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Posted on: 03/07/2008

CBS RADIO PARTNERS WITH AOL ON STREAMING RADIO: CBS Radio and AOL have announced that they will combine their online radio efforts and will offer “unlimited and free access” to all of AOL’s Internet radio channels and the online streams of CBS’s 150+ local radio stations and custom channels, automatically making CBS Radio a leader in a medium it once seemed content to ignore. The companies also promise a new online player in spring, integrating AOL Radio with streams from select major-market CBS broadcast outlets and the customized CBS Radio online channels, as well as enabling the service for the Macintosh platform. CBS Radio will now have access to sell AOL Radio inventory, and Ronning-Lipset can add CBS Radio streams to its online inventory. Advertisers will also be able to buy via the CBS-backed Target Spot service. Dan Mason, President and CEO, CBS Radio said, “A combined CBS RADIO/AOL Radio affords us vastly greater scale, as well as massive distribution for our brands.” CBS President of Digital Media and Integrated Marketing David Goodman said, “As a result of having one of the most powerful Internet radio platforms in the world we’ve created even greater opportunities for advertisers to be integrated into one of the fastest growing areas on the web.” CBS last May acquired the popular social networking/music service Last.fm (RAIN coverage here). Read the CBS Radio press release here.

HANSON ON CMW PANEL TODAY: “Broadcasting and Webcasting Royalties: The Battle Heats Up. As business models evolve and broadcasters distribute content via multiple platforms, does it make sense to add additional tariffs for the use of music in different media such as internet? This panel of copyright experts will weigh in on the on-going battle of broadcasting and webcasting royalties.” Moderator: Walter McDonough, General Counsel, Future of Music Coalition. Panelists: Paul Spurgeon, VP Legal Services/General Counsel, SOCAN; Michael Geist, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law; David Basskin, President, CMRRA; Sundeep Chauhan, VP & General Counsel, Neighboring Rights Collective of Canada (NRCC); Rob Braide; VP/GM CJAD /Mix 96/CHOM-FM, Montreal; David Oxenford, Davis Wright Tremaine, Washington. DC; Kurt Hanson, Publisher, RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter; and John Simson, Executive Director, SoundExchange. Today, 2:40pm-3:40pm.

NPR CEO CUT LOOSE, POSSIBLY OVER DIGITAL MEDIA FUTURE: NPR’s corporate board has ousted CEO Ken Stern, and NPR’s own reporting suggests the move could have been over digital media. NPR writes, “during his tenure, Stern had pushed the radio network to expand into digital news. In an increasingly competitive media landscape, he often told staff that NPR had to find new ways to reach its audience or it could become irrelevant.” An unnamed source told NPR Stern never explained how the hundreds of member stations would fit into the NPR-consolidated digital media plan. NPR’s chairman, Dennis L. Haarsager, who’ll be interim CEO, told the New York Times the digital matter “was not a source of tension,” but other insiders disagree. Stern joined NPR as COO in 1999, and was named CEO in October, 2006. Under his guidance, NPR became a leader in podcasting. “But like other media groups, NPR has grappled with enhancing its presence online, without alienating the radio stations that make up its membership and that derive their income from listener pledges and corporate sponsorship,” writes the Times. NPR’s article is here, and the NYT article can be found here.

JP MORGAN: B’CAST RADIO CONTINUES TO GAIN IN ONLINE TRAFFIC SHARE: Terrestrial radio’s share of online traffic continues to rise, according to JP Morgan’s January “Internet Radio Scorecard.” 44% of online radio site visits (note: the “Scorecard” measures visits, not streaming) in January were to AM or FM stations, up from 42.7% in December ’07. Clear Channel and CBS Radio traffic actually fell, but Citadel and Radio One were up 13% and 11% respectively over December.

CANADIAN MUSIC WEEK’S “FUTURE OF RADIOPANEL FAILS TO ACHIEVE CONSENSUS. In a panel moderated by Corus Radio’s Jeff Woods, panelists disagreed as to whether radio is in the “relationship” business (Emmis’s Deb Esayian, focusing on integrated sales to advertisers), the “attention” business (Astral Media’s Stefan Powell), the “audience” business (Solution Research Group’s Jeff Vidler, arguing that broadcasters need to partner with others to develop new, web-specific products), or the “diary-influencing” business (consultant Chris Byrnes, arguing that the only people dissatisfied with AM/FM radio are the “pocket protector” crowd). Yahoo! Music Canada’s Andy West suggested that radio stations could create online playlists featuring new artists of a style that a given listener likes. CMW continues in Toronto through Saturday night.

COUNTRY RADIO SEMINAR DEALS WITH DIGITAL: Tom Taylor in his “Taylor On Radio-Info” newsletter writes that the big topic at this year’s Country Radio Seminar is (what else?) “online and new media.” Taylor says, “Check the daytime session titles: ‘Growing Online;’ ‘Boom or Bust: A look at hot tech trends’ (great session); ‘Radio in the Digital Age;’ ‘Bytes & Bagels (“for the digital neophyte”)’. And the colorfully-titled ‘TXT WTF?’ The leaning is definitely toward how to reach listeners online, and how to make money off that relationship.” Read “Taylor on Radio-Info” here.

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