Las Vegas

Meet three of the connected car professionals speaking at RAIN Summit in Vegas

Friday, February 8, 2013 - 12:10pm

Following this year's Consumer Electronics Show (see our January 8 issue "A flurry of new deals from CES will make Net radio more accessible in the car" here), the hottest topic in Internet radio is the connected automobile. Webcasting is about to cross an incredibly important chasm of connectivity, and establish itself as a major source of consumer audio with the aim of becoming as ubiquitous and easy-to-use as AM/FM in the car. Three of the professionals leading the way will join us for our "Dashboard Discussions" panel at RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas in April.

What should your strategy be for optimizing the automotive opportunity? Here are the experts who will steer you in the right direction:

Hakan Kostepen (pictured right) is Director of Product Planning, Strategy & Innovation at Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America. He's part of the leadership behind the company's in-car integration and development of all Panasonic Company technologies and products to optimize the "in-car user experience."

Hakan, who's appearing at a RAIN Summit for the first time, was responsible for "industry first" Jaguar S-Type Voice Recognition Infotainment System.  

Roger Lanctot (left) is Associate Director in the Global Automotive Practice with tech-focused research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics.

Roger has 25 years experience in the technology industry as an analyst, journalist, and consultant. Roger has conducted and participated in major industry studies, created new research products and services, and advised clients on strategy and competitive issues throughout his career. His experience also includes five years at Telematics Research Group.

Like Roger, Carl Rohling (bottom right) is a RAIN Summit veteran. He's VP/Sales & Business Development with TuneIn Radio.

TuneIn software is integrated into the MINI Connected system, making it the first car to enable drivers to tune to Internet radio via the car's dashboard and steering wheel controls. TuneIn also works with the Dension Internet Radio Stick and Livio's USB/Bluetooth system for in-car connectivity.

Carl's background is in legal and business, with managerial experience in digital media and consumer electronics. He's led business development at digital audio software firms Passalong and Creative.

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 (then you can get a jump-start on your travel plans!) via the RAIN Summit West page.

RAIN's annual Las Vegas conference slated for April 7th

Monday, January 14, 2013 - 12:25pm

Radio Advertising Bureau's Erica Farber will be the keynote speaker at this year’s RAIN Summit West, Sunday, April 7th in Las Vegas, during the week of the NAB Show.

RAIN's 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, and is geared to both broadcasters on the Web (like Clear Channel Radio and CBS Radio), and Internet-only webcasters (Pandora and AccuRadio).

As president and CEO of the RAB, Farber leads Radio’s advocacy efforts by helping to drive business, grow advertising revenue, and communicate Radio’s digital transition. In her keynote address at RAIN Summit West, Farber will offer her perspectives on radio's digital initiatives and prospects for the future.

Previous keynote speakers at RAIN Summits include ESPN senior vice president Traug Keller, Pandora founder Tim Westergren, Hubbard Broadcasting (at the time Bonneville International) president and CEO Bruce Reese, NPR SVP/Digital Media Kinsey Wilson, and Pandora CEO Joe Kennedy.

The former publisher of Radio & Records, Ms. Farber received an American Broadcast Pioneer Award from the Broadcasters' Foundation and has consistently been voted one of "The Most Influential Women in Radio."

RAIN Summits will announce more speakers and panel topics in the coming weeks. Other RAIN Summits are set for later this year, including Europe in late spring, and Orlando (at the RAB/NAB Radio Show) on September 17th.

For information on the event or for sponsorship information contact RAIN Summits president Jennifer Lane.

Robertson warns radio: NAB needs to get involved, or you're screwed

Monday, May 14, 2012 - 11:35am

If the current music royalty arrangement is a "mountain" between webcasters and profitability, Michael Robertson says broadcasters have two choices: go around the mountain, or blow it up.

Robertson is founder and CEO of (which enables recording/time-shifted listening of online radio). He spoke on the panel "The Streaming Music Landscape" at RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas.

The first option, according to Robertson (left), entails radio creating an entirely new model that allows webcasters to avoid the high royalties. Fellow panelist Paul Campbell is founder/CEO of Amazing Radio in the UK, and is doing exactly this sort of thing. A terrestrial station, Amazing Radio plays only independently-owned music. In exchange for the promotion the publishers and performers receive by being aired on Amazing, they waive their royalty claims (allowing the station to perform the music for free).

Radio's second option is get far more involved in the royalty-setting process than it has to this point. "Unless the NAB gets off their ass and gets on the Copyright Office and influences those rates," Robertson exhorted, "as your business goes digital, you guys are screwed."

While Rhapsody Chief Product Officer Brendan Benzing thinks the "renaissance around consumer demand" for curated audio online will shine a brighter spotlight on untenably-high royalties webcasters pay, Robertson was less optimistic. "None of this other stuff matters unless royalties are radically changed," he said. His optimisim lies in the news of Sirius' lawsuit against SoundExchange (see background here). "That is the most important development this year for the Internet radio business. Fantastic development. You better hope Sirius wins."

After Robertson (also founder of the, which recently declared bankruptcy, more here) brought up public earnings reports from Pandora that showed the company pays fully 50% of its revenues for royalties, moderator Ted Cohen (right) asked why that's so out-of-line. Cohen, TAG Strategic Managing Partner, said, "Look at physical retail, durable goods, where 60-65% (of retail revenue) goes to supplier. Is 50% that eggregious?"

