Posts Tagged ‘CBS Radio’

Springtime Blooms: Good News at CBS, Pandora

May 22, 2009

bloomFlowers are coming up, birdsong is in the air, Mother Nature’s season of growth is upon us.

In the midst of the economic hardships facing the world, signs of growth are starting to become evident and cautious optimism is rearing its head in a number of quarters. Like the first buds forming after the bitter winter, growth has become visible.

Let’s start with positive tidings from CBS Radio via Jeffrey Yorke over at MediaWeek:

This week, CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason reported that the group is seeing improved ad sales during the second quarter at some of its major market stations and that online streaming of CBS radio signals is growing. In an interview with MarketWatch, Mason said that some major new advertisers are returning to the dial along with some beloved veteran clients. Mason said ad trends are improving, and he speculates that advertisers who had held back from spending on radio in the fourth quarter and during the first two months of this year are springing loose from their cabin fever.

Not only that, but in a multimillion dollar deal, CBS Radio landed Blockbuster as an advertising client. For those of you unaware, Blockbuster has not used radio advertising for several years now.

This promising uptick in ad sales combined with a move into fledgling formats paints a sunnier picture than the economy would suggest. Format shifting alone has radically increased cume for a number of CBS stations, including KLSX (97.1 AMP Radio)/Los Angeles where the cume has rocketed upwards to approximately 2.4 million listeners from 600,000, a jump achieved in the first six weeks after changing formats to CHR/Top 40.

Then comes the impressive announcement from Tim Westergren, the founder of Pandora, who expects the company to see its first profits in 2010. The introduction of their iPhone app a mere ten months ago is seen as a significant driving force in the service’s expansion. Since its introduction, it has brought in 5 million users and adds another 18,000 to 20,000 new ones daily, according to Westergren.

Its been a long wait since Pandora’s 2000 inception. Their success depends on overcoming one hurdle: Just as terrestrial radio has been embroiled in a congressional battle over royalties, so has Internet radio. In the online segment, the issue is how much is to be paid in royalties. Pandora, along with other online services including those from Yahoo! Inc., AOL and RealNetworks Inc., is currently negotiating with recording companies, artists and copyright holders, and Westergren said he’s “never been more optimistic than I am now” that a resolution is close. (Meg Tirrell  has a great piece on Westergren and Pandora up on Bloomberg if you want more info.)

It seems as though we have some positive indicators, something to be glad of and to nurture during the current madness. Everything is cyclical, downturns cannot last forever, and as an industry we have weathered comparable storms in the past. Right now there may just be some sunshine on the horizon!

Photo courtesy of Dave The Grey, used under its Creative Commons license

CBS Interactive and CBS Radio: a 21st Century Marriage!

May 7, 2009

cbs
This last Tuesday saw a giant leap forward for CBS: the debut of the CBS Interactive Music Group. This new effort unifies the various CBS-owned  music properties under the auspices of CBS Interactive. Those properties include mobile applications, over 100 CBS music websites, a vast array of audio streams and the renowned music discovery, social media platform, Last.fm. According to CBS the combined reach of these various entities is a whopping  40 million unique audio users per month.

David Goodman has been given the helm of this new unit, a name that should be familiar to those who work in the industry. He has been the executive vice president of marketing for CBS Radio since 2002. Before that he worked on high profile programming for Warner Music Group, Warnervision Entertainment, and Warner Brothers, including Hard Rock Live and Russell Simmons: One World Music Beat. He will report directly to CBS Interactive president Neil Ashe and will continue to work with CBS Radio president and CEO, Dan Mason.

CBS seems ready to leap into the 21st Century with both feet, as this quote taken from Radio Ink Magazine illustrates:

“Today we are combining two industry-leading music properties to form a single group dedicated to music fans everywhere,” CBS Corp. President/CEO Les Moonves said. “CBS is in a unique position to bring together the leading-edge technological resources at CBS Interactive with the content, promotional, and sales assets at CBS Radio to drive efficiencies into the business and create unmatched experiences for all of our customers. David is uniquely qualified to lead our efforts in the area, and I look forward to all he’ll do to grow this new enterprise.”

This may be the next big step forward in the world of social media-oriented interactivity. Mr. Goodman is standing on the cutting edge now and it will be exciting to see what steps the new music group will be taking as they develop their strategy for implementation and monetization of the the array of properties that fall under its aegis.

Gavin O’Malley, whose work on interactive media has appeared in Advertising Age, Techmeme, and Online Media Daily notes Mr. Goodman’s comment on how the new structure will benefit the marketing segment in particular (from his recent article on MediaPost):

For marketers, the new structure offers “deeper targeted advertising opportunities driven by experts in local and national sales,” according to Goodman.

