RAIN Summit

Listen to Kurt Hanson's State of the Industry Address from RAIN Summit Dallas

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 1:30pm

Kurt Hanson delivering his State of the Industry addressRAIN publisher and AccuRadio CEO/founder Kurt Hanson delivered his "State of the Industry" address at RAIN Summit Dallas.

He touched on various topics, including of how radio is entering a fourth golden age and how broadcasters can respond to the possible "innovator's dilemma" of Internet radio. Hanson also explained the importance of 801(b) to the future of web radio, especially when compared to the dangerous "gibberish" of "willing buyer/willing seller."

You can listen to Kurt's full keynote presentation below. Thanks to SoundCloud for hosting our audio!

Audio from RAIN Summit Dallas keynote: Clear Channel's Tim Castelli

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 1:30pm

Tim CastelliClear Channel President of National Sales, Marketing and Partnerships Tim Castelli delivered the keynote address of RAIN Summit Dallas on Tuesday. His presentation focused on how digital and mobile can benefit and "bring the sexy back" to radio (channeling a little Justin Timberlake).

In particular, he emphasized that "digital is additive to our listening and brands," and that mobile is "the best opportunity for radio" right now.

You can listen to Tim's full presentation below. Thanks to SoundCloud for hosting the audio!

ESPN Audio, Pandora share 2012 "Best Overall" RAIN Award

Wednesday, September 19, 2012 - 1:30pm

Kurt HansonESPN Audio and Pandora were named dual winners of the "Best Overal Online Radio Service" in the 2012 RAIN Internet Radio Awards, announced today in Dallas. The awards, presented by a tuxedo-ed RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson, capped yesterday's successful RAIN Summit event.

Both services received perfect scores across the segment of our judges panel that reviewed them. It was Pandora's third consecutive "Best Overall" award, and one of two on the day for ESPN (ESPNRadio.com was named "Best Streaming Broadcast Station"). Pandora founder Tim Westergren was on-hand to accept his company's award; ESPN Radio Director of Digital and Print Media Revenue and Operations Cory Smith accepted ESPN's awards (pictured left; who also spoke at RAIN Summit). 

Cory Smith with ESPN's awards

The "Best Overall Digital Strategy" Award went to Clear Channel's digital service iHeartRadio (accepted by Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and SVP of iHeartRadio Network Owen Grover, who spoke at the Summit). And congratulations to Dallas-based webcaster RoothogRadio.com for being named the 2012 "Best Single-Stream Webcaster."

Special congratulations to Ezra Kucharz, President, Local Digital Media at CBS (pictured at right), for his special recognition with Triton Digital's RAINMaker Achievement Award.

Since 2010, the RAIN Internet Radio Awards have recognized the achievements and the best practices of the Internet radio industry.

Look for more coverage from RAIN Summit Dallas (and search #RAINSummit on Twitter), including audio, soon from RAIN.

ESPN keys success on building what fans want, and not waiting for advertisers to demand it

Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 11:40am

There's a great article in Bloomberg Businessweek on the mammoth, multi-platform success of the ESPN empire.

(Big hat-tip to Fred Jacobs, who covers the piece in his blog here where he wrote, "ESPN’s approach, decision-making, and risk-taking are what separates it from other traditional brands – and provides great lessons for radio companies and their very best stations.")

Since its inception in the late 70s, and especially over the past ten years, ESPN "has moved aggressively into new media and platforms, without regard for how they may negatively impact the old. This strategy allows ESPN to squeeze more revenue out of any event it carries by selling that same contest in multiple formats, instead of merely broadcasting it on television." ESPN president John Skipper credits the success to a philosophy of "build, build, build. There comes a time when a lot of businesses become calcified, but we never stop building."

Just how successful has their embrace of new media, especially mobile, been? "The number of users per minute, which is ESPN’s internal metric, reached 102,000 in June, an increase of 48% so far this year," and an astounding 70% of sports content consumed on mobile devices comes across an ESPN mobile app.

Skipper credits NOT cordoning off "digital" or "mobile," but making it everyone's priority. He said, "We have one revenue group, we have one ad sales group, so you don’t have factions fighting against this new digital group. … We don’t have a lot of infighting. We have everybody incentivized so that it’s about the total amount of business we do."

And, they don't wait for an ROI before they actually begin building the business. "ESPN has invested in creating content for a platform before business exists to support it. John Kosner, executive vice president for digital and print media, says, 'We’re not afraid to be ahead of the market. You win by delivering what fans want, and then that becomes a fantastic advertising proposition and a great business.'"

