Clear Channel

New iHeartRadio feature adds local news content to Custom Stations

Monday, March 11, 2013 - 12:10pm

Clear Channel today introduced a feature to iHeartRadio that allows listeners to add local news, weather, and traffic content to their "Custom Stations" streams.

The new feature is called "Add-Ins," and uses content from Clear Channel broadcast properties.

"Custom Stations" is the iHeartRadio feature that allows listeners to generate personalized audio streams based on their personal music preferences (a la Pandora).

Once the listener has enabled the feature in Account Settings, "Add-Ins" will automatically pinpoint their location -– or users can set an alternate location by entering a zip code under the manual "Add-Ins" settings.

Top Clear Channel, Pandora sales execs to discuss monetizing mobile listening at RAIN Summit in Vegas

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 11:20am

Last fall's RAIN Summit Europe event really broadened our understanding of the strides and achievements professionals around the world are making in our truly global medium. We're hoping to bring some of our European experience with us to RAIN Summit West with the addition of a new panel: International Trends in Online Audio. [By the way, stay tuned for details on this year's RAIN Summit Europe.]

Joining us on the panel, from Berlin-based AUPEO!, is CEO Holger Weiss (right).

AUPEO! is a personalized Internet radio service, venture capital-backed, and licensed in more than 40 countries around the world. Listeners select stations by theme, genre, or musical mood, as well as "artist stations." The AUPEO! listening experience is powered by a recommendation system that uses a Fraunhofer Institute-developed algorithm that identifies certain musical qualities and automatically assigns genre classification. Free ad-supported streams and ad-free premium subscriptions are available.

Weiss joined AUPEO! in 2010 after working for Nokia. He's a specialist in business development, contract negotiations, strategic alliances, leadership, and sales.

It's clear that Internet radio mobile usage is soaring, but monetizing that listening has remained elusive. It's critical for broadcasters and webcasters to develop new, creative strategies, so we'll hear from three of the brightest in this area for the panel called Profiting from Mobile.

In July, Clear Channel brought Microsoft Advertising executive and 15-year digital media veteran Rick Song aboard as EVP of Digital Sales. At Microsoft, Song (left) led sales initiatives with partner sites like MSN, Xbox, Skype, FoxSports and MSNBC, as well as the company’s digital platforms. He now works with iHeartRadio, in addition to Clear Channel's Strategic Partnerships, National Programming Platforms, and National Advertising Platforms divisions.

Joining Song on the panel is Pandora SVP/Ad Sales Steven Kritzman, himself a former Clear Channel employee (and a RAIN Summit veteran!). Kritzman joined Pandora in 2009 as Director of Sales for the New York and Mid-Atlantic region before his August, 2011 promotion. He sets and executing the U.S. sales strategy for Pandora's digital, network radio, and spot radio businesses, and manages the national sales teams. He recently revealed Pandora's plans to cover the top 25 U.S. markets with local sales forces (see RAIN here).

The Profiting from Mobile panel will be moderated by another RAIN Summit veteran, Michael Theodore of the IAB. Last August the IAB created a new role for Theodore, Vice President, Training and Development, in which he manages and cultivates the IAB Digital Media Sales Certification program (as well as developing and facilitating professional development curricula and training materials). In fall he hosted a series of IAB Digital Audio Agency Days in several markets, to get local digital ad buyers familiar with the capabilities and potential of online radio (see RAIN here).

RAIN Summit West is Sunday, April 7 in Las Vegas. The annual full-day Internet radio conference is a co-located education program of the NAB Show. Now in its 12th year, the Summit focuses on the intersection of radio and the Internet. Keynoting the even will be RAB president and CEO Erica Farber (more in RAIN here) and Rhapsody International president Jon Irwin (more here). Register today, while flights and hotels are still readily available, via the RAIN Summit West page.

New 'Uconnect' system brings Pandora, iHeartRadio, Aha, and Slacker to Chryslers

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 12:10pm

There's more from this week's CES in Las Vegas involving in-car Internet radio access. Leading webcaster Pandora announced its app has been integrated into Chrysler's new "Uconnect Access via Mobile" system for in-car listening. The automaker is now Pandora's 20th automotive brand partner in the U.S. Add to that seven aftermarket manufacturers that now offer in-dash Pandora access.