Hardly a shocking point of view. The huge advantage of social media interactivity is being able to reach people in the way they choose to be reached and on the topics they care about. From a sales standpoint, that’s potent and powerful, to know that much about your listeners.

What are your thoughts on this new unification of radio and online conversation? What would you like to see as Mr. Goodman shepherds its evolution for CBS? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Photo courtesy of watchwithkristen, used under its Creative Commons license

Web Traffic Rising: CBS Up 30% in December 2008

January 14, 2009

traffic1

Here you go, the latest installment of information on radio evolution.

As broadcast reaches out into the world of the Internet, things become more and more interesting. Embracing the Internet in the early 21st Century means not only new means of reaching listeners with your audio content but also a whole new array of community building tools for those forward thinking stations embracing social media.

While I often write about the latter, today I’d like to share some positive numbers on the former. Eric Sass over at MediaPost presents some encouraging numbers in his most recent article:

CBS Radio’s network of radio station Web sites saw its total number of unique visitors increase 30% in December 2008, compared to the same month in 2007, according to Web analytics service OneStat.com, reaching an all-time high for CBS Radio. The online measurement company also noted that unique visitors grew 7% between November and December 2008.

While not enough to offset other industry losses (yet), these numbers are a great thing to see come across the board. The biggest jump experienced by a CBS station according to Sass was KRLD-Dallas, which had an increase of 133% between December 2007 and 2008.

This, while still a comparatively small part of the equation, is indicative of the importance of embracing online radio. The numbers do not yet counteract the slump we have seen in recent times, but by the same token, these numbers continue to trend upwards.

Evan Harrison, the president of Clear Channel Radio’s online division, confirmed that the Web ops posted about 20% year-over-year growth thus far in 2008, adding that August was their biggest revenue month in history.

Check out the numbers, listen to the future.

Photo courtesy of Burning Image, used under its Creative Commons license

2008: Revolution in The Radio and Web

December 16, 2008

binary

You know, when I started writing this blog about a year ago, I  was amazed by some of the things I learned in my research. On a daily basis, I have been shining a spotlight on the evolution of our medium in this digital age. Well, it looks like like I am not the only amazed by the radio-oriented events of 2008. Both Reuters and ReadWriteWeb are calling this a landmark year for radio efforts. In both articles, we see the same two factors cited: embrace of the Internet and mobile technologies.

Each of these news sources touts a different leader in the field. Reuters cites Clear Channel’s innovative web programming and ReadWriteWeb looks at the digital juggernaut that CBS Radio has created. In my opinion, both companies are doing fantastic work in forging ahead with the new technologies, tools that our industry needs to embrace as the information/entertainment landscape evolves.

Via Richard MacManus of ReadWriteWeb:

CBS Radio announced a content and advertising partnership with AOL Music in March and since then 150 CBS Radio stations and 200 AOL Music Internet stations have become powered by a CBS Radio player. CBS also launched Play.it, which enables listeners to create their own stations. Earlier this month CBS Radio announced an agreement to power Yahoo Music’s Launchcast Radio, which will add a further 150 stations to CBS’ growing online radio portfolio. Also, a CBS Radio player will be integrated into the Yahoo Music site. CBS claimed that this made them the No.1 internet radio company in the world, which Internet radio expert Jennifer Lane agreed with.

This has undoubtedly been the story at the top of the news for our industry. The unification of CBS, AOL, and Yahoo’s online radio endeavors has brought about a much needed bridge between old and new media. With the classic radio expertise of CBS combined with the Internet savvy of AOL and Yahoo, I think we are seeing a glimpse of where radio is headed for the coming decades.

One of the big factors driving this evolution is the advent of the iPhone. Now the most popular handset in the U.S., this smart phone is doing more to uncouple the perceived tether that ties the Internet to a computer. As more and more people access the web through devices like this which integrate music player, phone and computer capabilities the ability to deliver radio through Internet connectivity becomes more vital. At the moment it seems like everyone is working on an iPhone application, which is a good thing.

According to some the best is yet to come. This via Ken tucker at Reuters:

And while 2008 seemed like a breakthrough year for radio on the Web, [Doug] Perlson [CEO of TargetSpot]  says the best is yet to come. “It seems like a watershed moment, but next year could also be groundbreaking,” he says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we went from seeing a proliferation of applications to a proliferation of actual users.”

