More Groups Board the iHeartRadio Digital Train. In what seems to be an industry-wide strategy to battle Pandora in the digital realm, two more groups – Cox Media Group and Emmis Communications – have joined Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio digital audio app. Cox Media Group will present 86 of its stations from 19 markets and Emmis will offer 20 stations from six markets on the platform. The iHeartRadio platform now boasts audio from more than 1,000 terrestrial stations from some 150 markets (plus the ability of users to create custom “stations” via song or artist) is available. Cox Media Group president Doug Franklin says, “Cox Media Group is impressed with the progress that iHeartRadio has made over the last year. Our strategy is to serve our listeners on as many digital platforms as possible. We look forward to extending our reach in partnership with iHeartRadio.” At Emmis, chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “By joining iHeartRadio, we offer our listeners – including listeners of our premiere hip-hop brands Hot 97 in New York and Power 106 in Los Angeles – a great way to continue to enjoy our stations’ content.”
Jacobs Media Study Shows News/Talk Listeners Love Smartphones and Tablets; Not So Big on Social Media. The results of Jacobs Media’s Techsurvey 8 – data culled from regular radio listeners – indicates regular listeners to news/talk stations like the hardware but are as fond of using social media as primary listeners of other radio formats. The data was presented in a Jacobs Media webinar yesterday. Jacobs has been offering the webinars in format-specific chunks and yesterday’s focused on news/talk listeners. Fred Jacobs fed participants data from his company’s annual study and some of the takeaways included interesting data about their media consumption habits such as: News/talk listeners use cellphones, the internet, TV and AM/FM radio on par with listeners to other formats but their using of social media such as Facebook and Twitter is considerably less. However, when it comes to social media sites, their usage of LinkedIn exceeds that of usage by other format devotees. As for “first occasion” – which media is consumed first after waking up – 43% of news/talk listeners use radio either at home or in the car. They are also more likely than users of other formats to check their e-mail or read a newspaper (either in print or online) as their first media experience of the day. If it’s any inspiration for beefing up the news department, 70% of news/talk listeners cite getting the news/weather/traffic as the number one reason for listening to AM/FM radio compared to 22% for all other formats combined. Of all the formats, news/talk fans are least likely to “like” a station’s Facebook page but 21% say they check the station’s website every day. And when it comes to following a station or personality on Twitter, sports talk is the hands-down winner with 51% of sports talk fans saying they do so. News/talk aficionados do that less than the median with only 24% saying they follow a station or personality on Twitter. Finally, when it comes to audio and video streaming, 33% of news/talk listeners listen to the station’s stream once per week – below the average of 38% — but 61% of them will stream video once per week – that’s above the average. When they do, news/talk listeners get their video from network TV first, then cable TV, and their third favorite choice is your news/talk station.
ABC News Radio Partners with Slacker to Offer Lifestyle Talk Channels. Digital audio service Slacker and ABC News Radio will work together to offer lifestyle talk content targeting men and women – dubbed “Men’s Life” and “Women’s Life.” Slacker states in a release that the stations can be customized by the user to control the content they hear based on its relevance to them. Slacker SVP of marketing Jonathan Sasse says, “Our new lifestyle stations capture the most interesting content for men and women from experts in over a dozen subjects. No other radio service is providing access to content like this, and it is important to us that these stations include the option to customize based on the topics each listener finds most interesting.” Categories of content available to users include: (for men) Health & Fitness, Games & Gadgets, Food & Drink, Style & Fashion, Cars & Gear, Tech, Travel & Adventure, Entertainment, Money, Relationships, Green Living and Home Improvement. And for women: Hair & Beauty, Style & Fashion, Relationships, Health & Fitness, Money, Entertainment, Food & Drink, Home Living, Tech, Parenting, Travel & Adventure and Green Living. ABC News Radio VP and general manager Steve Jones says, “Since men and women often have different interests, our new Men’s Life and Women’s Life channels appeal to different sensibilities and styles. We curate this content to make it unique but ultimately Slacker listeners drive their own experience since they can skip stories within each channel just as they do now with songs.”
Google and SiriusXM Enter into Content Sharing Deal. Searching for ways to give a boost to its lagging Google TV service, the digital giant has struck a deal with SiriusXM to allow users of Google TV to hear all of the satcaster’s programming – including Howard Stern and the live sports programming. According to Reuters, the deal is to be announced at a Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco today. Google TV is a software built in to television sets currently manufactured by Sony, LG Electronics and Vizio. Major broadcasters have blocked online versions of their content from appearing on Google TV and the service has had a rough start, to say the least. Netflix and Amazon.com have joined Google TV as well.
Comedian and Morning Show Host Rickey Smiley Extends Deal with Radio One; Two TV Deals in the Works. Morning radio show host Rickey Smiley inks a contract extension with Radio One that will keep him with the company. Currently his morning show is heard in 55 markets on urban outlets. In addition, Smiley is developing a weekly TV sitcom for TV One currently in production in Atlanta. He will also be part of Fox TV’s “Dish Nation” show that features a number of morning radio hosts from around the country. Radio One CEO and TV One chairman Alfred Liggins states, “Radio One and TV One are huge believers in investing in quality content. Rickey Smiley represents a significant multi-media talent and our enhanced backing and long-term investment in his brand represents a commitment we believe is core to our companies’ future strategy. Rickey Smiley is not only a current star, but he is one of the fastest-growing entertainment brands in any media today.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Adam Carolla’s Carolla Digital enters into a partnership with TuneIn to deliver his content via the digital audio service. All episodes of every recent Carolla Digital will be available on the service that has some 30 million monthly active listeners…..SiriusXM sports talk host Dino Costa and former college basketball coach Steve Lappas will co-host the satcaster’s coverage of the NBA draft on Thursday, June 28 beginning at 7:00 pm on Mad Dog Radio…..WBZ-FM, Boston – 98.5 the Sports Hub – weekend sports talk host Nick Cattles heads south to become PM drive host at ESPN 94.1 FM (WVSP) serving the Norfolk, Virginia market. He takes over for Tony Mercurio who exited the station last month…..ESPN Radio presents live, exclusive coverage of the UEFA Euro 2012 Final on Sunday, July 1 at 2:30 pm ET.
Wisconsin Station Flips to Talk Beginning in July. The La Crosse Radio Group will flip standard WLFN, La Crosse, Wisconsin to news/talk beginning July 1. The station’s program lineup will feature local talk host Bob Schmidt in morning drive and an eclectic lineup of nationally syndicated talent including: “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” with Gordon Deal, Dial Global’s Dennis Miller, WIBA, Madison-based Vicki McKenna, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap” with Michael Castner, Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes, and CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson. WLFN program director Neil Klos tells TALKERS, “This radio station was designed local first giving our local listeners a voice. Our design was not to be ‘political,’ but entertaining and informative.”
Arizona Illegal Immigration Ruling, ‘Fast and Furious’ Contempt Vote, Colorado Wildfire, Looming ObamaCare Decision and Charles Rangel Wins Primary Battle Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26). The aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling on the Arizona immigration law; a potential House contempt vote against Attorney General Eric Holder in the ‘Fast and Furious’ case; the Colorado wildfire that’s displaced more than 30,000 people; the expected decision from the Supreme Court on ObamaCare; and New York Congressman Charles Rangel’s primary election victory were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.