RAIN 6/25: Boston alt-rock WFNX to live online after broadcast flips next month

Paul Maloney
June 25, 2012 - 11:45am

Boston's alternative rock station WFNX will change formats next month, following its sale to Clear Channel. But regional web portal Boston.com plans to keep the modern rock flag flying. It's announced plans to launch its own online-only alt-rock station, and it has enlisted former WFNX personalities and former WFNX PD Paul Driscoll.

Boston.com offers news and other local content, and is part of New York Times Digital.

In 2009 Boston's legendary heritage rocker WBCN left the on-air dial and soon reappeared as two HD Radio channels, and online simulcasts (here). Chicago alternative Q101 went online-only (RAIN coverage here) after the sale of its frequency; legendary Cincinnati station WOXY and Los Angeles rocker KNAC are well-known for doing the same.

Lisa DeSisto is GM of Boston.com and chief advertising officer for The Boston Globe. She commented, "Boston.com has been at the forefront of multimedia for some time now, producing award-winning videos, live video programming, interactive content, and more. We’ve long thought radio would be a natural extension for us, and we’re fortunate to launch with such an incredible team."

Phoenix Media/Communications sold the station to Clear Channel, and most of the staff was let go immediately when the sale was announced last month. The station will reportedly change format July 23.

Read The Boston Globe's coverage here.

Michael Schmitt
June 25, 2012 - 11:45am

SCBAThe Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) is leading a new effort to give radio ad sales teams tools to compete with Internet radio pureplays. The education initiative will reportedly provide information to sellers whose clients are asking about webcasters like Pandora.

Such Internet radio services "are competitors," Bonneville-L.A. VP/GM Peter Burton told Inside Radio, "and we have to know our competitors... Pandora’s voice is louder than our voice and they have an entire sales team out there with a consistent story. The radio industry in general has not put together a consistent story with any kind of frequency."

The SCBA -- working within what Inside Radio calls "radio's richest revenue market" -- will collaborate with former president and current EVP of Katz Radio Group Mary Beth Garber. She says it's important to work towards "arming people with the info they need about the differences between Pandora and radio and the real facts."

Inside Radio reports Katz has been working with Bridge Ratings to study Pandora. Bridge Ratings has recently released studies investigating ad performance on various music platforms and listener perceptions of online music services. Katz has also recently commissioned the Unviersity of Southern California "to study the relationship between air personalities and listeners."

Other broadcasters are taking another path. Hubbard Radio director of sales in the Chicago cluster, Craig Volpe, told Inside Radio, "We're doing no training of our sales people on Pandora... We're not going to give it that kind of attention."

Meanwhile, Pandora "shows no signs of slowing down efforts to improve sales," writes Inside Radio. Pandora CFO Steve Cakebread recently said, "What you’re going to hear from us over the next year or two is constant discussions and expansion of our sales force to participate in those markets that we don’t participate in today."

You can subscribe to Inside Radio's daily newsletters here.

Paul Maloney
June 25, 2012 - 11:45am

Ad Age reports "unmeasured spending" from the 100 Leading National Advertisers rose nearly 12% last year, as "measured media" spending actually slipped 0.2%. The net effect was that total U.S. ad spending was up nearly 5% -- growth clearly "fueled by disciplines that connect directly with consumers." 

"Ad Age has used the term 'unmeasured' to quantify ad and promotion spending distinct from media types... that are measured by tracking services." Such unmeasured media include various online/digital plays (e.g. search marketing, online video and some forms of social media and mobile ads), promotion and direct marketing.

The publication writes, "The appeal is clear: Marketers are putting money into disciplines that directly connect them with targeted consumers." 

Read more in Ad Age here.

Michael Schmitt
June 25, 2012 - 11:45am

Les HollanderPandora VP of Sales Les Hollander has exited the webcaster to join Gannett/US Community Publishing. He will serve as VP of Digital at the new company.

Hollander joined Pandora in early 2009. He has also served as a sales exec with CBS Radio and Clear Channel. You can find more coverage from All Access here.