All Geeks, All Day

CNET went a little more synergistic yesterday with the announcement that it was pairing up with radio giant AMFM to produce CNET radio - an all-tech, all-the-time channel at San Francisco's KNEW 910 AM.

According to the AP, the station will air breaking news about technology, product reviews and interviews with major industry figures. Programs will also be broadcast on CNET's Internet radio service and promoted on CNET's Web sites and AMFM's six other Bay Area stations, the story said. The Wall Street Journal's Kara Swisher reported that CNET has already hired about a dozen staffers for the station.

While 24 hours a day of pontificating geeks surely won't have everyone in the Bay Area eagerly reaching for their dials, journalists and their sources were generally enthusiastic about the deal. Most noted CNET's success at working in a variety of media - the company started out in TV, after all.

Still, some expressed skepticism that the format could work anywhere besides tech-obsessed San Francisco. The AP quoted Christopher Ensley, an analyst with Lazard Freres & Co.: "In a high-tech market like San Francisco, there certainly is demand for this. I don't think that's going to be true in every market around the country. It's probably a niche format.'' But Ensley's colleague Manda Hormozi told that interest from the rest of the country would likely follow the spread of technology. She predicted that the station would next move into Austin, Texas, before heading to New York. Manhattan is following the lead of Texas? This really is the new economy.

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