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Clear Channel Plays Up ‘Premium Choice’

Says local PDs will be able to pull from the company's strongest assets more readily

Lots of attention in management circles this week for Clear Channel’s string of announcements about content strategy.

It put forth a plan that includes new programming that can be heard on its online and mobile platforms, even as Clear Channel aims to make its best content available more broadly to its local PDs.

Radio President/CEO John Hogan also called it an attempt to overcome challenges facing some local stations in this economy. The big radio company made a point of noting that some 266 U.S. radio stations have gone silent since the fourth quarter of 2007 (a topic Radio World explored recently).

Hogan said the new system lets the company reward local talent for “extraordinary success” and that this will help build the careers of lesser known but outperforming talent.

The plan involves an offering of “Premium Choice” content to local program directors. Local PDs, the company said, can choose large portions, single pieces or none of the offered programming.

The company said it has analyzed its most effective content across music genres and talent. It used PPM data as well as its own talent performance analysis, and credited its system with helping “On Air With Ryan Seacrest” increase share in San Francisco and Denver, and Steve Harvey in his 10 markets.

The broadcaster also is expanding its programming for online and on-demand broadcasting platforms. Programming will be available to audiences at first on station Web sites, the iheartradio mobile application for iPhone and BlackBerry and HD2 multicasts. New channels will focus on specific music genres or on-air personalities. It soon will launch formats called Country Road and Soft Rock as well as channels devoted to Kidd Kraddick and Lex & Terry.

And Clear Channel said it is increasing its efforts to showcase new, local and unsigned artists. It said some stations will add to new-music shows or develop customized shows. It also is expanding its iheartradio program called New!

This week, it said its BlackBerry App World version was second position among all BlackBerry applications and first among media apps. Clear Channel said the BlackBerry version of iheartradio was downloaded a quarter of a million times in less than a month.