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
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
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,
founder Michael Roe, and
MVYRadio president Jennifer Lane.
The "RAIN Las Vegas Summit" at the NAB will be held
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to see you there!
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
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
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.
BY KURT HANSON and PAUL MALONEY
A new Internet radio investment deal announced today by webcaster
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
"I think it's something that's very
validating for all of us -- that folks are taking a look
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
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
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),
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.
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
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.