Thursday, March 17, 2005

How not to do Internet radio

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how I welcomed CBS/Infinity's decision to put its all-news stations on the Internet.

Infinity, using Radiomat, has now proved it's got a ways to go to learn about doing Internet radio.

-- First, I could not get the service to work on a Mac, despite what Radiomat/Infinity says. I have the most advanced Windows Media player available for the Mac (9) on a well-equipped e-Mac with up-to-date OSx on a 100mb net. No way could I get it to come up in any browser: IE, Mozilla/Netscape or Safari. (In Netscape and Safari, I can get as far as the sonixtream screen, and then it gives you a 404 error. On the others, you just get a blank screen. I've disabled popup blockers, hit their "click here if you have a popup blocker" link, etc.) I did get it to work on a Wintel with Media Player 7, no less.

-- You get the pleasure of filling out a registration screen that requires e-mail address, etc., so that can bug you unless you remember to NOT ONLY check the I don't want e-mail box but UNCHECK the I do want e-mail. (Ever heard of scripts that uncheck one when you check the other?) Of course, the I-want-spam box is helpfully checked originally. And the registration then apparently tracks you with a cookie, because you have to re-register every time you change machines or browsers. I suspect all that info's going into a database, so why not use it if you're going to require registration?

-- After forcing you to register, Infinity then forces you to listen to an ad. OK, guys, here's the skinny. Make it one or the other. For me, I'd prefer just listening to the ad.

-- And every so often, a Monster ad comes up, cutting off the underlying stream. Sometimes it's synched, but somteimes it steps on the station.

I didn't know Infinity had a "user unfriendly" department. But I am enjoying listening to WBBM and KYW.


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