NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As I explained this past week at TheStreet, the broadcast radio guys remain in denial. By some crazy stretch of their deluded imaginations, they don't consider Pandora (P) (and, presumably, its Internet radio brethren) a threat.
That's nothing but pure poppycock.
However, contrary to what my writing on the space might lead you to believe, I, more than most, want broadcast radio to succeed. If it gets -- or even just puts a clue on loan -- it might have a fighting chance to coexist, even successfully, alongside Internet radio for a long time.
I want radio, as we knew it, to succeed because I grew up on it and in it. I love the medium. I worked in radio as a teenager. It was my first career before ditching it in the year 2000 for other, mostly greener pastures.
That's part of the reason why, for me, it's sad to see the industry sit on its butt, responding to Internet radio with little more than a cheap knockoff like Clear Channel's iHeart Radio. iHeart Radio admits defeat at the hands of Pandora, Spotify and others as much as it promotes terrestrial radio itself. It effectively tells the user -- Here, you can access our stations, but you'll probably think they suck so you can create your own personalized station. One that, by the way, won't be as good as pure play Internet radio because we're reacting to what they have crafted, not forging our own righteous path.
Anyhow, thanks to GIGAOM for writing about serial entrepreneur Michael Robertson's just-launched venture. It's, as described by GIGAOM, a "radio search engine" that "turns tens of thousands of radio stations into an easily searchable music jukebox."
It helps you find what you're looking for, as one of its main functions, on actual broadcast radio. It doesn't succumb to the notion that Internet radio is just better. Even if that's not the message iHeart and others are trying to send, it is, for all intents and purposes, what they're saying.
Here's how the interface looks, by default, from my perch in the Los Angeles area:
And here's how it looks when you search for something specific. In this case, I asked the Radio Search Engine to find "Fifteen" by Taylor Swift:
It's that simple. Search for a song or a program and the Radio Search Engine spits out all the places -- Internet and broadcast radio streaming online -- where you can find what you're looking for, along with recommendations for other things you might like.
Simple, but brilliant. And clearly beyond the limited capacities of so many of the cats in broadcast radio who refuse to admit they're losing.
It's even cooler for a radio geek like me, who spent the days and nights of his childhood struggling to sample stations from across the country. Streaming changed that. And this search engine takes things to an entirely new, dynamic and way more convenient level.
You can play with the Radio Search Engine yourself HERE.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.