Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 9:00am
Clear Channel has redesigned its web radio platform iHeartRadio as it adds hundreds of new station streams from Greater Media and (soon) Cumulus. The redesign aims to help users start listening to their station streams faster and make iHeartRadio's offerings clearer. (Find RAIN's coverage of iHeartRadio's redesign announcement last week here).
For example, the previous site's five navigation options have been simplified into just "Find" and "Create." Indeed, the site as a whole seems to divide itself into those two clear categories. The former refers to the service's AM/FM streams, with "Top Stations Near You," "Featured Stations" and the option to browse by genre or search for stations. "Create" of course refers to iHeartRadio's artist- and song-based Custom Radio stations. Clear Channel says the AM/FM streams make up the majority of listening on iHeartRadio.
The new iHeartRadio homepage also features a selection of the user's previously-listened-to stations, helping move the listener to his or her favorite stations as quickly as possible. The player has been redesigned to be more compact, while the "Discovery Tuner" now lists a sampling of the artists the user will hear with each setting ("Familiar," "mixed" and "less familiar").
The site also now includes streams from Greater Media's 22 stations, with an addition 570 stations from Cumulus Media to be added "in a series of batches" soon, Inside Radio reports. Greater Media announced it would add its streams to iHeartRadio in January (RAIN coverage here), while Cumulus announced the same in December (more here).
Clear Channel says iHeartRadio should display station streams to users "based on their Arbitron cume rank, regardless of station ownership," writes Inside Radio. "That means a user accessing the digital radio platform from Philadelphia will see Greater Media’s classic rock WMGK (102.9) and active rock WMMR (93.3) displayed under the 'Stations Near Philadelphia' banner, alongside Clear Channel O&Os like CHR 'Q102' WIOQ and alternative 'Radio 104.5' WRFF." iHeartRadio also includes station streams from Univision, EMF, various college stations and, of course, Clear Channel.
Clear Channel may be hoping to add streams from other broadcast groups as well. "We're certainly open to other discussions with other partners," said Clear Channel president of Digital Brian Lakamp. Inside Radio reports that Clear Channel may have even "softened" on its requirement that partners offer their streams exclusively via iHeartRadio. Lakamp says exclusivity is "not a requirement."
That requirement worried some broadcasters, while analysts pondered if such a deal would be damaging to the partner (RAIN coverage here and here). "Content creators should work with every distribution platform they can to give listeners access in as many ways as they want it," wrote Jennifer Lane in Audio4Cast.
You can try the new iHeartRadio design for yourself here and subscribe to Inside Radio here.