Both basement DJs and traditional radio stations alike are becoming players in the PC-radio market. Now the most narrow-genre DJs can find an audience, and a lucrative new cache of listeners-9-to-5ers, has been born.
"Because the barriers to entry are lower online and the potential reach is broader, you can focus a lot more narrowly on a given genre and still derive revenues from it," says Sinnreich. "Advertising is actually much more accountable online than offline and therefore has the potential to be worth a lot more. [And online radio] has the capacity to integrate commerce into it."
Arbitron NewMedia, a media information services company specializing in the Internet broadcasting industry, reports that as of July, 14 percent of Internet users said they tried Net radio, more than double the number in 1998. As for the concern that listeners will return to their car radios at 5 o'clock, car units using the FCC-approved "S" band (for satellite radio) are already in the works.