Opie & Anthony on Radio for Free? XM is Crazy…like a Fox

From Today’s Inside Radio:

XM’s Opie & Anthony could be on your local AM or FM radio dial. Inside Radio told you Monday that they materialized on Citadel’s WAQX, Syracuse — and XM confirms the once-banished duo could strike deals to put their XM-originated morning show on the air in other radio markets. The show that’s airing on 95X is literally the previous day’s XM show.

All of you folks in Terrestrial Radio need to understand what’s going on here.

By doing these deals, XM is not diminishing the value of their subscription service.

Quite the contrary.

What XM is doing is offering a “free trial” of their premium programming. To get the FULL program – unedited and with what I’m sure will be plenty of bonus features – you’ll need to subscribe. This is a “sampling” strategy – if you like the free sample you’re more likely to pay for the full product.

It’s the same strategy used by software makers. It’s the strategy that leads me to write content like this and give it to you for nothing. It’s the strategy behind my argument that we on the Terrestrial side should be giving away most of our product to listeners for free – and inviting them to pay for the rest (e.g., online). It’s the same strategy that many folks, myself included, believe the labels should follow. It’s the same strategy that some movie studios now use when they put the first eight minutes of a new movie online for all to see.

Remember, I recently wrote that Radio’s chief advantage is its ubiquity. Satellite Radio can’t establish personality-based shows without either pre-sold celebrities or organically-grown shows with broad distribution.

Opie & Anthony are certainly not pre-sold celebrities.

And the organic growth of their show depends on the kind of distribution which is available in bulk in one and only one place:

Free Terrestrial Radio.

For Satcasters, this is the smartest thing in the world.

For Radio, running premium Satellite shows like O&A is plugging a leak while ignoring that the dam is about to burst.

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