RAIN 2/22: Katz 360, Rovi, Spotify execs join RAIN Summit West line-up

Michael Schmitt
February 22, 2012 - 1:00pm

Brian BenedikToday RAIN announces the addition of three more industry executives to the agenda of RAIN Summit West 2012: Katz 360 Sales President Brian Benedik, Spotify VP of U.S. Adsales Jon Mitchell and Michael Papish, Rovi Corporation Director of Architecture & Innovation.

The conference takes place Sunday, April 15 in Las Vegas (more info below).

Brian Benedik (pictured right) is President of Katz 360 Sales, the Katz Media Group’s digital sales arm, and a RAIN Summits veteran. After starting his career at Eastman Radio in 1993, he was promoted to NY Sales Manager five years later. Benedik served as General Sales Manager of Clear Channel Radio Sales and became President of Christal Radio

Jon MitchellJon Mitchell (pictured left) oversees all elements of the ad business for Spotify in the U.S. He has been with Spotify for more than 4 years and was the founding member of Spotify UK. In January 2011 he moved to the U.S. to launch and build the ad business. Previous to Spotify, Mitchell worked in the UK radio industry for 8 years, serving at Capital FM, Classic FM and other brands.

Michael Papish (pictured right) Michael Papishoversees the Rovi search and recommendations R&D team and helps guide the strategy for recommendation technology in Rovi-powered user experiences. Prior to Rovi -- from 2000 to 2010 -- Papish was CEO and co-founder of MediaUnbound, a profitable entertainment content recommendation technology company which licensed solutions to companies such as Terra Networks, MTVN/Viacom, Ericsson and Motorola. Rovi acquired the assets of MediaUnbound in March 2010.

Other speakers set to appear at RAIN Summit West 2012 include Pandora SVP of Advertising Sales Steven Kritzman, Managing Partner of TAG Strategic Ted Cohen, TargetSpot CEO Eyal Goldwerger and others.

ESPN SVP, Production/Business Divisions Traug Keller will keynote the conference. RAIN will announce more speakers and panel topics in the coming weeks.

RAIN Summit West 2012

RAIN Summit West will take place on Sunday, April 15 at the former Las Vegas Hilton, now called the LVH -- Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. It will conclude with the always-anticipated tradition of the poolside RAIN Reader Cocktail Party.

The Summit is an official “Co-Located Education Program” of the NAB Show. Registration includes access to the NAB Show Exhibit Hall and a catered box lunch. RAIN registrants can save $100 on NAB registration.

For registration and sponsorship information, visit kurthanson.com/rainsummitwest.

Other RAIN Summits are planned for later this year in Dallas (at the RAB/NAB Radio Show) on September 18th, in Minneapolis (at the Conclave) on July 20, and in Berlin, Germany on October 5th.

Paul Maloney
February 22, 2012 - 1:00pm

St. Louis Public Radio's digital media manager credits the station's significant audience growth to -- what else?? -- frequently-updated fresh and unique online content.

The station's digital platforms enjoyed a 90% increase in unique visitors in January over last year, and the streaming audience has more than doubled, with a 152% increase in unique listeners.

Digital media manager Madalyn Painter wrote, "We have to attribute much of our success to our increased focus on frequent online news updates... (the site's) main function is to deliver content — not content promoting the station, but our award-winning regional news coverage and programming."

The site was deisgned using NPR Digital Services Core Publisher tool. Digital Services' Keith Hopper stresses that stations that don't showcase new and changing news content "will struggle to grow online audience and won’t capture the kind of larger market share that other online news providers command."

St. Louis Public Radio is part of the University of Missouri-St. Louis and operates KWMU, KWMU.org, and HD stations KWMU-2 and KWMU-3. Read the InsideSTLPublicRadio blog here. Read NPR's Digital Services blog here.

Paul Maloney
February 22, 2012 - 1:00pm

The manner in which Clear Channel dealt with its digital business on yesterday's earnings call should come as no surprise to anyone who's been listening to CEO Bob Pittman lately (see RAIN here). Radio-Info reports today that Clear Channel CFO Tom Casey began the call "by talking about iHeartRadio app and last September’s successful iHeartRadio Music Festival... Casey talked frequently about digital initiatives and investments, both around the radio platform and at Clear Channel Outdoor. (The hottest thing going in out-of-home advertising is digital displays.) And digital seems to be the growth engine, as you can see from the Fourth Quarter results..."

Casey told investors digital ad (streaming and display) revenue is “growing nicely,” Taylor reports. And this mirrors the industry overall (see yesterday's coverage of RAB's revenue report here). However, the customizable feature of the company's iHeartRadio service -- the company's answer to Pandora -- has been commercial-free since its launch, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The apparent thinking is about building usage, and not jeopardizing early adoption with an overload of ads. 

"Casey said the company was getting great feedback from listeners, is not monetizing iHeartradio and has no plan to do so right now," Radio Ink writes today. Casey reported 48 million downloads of the iHeartradio app in 2011, and 37 million monthly uniques from all the company's digital products and brands.

Read more in Radio-Info here; more in Radio Ink here.