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RAIN 3/15: Cumulus to invest in personalized radio tech, says CEO

Posted on: 03/15/2011

DICKEY: ACQUISITION OF CITADEL PROVIDESNECESSARY SCALEFOR INVESTMENT

Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey, speaking in a Q4 earnings call, said incorporating Citadel will give Cumulus “the necessary scale to invest in technology-based initiatives including ‘personalized’ and ‘interactive’ radio.”

Dickey also revealed that Cumulus is working on some sort of Groupon-like service. Again, the incorporation of Citadel gives Cumulus “the critical mass to develop social commerce initiatives.” Tom Taylor has more on the story in his Radio-Info newsletter today, which you can sign up for here.

Cumulus was in the news yesterday for leading the way in recent online radio growth (RAIN coverage here). They scored 73.5% growth from July to December 2010, Inside Radio reported, beating out Slacker, AccuRadio and Pandora.

Looking deeper into the numbers, we found that Cumulus’ large growth is mainly due to strong increases in August and September 2010. We tried to contact Cumulus for more information but have yet to hear back. Stay tuned.

NEW STATUTORY RATES FOR WEBCASTERS PUBLISHED IN FEDERAL REGISTER

The Copyright Office last week published the Copyright Royalty Board’s statutory rates for Internet radio royalties from 2011 to 2015 in the Federal Register. The publication of the new rates triggers “a number of questions about the comparative royalties that different Internet radio services pay for streaming music on the Internet,” writes industry attorney and Davis Wright Tremaine partner David Oxenford.

He then outlines the different rates as determined by the Copyright Royalty Board and various deals settled between broadcasters, webcasters and SoundExchange. You can find Oxenford’s helpful outline here.

“It is a confusing royalty world,” writes Oxenford (pictured right), “with services paying differing amounts for essentially the same service. These rates will be in place until the end of 2015. After that, who knows what rates will apply.”

You can hear more legal insights from David Oxenford at RAIN Summit West 2011, scheduled for April 11 in Las Vegas during the NAB Show. Find out more here.

HYPEBOT: PITTMAN NOT IN-TUNE WITH PANDORA’S SUCCESS

Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman (pictured left) has shared some tough thoughts about Pandora since acquiring music subscription service Thumbplay (RAIN coverage here, here and here). Most recently Pittman compared Pandora to an iPod Shuffle: no human element, lots of repeating songs and not much new material.

“Judging by Pittman’s opinion on Pandora, either he’s ignorant of Pandora’s appeal or is marginalizing its success,” responds Hyebot. “If Pittman thinks Pandora is a glorified playlist generator, he obviously doesn’t understand the personalized radio technology that he bought from Thumbplay,” which, Hypebot points out, happens to be just “a playlist generator.”

“If Pandora is just an iPod Shuffle, Pittman should realize that it too plays music people actually like. Why? Because a human programed that playlist too.” You can read the full article here.

AIRKAST ANNOUNCES DEAL WITH JUMP2GO

AirKast announced today a partnership with Jump2Go that allows AirKast client stations to create text messages and links and deliver them to listeners instantly across various platforms (AirKast-created mobile apps for Android, iPhone, iPad and BlackBerry; RDS-enabled and HD Radios; websites; and iPods).

“Stations are always looking for new ways to communicate with their audiences and this partnership lets stations synchronize content to all of the popular mobile devices,” said Allen Hartle, founder of Jump2Go. “Furthermore, stations can offer advertisers the same ability to extend their offerings during commercials or songs, adding value to the station’s core business.”



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