Clear Channel

RAIN Summit panel discusses social strategies for radio

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 - 10:10am

Triton Digital Media VP Business Strategy, Applications & Services Division Jim Kerr moderated the "Social Radio" panel at last month's RAIN Summit Dallas. He spoke with four pros from the broadcast, online radio, and Internet services industries concerning how radio can best make use of social media tools, and take advantage of consumers' embrace of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and more.

In planning a mobile strategy, given the necessary committment of resources (engineers, social media professionals) Jelli founder/CEO Mike Dougherty advised focusing on the biggest and most important, which for his company (and the others agreed) were Facebook and Twitter. He also suggested being realistic about the impact. Integrating with Facebook's Open Graph enables Jelli users' sharing and participation, but "Facebook didn't spike our usage or traffic, but it did provide a 3-4% monthly increase. It's like interest on a bank account. That investment was really important for us."

Owen Grover (iHeartRadio SVP at the time, now Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises SVP/Content Partnerships) agreed, and suggested using realistic expectations and logic to help decide where to "spend" your company's resources in social media. "We ask, 'Who are the listeners we're addressing here?'" Different genres attract different demos and lifestyles -- the same goes for social media platforms. "You're not going to get a ton of AC listeners on Tumblr blogs... However, you see an extraordinary use of social photo apps among urban radio listeners," he said. You need to consider "where your listeners expect you to be."

Pureplay webcaster Raditaz founder/CEO Tom Brophy suggested if you give a highly-engaged audience "the channels to interact with the social networks, they'll use them." His company's plan has been to "provide (social media) channels and tools, and be proactive and push some content" to these networks.

SoundCloud doesn't create content; rather, they provide the platform for others to promote content. To make that as easy and rewarding as possible, SoundCloud Head of Audio Manolo Espinosa explained his company's work to integrate in Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flipboard, and more. "Our idea is to make it super simple, give you the right stats, and help you promote your content."

But how can this help increase radio listening?

Grover called Facebook and Twitter "extraordinarily powerful at getting the word out, generating excitement, and creating conversations that feed the larger on-air conversation." His example is Clear Channel talent Elvis Duran, who dedicates large segments of his show to what's trending on Twitter and Facebook. Social media platforms shouldn't simply be "places to deposit content," or even necessarily just "traffic referrals," he advised. "We think of them as an extension of conversation. People are surprised to hear me say I'm interested in driving on-air occasions, because I'm the digital guy, but we think of our platform as '360,' and integration is the 'magic sauce' that differentiates us."

SoundCloud's Espinosa brought up CNN's Radio's use of his platform, as well as New York air talent Zach Sang, who posts clips he thinks have "viral" potential -- which include him promoting that evening's show. This takes great advantage of the fact that in the online world, people want to share content they enjoy. "Giving people that content to share in a way that doesn't impact their workflow, that's where you want to be!" said Espinosa.

Dougherty added that Jelli stations have seen actual ratings increases follow a good shift in social strategy that increased online engagement.

Naturally, a good social media strategy needs to be mobile. Grover advised thinking about the "meaningful distinctions between the desktop experience on social, and the mobile experience on social." His example: the difference between the Facebook mobile app and the desktop version, "and you realize there's no such thing as a 'tab' on a Facebook mobile app, and therefore some of the branding or marketing or partner- or sponsor-driven stuff that you're doing you can't execute the same way. You have to think about these differences."

Check out audio from this panel below. Audio from all the RAIN Summit Dallas segments is here.

IHeartRadio's Owen Grover to manage content partnerships for Clear Channel

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 - 1:20pm

Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises has let Owen Grover come over (tee hee) from iHeartRadio Network to serve as SVP of Content Partnerships.

Grover (a RAIN Summit veteran) was SVP of iHeartRadio, Clear Channel's Internet radio platform.

In his new role, he'll "further leverage the power of our brands and reach, create new entertainment experiences for consumers, and develop innovative programs and opportunities for our major advertisers and key partners," CCEE president John Sykes commented in a staff memo.

Pittman wants to make advertisers and younger listeners interested in radio again

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 12:05pm

The Wall Street Journal profiles Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman, who's taken on the task of making radio "cool again."

