I just offered my encouragement and enthusiasm to the DJs at the Live365 Broadcaster Conference. That's me in the center green.
For those who don't know, Live365 is doing for radio what GarageBand is doing for musicians: creating a community that empowers individuals and evaluates their creations. They've aggregated the third largest internet Radio audience by broadcasting user programmed stations exclusively. This differs from AOL Spinner (number one) who broadcasts staff programmed stations and Yahoo! Launch(number two) who broadcasts computer generated personalized streams. In each of their own ways, these top three stations draw a sharp contrast to ClearChannel/Infinity Broadcasting dominated terrestrial radio. Over the years a handful of mega corporations have consolidated control over thousands of radio stations under one roof - creating a small target for people who would want to homogenize the airwaves. AOL has a large number of diverse stations programmed by independent PDs. Launch replaces the PD with a personalization algorithm (no channel switching). In a way, Live365 is using the Internet to take radio back to its roots: thousands of stations built on the personalities and tastes of real people. There is real potential in Live365's model for communities to emerge centered on the radio stations or for existing communities to start their own radio stations. As Blogger has done for print, Live365 has put the power of radio in the hands of anyone. What this means, is now anyone can be a tastemaker, and only the best at forecasting future hits will gain a committed audience. As opposed to the current terrestrial radio situation where a few people have the power to "make" a hit and continue to have that power despite their dismal track record.
I should note, that my company garageband.com is looking forward to a partnership with Live365, but my enthusiasm for them pre-dates both the partnership and this article.