Slacker and Dial Global partner to stream the Madness

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 11:55am

As per a content deal with Dial Global, Slacker Radio will stream every game of this year's NCAA men's Division I basketball championship -- as well as the women's tournament -- to mobile listeners for free.

The coverage, which begins March 13 with the two "play-in" games, will apparently not be streamed to desktop computers. Listeners will need to download a new app from Slacker to listen via Apple's iPhone or iPad, Android phones, or BlackBerrys.

The Dial Global/Slacker arrangement also allows for Slacker to carry the NCAA men's "Frozen Four" hockey tournament, the men's and women's College World Series, and the Division I men’s lacrosse semifinals and championship.


Social media exec asks, "Why are we sending listeners to Facebook's party?"

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 11:35am

Jim Roberts is with Commotion, a subsidiary of Broadcast Electronics which specializes in social media and audience interactivity tools for radio. He says radio needs to re-discover its websites as a source of ad revenue, by using social tools like Facebook and Twitter not as a desination for content, but to pull listeners in.

"If you look at your competition today, it's no longer just the station across town. It's Spotify, Pandora, Slacker, or other services that are causing the disintermediation of music discovery (and even news) from radio and making music consumption much more interactive," Roberts writes in Radio Ink today. "We need our websites to save radio from new threats that are offering something that radio has lost -- interactivity."

He recommends: 

  • Using social media to promote contests and events, but to keep all the relevant content on the website
  • Using the crowdsource power of social media for insight when programming music; and 
  • Getting back to advertising on your site -- it's the only reason Facebook wants your listeners in the first place.

Read Roberts' essay in Radio Ink here.

Van Buskirk investigates why Pandora, unlike some other services, does not offer offline mobile playback

Monday, February 27, 2012 - 12:20pm

Pandora mobileLast week's Eliot Van Buskirk suggested web music services offer offline playback options to help mobile users get around restrictive data plans (RAIN coverage here). He noticed Slacker includes such a feature, as do many on-demand services, but Pandora and other web radio companies do not. Why?

Two reasons, he found. The first is that "Pandora doesn’t have the necessary license from copyright holders that would allow them to store hours of programming on your smartphone."

The second is that Pandora "doesn't view offline playback as a necessary feature." Pandora VP of corporate communications Deborah Roth told Van Buskirk that the company's mobile app offers a "seamless listening experience regardless of signal drop... it doesn't really have relevance to the data plans. Audio streams extremely efficiently and we've seen no impact of data plan caps for our listeners."

You can find Van Buskirk's coverage here.

Pandora, AccuRadio, Slacker, Clear Channel up, most broadcasters down in December

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 9:00am

Pandra, Clear Channel and Slacker up as CBS continues its declineMost pureplay webcasters enjoyed significant growth over the holiday season, according to Triton Digital's Webcast Metrics for December 2011, while most broadcasters declined month-to-month. The growth is likely somewhat attributable to the influx of holiday listeners.

Pandora yet again extended its dominating lead over others in the Top 20 Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m daypart ranker. Its AAS increased over 88,000 from November, a 10% growth.

Pandora is now close to surpassing an AAS (Average Active Sessions, which is essentially equivalent to AQH — i.e., average simultaneous listeners) of 1 million in the Domestic Mon-Sun 6a-12m daypart ranker. (Pandora surpassed the 1 million AAS mark in November 2011 in the Domestic Mon-Fri 6am-8pm ranker.)

Pureplay webcaster AccuRadio (brought to by the same folks who write RAIN every day) showed the largest month-to-month rate of growth at 29%.

(The chart above shows the growth of Pandora, CBS, Clear Channel, the top 5 terrestrial radio groups and Slacker from September 2009 through December 2011. Note that Pandora's AAS numbers from December 2010 through mid-August 2011 were affected by the omission of tracking code in some of its mobile apps. Click to view in full size.)

Slacker grew 7% over November, reaching an AAS of 50,767. That's up 96% from December 2010.

