Tricky Question: How Do You Define “Radio” in the Era of the Internet?

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Defining “radio” used to be easy.  It was what came out of the speaker of that box on the counter or the thing in the dashboard.  It was delivered by AM or FM or maybe shortwave.  It was analogue, one-way communication.

That definition still works today–just barely.  Audio4Cast elaborates:

There’s a debate raging as to whether Pandora and other streaming services are “radio”. There are a group of broadcasters who want to narrowly define “radio” as a traditional approach to radio – with curated formats and live personalities (and towers). And then there are the upstarts that broaden that description to include other forms of audio. Some of them want to define radio to include themselves, but exclude others – like saying that Internet “radio” includes webcasters like Pandora, where there remains an element of surprise about what song you will hear next – but they want to exclude services like Spotify and Rhapsody where you can design your own playlists.

I say who cares whether it’s radio or not. And here’s why.

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