9/16/13: New RAIN Enterprises to bring together publishing, conference efforts

Paul Maloney
September 16, 2013 - 10:55am

RAIN Publications and RAIN Summits are merging to create a new company which will offer news, conference events, and more to the dynamic and rapidly-growing Internet radio and online audio industries.

The new venture, RAIN Enterprises, will include a revamped RAIN: Radio And Internet Newsletter website (to go live soon). RAIN Enterprises will be led by CEO Jennifer Lane (right), the longtime President of RAIN Summits.

Over the past several years, the RAIN Summits brand has expanded in scope and authority. The Summits are recognized as the premier educational and networking conferences for the Internet radio and online audio space. Together RAIN Summits and RAIN Publications create a combined entity greater than its parts.

Joining RAIN Enterprises is Vice President and Managing Editor Brad Hill (left), who brings an extensive background in digital publishing. The former GM of Weblogs, Inc., Hill was subsequently head of traffic at AOL, where he oversaw audience development across a large portfolio of media brands including Huffington Post, Mapquest, and Engadget. As a pianist and and ex-radio DJ, Hill has a passion for news about how technology is changing music and radio.

"This is an exciting time for RAIN," said RAIN founder Kurt Hanson. "The team of Jennifer Lane and Brad Hill working together will enable us to build the RAIN brand into a world class leader in news and information related to the rapidly expanding online audio industry."

RAIN Summit Orlando takes place on Tuesday, September 17, in affiliation with the Radio Show, which runs from September 18-20 in Orlando. The Radio Show is produced by the NAB and RAB. More on the RAIN Summit (including a link for registration) is here.

Paul Maloney
September 16, 2013 - 10:55am

Long-time AccuRadio program director Paul Maloney has been promoted to the full-time position of Executive Vice President/Programming, AccuRadio CEO Kurt Hanson and COO John Gehron announced today.

"For the past 13 years, Paul has skillfully managed one of the toughest dual positions in our industry — serving as both Executive Editor of 'RAIN: Radio And Internet Newsletter' and VP/Programming for AccuRadio," Gehron said, "and we believe that permitting Paul to focus full-time on AccuRadio will allow us to take that service to a new level of growth.

Maloney began his radio programming career at one of the nation's best-known student-operated commercial radio stations, WPGU/Champaign-Urbana. He eventually went on to program KFMZ/Columbia, MO, flipping the heritage AOR station to Alternative, and bringing its 12+ ratings above a 10 share before joining RAIN in the summer of 2000 as a journalist.

As for AccuRadio, it evolved out of a series of RAIN articles in 2000 through 2002 intended to show broadcasters how they could build a multichannel, personalizable Internet radio service. Beginning with three channels of music -- "Swingin' Pop Standards," "Modern Rock Classics," and "Piano Jazz" -- AccuRadio now offers over 975 personalizable channels of rock, pop, classical, jazz, country, R&B, Broadway, and more, targeting P35-64 listeners. Maloney is responsible for supervising the programming of all 975 channels, working with a team of in-house music programmers and outside programming consultants.

"We've just launched a state-of-the-art sixth generation of our technology platform that is bringing some amazing new features to AccuRadio," Maloney noted, "and I look forward to expanding our team of music programmers to take advantage of those features."

Hanson added, "It's been one of my great pleasures over the last 13 years to work with Paul on a day-to-day basis, and I'm thrilled we're now in a position to be able to let him devote his full-time attention to programming the AccuRadio product."

AccuRadio has outlived all of the other personalizable brands of the era in which is was founded, including NetRadio.com, AOL-owned Spinner, Yahoo! LAUNCHcast, WWW.com, MediAmazing, DiscJockey.com, and Viacom-owned Sonicnet. Maloney's promotion is effective immediately. His transition to his new full-time AccuRadio responsibilities will occur over the next month, as veteran journalist Brad Hill takes over RAIN editorial duties (see today's top story here).

Paul Maloney
September 16, 2013 - 10:55am

Major broadcast radio group Cumulus and online subscription streaming service Rdio have forged a deal that gives Cumulus a significant online outlet, and not only affords Rdio access to the broadcaster's music programming, but allows it to launch a free, ad-supported service in the U.S.

Cumulus will sell ad inventory for the free service. The new service will likely feature a combination of Internet radio and on-demand listening.

No cash changes hands in the new deal. According to a press statement, "Cumulus will obtain a significant equity stake in Pulser Media, Rdio's parent company, in exchange for exclusive content, media and on-air promotional commitments over a five year period."

"This is our digital play," Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey told The New York Times in a joint interview Friday with Rdio chief Drew Larner.

Cumulus operates 525 AM and FM stations. Cumulus station streams are available on Clear Channel's iHeartRadio platform.

Dickey told the paper, "We’re trying to be much more active in the audio ecosystem than just passively handing our streams over. That has severe limitations in terms of our ability to monetize."

Rdio launched in 2010 by Janus Friis, the co-creator of Skype. It's available in 31 countries. Its most direct competitors are services like Spotify, Google Music All Access, Rhapsody, and Mog.

The New York Times has more here.

Brad Hill
September 16, 2013 - 10:55am

RAIN Summit Orlando takes place tomorrow, September 17, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, from noon to 5:30. The day will conclude with the ever-popular RAIN Reader Cocktail party. 

Registration remains open for what is the preeminent educational and networking conference for the Internet radio and online audio space. This edition of the RAIN Summit features five panel discussions, two keynotes, a research presentation on the Internet radio marketplace, and the bestowal of RAIN’s Internet Radio Awards.

Kurt Hanson, RAIN founder, will deliver his annual “State of the Industry” address. David Field, President and CEO of Entercom Communications, will also keynote the event.

Revenue is a strong focus of the day, with three panels concentrating on ads in the digital space: Alternate Revenue Strategies, The Ad Insertion Panel, and Building a Top Digital Sales Team. The automobile, as an unconquered frontier for interactive audio, will be given its due in the “Race to the Dashboard” panel. The day’s final session (but stay for the awards and the cocktails), Streaming Music Trends, examines listener habits and genre programming.

See the full speaker list and session agenda here, and see you tomorrow!