In RAIN Summit West, ESPN SVP Keller shares philosophy for success (and details on that new app!)

Friday, May 4, 2012 - 11:00am

ESPN Radio is scheduled to update its industry-leading mobile app on May 15th, and keynote speaker Traug Keller shared details on some of the new features with RAIN Summit West attendees.

First, though, we were thrilled and honored to welcome Keller, ESPN SVP/Production & Business Divisions, to our recent Las Vegas event (more info here).

[We're very happy to announce that on Monday, we'll offer video of each RAIN Summit segment! Be sure to see Monday's RAIN.]

In his address, Keller described the transformation of ESPN Radio's content culture as an "evolution from 'radio' to 'audio,' and emphasized the word "wherever" (from the company's mission statement: "To serve sports fans, wherever sports are watched, listened to, discussed, debated, read about, or played") as the key to ESPN Radio's innovation. In other words, getting the content sports fans care about on to any available platform is paramount.

He vehemently stressed that the idea of spreading content to the web, mobile, and satellite might cannabalize more traditional outlets as "a myth!" He equally strenuously drove home the importance of relentless promotion of the content you offer: "You have to tell people, in this very complicated digital world with a multitude of options and choices, where to find your content," Keller advised. Equally important to success, according to Keller, is attracting quality people to your team. "Man do we need to attract good people. It doesn't happen without it."

While some in the industry have written seem to have written off podcasting as an early dead-end, Keller seemed enthusiastic. In fact, he called podcasts "a whole new business." ESPNRadio, according to Keller, is now producing 80 podcasts every month, which get downloaded 50 million times. When ESPN columnist and podcast Bill Simmons publishes a new podcast, it's downloaded 1.8 million times within the first 24 hours, Keller claimed.

So, about that app update! Keller says the ESPN Radio mobile app, at its May 15th update (for iOS and Android, Windows will be later), users will be able to create their own stations (in much the same way users of ESPN partner Slacker can now), focusing on news from their favorites sports, teams, and players. Very exciting will be the "rewind live" feature, which will allow users to access a show or a game from its beginning -- even if the user tuned in after it had already begun. The app will have expanded "social" capabilities to enable users to share content (Keller called radio "the original social fuel, especially when you're talking about sports"). Finally, the app itself will know the teams and players you like, and customize access to content to fit your preferences. (By the way, you may want to see that SiriusXM's new Android app has some of these same features -- see our coverage here.)

Look for full videos of each RAIN Summit West segment soon.

ESPN Radio scores big online audience growth in March

Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 11:45am

ESPN Audio NOW playerBetween the NCAA Tournament and news from Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning, ESPN Radio says March was the "best month" yet for in its 11-year history.

The site attracted nearly 27 milion page views during the month (up 36% from 2011), of which nearly 1.51 million page views included 30-60 minutes of listening to digital audio through the ESPN Audio NOW Player. That's reportedly up 511% from March 2011.

ESPN SVP, Production/Business Divisions Traug Keller will keynote RAIN Summit West 2012 in just over a week. He will no doubt touch on ESPN Radio's digital successes -- don't miss it! You can find out more about the Summit here.

You can find more coverage on ESPN Radio's digital growth in March from Radio Online here, Radio Ink here and Inside Radio here.

Marketron Mobile counts 1,950 affiliates for mobile programming platform and ad service

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 11:35am

Marketron has announced that its mobile programming platform and ad service Marketron Mobile is now licensed by 1,950 radio stations, driven by the addition of more than 1,200 new stations in the last year alone. Marketron counts among its radio clients Cumulus Media, ESPN, Radio One, and the Beasley Broadcast Group.

Marketron Mobile runs more than 18-thousand ad campaigns a month, with ad clients like Harley Davidson, Heineken, and Microsoft.

Gary Rozynek, CEO of Maverick Media, commented, "Using Marketron Mobile we have been able to extend mobile from a programming tool to a new revenue generation tool that has accelerated our digital revenue growth."

Social media and mobile tech fundamentally change ESPN's approach to audio

Monday, February 6, 2012 - 11:00am

A piece from Mashable demonstrates how social and mobile technology monumentally changed ESPN's approach to "the original mass broadcast medium," radio.

"Perhaps nothing shows the shifting landscape better than a recent name change for ESPN’s audio division," writes Mashable. "Until about three years ago, the entire division — the company’s second-most consumed medium, behind its ubiquitous television presence — was known simply as ESPN Radio."

Mo Davenport is a SVP/GM of ESPN's audio division. He told Mashable, "We shouldn’t be just ESPN Radio... We recognized that we should really be ESPN Audio and realign ourselves with saying that we want to serve sports fans at any time, wherever they are, and on whatever platform they want to be served on."

Last year, ESPN racked up 358 million podcast downloads, and more than 10 million streaming listening hours per month through

Mike Golic, of "Mike & Mike in the Morning," refers to social media’s "immediacy of reaction" when explaining how it changes the dynamic of their show. Instead of relying on the phone or fax machine for listeners feeback, they now receive a constant stream via Twitter.

ESPN SVP Production/Business Divisions Traug Keller will keynote RAIN Summit West, April 15 in Las Vegas. Learn more and register here.

Read more from Mashable here.

Eleventh annual conference in Las Vegas to be keynoted by ESPN SVP Traug Keller

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 11:00am

RAIN Summit West 2012This year's RAIN Summit West -- Internet radio's premiere educational and networking event -- will feature ESPN Senior Vice President Traug Keller as keynote speaker.

The Summit will be Sunday, April 15 in Las Vegas, immediately preceding this spring's NAB Show (please note that this is the first year the Summit will be held on a Sunday). RAIN Summit West, now in its 11th year, will take place at the former Las Vegas Hilton, now called the LVH -- Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

The Summit's keynote speaker, Traug Keller (pictured), oversees all aspects of ESPN Audio. Under Keller’s leadership, became the most listened to live stream ESPN SVP Traug Kellerof any terrestrial broadcaster in the world, reaching more than three million unique users per month. In another highlight of the event, Kurt Hanson will present his “State of the Industry” address on the future of radio in this age of new media.

The Summit will feature a variety of other speakers and panelists, including Entercom VP of Digital Tim Murphy, Pandora SVP of Sales Steven Kritzman, and Slacker CEO Jim Cady. RAIN will announce more speakers and panel topics in the coming weeks.

RAIN Summit West concludes with the always-anticipated tradition of the poolside RAIN Reader Cocktail Party.

The Summit is an official “Co-Located Education Program” of the NAB Show. Registration includes access to the NAB Show Exhibit Hall and a catered box lunch. RAIN registrants can save $100 on NAB registration.

For registration and sponsorship information, visit

Other RAIN Summits are planned for later this year in Dallas (at the RAB/NAB Radio Show) on September 18th and in Berlin, Germany on October 5th.

Slacker kicks off live ESPN programming with play-by-play from tonight's BCS title game

Monday, January 9, 2012 - 9:00am

Slacker will inaugurate its live streaming of ESPN Audio shows and sporting events with the BCS Championship title game tonight — top-ranked LSU versus No. 2 Alabama — available to all Slacker listeners via the web player.

Slacker Radio first began making ESPN Audio content available in September (see RAIN coverage here), after announcing their deal the previous March (here). But today is the first offering of live programming. Slacker says other live programming will be available to Slacker Radio Plus and Slacker Premium Radio subscribers. The interactive ESPN Radio station (non-live content) on Slacker will remain free and available to all listeners.

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