Skipping within radio livestreams: Challenges and changes
Skipping sound easy, and it is. In principle 'skipping away' is always possible - even with live programs. But where to? Which alternatives can I offer for my audience? This determination is the great mystery that is hidden behind the skip-button. Because the skip function is a pure technical process. For this the system needs the following information in real time: what should be offered next to the listener and where is the necessary source audio file. The technology is ready, but which challenges have to be mastered?
GOOD FEELINGS - THE USER HAS TO FEEL COMFORTABLE
Skipping needs to feel comfortable and deliver a perceived advantage for the listener. For example, through an improved program with a significantly greater choice of music. The usage must be logical for the user. This also means that the availability or lack thereof a skip function needs to be clear. No skipping of advertisements - let your audience know. Only a certain number of skips per hour - the listener needs to know that.
BREAK THE RULES - TRANSCENT RIGID RADIO CLOCKS
Hourly radio clocks are important for radio stations. The times of many processes are manifested in them. But this corset must be shed in order to skip. The skip signal from the listener is a breakout from this pattern. The rigid corset has to make room for a soft cloak that only defines the outlines of a program. A Clock with skip function does not have exactly 60 minutes. It is shorter or longer, news, traffic and weather will not air on defined point of time. This planning requires more flexibility.
FREE YOUR MIND - REAL DIGITALIZATION STARTS IN YOUR HEAD
Every program director has very distinct visions regarding the program they are responsible for. With the skip function the program director will give up this on the millisecond exact control. They need to be ready for this! For program directors who are struggling for the survival of their station a skip function will not be a panacea. This technology requires a stable economic situation and the will for long term change.
Further the colleagues in the station will have to let go of the rigid, linear production of their program. The skip function cracks up structures, changes established workflows. A new culture within the stations will be prerequisite for success - agile, fast and content oriented decisions will be important. The aggregated information about skip behaviour can be used to find out more about the audience.
NO LIMITS - TRUST IN NEW BUSINESS MODELLS
Simulcast-Skip is nothing less than a new business model for private radio stations. It changes everything: the production, the co-workers, the customers. Because of this it can only succeed with a massive support from the management and the stakeholders. Financial adherence to this goal over a couple of years is needed.
Today the costs and the economic risks are high in contrast to the low reach of radio over the internet. Yet! We are convinced: skipping in radio will be a standard soon.
THE FUTURE IS NOW - IMPLEMENT NEW TECHNOLOGIES TODAY
Even though simulcast-skipping is not attractive as a business model yet it will be beneficial to already gather first experiences with skipping in radio programs. The best way to start this is with an only-only subchannel. Many terrestric stations already run a variety of those.
Because the costs of implementation for skip functions for online-only music stations is straightforward the economic risk can be well calculated. The staff can use this to get used to the new technology. The products can evolve - and the users with them.
Skipping in radio livestreams will be reality. Start today!
First step is to take a skippable sub stream and structure it in a way that it sounds close to the simulcast. When done with some diligence it will be surprising how quickly a very similar and well skippable audio-streaming product can be produced. This is a soft way towards simulcast skip.