Crowdsourcing Commercial Radio

Jun 18th, 2009 | By | Category: Citizen Media

CBS has announced that it plans to experiment with a new approach to radio, dispensing with traditional DJs and crowdsourcing the DJing, instead:

CBS Radio will debut on June 28 the industry’s first 100 percent user-controlled, on-air radio program using a new social Web service called Jelli. Every Sunday between 10 p.m. and midnight on KITS-FM (LIVE 105) in San Francisco, listeners will take over the airwaves.

Using Jelli, listeners will create the playlist via Web-based voting. If a song sucks, listeners will also be able to vote to pull it off the air instantly.

“The real-time Web represents a huge opportunity to engage with both online and traditional media audiences,” said CBS Interactive’s Michael Marquez. “Jelli is creating a bridge between digital and traditional broadcast experiences, creating something completely new and fun.”

Call me a pessimist, but crowd-sourced DJing is likely to be more successful as a cost-saving measure than an audience-building one.

People are turning away from commercial radio because stations are getting rid of DJs with unique musical perspectives and programming to the lowest common denominator. Crowdsourcing the playlist is likely to lead to conservative, greatest hits programming.

What do you think? Can crowdsourced radio be more than a cost-saving measure?

Image: Smeerch

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No Responses to “Crowdsourcing Commercial Radio”

  1. Darrel says:

    Crowdsourcing? What’s the point? More than likely the target audience would be using their personal media player rather than listening to the radio station anyway.

  2. crda says:

    I’d second that. People with iPhones, who can access the web at any time and vote for a song, have already given up on radio.

    I wonder if there might be an audience for this, though, among teens?

  3. I’d say it should at least be tried. You never really know until you experiment with an idea and see how it goes.

    I do think the best stations now, though, are legacy stations with unique stationality driven by strong ideals forged by one or two people at the top who love the music in the station’s format.

  4. msbpodcast says:

    It will immediately descend to either one of two things:

    1) Playlists composed by drunks with no memory for song titles and so end up consisting mostly of “Rawhide” and “Free Bird”,

    2) Playlists composed by people (and I use the term loosely) who think that the trite piece of pop they just heard issuing from the mouth of some tone deaf half-dressed, barely legal, disposable bimbo to be the most profound thing they have ever heard, “like evah.”

    Crowd sourcing of music is a BAD idea.

    Remember, people sell, and therefore people buy, thrash metal, screamo, and other genres which make my teeth hurt.

  5. Jim Kloss says:

    Listener controlled audio has happening successfully at Whole Wheat Radio wiki and webcast for over 5 years. Adults with sophisticated musical tastes control what is played through hundreds of listener created shows based on musical tags, moods, artists, albums or listener rankings. It works for our small community … and leads to a unique variety of interesting music placement.

  6. Griffin says:

    I’d say CBS needs to do a little more research before making the “first 100 percent user-controlled” claim.
    Whole Wheat Radio indeed has been in service for a few years, and listeners do control the playlist.

    And no, Free Bird is not in the Library…

  7. Mike says:

    Hey, try anything. Today’s music radio is unbelievably God-awful. Trying something new and different can’t make it much worse. Will probably make it better.

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