The difference, according to Robertson, is in the nature of the business involved, and radio's important role as a copyright "intermediary" between creators and the public. "Look at broadcast radio, which pays about 5% (of its earnings for musical content, in the form of composer/publisher royalties to ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC). Would any radio station have a business if they paid 50% of revenue? No." The problem, he Robertson insisted, is that lawmakers now see the purpose of copyright not to benefit the public (as many interpret the Constitution to mandate), but rather to benefit copyright owners. And what the rate structure fails to take into account is the importance of "distributors" of copyright -- those entities like webcasters and radio -- that are necessary for the public to reap the benefit of copyright by broadcasting and streaming that content.

On the topic of distribution, Robertson advised broadcasters to "pay attention to mobile. That's where the majority of your listening will come from in the future." He said, "Get your signal everywhere, don't do exclusive deals. Any digital guy that comes to you (to make a deal), as long as it doesn't cost you any money, you should do it."

That is, of course, once the royalty matter is solved. The Internet radio business "is a rocket," Robertson said. Right now, "unfortunately, it's a North Korean rocket."

See the entire video of this panel, and all our RAIN Summit West content, at RTTNews here.

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.

Reminder: RAIN Summit West is Sunday

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 11:40am

We hope you'll be able to join us for our 11th annual Las Vegas conference, RAIN Summit West, coming up on Sunday. We're looking forward to a full day of education and inspiration, and great networking. Registration is still available on a very limited basis, here.

Don't forget, we're in a new location this year, the LVH Las Vegas Hotel & Casino (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton, just north of the Convention Center).

We're especially looking forward to the keynote address from SVP Production Business Units at ESPN (and former ABC Radio Networks president) Traug Keller. That's at 4:30p. See the day's full agenda here.

Another highlight is a new feature this year, the "POV" segments. Kind of like "mini-keynotes," three industry thought-leaders will each take 10 minutes with the theme "Redefining Radio." Our inaugural POV speakers are Triton Media Group President/CEO Neal Schore, Borrell Associates Founder & CEO Gordon Borrell, and Liquid Compass Founder & CEO Zackary Lewis.

We'd also like to welcome U.S. Copyright Office General Counsel David Carson, who'll sit down for a one-on-one with David Oxenford of Davis Wright Tremaine to discuss copyright royalties. Kurt Hanson's annual "State of the Industry" is set for 11:45a, and our traditonal RAIN Reader Cocktail Party will cap off the day.

We wish you safe travels, and look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas.

Here are the details: The RAIN Summit West agenda

Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 11:10am

RAIN Summit West 2012We've published the day's full agenda for this year's RAIN Summit West (April 15th in Las Vegas). You can see exactly how we've laid out the day here.

We'll get underway at 9:30 with a panel discussion called "How Many, How Much?," in with the IAB VP of member services Michael Theodore leads an exchange on one of the industry's hottest topics these days, the competing theories and plans for  online audience measurement. Theodore (who's one of the most dynamic and skilled panel moderators we've seen) returns to RAIN Summit to speak with Triton Digital's Rob Favre, Larry Rosin of Edison Research, Doug Sterne from Pandora, and Paul Karsiniski of Arbitron. (Please scroll down for a run-down of the day's other panels.)

David CarsonNext up will be a unique "legal issues" one-on-one, as radio legal expert David Oxenford interviews David Carson (pictured) who's General Counsel of the U.S. Copyright Office. Given the well-publicized music royalty hurdles facing webcasters (and pending CRB determinations for webcasters and satellite radio), plus SiriusXM's lawsuit against SoundExchange (see today's follow-up story), these gentlemen will have a lot of ground to cover.

The first of two research presentations is slated for 10:30. TargetSpot CEO Eyal Goldwerger will brief attendees on Internet radio listening trends. Later, Phillip Beswick of The Media Audit will present "Fast Facts on Internet Radio."

Yesterday (here) we introduced a new RAIN Summit feature, the POV. We'll have three POVs, brief presentations from digital media thought leaders on "Redefining Radio." First up will be Triton Media Group President/CEO Neal Schore at 11:20.

Three RAIN Summit sponsors will make "Pecha Kucha" presentations (if you're not familiar, learn about them here). We'll hear from Radioate Media GM Dave Van Dyke, BRSMedia founder/CEO George Bundy, with StreamOn! CTO Andrew Snook going first.

The centerpiece of the Summit, the keynote address, happens at 11:45. This year we're extremely pleased to welcome ESPN Senior Vice President of Production and Business Divisions Traug Keller (pictured right). Under Keller's leadership, has become the most listened to live stream in network broadcast, reaching more than 3 million listeners a month. Our second keynote takes place later: RAIN Publisher Kurt Hanson's annual "State of the Industry" address.

We'll wrap up by 5:45, and get straight to another of our annual highlights, the RAIN Reader Cocktail Party.

The day's other panel discussions include:

  • 10:45 "Charting Digital Audio Ad Dollars": Strategies and trends for ad-supported Internet radio.
  • 1:00 "Innovating the News/Talk Format Online": A focus on "non-music programming" Internet radio.
  • 1:50 "The Connected Dashboard": A discussion of in-car Internet radio.
  • 2:35 "The Streaming Music Landscape": The various and creative ways music programming is presented online. 
  • 3:30 "It's Who You Know": Social media and marketing for Internet radio.
  • 5:10 "Personalizable Radio": Programming to listeners who have some control.

You can see the full agenda, a complete list of our speakers, moderators, and panelists, learn about those organizations that sponsor the Summit, and in-depth descriptions of each panel and presentation, on the RAIN Summit West page here.

We hope you're planning to join us for what's shaping up to be the finest RAIN Summit event yet.

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