Clear Channel Communications is likely to be acquired in a massive private equity deal, though that means little to most terrestrial radio listeners.
Regardless of acquisition approvals and per-share valuations, stations are still focusing on day-to-day elements like song selection, deejay personalities, and contest giveaways. Yet static playlisting, extended advertising breaks, and excessive talk is wearing a thin among conventional audiences, especially given friendlier options from internet and satellite-based providers. That has spurred a number of programming changes and initiatives at giants like Clear Channel Radio, including moves designed to broaden levels of audience interactivity. Just recently, the radio conglomerate widened a pilot program involving a range of SMS-based concepts, including text-based song requests and dedications. Other aspects of the initiative include mobile-based alerts of upcoming songs, and the ability to view playlists on mobile devices.
The broadened group of participants includes a number of leading stations in New York. Broadcasters like WHTZ-FM Z100 (Contemporary Hits Radio), WAXQ-FM Q104.3 (Classic Rock), WKTU-FM 103.5 (Rhythmic Adult Contemporary), WWPR-FM Power 105.1 (Urban) and WLTW-FM 106.7 (Adult Contemporary) are now spinning the latest concept. That expands an initial test involving Z100, a push that included mobile streams, podcast interviews, and various SMS-based components. The initial experiment required a $2.99 monthly fee, though the refreshed initiative is being offered free-of-charge. Strategically, that broadens buy-in among listeners, and increases stickiness along the way. “By making these applications available for free via any cellular phone carrier, Clear Channel Radio is monumentally expanding access to its growing mobile content portfolio,” said John Hogan, chief executive of Clear Channel Radio. “Each application allows users to have an individualized, on-demand experience, which will strengthen listeners’ connection with their favorite radio stations.”