Monday, October 26, 2009

Forgotten anniversary

Shame, shame, shame on me. One of the most important dates in recent history and I missed it.

I’m going to stop short of taking full blame here. There were no reminders. No hints. No nothing.

You’d think with Google and Wikipedia someone would’ve flagged this date.

I didn't even see a single Tweet about it.

Eight years ago last Friday, October 23, the iPod was introduced.

I was in my Apple store last week. I’ve gotten to know most of the people there.

You’d think someone would’ve invited me to stop by and have cake and ice cream last Friday.

But no. Not a word.

Do you remember the first iPod?

Radio ignored it.

The labels mumbled something about intellectual property and copyrights.

Though it was a significant technological advance over the Diamond RIO MP3 player, the iPod was compatible only with Macs, which excluded 90 percent of the computer market.

And only geeks and Goths and art students owned Macs.

It was weird looking and clunky; the size of a deck of cards. It didn’t look or operate like a radio or a Walkman.

Just a year earlier Diamond REO released its second and third MP3 players with 32 MB and 64 MB of internal memory respectably which were compatible with PCs.

They weighed roughly 2.5 ounces and ranged in price from $200 to $250.

The downside was their fragility. They were prone to cracks and breakage.

The iPod, by comparison, weighed 6.5 ounces and had a whopping maximum 5 GB of storage.

Initially, the only way you could add music to it was by ripping songs from CDs.

And it was pricey. $400.

2001 - the year that Apple introduced the iPod, it made $5.4 billion - nearly all of it from sales of Macs to geeks, Goths, and art students. It posted a loss of $25 million.

Let’s fast forward to last year’s figures. Apple made $36.5 billion - good for $6 billion in profits - from the sale of iPods, iPhones, Macs, and digital content.

220 million iPods users can’t be wrong.

While I’m thinking of it. We missed another important date earlier this year.

January 5.

The eighth anniversary of the sale of the first HD Radio.

That’s when Cedar Rapids, Iowa resident Nathan Franzen bought a Kenwood KTC-HR 100 HD Radio tuner to install in his 2001 Pontiac Gran Prix.

The less said about HD Radio the better.

220 HD Radio users can’t be right.


Seger & Sweet in Cleveland


Anonymous said...

"220 HD Radio users can’t be right.

C'mon, John! Let's not exaggerate those figures!!!

Anonymous said...

When was/is the 13th anniversary of deregulation of radio. Talk about a crash.

Anonymous said...

In Chicago the alternative station Q101 started a new promotion claiming its music was its own iPod on shuffle. This is when iPods started catching on. What did that mean? We would rather listen to 200 alternative rock tunes over and over as always or have the opportunity to program our own music. IT showed me how out of touch radio was with its listeners. Instead of providing us with new music we could add to our iPods they kept playing the same overplayed dumb alternative music we had grown sick of a year ago. If radio offered me the opportunity to hear new and interesting music I would still listen. Instead it has grown worse and to the point where I cant even listen to XRT anymore. I love my iPod. I dislike my radio stations. You programming people take it from there.

Anonymous said...

When will the feds investigate HD radio & iBiquity & all the deals they cut to get as far as they did. This is a scandal waiting to happen. A failed technology.

Anonymous said...

Lord Jesus Christ, Gorman. You really know how to give radio execs premature heart attacks.

I did not realize until you pointed it out that HD radio actually debuted before the iPod. What happened?

Never mind, I answered my own question.

Anonymous said...

"HD Radio Initiatives: Today's New Opportunities"

"Struble began the session by citing the latest HD radio sales and broadcaster data. He noted that while sales of HD Radios are sharply increasing, especially with the new portable Best Buy Insignia and Zune HD models, the economy and declining station revenues have slowed adoption a bit on the broadcaster side. We’re selling millions, but we need to be selling in the tens of millions.”

"Struble: Radio Is the Last Analog Medium Standing"

"Insignia HD — I think this will be a nice little interim step for jogging or working out. It proves the viability [of the technology] and hopefully we'll get sales; but no, this is not going to sell in the hundreds of thousands... Radio alone — the sad reality of where it is — as a standalone device, it just doesn't exist anymore as a category. Nobody goes into Best Buy and says 'Where's the radio department?'"

These two statements were made by Bob "The Scammer Booble" Struble the same week - one at the NAB Philly Show, and the other to Radio World. Finally caught him - LOL! Check out the Amazon Zune HD rankings - they don't exist:

Neither does the iPod Nano with an ANALOG FM tuner. Hey, I remembered that the first HD radio sold January 2004. It must be all of that Ambien that Bob is driving DUI on - LOL!

Anonymous said...

Hard to believe it has been eight years. Then again it is hard to believe there was a time before the iPod existed. It has become so much a part of my life both at home and in the car through a dock that the only time I listen to radio is NPR. I question whether I would listen to commercial radio if it got good again and I believe that I would if it provided what radio used to do. Personality, people who loved the music they played, information, news, facts, and fun. None of those exist in radio today. Given the options, I will listen to my iPod until something better comes along musically.