Photo courtesy of LaMenta3, used under its Creative Commons license

TargetSpot: Confidence in the Face of the Recession

December 12, 2008

confidence
TargetSpot
, who I have written about before due to their online advertising deal with CBS Radio, is pretty sanguine in the face of the economic trials facing America. At least that is the tenor of the interview that the head of TargetSpot, Douglas Perlson, gave to Deborah Yao of the Associated Press recently:

New York-based TargetSpot will handle online ads for more than 1,000 stations, including those owned by terrestrial broadcasters such as CBS Radio, which is an investor in TargetSpot, and Internet-only radio sites such as those on AOL and Live 365.

Partly because this market is nascent, “our business has a good shot at more than doubling in 2009,” Perlson said. His company does not disclose sales figures.

Pearlson’s two-year-old company does seem to be at the ready when it comes to positioning. With the Library of Congress’ Copyright Royalty Board raising the royalties for online music last year, any viable means of monetizing further seems worthy of a trial run. Having landed clients such as Wal-Mart and Macy’s, the company already has a solid track record. Add in the ability to not only manage ad spots for streaming radio, but also the ability to track the effectiveness of those spots and the package becomes a very appealing one.

Even though Congress has passed a bill to support any independent negotiation for better rates and terms, the future is still uncertain for online royalties. As literally the only company specializing exclusively on online ads, they have uniquely placed themselves at a critical juncture point for radio.

I have the distinct feeling this company’s name will be coming up a lot in 2009.

Photo courtesy of Son of Groucho, used under its Creative Commons license

Launchcast To Reboot with CBS Radio

December 3, 2008

station

Looks like Yahoo is going to do a bit of reconfiguring for 2009. In the wake of their announcement last September about their deal with Rhapsody comes a new strategic partnership, this time with CBS Radio.

Since their Launchcast platform is limited to users surfing the Internet using Internet Explorer, it leaves out a significant portion of the market, Mac and Firefox users in particular. It’s a wise move to partner with an established player in the audio content field. In addition, CBS brings a lot of content and advertising expertise to the table.

Via Michael Arrington on The Washington Post:

CBS provides streaming for 144 owned radio stations, as well as providing some Internet-only content.

CBS will also take over ad sales for Launchcast, offering advertisers both display, video and audio ads.

It looks like the new configuration goes live in the first quarter of 2009, and once more it looks like a positive collaboration of online radio and traditional radio. Like the separate sets of genes imparted to a child at conception, this will be the DNA that determines how the future will grow. I’m excited to see it happen!

Photo courtesy of Ross Murray, used under its Creative Commons license

Ladies and Gentlemen, Speaker Nancy Pelosi!

August 15, 2008


As predicted, writing this blog during election season means occasionally drifting into the realm of the political. So it is today. The Democratic Radio Address for the morning of the 16th will be delivered by Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

In the address she is supposed to touch on the subject of new legislation brought forward to combat rising energy and gas prices. Renewable resources are also supposed to be covered. The address will air on Saturday, August 16 at 11:06 am (EDT) and will be broadcast on a wide variety of major radio networks across the nation and the world including the AP, ABC, NPR, CBS Radio, CNN Radio, Fox News Radio, C-SPAN, Armed Forces Radio Network, American Urban Radio Network, Voice of America Radio Network, BBC Radio, CBC Radio, and Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Thanks to Market Watch being on top of their press releases, we even have a few preview quotes from it to share with you:

“During the past eight years, our energy policy has been directed by the two oil men in the White House. Their failed policy has increased our dependence on foreign oil, damaged our economy, and left consumers paying record prices at the pump.
[...]
Senator Barack Obama and congressional Democrats support a comprehensive energy plan to invest in clean, renewable resources like wind, solar and biofuels, and promote greater efficiency and conservation.
[...]
This comprehensive Democratic approach will ensure energy independence which is essential to our national security, will create millions of good paying jobs here at home in a new green economy, and will take major steps forward in addressing the global climate crisis.”
Those of you who wish to hear her speak know to tune in and the rest know not to. This site is about radio, not politics. I’ll discuss the former but not the latter on this platform. As usual though, we see radio being used to reach around the globe and across other more intangible boundaries.

Photo courtesy of Jay Inslee, used under its Creative Commons license

iPhone Again: A Cutting Edge Radio Revolution

July 18, 2008

The iPhone once again rears its sleek little head now that the craziness following the 3G’s release seems to have abated. Despite the iPocalypse on its release, the newest of the Apple family is already making waves. As with the Internet, those waves are based more on the applications it runs than the hardware itself.

Technology consultant for CBS Larry Magrid gives us a terrific review of the three main iPhone radio applications including a podcast recording of listening to New York- and Jamaica-based stations on it while driving around Silicon Valley.

