Cumulus Stations Join iHeartRadio

The week has begun with news of a streaming partnership between Clear Channel and Cumulus – the latter’s online stations will be accessed through Clear Channel’s expanding iHeartRadio online platform.  The 570 Cumulus radio stations in 120 markets will be available on the New iHeartRadio platform wherever it is offered, including the Web, mobile devices and automobile.

This doesn’t come as much of a surprise in terms of what Clear Channel has in mind for its iHeartRadio platform, since they have recently added Univision‘s and Educational Media Foundation’s groups of stations as well. iHeartRadio is looking more and more like an Internet radio portal, offering access to Clear Channel’s broadcast streams and online offerings as well as streams of other broadcast stations.

And they are well poised to convince other broadcasters to get on board. They have a solid partnership in place with facebook to drive traffic and enable easy sharing, popular mobile apps and dashboard deals with Ford and Toyota to get their app built into 2012 cars. This must be appealing to other broadcasters with fewer resources to dedicate to extending their own online brand. Cumulus, with its new stable of Citadel stations is a good catch for Clear Channel. Cumulus has been a company that has always taken a skeptical approach to streaming, this offers them a fail-safe way to give listeners streaming access, share in potential revenues, but avoid risky expenses.

Cumulus will continue to stream its stations on its own station websites and mobile apps, the New iHeartRadio platform will serve as the sole digital aggregator for Cumulus stations, which will all advertise iHeartRadio on-air and feature a link to iHeartRadio on all their websites. Meanwhile Cumulus expands its proprietary daily deals brand SweetJack, which it launched last spring, to all Clear Channel stations. SweetJack’s national radio daily deals platform will get advertising on almost 1,400 radio stations and station websites across the country.

This is a smart move for both companies. Cumulus has been uncommitted in its approach to streaming, this partnership gives them an easy way to offer streaming access to listeners without dedicating resources for developing their own brand. And they get branding enhancements for their daily deals platform. IHeartRadio meanwhile gets a big list of stations to include in their streaming platform, increasing their offerings and furthering the concept that they are a universal resource for Internet radio. That’s something that will help them build relationships with car brands, etc..

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