Read the Bloomberg Businessweek article on ESPN here.

ESPN Audio is a finalist in both the "Best Overall Online Radio Service" and "Best Overal Digital Strategy" categories for this year's RAIN Internet Radio Awards (see all the finalists here). ESPNRadio.com is a finalist in the "Best Streaming Broadcaster" category. We'll announce the winners at RAIN Summit Dallas this Tuesday. ESPN SVP/Production & Business Divisions Traug Keller revealed details of the then soon-to-launch revamped ESPN mobile app during his keynote address to RAIN Summit West this past April in Las Vegas.

UK's Classic FM director leverages Internet for brand's global reach

Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 12:05pm

Darren Henley is managing director of (and "the mastermind behind") Classic FM, "the most successful commercial classical music station in the world," writes The Independent in its profile. He's "the radio boss with a plan to drag classical music into the digital era." Classic FM, now celebrating its 20th anniversary, has a weekly audience of 5.5 million listeners. Henly has "reinvented classical music's reputation with the British public," writes the paper.

Henley has clearly set his goals on a global scale, explaining he wants Classic FM's website and stream to be the world's go-to destination for classical music, "responding to a surge in interest in classical downloads." He told The Independent, "We are at a tipping point now in digital consumption versus physical product. In the next 12 months, we will see digital really ramp up." He later admitted, "It's been years since I bought anything on CD. I've been 100 per cent digital downloads for quite a long time now."

He's brought on a team of journalists who upload classical music news, album reviews and video footage to the Classic FM website. And they've recently launched a free iPad app.

His efforts at bringing a new generation of listeners to the genre aren't limited to Internet and mobile content, however. The station shares studios with rock Xfm and urban Choice FM (and Capital Radio and Heart FM are upstairs). The proximity can lead to inspiration. "It's really good because we hear what they are doing in the lift and the canteen and you think, 'There are ways we can do that' ... I want to make sure we understand all the techniques people are using in pop music radio." And there's no sleepy octagenarian on-air personalities either. He's hired well-known TV personalities Alan Titchmarsh and John Suchet, whom he describes as "both people with big personal brand values from outside the classical music world but people our audiences very much relate to."

Read more in The Independent here.  

We'll present our first-ever RAIN Summit Europe, October 5 in Berlin. More information and registration here.

Expert "Online Strategies for Local Broadcasters" to address Saga, concert streaming, and more

Friday, August 31, 2012 - 12:05pm

Editor's note: RAIN will return Tuesday, September 4. Have a great long weekend!

We have to credit Seneca County Radio president & CEO Keith Hodkinson (whose webcast was a finalist in the 2011 RAIN Internet Radio Awards for "Best Overall Strategy") with the idea of a Summit panel that addresses the unique streaming and Internet challenges of the local broadcaster. While we let Keith's words gel in our heads, news broke that broadcaster Saga Communications had not only decided to shut down some of its local streams, but later announced its plans to abandon ad-insertion efforts.

Undoubtedly, the local station or group faces issues that national broadcasters and online-only webcasters don't. There are simply different financial realities for streaming content that's geared mostly to a local audience, and most local operators are still wrestling with how best to serve their markets online. 

So, we're happy to announce that new media vet and head of CBS Radio Dallas Dan Halyburton will moderate the "Online Strategies for Local Broadcasters" panel at RAIN Summit Dallas, coming up Tuesday September 18th, just before the RAB NAB Radio Show. He and Emmis Digital VP Angie May Cook are two broadcasters making streaming work on the local level -- along with support from professionals like Triton Digital's VP/Director of Sales NA, Streaming Division Stephanie Donovan (top right), TargetSpot VP/Publisher Development Elizabeth Pardieu, and Radiate Media GM/Affiliate Relations Dave Van Dyke (lower right). They'll all join (previously announced) Susie Hedrick of Marketron and Barry Leffler of Chapelboro.com for an insightful discussion for the local broadcaster.

It's knowDigital Senior Research Analyst Kelly Ellis who'll present the update on her company's "Successful Streaming Audio Brands" research, shortly before the keynote address (more here) from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment President of National Sales, Marketing & Partnerships Tim Castelli (left). Our afternoon's program also features RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson's "State of the Industry" address, and the presentation of the third-annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards (we invite you to take a look and listen to the finalists, here).

You can see the full RAIN Summit Dallas agenda, with a complete rundown of panel topics and speakers, and registration information, here.

(We'd also like to remind you about our inaugural RAIN Summit Europe, coming up October 5th in Berlin. You can find more details on that, and links to register, here.)

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