Open Letter to The Pandora Music Service

Subject:   Voice of the (English-Speaking) World — Suggestion for Service Enhancement


Dear Pandora Customer Service,

I was shuffling through the various genres on Pandora when it suddenly dawned on me that here we have pre-rolled “radio” stations WITHOUT disk jockeys. Yes, that might seem obvious, since that's what Pandora is, basically, but ... you could inject ONE world-class disk jockey, who speaks in the gaps of many stations at once (with appropriate time delays). He or she, being a live human rather than a computer program, would speak to the listeners from the point of view of somebody who is alive TODAY and can talk about TODAY.

That's how radio stations used to work. Sure, there were lots and lots of ads, but from time to time there was an honest-to-goodness human being telling you that you're not just listening to a machine. It gives you a sense of connection and even loyalty to the station/service.

Could Pandora have an all-stations host, broadcasting from (say) Greenwich, England, where GMT is “now”? I can imagine caring who's hosting if the right hosts were selected. The best hosts will fully take into account that their comments (which would be considered fresh for up to 5 minutes before expiring) will be broadcast on stations with wildly different content.

It would take skill on the part of the DJ, but it could work. Pandora could be  THE radio station of the world, starting with English hosts.

— — —

If Pandora has already thought of this idea, or cannot do it for genuinely insurmountable legal barriers, then I apologize for taking up your time with this idea.

Timothy Campbell


Postscript: As I expected, Pandora rejected this idea. I received an email that said, “Unfortunately, that's not currently a feature of Pandora. [It] would be difficult to implement given people's listening habits as well as listeners who have upgraded to Pandora One in order to forego interruptions.”

Wow, talk about utterly missing the point in precisely the manner I figured they would. The DJ wouldn't be an “interruption;” it would be part of the service.

Well, somebody else will eventually do it. Anybody want a billion-dollar idea? It'll only cost you a few million to get up to speed (plus my inventor's fee, of course).

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