Verge Radio Network (www.RadioChanged.com), has launched as a syndicator of content and services to radio stations from offices in Nashville, Kansas City and Little Rock. Steven Ludwig joins the company as President; Grant Merrill signs on as VP/Sales; and Dan Holiday joins as VP/Operations. A search is currently underway for a National Sales Manager.
Ludwig, who was just over a year ago CEO of Debut Broadcasting (which owns Impact Radio Networks), tells RBR-TVBR Verge offers its services for cash or barter. These include maximizing on-air presentation, online migration including with social media and the mobile phone environment, and preparing the station’s sales team for building revenue with the new tools.
The barter is done through a rep firm, with inventory loads varying on ratings and market size, of course. “In several situations we have something which is pretty unique. We’ve developed a mechanism to be able to barter in unrated markets with unrated stations. So some of our products will be available to barter in situations where I think a lot of syndicators don’t want to barter. That’s one of the unique things that we’re setting up.”
Programming content is on the way as well—some 24 items–that will mix in with the Verge revenue model. A lot of the initial content is what Ludwig calls “information elements.” They’ve signed a group of meteorologists out of Kansas City—The Storm Report Weather Service. They’ve also got a number of sports features coming, as well as “Saturday Outdoors,” a live hunting and fishing outdoor show already on 50 affiliates.
He says they’re focusing on content that’s already integrated and prepared for the online channels, FB, Twitter mobile platform. Verge offers up Smartphone apps with an exclusive “Social Track System” that seamlessly integrates social media with the content even during automated or syndicated air shifts.
Their mobile platform partnership is through iFan Media out of Salt Lake City.
RBR-TVBR observation: Interesting proposition: Bridge the gap on getting more traditional on-air content across all of these platforms without a lot of extra work at the station level. This may help a lot of stations that haven’t the staff or skill set to jump into this pond just yet. And when you are unrated and in small markets, there aren’t a lot of services out there that offer up this sort of turnkey model.