Radio Giant Clear Channel launches online radio station after ad revenues fell in the real market

By Deborah Yao, Gaea News Network
Monday, June 8, 2009

clear-channel-logoRadio giant Clear Channel amps up digital strategy

PHILADELPHIA — Clear Channel Communications Inc., the nation’s largest owner of radio stations, is ramping up its strategy to stream radio to mobile phones, computers and other devices. On Monday, Clear Channel was officially launching an online media player that consolidates access to its roughly 850 radio stations at The player also serves as a streamlined showcase for advertisers — including full-page ads with interactive “widgets” that can be embedded in blogs.

Clear Channel already has an IHeartRadio mobile app, which once was the top application downloaded for the BlackBerry and now is among the top 10.

As traditional radio advertising revenue falls, Clear Channel hopes to offset the slide with Internet and mobile ads. Clear Channel charges traditional radio advertisers extra to reach an Internet and mobile crowd — and hopes to attract advertisers who have never bought radio ads.

“We’re constantly investing to stay in the cutting edge to grow our audience base,” said Evan Harrison, president of Clear Channel’s digital division.

But Moody’s analyst Neil Begley said Internet ads will be hard-pressed to replace radio ads: “There is a limitless inventory out there and the rates are pretty low.”

The digital properties of San Antonio-based Clear Channel account for about 5 percent of overall revenue, which it estimated at $3.5 billion for 2009. Clear Channel went private after a $17.9 billion buyout last year by Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners, which also assumed $5.9 billion in debt.

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