Why Did CBS Radio Rotate To Radiate Media?


In April 2007, CBS Radio elected to partner with Total Traffic & Weather Network (TTWN) as its exclusive broadcast content partner for traffic reports at all of its radio stations.

A decade later, the soon-to-be-spun CBS Corp. division of AMs and FMs will let its contract with the iHeartMedia-owned provider lapse without renewal.

The new broadcast content traffic partner, effective April 1, 2017, is Radiate Media — TTWN’s chief rival born out of the former Traffic.com.

Why the change? Perhaps it has more to do with Radiate Media’s evolution since its 1998 beginnings than it has to do with CBS Radio.

In March, Radiate entered into an option agreement with Global Traffic Network (GTN) granting GTN an exclusive option agreement to buy substantially all of the assets of Radiate.

GTN is the leading supplier of traffic information to affiliated broadcasters in Australia, Brazil, Canada, and the U.K., and the agreement lifted Radiate’s competitive abilities to new heights — likely making it attractive to companies such as CBS Radio.

It also allows CBS Radio to do business with a company that it doesn’t directly compete with, as TTWN is an iHeart brand. While it is available to all radio stations, regardless of ownership, CBS Radio could be looking at its bottom line. With iHeart a direct competitor in markets such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago on the CHR front, Radiate and GTN allow outbound dollars to flow outbound in a neutral manner.

The forthcoming deal with Radiate Media allows CBS Radio to receive customized traffic data for its over-the-air radio stations across the U.S., in addition to the each station’s website.

Additionally, Radiate Media will sell sponsorships within traffic reports to national network advertisers while CBS Radio will continue to sell sponsorships to local and regional advertisers. This mirrors the TTWN arrangement, but allows a non-competitor on the AM and FM and digital front to reap the profits.

Ivan Shulman, President of Radiate Media, said, “Radiate has proven that an independent, non-radio group can and does provide an excellent alternative for our radio partners.”

Commenting on the new arrangement, CBS Radio COO Scott Herman said his team is excited to work with Radiate Media, “to deliver superior traffic reports to our local listeners who rely on our stations for timely updates and alerts. The new arrangement allows for Radiate to better serve national network advertisers, while giving CBS Radio maximum flexibility to deliver unique marketing opportunities to our local and multi-market partners.”

The highlight of Radiate Media’s offerings for AM and FM stations is “TruTraffic radio,” described as “a simple web interface for constructing radio traffic reports” that allows the creation of updated traffic reports in an instant.