RAIN 10/19: AOL Radio relaunches with Slacker

Michael Schmitt
October 19, 2011 - 10:00am

The new AOL Radio powered by SlackerAOL today relaunched AOL Radio, now powered by personalizable pureplay webcaster Slacker. AOL Radio announced in late June it would migrate away from CBS Radio and partner with Slacker (RAIN coverage here).

The new AOL Radio includes about half the audio advertising it previously had, now playing about 3 minutes of advertising per hour. The cut was announced by AOL Radio General Manager Lisa Namerow at RAIN Summit Chicago (find video coverage here).

The service also now offers Slacker's personalization features, non-music content from ESPN Radio and (soon) ABC Radio, plus subscription plans that remove ads and offer on-demand features (read more on Slacker's subscription services here).

Namerow told Bloomberg the new features and reduced ad-load is aimed at "reversing a 25% drop in AOL Radio users from a year ago." AOL Radio attracts around 3 million users a month, according to Namerow (more here).

The new AOL Radio can be found online here. AOL Radio also released a new iPhone app, with an Android version due before the end of the year.

Michael Schmitt
October 19, 2011 - 10:00am

Android's new multitasking UI found in Ice Cream SandwhichGoogle last night unveiled a new major update to its Android mobile operating system. Dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich (version 4.0), the update includes a long list of new features. Perhaps the most appealing update to webcasters is an overhauled multitasking UI.

Users will be able to see a snapshot of what apps are running and quickly switch back and forth -- perfect for listening to Internet radio in the background. It should be a welcome upgrade from the lackluster bare-bones multitasking UI currently available to Android users (just a list of previously-opened app icons).

Ice Cream Sandwich is also intended to run across tablet and phones, hopefully remedying the current fragmentation between the latest phone OS version, Gingerbread (2.3), and the tablet-only version Honeycomb (3.0). This should hopefully allow developers to more easily create Internet radio apps that look and work great on both Android phones and tablets.

Engadget has more on Ice Cream Sandwich here.

Michael Schmitt
October 19, 2011 - 10:00am

SiriusXM's LynxSiriusXM officially announced its new 2.0 service earlier this week (RAIN coverage here), along with a new receiver. That device wasn't the Android-powered, Wi-Fi enabled Lynx (pictured) that was earlier leaked by the FCC and Best Buy (more coverage here).

Now another online store, My Radio Store, has the Lynx listed (here; though currently "Out of stock"). Among the features listed: "On-demand listening...listen live, record your favorite shows for later listening, or access on-demand episodes of your favorite SiriusXM shows."

Satellite Radio Playground has more coverage here.

Paul Maloney
October 19, 2011 - 10:00am

Streaming solutions provider Abacast has announced it's making available two recent case studies which it says show how Abacast client broadcasters are "generating significant profits in radio streaming" with the company's products. Abacast Clarity

The first case study features Federated Media, an Indiana broadcast group with 15 stations. Abacast says Federated was able to sell more than 50% of its annual digital inventory with a "one-day sale" in September, which put the broadcaster past the point of annual profitability for streaming, and generated an annual gross profit margin of 83% (including bandwidth and royalty costs). Read more in the Federated Media case study.

Neuhoff Media owns 12 stations in Illinois, and is another Abacast client. Abacast's Neuhoff Media case study shows that in the first month of their efforts, Neuhoff's Decatur, IL cluster sold 40% of the available yearly digital ad packages, covering their annual streaming costs and achieving annual profitability, with streaming gross profit margins of 50% after the first month.

Abacast provides streaming and ad management software and digital sales services to the radio industry.

Paul Maloney
October 19, 2011 - 10:00am

TuneIn CMJ on phoneInternet radio tuning service TuneIn has created a special sub-directory of CMJ-related streaming content for the annual Music Marathon & Film Festival (which kicked-off yesterday and runs through Saturday). It includes a 24/7 online station playing music from artists performing this year at CMJ, and links to live CMJ coverage and programming from webcasters like East Village Radio and KEXP.

TuneIn offers consumers and device manufacturers a directory of over 50,000 AM/FM and Internet only radio stations. The directory is available on over 150 products, online, and TuneIn's mobile apps.