Chrysler will announce today that it’s going to offer wireless internet in some 2009 models. Other car makers will surely follow suit, allowing you to listen to any radio station (or other audio source) from anywhere, anytime.
So, why do so many radio stations pay no attention to the horrible quality of their live online streams, with poorly synchronized audio and endlessly repeating PSAs? Mostly, it’s because they haven’t found enough revenue online, but that’s typically short-sighted. They should have read my column a few months ago regarding this coming wave of changing in-car tech.
Once wireless internet is available to drivers, there will be no need for the other extra hardware that no one is buying (yes, I’m talking about you, HD Radio!), and will force a change in how XM and Sirius do business. The two satellite services, whether they merge or not, will have to transform themselves into pure content providers, probably relying more on advertising than subscription fees. It will be interesting to see if many of their spoken-word channels continue to offer pass-thru programming (from Fox News, CNN, NPR, and others, all of whom could chose to stream it themselves), or will develop new original programming to fill the online void.