"Mr. Pittman sees his challenge as shaking off radio's fusty image and winning back advertisers who left for other media," writes The Journal.

Naturally, for the executive largely credited with Clear Channel's iHeartRadio initiative, "another challenge is locking in a new generation."

The Journal writes, "Building a digital footprint is crucial. Digital commands just 4% of radio advertising but it is fast growing. Mr. Pittman's plan is to make Clear Channel's stations available free on as many platforms as possible. Clear Channel ranks second among domestic online audio networks, according to Triton Digital, but it is dwarfed by Pandora, albeit in a slightly different business. (Pandora offers a personalized music service, a feature Clear Channel added just last year.)"

Find The Wall Street Journal's Pittman piece online here.

CC partner Australian Radio Network to fire up iHeartRadio platform in 2013

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 11:20am

Clear Channel's online radio platform, iHeartRadio, will launch in Australia and New Zealand, the broadcaster announced today.

The Australian Radio Network (ARN -- which is a joint venture between APN News & Media and Clear Channel International) will launch the service -- and add its own stations to the iHeartRadio range of listening options. The service will launch in Australia and New Zealand next year.

ARN has a "dual brand" strategy - a MixFM and Classic Hits music stream in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. ARN reaches over 4 million listeners, and is one of the leading broadcasters in the 25–54 demographic in Australia.

New Clear Channel SVP of Digital Jerrell Jimerson to oversee iHeartRadio, station websites

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 11:55am

Clear Channel has named Jerrell Jimerson Senior Vice President of Product for Digital. Jimerson will "oversee the roadmap, product definition and design" for iHeartRadio, the company's digital radio service, and all Clear Channel radio station and personality websites. He'll manage the iHeartRadio Product team, and will work with the Digital team to expand the platform and deploy new offerings.

Jimerson's more than 20 years of experience and product development background include his tenure as President/CEO of Songbird. He previously served as an "Entrepreneur in Residence" at Sigma Partners; VP/GM of Consumer, Credit, Mobile & New Ventures at PayPal; and VP of Broadband, Consumer Services and Digital Home at Yahoo! He's also held product and general management positions at Apple, Netscape, and AOL.

Jimerson will report to Brian Lakamp, President of Digital at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, effective immediately.

CC deals with labels might provide marketplace benchmark for more equitable CRB royalty rates

Monday, October 1, 2012 - 4:55pm

"In setting (webcast royalty) rates, the (Copyright Royalty Board) looks to establish rates that reflect what a willing buyer and a willing seller pay in the marketplace. In past royalty proceedings, that willing-buyer, willing-seller price had to be estimated, as there were no real deals to use as a benchmark. And the estimates all went against webcasters. With a deal like that with Big Machine... the pro-record company outcome of the CRB proceedings may well be changed if these deals can be shown to be representative of the real value of the public performance of the sound recording."

That's industry attorney David Oxenford's take-away from recent "direct deals" between broadcasters and record label for both terrestrial and digital sound recording royalties (the latest of which involved Clear Channel and Glassnote Entertainment, covered in RAIN here).

Copyright Royalty Board judges, per the 1998 DMCA, don't set royalties considering the fairness and "mimimal disruption" of their decision (as is called for in the Copyright Act's "801(b)" standard, which is used in royalty determinations for other forms of digital radio). They are mandated to set a rate at what they think a "willing buyer" would pay and what a "willing seller" would accept. Critics point to this different and unpredictable standard as the reason Internet royalty has been saddled with sound recording royalties that, as a percentage of revenue, are many multiples of those paid by satellite and cable radio. It's also the impetus behind the recent Internet Radio Fairness Act, introduced to both chambers of Congress (in RAIN here).

Oxenford is suggesting that should deals like Clear Channel's and Entercom's (both groups have reached agreeements with Big Machine Records) start to spread to other companies, they could very well represent the "marketplace" agreements with willing buyers and willing sellers that could set "a precedent for lower royalties in future proceedings."

The next round of proceedings to set webcasting royalties starts in 2014 (to set the rates for 2016-2020).

Read Oxenford, a D.C.-based partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer, in Broadcast Law Blog here.

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