Indianapolis… Emmis Communications Corporation (NASDAQ: EMMS) today announced it is the first company in the nation to integrate the iTunes Music Store into its radio station Web sites. The integration of the iTunes Music Store will reflect the programming of each radio station, allowing listeners to shop from playlists of station artists as well as top picks from on-air talent and celebrity guests.
Emmis’ national rollout of the integrated storefronts begins today with Chicago alt-rocker WKQX-FM (www.Q101.com), and Indianapolis contemporary-hits station WNOU-FM (www.radionow931.com). The iTunes integration will roll out to all Emmis radio markets in the next month. The next stations scheduled to adopt the new feature are KROX-FM (101X) and KDHT-FM (Hot 93.3) in Austin, and KPNT-FM (The Point) in St. Louis.
“We approached Apple with the idea, and we developed the back-end technology to make this possible,” said Rey Mena, vice president of Emmis Interactive. “Many Web sites link to iTunes, but we’re the first to pull iTunes’ entire 2.5 million-song catalog into our sites, weaving station programming with the Apple platform.” Emmis will receive a portion of all iTunes sales made through its Web sites. Individual stations will promote the new feature through on-air spots and their listener clubs.
“This is another example of Emmis leading the way,” said Rick Cummings, president of Emmis Radio. “Radio has always been a promoter of music, but now our radio stations are also a point of purchase. This could take the industry in a new direction.”
Emmis successfully piloted the Music Store integration last month at two stations, New York’s WQHT-FM (Hot 97) and Los Angeles’s KPWR (Power 106).
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Emmis Communications is an Indianapolis based diversified media firm with radio broadcasting, television broadcasting and magazine publishing operations. Emmis owns 22 FM and 2 AM domestic radio stations serving the nation’s largest markets of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago as well as Phoenix, St. Louis, Austin, Indianapolis and Terre Haute, Ind. In addition, Emmis owns a radio network, international radio interests, two television stations, award winning regional and specialty magazines, and ancillary businesses in broadcast sales and publishing. Earlier this month, the company announced that it had agreed to sell Phoenix radio station KKFR-FM, subject to FCC and other regulatory approvals. In May 2005, Emmis announced its intent to seek strategic alternatives for its 16 television stations, and the Company has sold or announced signed definitive agreements to sell 14 of them.