Host radio talk shows on the Net
January 12, 1999
by Lisa Moskowitz
(IDG) -- These days, with e-mail, chat rooms, and instant messaging, radio as a means of communication seems almost obsolete--unless you've discovered the world of Internet broadcasting.
It's true that the bulk of Internet broadcasting is not exclusive online content. Instead, traditional radio broadcasts are converted into streaming audio and piped onto the Internet. But a new online service called TalkNetRadio is gearing up to provide a space where Internet users can create original online broadcast programs.
You don't have to be a professional talk show host to use TalkNetRadio; all you need is a microphone and TalkNetRadio's free software.
"Until now, community interaction has been relatively passive [on the Net]," says TalkNetRadio founder Ted Ganchiff, referring to message boards and Usenet newsgroups. "There's great emotional value in having your voice heard. You can be perceived exactly as you want to be. People have the opportunity to unmask themselves."
Unlike typed messages, voice communication can impart humor, scorn, or good cheer immediately without using emoticons or exclamation points. There's also less chance of your sentiment being misunderstood.
TalkNetRadio shows will be organized in a topic-based list. Topic suggestions, gleaned from a survey at TalkNetRadio's site, range from yachting to the personal experiences of World War II veterans, Ganchiff says. Certain subjects such as child pornography, hate groups, and anything remotely illegal will be off limits, he adds. Broadcasting rules and guidelines will be outlined in a Terms of Service agreement.
TalkNetRadio will also be available to businesses that want to broadcast seminars and training programs.
Of the approximately 30 percent of Americans on the Internet, 19 percent have listened to broadcasts online, according to the Internet Listening Study conducted by The Arbitron Company. As modem speeds increase, it will become easier for listeners to download the necessary audio streaming technology.
Talk shows are the second most popular radio format, according to the survey, which means that TalkNetRadio is poised to tap into a viable market.
Get ready to talk
To broadcast or listen to shows, you must register at TalkNetRadio's Web site. While the service is not scheduled to launch until late this year, you can register now (see the link below). Ganchiff is secretive regarding the technology that TalkNetRadio will use to give listeners access to programming, but he says that audience members will be able to communicate with broadcasters via real-time chat, TalkNetRadio's equivalent of the radio "call-in."
In addition to free software, TalkNetRadio broadcasters will also have access to free home pages and tools such as e-mail services to help them get the word out about their programs.
Private individuals will be able to broadcast their show to as many as to 30 listeners for free; a fee will be charged for each additional listener. Users who register before July 5, 1999 will receive additional free streams. Business users will be charged a per-listener fee.
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