WNYC-FM launches pureplay for Jonathan Schwartz

Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 12:30pm

New York public radio station WNYC has long hosted Jonathan Schwartz, an American Songbook expert who has been called a national treasure in recognition of his vast knowledge of American standards, and his unique personal collection of recordings. Schwartz often demonstrates a seemingly bottomless knowledge of Frank Sinatra’s career. Here at the RAIN editorial office, we often turn to WNYC’s webcast on weekends for a dose of Jonathan Schwartz. Now WNYC’s new Internet station administers that dose at any time.

In an interesting pureplay, WNYC has launched a 24/7 stream called The Jonathan Channel. (Listen here.) Tom Taylor’s newsletter notes that Schwartz recently quit his shift at SiriusXM, so is now exclusively distributed by WNYC -- his weekly shows are broadcast on Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. He has been a WNYC host for 14 years, so there is a deep archive of content for The Jonathan Channel to draw from.

There might be a trend afoot with 24/7 specialty stations derived from broadcast. Recently TuneIn announced a full-time rerun channel of public radio’s This American Life, which has an 18-year library.

Sirius XM offers cheap re-subs and continues to climb

Monday, October 14, 2013 - 11:25am

It's a rising tide. While Pandora, iTunes Radio, and other IP-delivered music services build momentum, Sirius XM continues to disrupt AM/FM’s automotive presence, with enviable subscriber numbers. As Tom Taylor notes in his NOW newsletter this morning, “Sirius XM recently passed the 25-million subscriber mark, and its stock hasn’t traded this high since early 2006.”

Distribution is the key driver. Satellite radio was developed specifically for the car, where Sirius XM now enjoys a widespread installed base -- nearly seven out of 10 new cars have Sirius XM on board, according to Seeking Alpha. The company also furnishes an online component, in a reversal of the distribution order of Internet pureplays like Pandora, which started online and pushed its way into cars secondarily. (Sirius XM also offers stand-alone receivers.) Many new-car buyers discover SiriusXM’s diverse and star-studded programming with free introductory trials that last for months. An impressive 45 percent of those buyers convert to paying subscribers. (Pureplays take note: it can take MONTHS to habituate new users to a listening service … not days.)

To capture subs that have fallen off the grid, Taylor notes that Sirius XM is offering a six-month re-subscription for $25, total. Normal subscriptions cost between fourteen and eighteen bucks a month. 

That’s smart business, but the smartest part of satellite’s success has been hitching its fate to the car. Internet pureplays are not oblivious, and they are all scrambling for position in the connected dashboard. When they get there, they find competition from two staunch legacy forces: broadcast and satellite.

Pureplay of the Day: 7Online (Burma)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 10:45am

Pureplay of the day spotlights adventures in off-road listening.

The population of Burma (officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar) is about 60-million -- less than Pandora’s base of active listeners. Only one percent of Burma’s population has Internet access, but that’s enough of a market to support 7Online, the country’s first and only Internet radio station.

Started last year, 7Online produces six hours of daily programming, and repurposes that block throughout the 24-hour stream. RAIN, a non-Burmese-speaking organization, bravely downloaded the iOS app for some Southeast Asian pureplay groove. The interface is attractive, clean, and dead-simple with its giant Play button.

According to Irrawaddy, a Burmese news publication, the six friends who started 7Online bypassed government radio regulations by forgoing news coverage in station programming. 7Online reportedly has 10,000 global listeners.

Make that 10,001 -- RAIN’s editorial office is rocking to 7Online’s heady mix of synth-pop ballads, Asian rap, and ethnic crossover.

Triton’s August Top-20 Ranker shows broad webcast gains

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 - 12:35pm

Triton Digital released its August Top-20 scoresheet of webcast metrics yesterday afternoon, revealing marginal change in the ranking lineup, and nearly unanimous upward movement in both Average Active Sessions and Session Starts. Half of the top-20 webcast leaders also showed gains in Average Time Spent Listening.

The table below shows July and August metrics sorted by Average Active Sessions, and indicating changes in ranking order. (All tables below reflect the 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daypart.) Pandora remained the webcast leader, and Beasley Broadcasting entered the list in the 20th spot for August.

Sorting the August ranking by Month-over-Month (MoM) gains in Average Active Sessions, the following table shows double-digit webcast gains for five broadcast groups, and strong or relatively stable performance for the entire list:

Rearranging the list from the vantage of gain/loss in Average Time Spent Listening, the greatest increase in stickiness applied to pureplays Slacker and Idobi Radio.

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