Well, if you hate radio commercials as much as I do, here's some good news for you.
Beginning Jan. 1, Clear Channel — which owns six San Antonio radio stations — will reduce the number of commercials it plays every hour on its stations nationwide.
It's one of many initiatives San Antonio-based Clear Channel plans in the next few months to keep listeners tuning into its stations, Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan said
Clear Channel wants to ensure it serves its audiences and doesn't become obsolete in a rapidly changing industry, Hogan said last week.
In Monday's announcement, Clear Channel officials didn't specify the number of commercials each station will run. It said only that the new limit will apply to all its stations, and the commercial count will depend on format and time.
To compete, Clear Channel Radio also plans to convert hundreds of its 1,200 radio stations to high-definition digital signals, Hogan said. He declined to provide further details or a timetable. High-definition radio provides CD-quality music.
"You don't want to be the only analog medium left," said James Marsh, senior broadcasting analyst with SG Cowen, a research firm in New York.
The conversion to digital radio takes one of the selling points away from satellite radio, which promotes itself as high-quality, commercial-free radio, Marsh said.
Cutting the number of commercials will allow the stations to please listeners and hopefully charge more for limited advertising time, said Lee Westerfield, media analyst with Harris Nesbitt in New York.
"Based upon well-tested audience behavior, we know that less talk, more music, means more listening," Westerfield said.
The move to digital radio also will provide better-sounding music and more information, Westerfield said.
Radio is heard by or touches more Americans on a weekly basis than any other media, Westerfield said, but time spent listening to radio has been reduced from 22 minutes to 19 minutes weekly.
Cutting commercials and moving to a digital format are designed to curb that declining trend.