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Five Questions: Tim Clarke

Cox Media Group's senior director of digital audience gets everyone on the same streaming page

Cox Media Group��s radio stations recently moved to a corporate-wide streaming platform in conjunction with streaming service provider StreamGuys. The radio division’s Senior Director of Digital Audience Tim Clarke discusses how this move came about and what it entailed.

Radio World: What were major considerations approaching this decision?
Tim Clarke: First and foremost, our listeners expect our brands to be easily available on all platforms and form factors. We need to make sure they are able to engage with us whenever and wherever they want. The mobile disruption, as well as OTT, have given radio the opportunity for more occasions throughout the user’s day, and we’re taking full advantage of that. Our advertisers also need more highly targeted ways to reach our collective consumer. To enable this, we needed a streaming infrastructure that allowed for agility, flexibility and rapid growth.

RW: What is the point of streaming? Does it produce revenue? Help marketing?
Clarke: Boundary-less listening is a must. We have to be accessible and ubiquitous to our listeners. More than ever, radio transcends the “FM band” — and streaming allows us to achieve that.

RW: Why wasn’t this done in-house?
Clarke: Our “true north” is great content and great solutions for advertisers. We found an expert in streaming technology and distribution in StreamGuys. By relying on their partnership in this area, we can focus on continuing to run the absolute best content and sales organizations.

RW: Were individual stations doing their own streaming before? How has this now changed from the point of view of Cox and its individual stations?
Clarke: Our Cox Media Group radio stations have been streaming for quite some time, but it’s not a “hobby” anymore. It’s a major key. … From an engineering/technical perspective, we make the solution as turnkey for the markets as possible so that, again, they can focus on the product and what’s coming out of the speakers.

RW: What had to be done in a station’s physical plant to get it ready for streaming and what are the regular (daily/weekly/monthly) maintenance/operation considerations?
Clarke: Our brand managers and local technical staff are fully engaged in quality assurance when it comes to our streaming products. Most importantly, it’s part of our culture to monitor and use these platforms daily to ensure our listeners are having a great experience.

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