Internet radio expert Kurt Hanson, along with the team that launched one of the world’s leading online radio brands in AccuRadio.com, announced today that they are launching a new company to help broadcast radio stations extend their local radio brands online.
The new company will be called Slipstream Radio and will be based in Chicago. The company’s management team will include Hanson as CEO, Paul Maloney as VP/Programming, and Ralph Sledge as VP/Technology. Among the team’s accomplishments is winning the “People’s Voice” Webby Award for “Best Radio” in both 2006 and 2008, beating such competitors as the BBC, NPR Online, AOL Radio, Last.fm, and Pandora.
“This is a critical time for the radio industry,” Hanson said. “Broadcast radio needs to stay relevant and exciting even as consumers increasingly listen to their iPods, satellite radio, and Internet radio, and as the Internet becomes increasingly available via 3G, WiFi, and WiMAX, on both mobile devices and in car dashboards.
“One problem for terrestrial radio stations today is that as consumers move online for their radio listening, they are coming to expect more choice and more control than today’s terrestrial radio groups are giving them. While of course it’s good customer service for radio stations to offer their broadcast station content via streaming, listeners are now expecting more than just that. From an Internet-delivered radio station, they’re expecting a wide variety of choices and to be given the ability to personalize the streams to their tastes."
“The mission of Slipstream Radio,” Hanson said, “is to help broadcasters meet those new consumer expectations by allowing them to offer a product that’s specifically designed for Internet delivery – a multichannel, personalizable version of their local radio station brand, featuring the local station’s air personalities and branding and sponsored by the station’s own advertisers.”
Slipstream’s personalization features allow online listeners to pause songs, skip songs, eliminate selected artists from their mix, and even mix multiple genres together in a single customized stream.
Broadcasters will be able to pick and choose from the over 350 channels of music already developed by Slipstream’s team for AccuRadio or even craft their own customized channels, selecting titles from Slipstream’s 120,000+ song music library.
Hanson illustrated the Slipstream Radio concept with the following example: “Let’s say your local terrestrial station is called ‘Oldies 108 FM.’ Slipstream Radio will be able to build you a ten-channel version of ‘Oldies 108 Online,’ featuring channels devoted to the British Invasion, Motown, surf rock, folk rock, bubblegum, one-hit wonders, and so forth, with Oldies 108 jingles and sweepers from Oldies 108 air personalities between the records.
“Oldies 108’s sales staff will be able to sell an ‘entitlement sponsorship’ of the entire product to a single advertiser or will be able to sell each of the ten channels to different local advertisers,” he explained. Advertising availabilities will include banner ads, video gateways, radio spots with synchronized banner ads, 10-second sponsorship mentions, and more.
The Slipstream product will be available for a flat monthly cash fee (plus bandwidth and royalty costs) or for barter. Triton Digital will provide the Slipstream services to broadcasters and other content providers and work with affiliates to maximize both audience engagement and advertiser integration.
“Media companies today recognize the importance of a streaming strategy that goes beyond just repurposing their terrestrial brand,” said Triton Co-founder and COO Mike Agovino, “Triton continues our commitment to local radio station empowerment with Slipstream’s leading multi-channel streaming solution. Slipstream is an important piece within the Triton Platform helping us to fulfill our mission of providing local media with best of breed digital tools and content which are easily monetized.
Agovino continued, “Audience engagement, interactive content and revenue generation tools are critical to bridging the gap between traditional and new media.”