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The Business of Radio



by Jeff McKay & Tom Gordon


There’s a battle now in the digital domain as Spotify has now topped 40% of the average active sessions in the latest Triton online audio statistics – up from 33% from a year ago, and is rapidly closing in on Pandora whose online share has dropped to 43%.  Spotify made news two weeks ago when they went public and joined Pandora on the New York Stock Exchange.   In a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, it was revealed Pandora’s new CEO Roger Lynch received $4.4 million in 2017, while departing CEO & co-founder Tim Westergren earned $7.4 million, so the combined CEO’s received $11.9 million in compensation.   The Triton survey for January showed Detroit & Phoenix showed the biggest digital listening growth, while Miami & Philadelphia saw the largest listener decreases.  Radio companies will be watching the FCC closely in the coming months as there’s a strong belief they may want to lax ownership rules even further, but the timing is the issue as both iHeart & Cumulus, the top two current radio station owners are working their way through bankruptcy courts.  The FCC has also been busy in New Jersey where they went after pirates operating an unlicensed 90.5 in Newark and another illegally using 99.3 in nearby Irvington.  Both pirates received Notices of Unlicensed Operation as well as Cease & Desist orders.

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