CBS Radio teams with AOL


Calling it a combination of “two of the largest online radio networks,” the deal will have CBS Radio integrate AOL’s streaming channels with its own and make them all available for free to listeners. Ronning Lipset Radio will expand from repping AOL Radio’s streaming ad inventory to the CBS Radio online radio properties as well.

“CBS Radio continues to invest in high-growth areas including internet streaming. We have been very clear about our goals in this area and teaming with AOL is a tremendous step forward in that regard,” said CBS Radio President and CEO Dan Mason.

For AOL, adding more than 150 high-profile CBS Radio station streams and custom channels to its own selection of more than 200 online streams increases the selection for web listeners. Also, the two partners are now working on new channels to be introduced. A new custom player is under development, as well as complete support for Macintosh computer users, not just Microsoft Windows.

The joint announcement said the new player will allow audiences to toggle between stations; view song titles, album information and link to websites featuring the current artist being streamed; access favorite stations via presets, rate and share songs with family, friends, and coworkers; purchase individual songs, albums and concert tickets; and link to a host of additional web content, including photos, videos, promotions, contests, news headlines, sports scores, trivia, and concert information, among other topics.

“Most radio groups are beginning to have an Internet presence, but this is the first time that a traditional radio group is taking it to the next level, not just re-streaming,” said Eric Ronning, Co-Managing Partner of Ronning Lipset Radio.

The combination of the online operations of AOL, which Ronning Lipset has repped since 2004, and CBS Radio creates a weekly cume of 3.5-4.0 million according to the other Co-Managing Partner, Andy Lipset. Their company will be handling national sales across the AOL-CBS Radio online platform, while the CBS Radio stations will continue to handle local online sales.  

RBR/TVBR observation: Sounds like a win-win for AOL and CBS Radio. Does anyone lose out? That would be XM Satellite Radio, whose music channels will come off of AOL Radio as of May 1st.

"XM’s presence on AOL Radio was a valuable way to introduce consumers to our service free of charge, said Vernon Irvin, XM’s Exec. VP and Chief Marketing Officer. XM announced a reduced subscription offer for web-listeners to receive its service as it cuts ties with AOL, which it noted is continuing its “transition to an advertising supported business model.”

So, Internet listeners have a couple of new choices. The can listen to XM’s 80+ channels of commercial-free music channels, plus others that do carry advertising, for 2.99 a month, bumping up to 7.99 after the six-month introductory offer. Or, they can listen to more than 350 ad-supported channels from AOL and CBS Radio covering a broad swath of music choices, plus local personalities, news and sports for free.