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RAIN schedule It's a HUGE news day in RAIN today: The VP/GM of America's #1 webcaster will deliver a keynote at our upcoming "RAIN Summit," Air America apparently broke a post-9/11 record for concurrent listeners to a broadcast stream, Radioio closes a major VC deal, a major alternative rock programmer leaves broadcast radio for Internet radio... and we didn't even have time to cover Yahoo's Q1 leap in advertising and subscription revenue (here) and Walter Mossberg's glowing review of a Verizon product that will bring wireless broadband Internet to all major U.S. metropolitan areas within the next 21 months (here)!
RAIN News Flash!
"New VP/GM of Radio@AOL to deliver RAIN Summit keynote"
BY KURT HANSON
Newly-named head of AOL Radio
(which includes Radio@AOL and Radio@Netscape) Evan Harrison will be a featured speaker at the upcoming "RAIN Las Vegas Summit" on April 20th.

Harrison (pictured) is responsible
for all music and radio related programming and content across the AOL service and its web properties, which deliver over 25 million hours of streaming per month, making AOL currently the world's #1-rated webcaster.

Other speakers at the Summit
will include legendary AOR programmer Dwight Douglas, Radioio founder Michael Roe, and MVYRadio president Jennifer Lane.

The "RAIN Las Vegas Summit"
at the NAB will be held on Tuesday April 20, from 3 to 7:30PM at Z'Tejas Grill (one mile south of the Convention Center).

Click here for details on the event, including the itinerary, and information on how to participate as a sponsor or attendee.

To RSVP, send an e-mail to summit@kurthanson.com. We hope to see you there!

Headline: "Air America broke 50,000 concurrent listeners on debut"
BY KURT HANSON and PAUL MALONEY
As foreshadowed in RAIN last week (here), despite the fact that its first week of programming did not garner rave reviews from the critics, new "liberal talk" network Air America apparently broke a post-9/11 record for concurrent listeners to an Internet radio stream.

According to RealNetworks, over 2 million streams were delivered online for the newly-launched Air America Radio network during its first week of broadcasting.

RealNetworks said that it delivered 50,000 concurrent streams on the network's first day of broadcasting (March 31), which the company says makes it the highest-ever usage of the Real Broadcast Network for a "non-breaking news service."

It has been reported that ABC News's coverage of the 9/11 attacks on September 12, 2001, hit 86,700 concurrent listeners.

RealNetworks' measurement means that Air America had even more online listeners than originally estimated by the broadcaster. Air America's VP/Marketing Leon Colaco had told RAIN last week that Franken's second-day show hit a peak of 45,000 concurrent listeners.

By recent comparison, the three top-rated channels in the most-recent Arbitron Webcast Ratings report were MusicMatch ArtistMatch, Virgin Radio U.K., and AOL "Top Country," which I would estimate have peak audiences of approximately 17,000, 6,000, and 5,000 concurrent listeners, respectively.

...
...
If Franken's numbers hold (or, more likely, decline from the debut day but then build over time), and if the other Air America dayparts hold a reasonable percentage of Franken's audience, the network could theoretically achieve a Mon-Sun 6A-12M share of, say, 25,000 listeners -- which would be the equivalent of about 13 million hours of TTSL per month.

That would make Air America one of the three largest webcasters -- and by far the largest of the terrestrial broadcasters on the web.

Of course, that is all dependent on the programming quality being sufficiently high to satisfy listener demands. -- KH
...
 
 
Headline: "Radioio closes VC deal; implies message about webcast value"
BY KURT HANSON and PAUL MALONEY
A new Internet radio investment deal announced today by webcaster Radioio.com spotlights an important fact: Internet radio has an audience that is many times that of satellite radio, despite the latter's higher level of public- and investor awareness.

At least one webcaster has managed to get this message across, as ioMedia Partners, LLC (owners of Radioio) has announced a partnership with BluVentures, LLC, to formed RadioIO.com, LLC.

