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Inside Radio covers radio's potential windfall in mobile advertising

Monday, September 10, 2012 - 2:00pm

Some great coverage in Inside Radio today on what mobile advertising can do for radio, if broadcasters are ready for it.

Consider that more than 234 million Americans (13+) use mobile devices, but advertisers have yet to spend more than 1% of their media budgets on mobile. The Mobile Marketing Association says mobile's share should grow to 10% over the next four years, and eMarketer says U.S. mobile ad spending will double this year alone. It's obvious a big change should be coming.

"BIA/Kelsey VP Mark Fratrick says radio is poised to do well in mobile because of it offers unique content and has cross-promotional opportunities and armies of local sellers," writes Inside Radio. "But to cash in on the mobile shift requires building out platforms, such as optimizing station websites for the mobile web in order to increase page views and impressions," as groups like Cox, CBS Radio, Entravision, and Emmis have.

Spanish-language radio is already seeing the windfall. An Entravision told Inside Radio that mobile is the company's fastest-growing revenue source, pacing 200% year-over-year, and is now 20% of Entravision and Spanish Broadcasting System interactive revenue. "Mobile will probably be our second biggest ad category outside of broadcasting within the next few years. Mobile is already showing signs that it will leap ahead of online display advertising with a 50% year-over year growth rate," Univision Radio EVP/Sales Lee Davis told the news source.

Subscribe to Inside Radio here.

We'll announce the winners of the 2012 Awards at RAIN Summit Dallas Sept. 18

Monday, August 27, 2012 - 1:10pm

The presentation of the third annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards happens at RAIN Summit Dallas on September 18th. Today, we're thrilled to announce the Awards finalists in each of the four categories.

RAIN and Triton Digital inaugurated the Awards in 2010 to recognize the achievements and best practices of webcasters in our industry. As part of the Awards, Triton Digital will award the 2012 RAIN Maker Award to honor the individual who has contributed significantly to advancing digital radio.

The judging staff has now visited, listened, sorted, and hashed out "short lists" of Awards finalists from this year's entries. It is from these finalists that a single winner in each category will be chosen. The Best Single-Stream Webcaster award is for operations that concentrate their energies and passion into crafting just one program of online radio content. Congratuations to this year's Single-Stream finalists: BeachFront Radio, BlackLight Radio, Castlerockradio.com, Floyd's 99 Radio, Radio Paradise, RootHog Radio, and The Cigar Station. The 2011 Single-Stream winner was HealthRadio.net.

Broadcast stations, groups, or online-only webcasters are all eligible for the Best Overall Digital Strategy prize. It's all about recognizing the operation that best harnesses new media tools (mobile, downloads, podcasts, streams, etc.) in a unified, focused strategy. This year's finalists are ESPN Audio, EXA FM, iHeartRadio, Karnaval.com, Spotify, and Sportsradio WEEI/Boston. Hubbard's Washington, D.C. WTOP was last year's winner in this category.

This next category recognizes streaming broadcasters (like our 2011 winner, Rhythmic CHR CJNW Hot 107 in Edmonton). The 2012 winner is among the following: 97.1 FM The Drive (WDRV/Chicago), ESPNRadio.com, and WDST Radio Woodstock.

And finally, the big one! Here are the finalists for the 2012 Best Overall Online Radio Service, which will go to the operation our judges feel provides the best overall online listener experience: 977music.com, AOL Radio, ESPN Audio, iHeartRadio, Live365, Pandora (the 2011 winner in this category), and Spotify.

Thanks to all our entrants, and congratulations and good luck to the finalists. We hope you can join us in Dallas on September 18th for the Awards at RAIN Summit Dallas. Click the link for information and to register.

Saga's elimination of ad-insertion will help costs and quality, say observers, but more needed to compete online

Friday, August 24, 2012 - 12:35pm

SagaEarlier this week, Saga Communications announced it would no longer substitute "online only" content for the on-air ads on its station's Internet streams (RAIN coverage here). Saga EVP Warren Lada said he's not worried about losing streaming inventory because it's really not that profitable compared to other areas.

Radio Ink editor Ed Ryan reports other broadcasters may be leaning in the same direction. He writes (here), "While broadcasters know they need to be everywhere consumers want them to be, losing gobs of money to be there is not something they signed up for... When you tack on the cost of the technology paid out to make ad-insertion a part of a radio station stream, it adds to the financial headache."

