Watch Me Pull a Transmitter Out of My Hat
Technically, Internet Radio isn’t really “radio” by definition. AM and FM send music and voice wirelessly through the air by a procedure known as “magic”. (Yes: the same people who brought you the magic of invisible ink, x-ray specs, and rubber vomit invented Radio. I’m right. Look it up.)
Internet Radio does not send audio through the air by magic. Instead, it sends audio through telephone and cable lines (how mundane). Therefore, it is not really "radio" but an incredible simulation. We often refer to Internet Radio as “streams” yet it has nothing to do with water, either. So, to summarize: Internet Radio is not really “radio” nor is it a “stream” but we still use both terms to refer to it.
Traditional radio stations require a lot of studio equipment, transmitters, broadcast towers, and personnel. Also, by law AM and FM stations only cover a predefined geographic area. Internet Radio requires a 14-year-old kid sitting his bedroom in Cow Nuts, Iowa who has a $299 netbook computer and a $9.95 monthly subscription at Live365.com to reach a global audience.
Oddly enough, some people who own AM and FM radio stations which they paid millions of dollars for seemed threatened by this.
Internet Radio: An Enigma Wrapped in a Bedroom
Many AM and FM stations now rebroadcast the content from these stations across the Internet. This allows the traditional stations to pretend they are Internet radio stations. Why would the owners of million-dollar AM and FM radio stations want to pretend they were 14-year-old boys broadcasting out of their bedroom? Because for some reason listenership of Internet Radio has increased every year since it was introduced.
This is perplexing to traditional radio station owners because they pay really smart people big salaries to pick tiny playlists of songs for repeated broadcast. On the other hand, Internet Radio is run by a motley bunch of know-nothing fans, hobbyists, and radio entrepreneurs who take chances with music and formats. Did I mention Internet Radio has increased every year since it was introduced?
It’s almost as if these Internet Radio stations are providing some sort of unfulfilled service to listeners.