a significant change in how the more successful radio stations have designed their audience’s experience. If we look at mildly successful local radio stations such as i98 FM or Wave FM we can see how they exhibit the traits of what we would call a ‘traditional radio’ with minimal opportunity for real audience engagement and participation.
If we then examine the traits of a successful domestic radio station such as Triple J, we can see that the ability of the audience to connect is heightened through avenues such as the annual Triple J’s Hottest 100, where audience members around Australia can vote on what they believe to be the ‘hottest’ hits of the previous year, and Triple J Unearthed, where amateur bands around the country can upload their music online where they can be heard, given feedback, ranked and even broadcasted on the Triple J radio station. It is through these distinct channels that this radio station allows itself to be a significantly more open technology to its audience.
Finally, if we investigate the characteristics of the highly successful international radio, Pandora Internet Radio, we can clearly see that this radio allows significantly more connectivity and personalisation as a result of the Music Genome Project (Pandora, 2012). This technology allows the audience to personalise their radio experience by creating up to 100 of their own stations based on genre, artist or temporal preference, which Pandora then uses to select an array of free songs to play. The user then has the opportunity to give feedback on each song to further narrow down Pandora’s selection to a very specific musical formula. The user can also share on Facebook/Twitter any songs they especially enjoy (Pandora, 2012). This ability that Pandora has given its audience “to archive, annotate, appropriate and recirculate media content in powerful new ways” (Jenkins, 2004) has been significant in attributing to its huge success.
Despite there being a number of issues for the audience of Pandora, such as the still ever-present ads, limited skips and inability to download, this media technology has been very successful in engaging and maintaining connections with its audience through the combination of its uniquely modern strategies. Besides, if you ever want rid of the ads and limited skips you can just follow one of these step by step guides to hacking your Pandora app:
* AP (2013), Pandora Quadruples In-Car Listeners, AdvertisingAge.com
* Levy, A (2014), iTunes Radio is Pandora Media Inc’s Biggest Threat, But It’s Not the Only One, The Motely Fool, Alexandria
* Jenkins, H (2004), The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence, in ‘International Journal of Cultural Studies’, Volume 7(1), pp. 33-42
* Pandora Media, Inc. (2012), About Pandora, Oakland