Thursday, January 30, 2014

Listener Driven Radio

In February of 2001 FMQB ran the following blurb:
"Listener Driven Radio announces the release of its latest software offering -- LDR.Takeover. Bonneville Hot AC WTMX (101.9 The Mix)/Chicago is the first station to launch the platform. WTMX will engage LDR.Takeover for U Mix It, a new nightly show, allowing listeners take control of the station. The program launches tonight at 8:00 PM"
 The idea was greater audience participation. It was the Web 2.0 version of radio. On February 17th, just a day after the FMQB blurb, they posed on face book "Visit weeknights from 8:00 PM until 12:00 PM and vote for the artists and songs you want to hear. You decide what gets played live minute-by-minute on THE MIX."  Other similar articles appeared Radio Ink and in the Chicago Sun-Times here. Clearly a press-release went out. As in that case, some versions of the show logo are co-branded with a Pepsi logo indicating an early sponsor. WTMX tapped a fill-in DJ Erin Carman, to host the experimental program.

The LDR software, was developed for Bonneville by a firm called Listener Driven Radio. The descriptions of radio listeners going to that station's  website and voting for the songs sounds like a chat room, or IM-like client. This may have been similar to the platform that used to operate.

By October of 2012 Carman was out.  The program was still running, but it was now hosted by "Finnegan."  The above video was posted on Youtube by WTMX. But by January the program was scrapped. After about 2 years on the air the computerized all-request show "U-Mix It,"was gone. It's host Finnegan was retained on the same shift. minus the audience participation. VP of Programming Greg Solk who had overseen the launch of the program had kind words for Finnegan but said nothing about his red-headed step-child of a radio format.  More here.

The URL now redirects to which is still operable. LDR (and their similar interactive products) actually penetrated the market and now run on many stations websites in the US and Canada including WNOK, CFEX, KJKE, KOOO, WAKS, CKEA, WBIG... and many others.