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Pandora Explains Why It’s in the Twin Cities

After selling ads from Chicago, the Internet audio service branches out to Minneapolis-St. Paul to compete against local radio

Pandora has been building up its local sales staffs, even drawing personnel from traditional radio, we’ve reported.

As of the first quarter, the company had 883 employees. Out of those, 248 employees are sales reps. Seventy-two of those sales reps are focused on local ad sales, said CFO Mike Herring at the time.

The Internet audio company has established a sales office in Minneapolis comprised of seven people. The company has actually been doing business in the region from its Chicago office for some three years with retailers like Target and Best Buy and now has started to place local sellers in the market, Pandora Regional VP Gabe Tartaglia tells the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal.

Pandora is now in 29 of the top 40 media markets. “What we’ve been able to do is have our local sellers go in and compete against some of the larger local radio and television stations for business with bread-and-butter local advertisers that you would expect — auto dealers, health care services, education, retail and that kind of thing,” according to Tartaglia.

Like traditional radio, Pandora’s largest ad category in the Twin Cities is automotive.

Both in the newspaper account and in an earnings calls with analysts, Pandora touted the ability to target advertising because its users tell the company their age, gender and ZIP code when they register for the Internet audio service.

Tartaglia believes that’s different than broadcast radio, wherein an ad airs in an entire market.