Tag Archives: Department of Defense

Alan Levy Goes Head to Head with Newly Merged Sirius XM

BlogTalkRadio Founder & CEO Alan Levy

BlogTalkRadio Founder & CEO Alan Levy

So today’s article in the New York Post headlined “Downed Satellite” includes a one-line quote from me:

“‘I don’t think making people pay subscriber fees for content is sustainable,’ said BlogTalkRadio CEO Alan Levy.”

The quote elicited a somewhat harsh response from the newly-merged Sirius XM satellite radio network. Chief Financial Officer David Frear tried to dismiss my comment by asking:

“We generated $2.3 billion in revenue for the trailing 12 months, how much did BlogTalkRadio generate? Do they have a viable business plan?”

Before I respond to David’s question regarding the viability of our business plan, let me elaborate on why I think Sirius XM is in for hard times. Here’s a list of obstacles I see hindering satellite radio’s growth:

• The cost of content is way too high. Howard Stern, the $500 million man, is reported to have only 1.2 million listeners to his show a week. And those are not unique listeners. Howard has far and away the largest audience on Sirius. (Take a look at the numbers reported just nine months ago in The Daily News.) Notwithstanding the huge contracts awarded to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, I believe the days of big radio contracts are over.

• Cars are being equipped with devices that can accommodate Internet surfing. Why subscribe to Sirius XM when passengers can access their Last.fm, Yahoo or Pandora playlists? There are endless choices for streaming music, all far more appealing than the choices offered by satellite radio.

• Cars are also being equipped with iPod jacks and other MP3 accessories.

• When cars can accommodate the Web, why should someone pay a subscription fee for CNN or Fox News when content can be streamed directly off those websites for free?

• There’s a limit to the number of channels – and, thus, content – that can be distributed on the Sirius XM network. In July, more than 4,000 hosts produced tens of thousands of hours of programming on BlogTalkRadio. How many hours of programming did Sirius and XM offer?

• While I haven’t scoured Sirius and XM’s annual reports to determine the cost of maintaining a satellite network, there’s no doubt that a low-cost, Internet-based model for creating and distributing content is far more appealing to investors.

• We live in an on-demand TiVo world. To date, BlogTalkRadio has produced more than 110,000 discrete shows, all of which are accessible via our network. Audiences want to consume content when they want it and not when it’s scheduled. Does Sirius XM make all its content available in archives?

Of course, what do I know? As Sirius XM’s CFO asks, “Do they have a viable business model”?

Let’s see…

• Unlike satellite or traditional terrestrial radio, our costs to produce, distribute and store content is negligible.

• We have more than three million listeners per month to shows whose topics range from politics to entertainment to sports to parenting to paranormal. Our hosts produce more than 500 live shows a day, and there is no limit on the number of shows or hosts the BlogTalkRadio radio network can accommodate.

• We aggregate programming by topic, thereby offering a far more targeted audience to our customers.

• Lastly, we license privately-branded radio networks to major companies and organizations, including the Department of Defense, Sun Microsystems, HarperCollins and Golf Magazine.

It’s an interesting debate, and one I’m looking forward to engaging in as it develops.


Department of Defense on BlogTalkRadio

The Department of Defense continues to embrace social media with BlogTalkRadio.

DoDBlogTalkRadio is pleased to announce we are working with the Department of Defense to develop live, Internet talk shows aimed to inform internal audiences, the public and the blogger community about Pentagon activities and initiatives starting with these two shows:

  • The Department of Defense Bloggers’ Roundtable connects bloggers and online citizen journalists with DoD civilian and military leaders and subject matter experts. The Roundtable provides source material where available, including audio, photo, video, transcripts, biographies and related fact sheets.
  • ASY Live or “America Supports You,” is a nationwide program designed to recognize citizens’ support for our military men and women and communicate that support to members of our Armed Forces at home and abroad. Interviews range from Department of Defense personnel, to patriotic citizens and non-profit homefront organizations.

Allison Barber, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs:

“We’re using new media in the Department of Defense because it’s allowing us to create a more customized experience for our diverse worldwide audiences. They can access our news and information where they want it, when they want it. BlogTalkRadio is one of the new media formats enabling us to provide that more personalized experience.”

BlogTalkRadio CEO Alan Levy:

“The Pentagon has recognized BlogTalkRadio’s ability to reach various targeted audiences utilizing our easy-to-use talk radio broadcasting format. It enables them to deliver prompt information to listeners regarding the War on Terror and other Pentagon activities and programs, while also conveying the feelings and emotion of those who are affected.”

Late 2006, Scott Kesterson started doing live broadcasts from Afghanistan. Since then, we have remained in constant touch with the DoD. Key officers have been guests on Military blogger radio shows and, of course, we already have a number of military spouse shows, like Army Wife Talk Radio and Navy Wife Radio.

BlogTalkRadio welcomes the Department of Defense to the Internet “airwaves.”

Department of Defense Blogger Roundtable

BlogTalkRadio is home to the Department of Defense New Media show, which brings you conversations with military commanders deployed around the world.

DoDnewmedia Today Defense Bloggers Roundtable will broadcast an operational update on Operation Marne Courageous with Colonel Dominic J. Caraccilo, Commander, 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, this morning at 9am ET.

3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division conducted a transfer of authority with 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division on Nov. 2. They launched the kinetic/offensive phase of Operation Marne Courageous on Nov. 16. This operation is designed to contain sectarian violence and secure the population west of the Euphrates River, in an area that was previously held by Al Qaeda.