CBS RADIO has signed a non-exclusive deal with tunein, giving tunein listeners access to news, sports and talk content on more than 40 CBS RADIO stations. This news flies in the face of several exclusive deals recently leveraged by Clear Channel on its iHeartRadio platform, where some major broadcasters were signing away their rights to work with multiple online portals to engage listeners, and instead agreeing that the online online portal they would work with would be iHeartRadio.
“We have always believed in the value of great local content, and this agreement validates the demand we know exists for our original programming while at the same time creates a new revenue source for the company,” said Ezra Kucharz, President, CBS Local Digital Media. “By forging relationships with premiere distribution services such as tunein, CBS RADIO will significantly grow its audiences by exposing our content to new listeners.”
The CBS RADIO deal make a lot of sense, although it’s disappointing that only talk radio content is included. This may be due to tunein’s global appeal – CBS Radio restricts streaming of its music stations to the US. tunein has a suite of very popular mobile apps as well as deals with many devices and automakers, high rankings on iTunes for its popular app. According to Alexa, it’s one of the most popular websites in the US and world, ranking just above the top 1000. That’s a lot of potential listeners…
Live365 has launched a new Internet radio service and website for women. Athena365 features a wide variety of female-friendly music including popular AC, Top40, and Pop/Rock Hits; New Age, Classical, and Jazz stations; and talk shows covering a variety of topics.
“The Athena365 Beta site brings together the best of Live365 stations, plus new targeted content packaged to address the needs and preferences of a very specific audience — digital moms,” says Heidi Elgaard, Marketing Director for Live365 and Athena365. “By narrowing our audience focus with this initiative, we have a unique opportunity to provide a richer and more personal online radio experience.”
Featured stations on the website’s homepage include Jill92.7, an AC station based in Los Angeles, B98 Country out of Missouri, and Harpo Radio, a talk radio platform owned by Oprah.
“Live365 has always catered to niche audiences, and Athena365 is an extension of that strategy.” says Elgaard. It’s a move that is bound to benefit ad revenues as well – Elgaard says Targetspot, who sells inventory on Live365, will sell the inventory on Athena365 as well. She says they’ll continue to work with banner networks also, along with plans to increase direct sales efforts for both Live365 and Athena365. The website also offers a premium subscription with fewer ads for $3.95 a month.
It’s a great idea to build out a branded Internet radio platform targeting women, and one that is perfectly suited to Live365. They’re already a site that aggregates stations, grouping them by demographics and rebranding them should benefit both audience and make it easier to attract ad dollars.
Arbitron publishes an annual report Radio Today that provides an interesting snapshot of radio listening in the US. For the first time, the 2009 report includes streaming stations in its list of National Format Shares and Station Counts.
48% of all FM stations are streaming their programming while only 10% of those stations are rebroadcasting it on HD. 32% of AM stations are streaming, less than 4% are distributing it on HD. Of the stations that are also producing additional HD multicast channels (537 in all), 46% are also streaming that programming on side channels.
Classical stations are most likely to stream their programming – 82% of classical stations are streaming. After that, Contemporary Christian, CHR, Alternative and AAA formats are most likely to be streamed. Interestingly, only 52% of news/talk stations and 48% of talk/personality stations are streaming. Those stations don’t have to pay per performance music royalties, which keeps some broadcasters from streaming, so it’s surprising that they’re not distributing their content online.
You can download the study here.
One of radio’s oldest formats has found a new home on Internet radio. Talk radio, long the stalwart of the AM broadcast band, is alive and thriving online.
Sure, the big name hosts like Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck, Schlessinger and Savage are all streaming their broadcast shows online. More interesting is the long list of talkers who are using Internet radio as their primary distribution channel. That list is growing, and so is the audience.
The number of conservative talk shows online is really growing, according to a recent article in the LA Times. BlogTalkRadio, a streaming platform that enables anyone with the desire to easily start their own show, has seen a 25% increase in the number of conservative talk shows this year, while progressive talk shows are up about 14%. All of that has resulted in bigger numbers of people listening as well.
Take the case of Marie Stroughter, founder of African-American Conservatives. The site is home to her radio show, which features “topical political commentary from a right-leaning, cultural perspective.” She’s interviewed the likes of Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich and Steve Forbes, among others. She uses the BlogTalkRadio platform for her webcasts, and her show has become one of the more popular in that network.
Talkers Magazine, the self-proclaimed Bible of Talk Radio, agrees. This year they published their second annual list of the Frontier Fifty most outstanding webcasters, a list that features names both known and unknown. “This new platform is well on its way to becoming the establishment at an exponentially increasing rate of acceleration.” says Talkers Magazine founder Michael Harrison. “Keeping that in mind, we should savor this creative, opportunity-rich period of its infancy while we still have it –– a colorful chapter of new media history that this list endeavors to celebrate.”
By enabling such a wide array of voices and points of view, Internet radio is on its way to re-inventing one of radio’s oldest formats. It’s a good thing, and one that broadcasters can easily take a lesson from. Got an interesting local character in your community? Give them a voice for an hour a week or even a day and offer the stream on your website. Now that’s a thought worth talking about..