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Slacker Personal Radio comes to Blackberry

And here’s a development that surprises me not at all:

The Slacker interactive radio service will be accessible on RIM’s Blackberry devices starting in October, offering users of those devices a way to listen to artist channels, expert-programmed stations and customized channels that can be created and edited through a web interface or the device itself. As with Slacker’s web- and device-based implementations, you’ll be able to use the service for free; the only restrictions on Slacker’s first-generation portable are that programming can includes an ad or two every hour, song skipping is restricted to five skips per hour, and you can’t rewind. Stations will be cached on the Blackberry, meaning that you can play them even when out of range of WiFi or 3G, you don’t need to worry about bandwidth blips glitching your music. Every time the device connects via WiFi or USB, stations refresh with new content based on your preferences.

Free, ad-supported, mobile.

Sounds like “radio” to me.

And you don’t even need a WiFi or 3G connection.

Sounds like “radio” to me.

But radio you can personalize, if you’re so inclined.

In case you need to catch up on Slacker (which is around the corner from my office), check out the interview I did with them some time ago.

Here’s the thing that radio broadcasters need to understand: When your business is based on commodities (i.e., content belonging to the labels), then the advantage shifts to the provider who wraps the most compelling experience around that content. And that experience could be a technological one, as it is for Slacker, or it could be an entertainment and content one, as it must be for radio over the air.

You must invest in your product, you must bring back the fun, you must focus on the entertainment that goes between the songs. You don’t have a choice.

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