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More Listeners To Decide What Songs Radio Stations Will Play.

March 17, 2011

It's very trendy, these days, to be involved in an Internet company that allows listeners to pick and choose the songs they like to hear. Not only are we reading all about these start-up web companies, we're hearing more and more people inside our industry talking about "personalizing radio". It's the all request hour run amuck. Sort of. An announcement from yesterday will have a traditional radio sales company and an Internet radio company working together to try to make this concept a true business model.

Westwood One and Jelli ( are teaming up for an interesting little deal. Westwood will represent all on-air advertising sales for all local and nationally syndicated Jelli radio programming. Commercial air time within Jelli programming will be available to advertisers through both the Westwood One Network and Metro Traffic divisions. When you run through the list of personalized players like Pandora, Slacker, Jelli, etc. none have really proven they can sustain profitability over time. It still may be too early for that, however, at some point money has to be made. Getting Westwood to sell ads could be a great way for Jelli to move in that direction.

Jelli CEO Michael Dougherty, who used to work for Microsoft, says “this partnership marks an important milestone for our company and for social radio as a whole. Working together, we will be able to connect more advertisers and provide more opportunities for advertisers to actively engage with listeners.” Jelli's website streams personalized music to registered users and provides a home for radio listeners to vote for songs. Where Dougherty hopes to profit is through traditional commercial on-air advertising. Jelli's all-request radio format is given to stations for free, in exchange for two minutes of commercial airtime each day that Jelli gets to sell.

Jelli claims it "fuses traditional radio with a social media experience, putting listeners in control of what goes on the air." Listeners can pick songs from the web or their mobile device. They can vote for the artists and songs they want to hear, creating their own playlists. Local and nationally syndicated Jelli shows air on radio stations from coast to coast, including those in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and San Francisco.

(3/17/2011 9:57:40 AM)
Still is a broadcasting licence more worth than a web radio licence. Even a small local broadcasting licence or to sell a radiostation is more worth than a "for sale" webb radio. more than 100.000 radio sources on the webb, but a few listners on each station only.
BR Roy from Sweden

- Roy Sandgren
(3/17/2011 9:22:31 AM)
What's most ironic about all of this (LDR, which is very cool) is: if radio's making such a huge deal about being "listener driven", what HAS it been up to this point?

If the answer is that some have been radio driven vs. listener driven all this time (and, are suddenly seeing the light), they may already be too late.

- JJ Duling
(3/17/2011 8:04:45 AM)

This is just another gimmick.

Truth is, listener request radio is a niche program format that's only good for a Saturday afternoon.

This whole idea of playing music, music, music is not radio. It's just another form of jukebox.

Radio is all about personality and the sooner radio station owners realized where their gold is, the better for the entire industry.


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