BluVentures is described as "a broadcast, technology and entertainment company" based in Ft. Myers, Florida, with offices in New York City, owned and operated by Courtney Jones and Robert Brahms, founders of successful pay-for-performance search engine FindWhat.com, broadcaster Ken Christensen and Jason Hervey.

"I think it's something that's very validating for all of us -- that folks are taking a look at this medium, at this space, with some optimism about its potential to provide a return on investment," Radioio founder Michael Roe (pictured above) told RAIN this morning.

Roe told RAIN that while he's excited about the new deal, he remains "baffled" as to why Internet radio in general has not been able to get the message of its popularity across to investors -- and to attract their interest.

"One thing that continues to astonish me is that there are only 1.3 million people listening to satellite radio, and yet (satellite broadcasters) XM and Sirius are able to raise billions of dollars," Roe observed. "On the other hand, there are 51 million people listening to Internet radio, and yet Internet radio continues to struggle to raise the money it needs to grow into a thriving medium."

Several webcasters, including Radioio, have cumulative audiences significantly larger than those of XM or Sirius, Roe noted. "And yet they're perceived as being worth billions of dollars by the investment community," said Roe. "What does that make us worth? It certainly makes our properties valuable ones. "

"We're obviously bullish on the Internet, and in particular, the future of Internet broadcasting. We believe the Internet is the future of broadcasting," said Jones, Chairman & CEO of BluVentures.

Radioio valued similarly to broadcast property
with comparable audience size

Roe says he's pleased that his company was valued by the investors similarly to a broadcast property with a comparable audience size. According to bluVenture's press release, Radioio's 12 music channels "stream between six and eight million hours of unique listening sessions each month." A terrestrial radio station with an audience that size would be typically be valued in the high-seven-figure range.

"That shows that the investment community is starting to take Internet radio seriously," noted Roe. Exact terms of the deal have not been disclosed, except that Roe will retain a majority share of ownership in the venture.

Roe also pointed to recent developments in the industry that may sway investors to look at Internet radio in a more favorable light:

"There have been a lot of things recently that are signaling that the tide is turning — for example, the formation of Ronning-Lipset (see RAIN coverage here), the recent Nielsen//Netratings study showing that the media player has replaced the browser as the most-used application (here), the Arbitron study that estimated a 51 million-person audience for Net radio (reported in RAIN here) — there's a lot of really exciting things going on with Internet radio right now."

Note: Roe has agreed to be one of the panelists at the upcoming "RAIN Las Vegas Summit" on April 20th.
 

Headline: "WHFS PD Benjamin moves to AOL to program Alternative stations"
BY PAUL MALONEY
The AOL Radio@Network has hired radio vet Robert Benjamin as Program Manager for the service's Alternative Rock stations.

Benjamin has been called a "pioneer" of the Alternative rock radio format, having held the PD post at Infinity WHFS-FM/Washington, D.C. for twelve years, and building that station into one of the nation's leading modern rock outlets. Benjamin inaugurated the station's HFStival, one of the first major radio station sponsored annual music festivals, which helped begin an industry trend.

The move represents yet another established broadcast industry veteran bringing his talents and experience to the Internet radio industry.

AOL's is the most-listened-to Internet radio service rated by Arbitron's Internet Broadcast Ratings (and includes Radio@Netscape). During the week of March 15-21, AOL's channels combined for 5,613,277 hours of listening by 1,332,907 unique listeners. Several of AOL's individual stations are also among the most popular in the ratings.

Benjamin's stations will include 80s Alternative, 90s Alternative, Adult Alternative, Alternative Country, AlternativeMix, and Brit Pop. He'll report to the AOL Radio Director of Programming Ron Nenni.

The Alternative Rock Program Manager post was previously held by radio vet Cameo Carlson, who in January joined Apple iTunes as Alternative/Rock programmer.

 


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Upcoming conferences
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