Meanwhile, Clear Channel was one of few broadcasters who grew over November, reaching an AAS of 123,427 (monthly growth of 5%). Other broadcasters dropped from November, some significantly: CBS was down 8%, ESPN Radio 9%, Cumulus 13% and Entercom 24%.

Overall, the combined AAS of pureplay webcasters increased 10% from November to December 2011, while that of broadcasters decreased 4%.

You can find the Domestic and All Streams Mon-Sun 6a-12m rankings below. Find out more from Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics report here (PDF) and find our coverage of November 2011’s ratings here.

Triton Digital's Domestic Webcast Metrics December 2011














Triton Digital's All Streams Webcast Metrics for December 2011




















More news from CES: Special Slacker app for Android tablets, new Pure Net radios, and the 'fridge that plays Pandora

Friday, January 13, 2012 - 12:25pm

Verizon Wireless and Slacker are showing off the new content-heavy Slacker Radio app made especially for the Android tablet and optimized to take advantage of Verizon's 4G LTE wireless network. Slacker says it designed the app with "a content-rich interface" to make the most of the speedy connection. The app features newly-designed station tile display with horizontal and vertical scrolling, station previews, and improved browsing to better enable music discovery. The new app came out of Verizon's Innovation Program, set up to advance its 4G LTE technology. Verizon works with various companies to develop devices and applications that use of Verizon Wireless' networks.

Pure Audio is exhibiting two new Internet radio devices. The first, the Sensia 200D Connect, can time-shift Internet radio programming and record audio content to a USB memory stick. Users can set the radio in advance to record up to three Internet-radio programs, or simply record what they're currently hearing with a single button-push. UK-based Pure is also showing the new Contour 200i, a speaker that can stream music via Apple's wireless AirPlay streaming technology, or through its dock on an iPod, iPhone, or iPad.

Finally, as industry journalist Eliot Van Buskirk notes, "It Wouldn’t Be CES Without an Internet Refrigerator; It Runs Pandora." He writes, "I’m half-convinced that these things only exist to give tech reporters a reliable oddity to write about each year as an example of the sort of Jetsons-style nonsense we can expect from the future." Samsung's Internet-enabled "icebox" supports Android apps like Pandora, Epicurious, Twitter, Google Calendar, AP News, Weatherbug, and Picasa. "The Pandora app allows you to stream your Pandora stations via Wi-Fi and even play them through speakers that are embedded in the refrigerator — because what you really need is crappy little speakers inside of every single one of your appliances." Read Van Buskirk's write-up here.

News from CES: Clear Channel opens iHeart API; FM on Blackberry; NPR on Ford's AppLink; and new partners for Pandora, Slacker

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 9:00am

Here's more news from the Consumer Electronics Show happening now in Las Vegas:

Clear Channel Radio is making available its iHeartRadio API (application programming interface). The Developer Program will enable anyone to develop web pages and applications that integrate iHeartRadio content and services. The iHeartRadio API includes access to live broadcast and digital-only stations, the Custom Stations feature, and social media integration. Developers can learn more about the Developer Program here.

Blackberry maker Research In Motion will add FM radio capability to two current BlackBerry models, the Curve 9360 or 9380. Owners simply need to download a new app to be able to tune to local FM.

Ford has added voice-control of NPR's mobile app to its Sync AppLink. Listeners will be able to create playlists of stories and programs to listen to later, or select from topics and then call them up via voice command.

Pandora announced new partnerships in the automotive sector with Acura, Kia, and Audiovox; plus another partner for in-home entertainment, satellite television provider Dish Network. Pandora says its service is now available on more than 450 consumer electronic devices, and they have partnerships with 16 automotive OEM brands and 7 aftermarket manufacturers.

Net radio provider Slacker announced content partnerships with American Public Media and The Weather Channel. Slacker will now offer programs from APM like "Marketplace" and "The Current," as well as customizable weater forecasts and updates.

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