Features Redefining “Radio” For The Digital Age

Emmis/NextRadio Exec A Panelist At Iconic Festival For Film, Music & Interactive.
Click the picture to hear Brenner speak about “Redefining ‘Radio’ for the Digital Age.”

South by Southwest (SXSW) for decades has been known as arguably America’s leading hybrid festival-conference for film and music.  In recent years as host city Austin, TX has earned a reputation as a breeding ground for new ideas and creative technologies, a focus on emerging technology has been added to the event.

In 2015 South By Southwest Interactive, the tech-focused arm of the famous SXSW festival, featured Emmis Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Paul Brenner in the panel “Redefining ‘Radio’ for the Digital Age.”

This panel will discuss the implications of the increasingly blurred lines between different radio platforms: Broadcast (AM/FM), satellite and Internet. No longer can radio be defined solely as “the wireless transmission of signals through free space by electromagnetic waves of frequency.” How are new services in the car, mobile devices, set top boxes and even wearables changing the nature of radio? How will radio listeners experience music in 5 years? What is radio in the digital age? Is it time for a “new” definition of radio?

Moderator Deborah Newman specifically included Brenner as he has both digital media and terrestrial radio interests. Also included on the panel were execs from iHeartRadio and 8tracks, a music streaming service.

Brenner touted the benefits of local radio in his remarks, while still clearly residing in the “tech” camp. He sees interactive media–merging local radio and digital streaming–as greater than the sum of its parts. “Those are the assets that the radio industry owns: community,” Brenner said.

He continued to share the benefits of Emmis technology. “What NextRadio does…is take advantage of the free distribution that you can get through an FM radio but enhance it with an interactive element that puts it on par [with], and some might say goes above and beyond, what others can do.”

NextRadio’s expansion efforts are well known, too, including the popular display of the technology in a car dashboard at CES – something well-received by the audience. sxsw logo