Anonymous said...

I was in my Apple store this evening and one person on the floor knew something about it but that was it. Apple is more interested in moving current product than nostalgia. Maybe that is the difference between new media and old. Old media spends all its time talking about the past while iPod looks to the future.

EJHill said...

One of many Anon's wrote, "This is a scandal waiting to happen. A failed technology."

Technology fails all the time. Not much scandal to it. If CBS Color had been adopted for television you would have had TV's with massive spinning mechanical disks in them.

Beta failed miserably in the consumer market. Even a powerhouse like Sony couldn't save it.

It happens.

Anonymous said...

"Nobody goes into Best Buy and says 'Where's the radio department?'"

You mean they still have one? I couldn't find it!

Dan Garfinkel said...


Anonymous said...

I don't think radio stations would have acknowledged it even if they knew about it. But they will gladly try and sell you an HD radio.

Anonymous said...

Great one. Obviously Steve Jobs is not as insecure about his product as Bob Struble is of his.

Anonymous said...

I had one of those (still have it). It was such an amazing leap forward from a Diamond Rio. It also made me switch from a PC to Mac which I never regretted. Steve Jobs in a true genius not only with tech but with marketing as well.

Anonymous said...

I remember the billboards for Q101 on shuffle. I think other stations did that, too. They completely missed the point. We didn't want their tiny playlists on shuffle on the radio. We had our own. Radio is so out of touch thanks to those running it today who don't know the first thing about their former listeners' wants and needs.

Anonymous said...

"Radio is so out of touch thanks to those running it today who don't know the first thing about their former listeners' wants and needs."

Now now...don't go saying that...Peter Bordes Jr., Peter Smythe, and the rest of the cast of "those running [radio] today" may label you as "negative"...

Anonymous said...

Interesting that Apple kept the date on the downlow. Probably they don't want the taint of people realizing how old the iPod actually is.

As to the HD Radio comparison, really, what is there to say? A previous poster noted the SONY Beta flop as a similar failed technology. Good analogy. If HD Radio were owned by a single company, it would already be gone. But who's going to tell the stations that paid to upgrade that the technology is being killed? It's alive simply because no one wants to do the dirty work of killing it. Maybe the new head of the NAB can pull the plug on it and pass it off as a failure of his predecessor.

Anonymous said...

If I am not mistaken Sony killed the Betamax for consumer use eight years after it was introduced. Unlike HD Radio a large number of consumers bought Betamax units. Sony's unit died and VHS thrived because Sony did not license manufacturers other than Zenith to make them. VHS holders allowed anyone who wanted to manufacture them to do so. HD Radio is different. iBiquity has allowed anyone who wants to make them to do so. Radio has given HD Radio multimillion dollars in free advertising. But no matter what HD Radio does not sell. No one wants it, needs it or cares for it. You would think by this time they would throw in the towel and concentrate on on line. This is why the radio industry is failing. If there is a wrong side to pick, they will pick it and stay with it to a fault.

Anonymous said...

I have the original iPod Nano. I still use it, too, and download only new songs on it. My newer regular iPod has my complete music library. In both cases my iPod listening has replaced by radio. I live in Boston and travel to Providence RI twice a week. Radio sucks in both cities and the drive along the way. I want to look into those internet radios for cars? Could you write something about those in the future? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

at the risk of being called shameful and hurtful names by peter bordes jr and peter smyth i will tell you that my ipod playlist puts any greater media same song over and over again station to shame. like wbos my ipod has no live announcer. unlike wbos my ipod has a listener. me. i cannot believe that greater media has wasted wbos into a half assed alternative classic juke box. bad enough wbcn went to hell in 96 when oedipu couldnt control himself & put led zeppelin & van halen back on his station & turned it into a t&a fest. maybe mr. smyth would like to buy my ipod library. if it had a station it would kick wbos and waafs ass in the ratings.

Anonymous said...

I bet Peter Smyth plugs in his iPod when he leaves his Braintree office at the end of the day. Except for Severin I don't think he ever listens to his own stations. If he did he would be chopping heads. Hideous radio. Entercom is the better run company in the market. CBS and CC are as bad here as anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

When will radio realize that every time they run those HD Radio promos it sends the wrong message to their clients - radio cannot sell product.

Your friends at TV and the newspapers are documenting radio's many follies, especially this one and using it to sell against you.

How could radio be so naive?

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: "I bet Peter Smyth plugs in his iPod when he leaves his Braintree office at the end of the day."

I bet that Bob Struble uses his iPod on radio trips, and I bet he used to listen to cassettes:

"Jamming to tunes and smiling thinking about great road trips from years gone by. Ipod beats casettes."

Oh, but I thought that HD Radio was available to 90% of the general public, with exciting new programming. Bob's Hyundai Genesis is supposed to be standard with HD Radio. What a moron for posting stuff on Twitter.

Anonymous said...

"Jamming to tunes and smiling thinking about great road trips from years gone by. Ipod beats casettes."

Greatest post I've ever seen here!!!

Anonymous said...


I wonder if he can spell HD better than the above!