Exclusivity, promotion requirements and a fear of "getting lost in the shuffle" keeping some away from CC's web radio platform

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Issue Date: 
Feb 16 2012 - 11:00am

From Issue:

iHeartRadio's websiteAs a broadcaster, is joining iHeartRadio a smart move? That's the question that, for the past few weeks, broadcasters, analysts and publications have debated (RAIN coverage here and here).

Recently Inside Radio spoke to several broadcasters -- both those who have joined Clear Channel's streaming platform and others who have taken "a wait-and-see stance" -- to see what they think.

"You’re giving away a lot," said one broadcaster, worried about iHeartRadio's exclusivity requirement. "It’s just not the way our world works today," said another.

“It would limit all of the in-home and in-TV scenarios that could open up as we move down the road."

Earlier this month, Carleton College's radio station declined an offer to join iHeartRadio because it would mean the college would have to pull its streams from other aggregators, like TuneIn (more here).

Broadcasters debate iHeartRadio's valueInside Radio reports that Univision Radio and Educational Media Foundation removed their streams from aggregator TuneIn following their partnership with iHeartRadio, while Cumulus and Greater Media will soon also not be available on TuneIn. However, WNYC's deal is not exclusive.

Other broadcasters "object to what [they] consider a 'significant' amount of on-air promotion," required by Clear Channel. There's also the problem that faces any aggregator: "getting lost in the shuffle of hundreds of stations with names that don’t mean anything to non-local listeners."

Indeed, one iHeartRadio partner told Inside Radio: “I don’t think anybody has yet figured out a real consumer-friendly way of organizing the incredible multiplicity of streamed audio that’s out there."

Inside RadioHowever, other broadcasters who have added their stations to iHeartRadio (not surprisingly) defended the platform: "Clear Channel won," said one. "They’ve got the platform, and you need such massive scale to be the incumbent application on devices and in autos that it could have only been done by them or CBS Radio.”

Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey agrees. "To have a prominent position in the user interface in cars and devices, critical mass is essential. That’s what aligning behind one strong app will enable broadcasters to do.”

You can subscribe for Inside Radio's daily newsletters right here.

As always, we want to know what you think! Is joining iHeartRadio a good idea? Share your thoughts by commenting on this story below.


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So in reading this as a music lover and former radio lover, I'm seeing what I think Joe is seeing:

The consolidators that drove us to seek alternate music and entertainment platforms (you know, the corporate leviathons unleashed by George Bush that swiftly stripped the heritage from stations' unique attributes, personality, creativity; the ones that stabbed radio in the heart as it responded to our daily needs then pasteurized its quality, character, and appeal in an effort to control, homogenize and dictate our tastes) have followed us to our refuge domain wearing their model of failure like a corsage. They ground our single most unifying media destination with decades of dominance into a tiny pile in just a few years just so they could get their tinnier minds and hearts on top of it, and don't get why we won't loan them any more money.

No worries. They will chase us wherever we go, asserting that they are the ones we love and that they've changed; but the device doesn't change the content of the Heart, just its accessiblity. I'm thankful that now the majority of those entities are captured in a single app as bad memories we can pass by and ignore, like portraits on the walls of Hogwarts. Smaller aggregators like TuneIn and megamulti-streamers like AccuRadio will be nearly as easy to find in the App market. We may have to sample through a lot of frogs to find new loves we really Heart, but the choice is ours and perceptibly unlimited. And even though the chase is often better than the catch, both are better than catching the venereal streams of Clear Channel that radiate from iHeartRadio's loins. Now if we can just limit SOPA, PIPA, and the DMCA from minimizing our relationship choices...

I-Heart radio

Why would anyone want to give even more power to Clear Channel?

Having help destroy radio as we know it, why give them any control over your station? Are we that short sighted?

Joe Milliken
Former Owner, Santa Clara, CA

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