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RAIN 7/11: Clear Channel announces addition of Pandora-style feature to revamped iHeartRadio

Posted on: 07/11/2011


This morning Clear Channel announced it will launch a Pandora-like custom Internet radio service on its iHeartRadio platform in September.

And to promote the launch of the new iHeartRadio, Clear Channel is hosting a multi-day concert in Las Vegas. The September 23-24 event — which Clear Channel is calling “the largest concert event in radio history” — will include performances from Lady Gaga, Coldplay, Steven Tyler, The Black Eyed Peas, Kenny Chesney, Jennifer Lopez, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, Jane’s Addiction, and others.

In its press release this morning, Clear Channel described the new service as “like Pandora, but with more songs, more control, and no commercials through the end of the year.”

How many more songs? Clear Channel’s Bob Pittman told Billboard the service will offer access to 10 million tracks (Pandora claims 800,000 titles, while Spotify says it has 15 million songs!!).

Pandora limits song skips and total listening hours for free users, likely to limit royalty and bandwidth costs. While it’s not yet clear how Clear Channel’s attitude towards financial viability of the new service will manifest itself, they say they’re less concerned about whether the new custom radio service operates in the red or black. “To us it doesn’t matter if it ever succeds as a business,” said Pittman in Billboard. “We only have to to have it succeed as a feature.”

Jennifer Lopez appeared on NBC’s “The Today Show” and pitched the concert event, while Ryan Seacrest broke the news on iHeartRadio itself. Live audio and video streams of the concert will be available through Clear Channel’s apps and websites.

For more on the story, read Billboard‘s coverage here, Radio Ink‘s here, or find Clear Channel’s press release here.

Kudos, by the way, to Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor who scooped the industry by breaking the news yesterday afternoon! His coverage is here.


Analysis of Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics measurements shows half of listening to streams of AM/FM radio stations comes from outside those stations’ broadcast markets.

Inside Radio reports today on Triton’s analysis, which shows 51% of listening in May to all measured terrestrial streams came from outside the station’s Designated Market Area.

Triton COO Mike Agovino commented, “Generally speaking, the larger the market, the higher the percentage of out-of-market listening. You see a lot of listening in a regional circle around the large market.” [Though, interestingly, the chart at right shows that New York’s out-of-market streaming is actually a little below that of the 51% average of all Triton-measured stations.]

Sales experts that spoke to the news source said few stations separate in- and out-of-DMA online listening for ad sales purposes, however. While many national advertisers geo-target their campaigns, very often local buyers’ ads (purchased on a “spot” basis and not geo-targeted) will be heard by anyone connected to the stream, regardless of location (and thus local ads heard by out-of-DMA listeners are most likely wasted money for the customer). That’s not to say broadcasters can’t make money on this out-of-market listening. As of yet, though, it remains “largely untapped.”

Inside Radio has lots more on this. Subscribe here.


In a “teased” announcement via Twitter today, legendary Chicago radio personality Steve Dahl revealed, “I’m taking my talents to an unregulated and uncensored podcast beginning 8-1 for $9.95 a month.”

Dahl’s been off the air since 2008, sitting out the remainder of his contract with CBS Radio, for whom he last worked. That contract ended Friday.

Dahl began podcasting in September, 2009, making his shows available for free on his website (He appeared at two RAIN Summit events last year to speak, and learn, about the business.). While one might wonder about the viability of taking a free service to a pay model, remember national talent Todd Clem (aka Bubba the Love Sponge) moved over to RadioIO for a subscription-based show (RAIN coverage here). Early subscribers ponied up nearly $1 million, according to reports (in RAIN here).

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