Last week Clear Channel announced that they continue to expand the variety and number of streaming broadcast stations offered on iHeartradio by adding a list of college radio stations. College radio is a broad category that spans everything from student-run stations featuring block programming and music, news and sports programming to professionally-run stations with specific formats. At launch, iHeartRadio’s College programming will include more than a dozen of the leading college stations from eleven states across the country.
It’s a nice move that college radio stations would find attractive – why wouldn’t they want to join up with a larger streaming portal? More potential listeners, an easy entry into mobile and automotive audiences. It’s a good idea, right?
I think it’s a fine thing that iHeartRadio is expanding into a major portal to broadcast streams. The name iHeartradio is a good one for a site with such a universal offering. A tuner-like portal that offers listeners the ability to sort through stations by geography and format and find just what they are looking for is a valuable offering for listeners who can search for the station from the place where they grew up or their alma mater’s stream.
iHeartRadio has a nicely developed offering, a handy mobile app, facebook integration and even some deals with automotive manufacturers, all things that are appealing to smallish broadcasters who can’t leverage those sorts of thing on their own. Signing on to iHeartRadio makes sense for all of these reasons.
Unless it’s an exclusive deal. Then what seems like a really good idea turns into a really bad idea very very quickly. Unfortunately some early deals with iHeartRadio by Univision, Greater Media, Cumulus, and EMF are rumored to have made iHeartRadio their exclusive digital portal. Despite the fact that other great big portals exist and already have lots and lots of traffic. Like, for example, TuneIn – a service that has one of the most popular streaming radio apps in iTunes, provides a tuner to many devices, and has lots of auto deals too. They’ve been around for a long time and are sending lots of traffic to lots of stations. Why abandon that?
Content creators should work with every distribution platform they can to give listeners access in as many ways as they want it. Leverage your content to build your audience through as many access points as you can. Limiting access is only good for one brand, and it’s not yours that I’m talking about…