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Jelli, CBS Unveil User-Controlled Radio

Startup firm says its service combines real-time Web and ‘crowdsourcing’ to allow users to determine station air content

A company called Jelli is promoting what founders say is the first Web service to enable 100% user-controlled radio. And it has unveiled a social music offering that allows users to take over a radio station with their browsers.

It launched online and also on CBS Radio-owned KITS(FM), San Francisco, “Live 105.” Founders say the Jelli platform will work with analog AM and FM as well as HD Radio broadcasts. California-based Jelli was started this year by a team with technology experience for Amazon and Microsoft.

The Jelli community chooses in real time what should play next, not just over an Internet stream, but also on the actual airwaves, according to the companies.

Together, users create the playlist with real-time voting and other features, interact and discuss what they are hearing with the rest of the community, and rate what’s currently playing. What plays next is determined by users seconds before it plays.

“Over 234 million people tune in to the radio every week in the United States. We want to change the entire concept of what ‘traditional radio’ can be, via real-time Web services,” stated Jelli CTO and co-founder Jateen Parekh. “Jelli helps traditional broadcasters convert active listeners into active Web users, drive ratings and revenue, and access reporting about what their audience cares about.”

The “Jelli” show on KITS will allow Web users to take over real-time control of the programming of a traditional radio broadcast every Sunday night from 10 p.m. to midnight. KITS SVP and CBS Radio Market Manager for San Francisco Doug Harvill stated in the announcement, “Jelli provides the back-channel for the radio broadcast, enabling Live 105 to interact in new ways with our audience on a real-time basis.”