Media Companies Look to Expand Podcasting Outside U.S.

Acquired by iHeartMedia, the podcast “Stuff You Should Know” is now on track for global expansion. The podcast, which has been downloaded more than a billion times in the last 11 years, tackles topics as diverse as artificial sweeteners, time zones and deepfakes. As part of the expansion, iHeartMedia will make “Stuff You Should Know” and five other podcasts available next year in French, German, Hindi, Portuguese and Spanish. Last year, the radio broadcaster bought StuffMedia, the studio that produces the podcast, for $55 million. A number of other media companies are also taking a global approach to podcasting. Continue reading Media Companies Look to Expand Podcasting Outside U.S.

Radio Company iHeartMedia Files for Bankruptcy Protection

The largest owner of radio stations in the U.S., iHeartMedia Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week to address $20 billion in debt. “The company said the agreement it ‍reached with holders of more than $10 billion of its outstanding debt would restructure its balance sheet by transferring 94 percent of the stock in the reorganized company to its lenders,” reports Reuters. The company has struggled with significant debt since its $17.9 billion leveraged buyout of Clear Channel Communications in 2008. Radio company Cumulus Media filed for Chapter 11 less than four months ago. Continue reading Radio Company iHeartMedia Files for Bankruptcy Protection

FCC Reverses Decades-Old Media Cross-Ownership Rules

As expected, the Republican-led FCC voted 3-2 along party lines yesterday to reverse the media cross-ownership ban. Now, an individual company will be permitted to own TV and radio stations and a newspaper in the same town. Changes to the rules, which were originally created to prevent individual entities from holding an unwanted amount of power over local news and information, also makes it possible to increase the number of TV stations that a single company can own in a given market. The deregulation was largely supported by broadband, cable and media companies, while opposed by consumer advocates concerned about the future of local news and diversity of expression. Continue reading FCC Reverses Decades-Old Media Cross-Ownership Rules

Scripps Buys Popular Stitcher Podcast Service for $4.5 Million

Podcast platform Stitcher, purchased by streaming music service Deezer in 2014, has now been acquired by the E.W. Scripps Company for $4.5 million. Scripps owns 34 radio stations in eight markets, while Stitcher provides streaming for more than 65,000 podcasts. “Stitcher will operate as part of Midroll Media, which Scripps purchased about a year ago,” reports Radio Ink. Stitcher employees joining Midroll will operate out of San Francisco. Stitcher’s GM and VP of product Todd Pringle will lead product development. Continue reading Scripps Buys Popular Stitcher Podcast Service for $4.5 Million

Discover Weekly: Spotify Debuts Personalized Music Playlists

Spotify’s new feature, Discover Weekly, is a two-hour personalized music selection based on users’ listening habits, delivered every Monday morning. It aims to introduce new music and artists to subscribers based on newly created case profiles. The playlists are much like recommended mixtapes generated by algorithms that evolve over time, relative to user data. The new feature is an attempt by Spotify to maintain its subscriber base as it faces growing competition from rival services such as Rdio, Deezer, Apple Music and others. Continue reading Discover Weekly: Spotify Debuts Personalized Music Playlists

Studies Show Listeners Still Turn to Radio for Music Discovery

Despite the rise of online streaming music services, the “local nature” of radio makes it the most popular platform for music discovery. According to Nielsen, some 243 million people still tune in to radio each week and 51 percent of listeners use radio to discover new music. That’s more than the number of people that find new music on services like YouTube or Spotify, but many music consumers use a combination of both traditional radio and online services to listen to their favorite tunes. Continue reading Studies Show Listeners Still Turn to Radio for Music Discovery

Google Play Adds Songza Playlists for its Music Subscribers

Subscribers to Google Play Music All Access will now be able to pick from activity-based Internet radio stations powered by Songza. Songza curates Internet radio offerings based on time of day and activities. Google acquired Songza back in July, but this is the first time it has integrated Songza’s offerings. The tech giant is playing catch-up in the Internet radio business to iHeartRadio, Slacker, Beats Music and Spotify, which already offer activity-based music playlists. Continue reading Google Play Adds Songza Playlists for its Music Subscribers

Clear Channel Emphasizes Digital with iHeartMedia Rebranding

Maker of the popular iHeartRadio app, Clear Channel Communications, will rename itself iHeartMedia as it moves further towards digital media following the success of its radio streaming efforts. The iHeartRadio Network, which includes the websites of Clear Channel’s broadcast stations like KIIS in Los Angeles, attracts 97 million visitors per month. The company also sponsors the iHeartRadio Music Festival featuring some of the biggest Top 40 artists in the nation. Continue reading Clear Channel Emphasizes Digital with iHeartMedia Rebranding