"They haven't really asked me," explains Saga Communications CEO Ed Christian when asked why Saga's streams aren't available on Clear Channel's iHeartRadio.
He does take issue with the presentation of stations on iHeartRadio, though. For example, in using iHeartRadio Christian found "300 to 400 choices in country," reports Radio-Info. "I’m just kind of overwhelmed; I don’t know where to look" (a sentiment echoed in a recent New York Times piece on iHeartRadio and rival aggregator TuneIn, in RAIN here). That said, if iHeartRadio was interested in working with Saga, "I'd have to look at the economics of it. We're small in terms of what they're looking at."
Clear Channel's iHeartRadio platform has established itself as the clear leader among broadcaster-owned digital platforms (and truly in the same league with TuneIn and Pandora), far outpacing the performance of competitors like CBS Radio's Radio.com. IHeartRadio's leader position is so strong that companies that would normally consider Clear Channel a competitive rival -- groups like Cox, Emmis, Greater Media, Salem, and others -- have entered partnerships to have their streams included in the iHeartRadio platform. Obviously, the decision to enter a content deal that drives audience to a digital platform owned by a competitor can give one pause. Especially if the deal prohibits a broadcaster from making its streams available in other directories.
"According to several broadcasters, Clear Channel has been aggressive in pushing for exclusivity," The Times wrote, "offering in exchange greater promotion and visibility within the app. But most broadcasters have resisted. Aside from its first few big deals, none...have been exclusive. One reason...was uneasiness on the part of broadcasters about joining a platform run by the biggest player in the market."
But you can apparently count Cumulus as a satisfied iHeartRadio partner. Chairman/CEO Lew Dickey says, "We've already seen a meaningful increase in streaming" (since his company's streams were added to the platform in December). As Tom Taylor in Radio-Info reports, Dickey thinks streaming revenue could eventually contribute 5% to his company's bottom line.
Meanwhile, Entercom, like Saga, is not streaming on the Clear Channel-owned digital platform. "Sharing our content is a good thing, if the business arrangement makes sense," said Entercom CEO David Field told The New York Times (RAIN coverage here).