Clear Channel Unveils National Programming Plan
April 15, 2009 at 11:01 AM (PT)
Two major programming announcements are coming out of the CLEAR CHANNEL Management Meetings in DALLAS, as the company has unveiled what it calls "a multi-point plan to raise the bar for radio programming across all dayparts and platforms, including online and mobile." The plan includes the expected introduction of national and regionally available programming in a program called "Premium Choice" that the company says makes proven programming and popular on-air talent available more broadly to local PDs in all markets for all dayparts.
Our programming objective is to increase audience size and engagement across all day parts and all platforms.
The second initiative is a program to offer local community focus and support (see "Clear Channel Local Plan Features PSAs, Partnerships", in a separate story, below). Take a look at a visual Power Point summary of both initiatives, when you click here.
CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO Pres./CEO JOHN HOGAN said, "Our programming objective is to increase audience size and engagement across all dayparts and all platforms. At the same time, we face a particularly difficult economy that makes it extremely challenging for some local stations to invest in developing the highest-quality programming and talent. So despite the difficult economy, we see enormous long-term opportunity in investing in things that immediately improve the competitive situation of our stations."
Premium Choice Programming
The long-rumored rollout of regional and nationally available programming appears to be taking the form of what CLEAR CHANNEL is calling "Premium Choice" Programming. According to CLEAR CHANNEL, programmers will have "total choice and flexibility in choosing the Premium Choice programming elements. They can elect large portions, single pieces, or none of the offered programming."
"These improvements have been part of the company's long-term strategy to strengthen its competitive position," added HOGAN. "We're accelerating these pieces because of the undeniable competitive opportunity presented by this market."
Among the Premium Choice offerings are RYAN SEACREST and STEVE HARVEY, based on the evaluation of new PPM-based audience-measurement reports and data produced by CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO's proprietary talent performance tool.
New Personality And Music Channels
Also, CLEAR CHANNEL says that "new channels" for KIDD KRADDICK and LEX & TERRY are on tap, joining other focused offerings like RYAN SEACREST, ELVIS DURAN and JOHNJAY AND RICH.
In the genre category expect new offerings such as Country Road and Soft Rock, joining existing channels including erockster, Pride, Smooth Jazz, Slow Jamz, and others.
The new programming will be available directly to audiences during a testing phase via three platforms: CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO's local-station websites, the iHEARTRADIO mobile broadcast application for iPHONE and BLACKBERRY, and the company's HD2 multicasts.
New Emphasis On Local/Unsigned Music Artists
Select AM and FM stations will add to existing new-music shows in Urban, Country and Rock, and some stations will also develop customized shows. The company also plans to expand CCR's NEW! program for new, local and unsigned artists available to its mobile broadcasting application, iHEARTRADIO. More than 15,000 new, local and unsigned artists have been promoted to millions of online and on-demand listeners through the program. NEW! is currently available on hundreds of local-station websites, and the company asserts that over 15,000 new, local and unsigned artists have been promoted this way.
CCR Touts iHeartRadio Success
According to CCR, "Engagement among users with the iPHONE/iPOD TOUCH is dramatically better than with most AppStore applications. Weekly unique users continue are up by some 43% and the application saw more than one million downloads in just 20 weeks. And, its BLACKBERRY APP WORLD version rose to the #2 position among all BLACKBERRY applications, achieving the #1 position among media apps of any kind with more 250,000 downloads in less than a month."
In addition, the iHEARTRADIO platform will expand its traffic-on-demand reports to 10 markets.
The Human Equation
While these announcements don't necessarily signal the feared "next wave of layoffs," HOGAN did say, "This year is a level-setting year in which we're taking responsibility for the health and success of our company. We will continue to actively evaluate economic and market conditions and our competitive position. We'll also continue to make adjustments throughout the year so we are best poised to take advantage of the upturn as soon as it occurs."