You might not need that XM subscription for much longer. Tyrannical media-corporation Clear Channel is testing out commercial free FM radio in Texas. The plan is that stations will no longer run commercials, but rather DJs will advertise companies and sponsors during radio shows, talk programs, and intermissions. Increasing competition from satellite radio and the iPod is causing big media giants like Clear Channel to tremble a bit. This quote from the NYT sums the model up pretty well:
For example, the D.J. will identify Southwest Airlines, one of the station’s first advertisers, as the sponsor at the beginning of the program. In a prototype provided by the station, the D.J. later discusses the South by Southwest music festival, a popular annual event held in Austin, and concludes, “You know, the best way to get down to Austin for South by Southwest is Southwest Airlines. They have tons of flights. It’s the way I travel.
Don’t get too excited though. This is only a 13-week trial going on in Austin, TX that will give Clear Channel a feel for how well the system works. If it goes well though, expect to see more and more stations switching advertising models. We go forward only to go backwards.