It's down to these ten for 2013's "Best Streaming Broadcaster" RAIN Award

Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 9:00am

Continuing our coverage of RAIN Awards semi-finalists, today we reveal those entrants advancing to the next round for the "Best Streaming Broadcaster."

We'll present the fourth annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards on September 17 at RAIN Summit Orlando. So far this week, we're announced the semi-finalists for the categories of "Best Single Stream Webcaster" (see them here) and "Best Overall Digital Strategy" (here).

Congratulations to these semi-finalists, limited to AM or FM broadcasters that stream online, from which our judges will determine the station that has executed the best streaming strategy. This award was one of two ESPN Radio took home last year (it also shared "Best Overall Online Radio Service" with Pandora -- and it's in the running again to defend its crown). Other previous winners were CJNW "Hot 107"/Edmonton (2011) and 1500 AM ESPN/Minneapolis-St. Paul (2010).

Click the links below to visit each station's site and tune in, and see why we feel they deserve further consideration for a RAIN Award:

We'll reveal the finalists for all five categories next week. Thanks to all the services that entered our Awards this year.

We created the RAIN Internet Radio Awards to better recognize the achievements and the best practices of our industry, and have presented them at the last three RAIN Summit fall events. Read more about the Awards here.

RAIN Summit Orlando -- an Official Partner Event to The Radio Show produced by the NAB and RAB -- looks to continue our tradition of hosting the industry's premiere learning, sharing, and networking events. Entercom president and CEO David Field will keynote. The day will also include panel discussions, a research presentation from GroupM Next, and RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson's State of the Industry address. More information, and the registration link, for RAIN Summit Orlando is here.

Industry mulls the wisdom of combined "over the air" and "streaming" audience measurement

Wednesday, August 21, 2013 - 1:10pm

Radio consultant Fred Jacobs (right) today is calling for radio to "fully embrace the streaming platform," as his (and others') data show more and more regular radio listeners are tuning in online and on mobile phones. He's stressing the need to "accurately measure AM/FM streaming, merge it with usage data from broadcast radio in a format that is acceptable to agencies and buyers, and then monetize these bigger numbers."

Triton Digital COO Mike Agovino, however, thinks radio should pursue growing digital ad budgets by keeping online audience separate from AM/FM listening.

In the second installment of his "Simulcasting Debunked" blog series (we covered the first part yesterday here), Agovino (left) says he understands why broadcasters might want to consolidate audience numbers so existing staff can sell "total audience" and reduce costs. But while digital audience lacks in size compared to on-air, digital can deliver targeted ads to an audience that can be precisely measured.

"In all likelihood, 95%+ of the combined broadcast and digital audience number is generated from the broadcast estimate alone," Agovino wrote. "As a result, the combined number offers none of the benefits of digital. It is, in essence, a dumb number." Note that Agovino's company is a vendor of digital ad delivery and metrics services to the broadcast industry.

But Jacobs is asking, "What about strong radio brands that attract digital listening, but lose out on the "credit" (that is, advertising dollars) for it, because it's not counted as part of a station's audience?" 

Now it isn't necessary that Jacobs' and Agovino's positions can't be reconciled. Panelists on the RAIN Summit Orlando "The Ad-Insertion Panel" (including Agovino) will surely have some thoughts on the matter. Get more info and register for RAIN Summit Orlando here. Read Fred Jacobs' blog here; Agovino's here.

Cox signs on as first LDR Grüvr client broadcaster

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 - 1:15pm

LDR Interactive has launched a new mobile offering called Grüvr to bring a new level of user-interaction to broadcast radio. Cox Media Group will be the first radio client to use Gruvr for 33 of its stations in 11 markets.

Grüvr mobile app users can vote in real-time to affect which song plays next (and can integrate with other LDR products). Users can create audio dedications using Grüvr's "open mic" feature. The apps are integrated with social platforms like Facebook and Twitter for sharing and dedications.

There's a "gamification" element to it as well, as listeners can earn badges with use, that can be customized by the client for different "achievements." LDR (formerly known as Listener Driven Radio) has included an alarm clock function into the app, which awakens listeners with customizable content like local weather forecast, names of Facebook friends having birthdays, and station contest reminders (before launching the station stream).