"In addition to over 175 aftermarket devices, there are now more than 85 different car models that include Pandora with more scheduled to become available throughout 2013," Pandora announced. Perhaps even more impressive: the service is now accessible via more than 1,000 non-PC devices (including cars, automotive aftermarket devices, and consumer electronic devices).

Chrysler also added "Uconnect" access to webcaster Slacker Radio, web content aggregator for mobile Aha, and Clear Channel's digital platform iHeartRadio.

(Clear Channel concurrently announced iHeartRadio will also expand their auto integrations to select 2014 GM infotainment systems. The app is already available in Ford, Toyota and Lexus models.) 

Clear Channel also unveiled "iHeartAuto," a new made-for-driving radio app to allow seamless and satandardized access to the iHeartRadio, with support for select aftermarket auto entertainment products. For the launch it partnered with Clarion Smart Access cloud server products, Pioneer’s AppRadio platform of products, and a Kenwood connected receiver. The new app includes a new developer protocol that gives device manufacturers a standardized way to connect to iHeartRadio.

The image is from MotorTrend. You can read their coverage here.

New iHeartRadio functions include finding stations based on mood and activity

Monday, January 7, 2013 - 11:15am

Today Clear Channel announced new functionality for its iHeartRadio Internet radio platform,  including a feature that allows users to choose listening options based on their moods or activities.

This new feature, called "Perfect For," (screenshot at right) bears a striking resemblance to webcaster Songza's "Music Concierge," (screenshot below) which the independent webcast service launched in March (see our coverage here). 

"Perfect For" allows iHeartRadio listeners to "browse through a menu of moods and activities perfect for a particular day and time." Based on their choice, the feature then suggests appropriate options from "hundreds of carefully curated stations."

Clear Channel says, "Early morning users may see station suggestions perfect for waking up – like 'Caffeinated Country: Gourmet Roasted in Nashville' and evening weekday users may see stations to help them wind down – like 'Ambien-T: Ambient Music, Prescription Strength.'"

The new function "will also suggest live radio stations from iHeartRadio’s catalog of over 1,500 stations from across the country to users based off of the mood or activity they select. The feature launches today with thousands of new stations, and many more to be added daily." Clear Channels says "Perfect For" will initially be available for iPhones and PCs, but users can save stations on these devices and access them via any device where iHeartRadio is available. The feature will be available on other mobile and tablet devices soon.

Also new, iHeartRadio has added a new alarm clock feature which will give users the ability to utilize the service as an alarm clock or to set reminders.

IHeartRadio electronic dance stream Evolution lands on Boston FM

Friday, December 21, 2012 - 12:45pm

What began just six weeks ago as iHeartRadio's EDM (electronic dance music) online channel has now taken over a Boston FM frequency Evolution 101.7.

When the EDM stream instantly became iHeartRadio's the most popular digital-only station on the service, Clear Channel execs took notice. At 6pm yesterday the company launched what it calls "the first real EDM station in the country," enlisting legendary British DJ Pete Tong as its voice.

The New York Times wrote today (here), "In what could be interpreted as a bit of symbolism about the tides of the music business, Evolution is taking over the former frequency of WFNX, for decades one of the country’s most influential alternative rock stations. Clear Channel bought the station in May for $14.5 million."

Roles for both traditional radio and new tech in ReadWriteWeb's view of radio in the future

Friday, December 14, 2012 - 12:05pm

The ReadWriteWeb blog counts podcast aggregator Stitcher, plus Pandora, Clear Channel, Spotify, and NPR "five companies that will define the future of radio."

It's through efforts like partnerships with automakers, battling for royalty reform, a third party app platform (Spotify), cross-platform availability, and APIs for other products that ReadWrite says will prove to be part of the formula for these companies' success.

"Under-the radar" upstarts like Shuffler.fm, the Hype Machine, SoundCloud, and The Echo Nest get "honorable mention" nods.

Read the blog here.

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