Exclusivity, promotion requirements and a fear of "getting lost in the shuffle" keeping some away from CC's web radio platform

Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 11:00am

iHeartRadio's websiteAs a broadcaster, is joining iHeartRadio a smart move? That's the question that, for the past few weeks, broadcasters, analysts and publications have debated (RAIN coverage here and here).

Recently Inside Radio spoke to several broadcasters -- both those who have joined Clear Channel's streaming platform and others who have taken "a wait-and-see stance" -- to see what they think.

"You’re giving away a lot," said one broadcaster, worried about iHeartRadio's exclusivity requirement. "It’s just not the way our world works today," said another.

“It would limit all of the in-home and in-TV scenarios that could open up as we move down the road."

Earlier this month, Carleton College's radio station declined an offer to join iHeartRadio because it would mean the college would have to pull its streams from other aggregators, like TuneIn (more here).

Broadcasters debate iHeartRadio's valueInside Radio reports that Univision Radio and Educational Media Foundation removed their streams from aggregator TuneIn following their partnership with iHeartRadio, while Cumulus and Greater Media will soon also not be available on TuneIn. However, WNYC's deal is not exclusive.

Other broadcasters "object to what [they] consider a 'significant' amount of on-air promotion," required by Clear Channel. There's also the problem that faces any aggregator: "getting lost in the shuffle of hundreds of stations with names that don’t mean anything to non-local listeners."

Indeed, one iHeartRadio partner told Inside Radio: “I don’t think anybody has yet figured out a real consumer-friendly way of organizing the incredible multiplicity of streamed audio that’s out there."

Inside RadioHowever, other broadcasters who have added their stations to iHeartRadio (not surprisingly) defended the platform: "Clear Channel won," said one. "They’ve got the platform, and you need such massive scale to be the incumbent application on devices and in autos that it could have only been done by them or CBS Radio.”

Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey agrees. "To have a prominent position in the user interface in cars and devices, critical mass is essential. That’s what aligning behind one strong app will enable broadcasters to do.”

You can subscribe for Inside Radio's daily newsletters right here.

As always, we want to know what you think! Is joining iHeartRadio a good idea? Share your thoughts by commenting on this story below.

IHeartRadio continues to aggregate non-CC streams with addition of Greater Media's 22

Monday, January 9, 2012 - 9:00am

Online streams of stations in the Greater Media broadcast group will soon be available on Clear Channel's iHeartRadio platform.
Clear Channel announced today Greater Media’s 22 AM and FM radio stations in Boston, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Detroit and New Jersey will be available on the iHeartRadio platform beginning in April. iHeartRadio already offers more than 800 broadcast and online-only radio stations from 150 markets, plus iHeartRadio's custom stations feature.

Last month (our coverage here) Clear Channel announced it would make 570 Cumulus stations available on its application. That followed the addition of EMF's K-Love and Air1 programming (here), public radio WNYC (here), and Univision (here).

Inside Radio recently reported (here) on radio executives calling for the industry "to collectively embrace a universal app where consumers can access all broadcast radio streams, not just those owned by one company."

12/5: Clear Channel making iHeartRadio an aggregator with third-party programming

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Clear Channel continued to add programming from third-party sources (some might say "competitors") to to iHeartRadio, Clear Channel's platform for Internet radio, in December (here) when it brought in Cumulus' 570 radio station streams. This follows news from October when Clear Channel made available streams from EMF's K-Love and Air1 networks (here) and public radio WNYC/New York (here) on iHeartRadio.


Sean Ross reminds radio of the importance of brand-building to listeners faced with thousands of choices

Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 12:25pm

Sean RossYesterday Cumulus and Clear Channel partnered to bring Cumulus' nearly 600 station streams to Clear Channel's iHeartRadio web radio platform -- a move that could hint at the platform's future as an aggregator (RAIN coverage here). Meanwhile, Inside Radio reports that Townsquare Media is "having conversations with other broadcasters about potential partnerships with its newly-launched [web radio platform] radioPup."

Respected industry journalist Sean Ross (pictured) applauds such moves in his column today, but warns: "aggregation is not curation."

He argues that users now need to sort through nearly 1,400 stations on iHeartRadio, for example, and the problem of picking from among "a hundred 'Kiss-FMs' or two-dozen 'Jack FMs'" is still "largely unaddressed."

Ross also suggests that national aggregation platforms are a good opportunity for broadcasters to "create unique national content...the potential of national radio is still largely untapped, and national stations are usually an un-hosted, inchoate afterthought."

Additionally, Ross points out that there's still no one-stop platform for all U.S. radio online -- especially since Clear Channel and CBS Radio started pulling their streams from aggregators like TuneIn Radio (RAIN coverage here).

iHeartRadio's growing web radio network In fact, a Clear Channel representative recently told Ross' fellow Radio-Info journalist Tom Taylor: "Our streams are secure and are only available in our player. If content aggregators bundled our radio stations, we would have no control over how our content and stations are presented -- so we couldn't necessarily provide listeners with the kind of premium experience we want to, and that they expect."

Ross disagrees with that position. "I’m still in favor of station streams being available in as many places as possible...Even after the Cumulus/Clear Channel deal, we’re still not close to having every radio station on one broadcaster’s platform, and I wouldn’t begrudge that convenience to any consumer who really wants it."

For a consumer to stream stations from CBS Radio, Clear Channel and Emmis on his or her iPhone -- for example -- he or she would currently need to download at least three different apps: the app from CBS Radio, the iHeartRadio app from Clear Channel, and the TuneIn Radio app (or another aggregation app, or an individual station app) to listen to Emmis. And that's assuming the consumer even knows the stations are owned by CBS Radio, Clear Channel and Emmis.

You can find Sean Ross' full article on Radio-Info here.

Cumulus joins iHeartRadio, will push listeners to platform via ads and website links

Monday, December 5, 2011 - 11:15am

iHeartRadio's growing networkClear Channel and Cumulus today announced a partnership that brings Cumulus' 570 radio station streams to iHeartRadio, Clear Channel's platform for Internet radio. It could a big step towards making iHeartRadio an Internet radio aggregator, as well as a source for original content.

Cumulus will even advertise the iHeartRadio service on-air and feature a link to the platform on all of its websites.

iHeartRadio already offers streams from Univision, New York public radio station WNYC and EMF's K-Love and Air1 networks (RAIN coverage here, here and here). It also features more than 800 Clear Channel radio station streams and Pandora-like personalized artist- and song-based streams.

In return, Clear Channel will advertise Cumulus Media's SweetJack daily deals (think Groupon or Living Social). Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, according to the New York Times.

Clear Channel was ranked #2 in Triton Digital's October Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m Webcast Metrics ranker (behind Pandora), while Cumulus ranked #4 (behind CBS Radio; RAIN coverage here).

You can find more on the story from the companies' press release here and the New York Times here.


Thursday, September 15, 2011 - 12:00am

Over 10 minutes of the hour-long Leadership Breakfast session at the NAB/RAB Radio Show today was devoted to issues related to Internet radio. All four group heads characterized streaming as an important part of their future.

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