Leaders of the radio industry today announced the formation of an industry-wide and industry-owned Internet network that will revolutionize the radio industry’s relationship to the web.
Media industry leaders Bonneville International Corporation, Corus Entertainment (NYSE: CJR), EMMIS Communications (NASDAQ: EMMS), Entercom Communications (NYSE: ETM) and Jefferson Pilot (NYSE: JP) will present the ‘radio industry solution to the Internet’ on Thursday in conjunction with the National Association of Broadcasters annual convention in San Francisco.
The industry-owned Internet initiative – the Local Media Internet Venture (LMIV) – will provide the technology, content and marketing needed to make local station web sites compelling. The five founding members on board bring with them an aggregate audience of more than 37 million.
As an industry solution, the new company will be 100 percent owned by the media companies that invest in it. Every radio station that wants to participate in the network will have the opportunity to do so; there will not be any exclusivity based on market, format or size.
“From the very first time we met to explore this concept, we have been committed to producing a solution that served the interest of our entire industry, not merely selected members within the industry,” said Bruce Reese, President of Bonneville and the Vice-Chair of LMIV. “The model we are revealing today accomplishes that goal.”
EMMIS Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan, who will also serve as LMIV’s first Chairman, noted the unique significance of the formation of the new company. “This represents the first Internet solution designed for local media that serves the interest of the local broadcaster rather than that of a third party interested in building a success with our content and our advertising inventory,” Smulyan said. “And it also reflects an historic coming together that will benefit our industry in many ways for years to come.”
Jack Swarbrick, a partner in the law firm of Baker & Daniels, who has served as the lead consultant on the project for more than a year, has been named President & Chief Executive Officer of LMIV.
“In recent months several of the leaders in the Internet industry have declared their intention to focus their efforts on becoming more local,” Swarbrick said. “If that is the case, then they have a formidable new competitor. No one has better local resources upon which to build a compelling Internet site than radio does. We have established local brands, large and loyal audiences, relationships with advertisers, compelling content, and unique promotional ability. We intend to leverage all of those resources on our way to becoming a leader on the Internet.”