As one of the founders of Ando Media I keenly follow developments in measuring Internet radio audience.  As can be seen in the following graph, terrestrial radio’s Internet radio audience has flatlined for some time, no pulse, no signs of life.

This data is taken from Triton Digital’s monthly audience ranker (formerly Ando Media).  The slight dip in July 2011 represents a summer seasonal decline as this same listening pattern happened in 2010.  Of course Pandora stands out on this graph.  The top 5 broadcasters include Clear Channel and CBS.  They have a long way to go to catch Pandora.  I am hopeful that Clear Channel will close at least some of the gap due to its elimination of all ads in its streams and new customization options announced 9/8/11.  The most recent Triton Digital ranker for September is too soon so reflect any impact these moves may have.

I have just read Steve Jobs biography.  He stated that “if you don’t cannibalize yourself, someone else will.”  This is the position the radio industry is in. Many broadcasters are afraid that promoting their stream will result in declines in their over the air audience.  Yes it may in the short term but long term it’s either offer the listener what they want or they will go elsewhere.  Where did all of that Pandora listening come from?

This is the position the radio industry is in.  All stations should cut back substantially on their ad units.  This is one tactic that stations can take immediately and increase their audience.  Sell two spots per hour make it a premium offering to advertisers.  These two advertisers get audio, preroll and display opportunities.  Make sure there are a number of different creatives for each ad type to avoid listener fatigue.  This is only step one in what terrestrial radio stations that are streaming need to accomplish.  Personalization and customization are next.