Exec: Web Radio on the Rise

Not all the stories in radio’s world are glum. Revenue for radio’s online content is strong, vibrant even.
“Advertisers are embracing online radio faster than anyone ever thought they would,” TargetSpot CEO Doug Perlson told a Kagan Summit panel session on Wednesday (April 1).
“The ability to respond to an ad immediately makes local advertising very appealing because you can target-specific ZIP codes and demographics.”
According to Jeff Hely, CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau, revenue for Internet radio was up 28 percent in January and 12 percent in February for a year-to-date average of 17.5 percent.
It’s all about advertisers reaching their audience, not millions or hundreds of thousands, but the precise audience they want and need.
“Digital media offers a deeper, more personal relationship with a community (those users interested in a specific area or thing),” said Richard Kosinski, who left Yahoo! last year to become senior vp and chief digital officer for Westwood One. “Advertisers are willing to pay more money to reach their targeted audiences. And they are talking to marketing managers and telling them they want very specific metrics.”
Knowing exactly what those communities want allows the content providers to gather information and news specific to their tastes, he said, “which drives engagement” by listeners to the sites.
“If the FCC granted licenses to broadcast from your computers, I suspect that the line would be quite long and the prices quite high,” said Bill Figenshu, president and CEO of FigMedia. He added that building a radio station’s content-rich Internet extension of the station “is not an option, it’s a necessity.”
But Figenshu also had a clear message for large radio groups on streaming: “If you have 100 stations, then you need to think local 100 different ways. If you get 80 percent of your revenues from local sales, then how can you not have local content?” He stressed that too often corporate headquarters try to dictate content on sites for all stations and the station’s general manager ends up telling unhappy advertisers, “Those geeks in New York made me do it,” and the sales are lost.