Cox stations in Atlanta and Athens, GA; Dayton; Houston; Jacksonville; Long Island; Miami; Orlando; San Antonio; Tampa; and Tulsa started introducing the apps to listeners in June. All 33 Cox stations that have signed on will offer the new apps by the middle of this month.

"We believe that the mashup of social-local-mobile-broadcasting has potential to drive interactive engagement around music listening in an unprecedented way for the radio industry," LDR CEO Daniel Anstandig said.

CC-created iHeartRadio to compete with Pandora in Australia and New Zealand

Monday, August 5, 2013 - 10:55am

ARN, the Australian Radio Network, has launched digital music service iHeartRadio in Australia and New Zealand. Of course, iHeartRadio is the online radio platform created by U.S. media giant Clear Channel.

Like the service in the U.S., the Australian iHeartRadio will offer live radio streams, a custom radio feature (a la Pandora), and reportedly more than 850 playlists curated for moods or activities called "Perfect For" channels (a la Songza).

All of ARN's broadcast stations are available as live streams on iHeartRadio now. On September 23, iHeartRadio will add ARN's "American sister stations and New Zealand’s TRN" stations, for a total of more than 900 live station streams, reports B&T.

The service is free to use for listeners, with limited advertising. The live radio streams will still contain the on-air ads of the stations, but aside from audio and video pre-rolls, the online-only features will be ad-free (as in the U.S.).

"ARN is one of the last radio networks to bring a music streaming service to market," writes B&T. "DMG Radio Australia partnered with Rdio in August last year and Songl, a joint venture between Southern Cross Austereo and DMD, launched in beta in March."

U.S.-based wecasting leader Pandora is also in Australia and New Zealand. AdNews reports Pandora will meet its target of one million Australian users in the coming months, and will soon introduce advertising to the streams.

Read more in B&T here; and in AdNews here.

Gov't policy paper acknowledges radio's "competitive advantage" over digital services regarding royalties

Thursday, August 1, 2013 - 10:40am

The U.S. Department of Commerce yesterday issued a policy statement that, among other things, supports the idea that U.S. broadcasters "enjoy a competitive advantage over emerging digital services" since they're not obligated to pay performance royalties for recordings.

"Pureplay" webcasters have long argued for parity for the licensed use of copyright recordings. While U.S. broadcasters have no obligation to pay sound recording copyright owners or performers, Internet-, satellite-, and cable-radio operators pay royalties which can amount to a majority of their revenues. Both broadcasters and newer digital forms of radio pay for the use of musical compositions.

The Department's Internet Policy Task Force paper reiterates the Administration's support for a broadcast "performance right" for sound recordings. A press release announcing the paper says it also "supports congressional or regulatory attention to determine how best to rationalize rate-setting standards for different types of music services; reform music licensing, particularly the mechanical license for musical compositions..."

The paper itself is here; the press release is here.

Rep. Mel Watt (N.C.-D) told colleagues last week he plans to introduce a bill that would recognize a performance right for sound recordings on radio, with the hopes of encouraging broadcasters and copyright owners to reach marketplace aggreements. More in RAIN here.

Proposed bill would establish performance right for radio, not mandate royalties per se

Monday, July 29, 2013 - 1:10pm

Rep. Mel Watt's (N.C.-D) proposed bill, on which we reported here, will actually simply "recognize a performance right" for the use of recordings on AM/FM radio, The Hill reports. The bill itself will not actually require broadcasters to pay royalties, as we had initially reported.

"While an older version of Watt's bill from 2009 made it mandatory for traditional AM/FM radio stations to pay royalties to musicians for the songs that they air, the lawmaker told The Hill that the new bill won’t go that far. The new version of the bill will simply establish that musicians have public performance rights to their work," The Hill wrote.

Watt hopes the measure will lead broadcasters and copyright owners to privately-negotiated deals in the market for the use of recorded music.

Radio broadcasters "would have to sit down with artists and either work out a regime on their own or be subject to litigation about the value of what they're playing," Watt said.

Read coverage in The Hill here.


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