And besides the costs, there's the subpar experience for the listener to consider. "Nothing sounds worse than 7 minutes of Public Service Announcements in a row."

Nothing, perhaps, except 7 minutes of ads, argues Angel Street Capital's Bob Maccini. Especially when compared with the offerings from pureplay competitors.

"This movement if successful will sound the death knell for terrestrial stations that are streaming," Maccini writes on the Angel Street Capital blog. "Given the other Internet radio listening options consumers will not choose to listen to a stream that is running 10-14 ad units an hour complete with some 60 second spots... Stopping ad insertion may save a few shekels in the short run but long term it will have more significant costs."

Instead, Maccini suggests (here) "rather than inserting PSAs and other filler content that music stations insert songs."

Audio Graphics' Ken Dardis agrees that just "regurgitating" over-the-air signals online won't work. "Radio's place online is to use what the Internet offers to expand limitations of over-the-air content. NPR does this in a remarkably successful way. So why do we not hear it being done by commercial radio industry groups?"

Online radioHe continues (here), "The radio industry belongs online, just not in the way it presents itself over-the-air."

Jacobs Media's Fred Jacobs appreciates Saga's move in that it should help improve the overall quality of its streams. "Radio streams uniformly sound like crap," he writes. "PSAs, bad music, comedy cuts, crickets, and other interstitial material has made the customer experience on radio streams a nightmare."

But he also argues, like Dardis and Maccini, that radio's digital product shouldn't just be a clone of its over-the-air signal. Web efforts required a dedicated team. "Treat digital revenue as a separate business and hire reps with digital sales experience."

Jacobs continues, "it’s time to realistically assess what’s working and what’s not. Radio needs to come to grips with the fact that in many situations, traditional radio salespeople cannot take on this effort, and that digital selling doesn’t cannibalize the traditional spot sales effort."

You can find more of Jacobs' thoughts on Jacobs Media's jacoBLOG here and here.

L.A. public broadcaster KCRW debuts web-based music submission system

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 11:30am

MALCOLM logoLos Angeles public radio station KCRW has launched an online music submission system called MALCOLM (named after the station's 15-year-old nickname for its internal record filing system).

KCRW says the new system will help "independent artists in submitting their work... KCRW is making an effort to better service the up-and-coming artists that have built the foundation for KCRW's groundbreaking music programming."

Artists can create their own profile on MALCOLM and submit 3 tracks to KCRW, even designating which DJ or show their music is best suited for. DJs can share music with each other using MALCOLM, too.

Engadget has more coverage, including KCRW's press release, here. And you can find MALCOLM here.

Salem web revenues up 37% in Q4, making up 14% of total earnings

Friday, March 9, 2012 - 11:30am

SalemInternet revenues represented 14% of Salem's total earnings in Q4, the broadcaster announced yesterday. Web revenues grew 37% year-over-year, reaching $8.1 million.

That includes local websites (up 20%), national Christian websites (up 45%) and political opinion sites ("strong double digit" growth). For the total fiscal year, Internet revenues increased 35.8%.

Broadcast revenues were up 2.8% in Q4, reaching $45.8 million. Total revenue increased 6.2% to $57.1 million. You can find Salem's full financial results here.

New CBC Music includes 40 web-only radio streams

Wednesday, February 15, 2012 - 12:10pm

CBC MusicCBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Monday launched an online music service featuring 40 Internet radio stations.

CBC Music -- a free service that appears to be open to all listeners, not just Canadian users -- also offers selections of on-demand music and content from CBC personalities. It's reportedly made possible through an "umbrella" deal with 1,000 music labels.

The service also includes streams of Radio 2 stations and Radio 3.

CBC reports that 25% of Canadians listen to web radio. Jeff Vidler, SVP of Vision Critical Communications, says web radio is "underdeveloped in Canada, relative to other territories. If you look at the U.S. or Britain, it's much higher in terms of use of internet radio services or online music-streaming services."

That's in part due to the absence of major players like Pandora, due to Canada's "tricky rights negotiations." Writes the CBC: "that reticence has now opened the way for Canadian-born initiatives."

CBC's launch comes soon after private radio network Astral launched an on-demand music service (RAIN coverage here and here).

CBC has more coverage here and you can find CBC Music's site here.

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