With San Jose Mercury News technology reporter Troy Wolverton at the wheel, I plugged the iPhone into the auxiliary jack of his car radio while we drove around the San Jose, Calif. area listening to WCBS Newsradio from New York, a radio station from Kingston, Jamaica and a customized channel through Pandora.

Even at 66 miles an hour on U.S. Highway 101, the sound was better than what you’d expect from a clear FM signal. I also tuned into my local KCBS news station where the sound quality was definitely better than the station’s terrestrial AM signal.

As is frequently the case, and as I stated at the outset, it is usually the applications that are of primary importance in cases like this. Having already determined the sound quality the cost and efficiency of the programs is the next thing t look at:

There are at least three “live radio” software applications available, not only for the new iPhone, but for the older iPhone and the iPod Touch that have been updated with Apple’s new 2.0 software (free for iPhone users and $10 for iPod Touch users). Two of the programs: AOL Radio and Pandora are free while Tuner costs $4.99.

AOL Radio “Powered by CBS Radio” allows you to listen to more than 150 CBS music, news, talk and sports stations across the United States, as well as customized stations created specifically for online listening. By default, it uses the iPhone or iPod Touch’s location awareness capabilities to play stations in your area, but you can also use it for out-of-town stations.

Pandora doesn’t carry broadcast stations but allows users to create their own music programming by selecting their favorite artists or genres. It’s a very creative concept that can result in programming that is highly customized yet, unlike listening to your own MP3 files, still gives you the serendipity of not knowing which song will come next.

The other program, called Tuner, lets you select from thousands of Internet stations around world or type in the URL of any station that may not be included in its rather exhaustive list.

Now we seem to be heading towards those massive evolutionary leaps I have been predicting for a while now. One of radio’s biggest strengths has always been ubiquity of access to its content. In the age of the iPhone it would seem that reach is magnified.

Phto courtesy of spcoon, used under its Creative Commons license

AOL Radio Application Wins iPhone Design Award

June 16, 2008

I am sure that there must be some celebration going on right now at both AOL and CBS Radio. Last Wednesday, the AOL Radio application for the iPhone won a developer design award at Apple’s annual ceremony at the Worldwide Developer Conference.

Coming hot on the heels of the announcement of the long awaited 3G iPhone, this one is sure to get some spotlight time in the gadget-oriented segments of the media. The application itself will debut along with Apple’s App Store as a free download. (Continuing the long radio tradition of freely accessible content.)

Via iPhone Atlas:

AOL Radio for iPhone leverages iPhone’s Core Location framework to detect a user’s location and automatically display CBS RADIO stations nearest to the user. Additionally, AOL Radio for iPhone automatically adapts to the current connection speed of the device providing low-bandwidth streams when on a cellular network versus higher quality audio for WiFi connections.

With the massive popularity of the iPhone both stateside and overseas, this is quite a feather for the two companies to put in their collective cap. The ability to auto-detect local stations no matter where you are will be a huge bonus for frequent travelers.

One small step for the iPhone, one giant leap for radio! Now I just have to convince my wife to let me work an iPhone into our household budget…

Photo courtesy of Miss Karen, used under its Creative Commons license

Strange New Worlds

June 9, 2008

No, I am not talking about the ones explored by the starship Enterprise while it was seeking out new life and new civilizations. Instead, I am talking about a website I recently discovered: Strange New Worlds Radio. I’ll allow them to describe themselves:

If you want to buy it, fix it, learn how to use it and it’s a gadget, face it, you’re stranded on a strange new world and we are stranded on a Strange New World — the old school, real-time, broadcast radio show that somehow crash landed into the Web.

What a fun approach! And I’ll certainly give them points for pulling off the retro look and feel. I find that many make the attempt and not many pull it off. As I looked around I discovered that not only is it a web show, but it is also syndicated at a number of radio stations across the United States.

I really enjoy the fact that they not only bridge the perceived gap between Internet radio and terrestrial radio, but that they do so in such an insouciant manner. (Hint: If you take a look at the “Who Are These Losers?” page of their site you will be quite surprised at the talent on board.)

Anyway, the reason I found this site that I got a link in the mail. One advantage of blogging for Radio2020 is that people send interesting things my way. In this case, it was a short piece they did for their 90 Second Tech Minute in which several radio execs shared some of the new high tech initiatives.

We got a call last week to sit down with 4, count em, radio execs to talk over the future of radio. Emmis Communications Chairman Jeffrey H. Smulyan, Entercom Communications President David J. Field, CBS Radio President Dan Mason and Radio Advertising Bureau President Jeff Haley.

Stop on by and give it a listen (or download the mp3). Its only 90 seconds, after all. Good stuff.

Tell them Radio2020 sent you.

Photo courtesy of gadl, used under its Creative Commons license


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