TAMPA, Fla. and CLEVELAND, Jan. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Listener reaction to Tampa radio station WSUN-FM 97X's recent switch to interactive crowdcasting technology has been overwhelming, generating thousands of downloads, Facebook likes and over 1.7 million song votes.
Before the switch, 97X was just one of 20 radio stations in the number 18 ranked Tampa-St. Petersburg radio market until Friday, Jan. 18. That's when the Cox Media Group alternative rock station turned over control of its music programming to its listeners – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – becoming the first rock station in the U.S. to let its listeners take total charge and fully decide every song that plays on the air in real time.
The technology supporting the new station format is provided by LDR (www.LDRinteractive.com), a Cleveland-based interactive broadcast technology company that pioneered crowdcasting technology in 2009. Since the company's launch, it has deployed its patent-pending, interactive programming systems on over 160 radio stations around the world. The 'LDR.Takeover' platform used by 97X allows listeners to vote on each song that plays on 97X throughout the day by voting on the station's website (www.97xonline.com) and through a new Apple and Android mobile app that LDR custom-developed for the station.
Initial data is showing a seismic amount of listener interaction and engagement in the first seven days since the changeover:
- Mobile app downloads – 17,300
- Mobile user sessions – 178,700
- Unique voters online – Over 300,000
- Number of Facebook votes ('likes' & 'dislikes') – 1.7 Million (4 votes per second in prime time)
- Third most Facebook 'likes' in Tampa radio
- Average number of 'Open Mic' song introduction requests – 1 every 3 minutes
"We've created the first 'social music experience' in the country and have given the keys to our airwaves over to our listeners," said Keith Lawless, Cox Media Group vice president and market manager. "Together with our technology partner, LDR, we are presenting a listener opportunity to interact with a radio station in a way never seen before in radio."
The new format allows listeners to choose music from an expanded playlist of more than 1,800 songs covering 30 years of rock music including deeper cuts from albums and artists not typically heard on 97X before. The station is leveraging social media and its mobile app to keep listeners connected to the station. The app also has an innovative 'Open Mic' feature allowing listeners to record and upload a song introduction. Listeners are notified by SMS, email and twitter alerts when their favorite songs are about to play, and share votes on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. 97X listeners can also earn social media 'badges' by interacting with the station.
What was the first song picked by listeners to play on the new 97X? It was "Best of You" by Foo Fighters. Since then, some of the most voted and played bands have been Muse, Fun, The Lumineers, Mumford and Sons and Imagine Dragons.
Listeners are passionate about the changes as demonstrated from numerous Facebook and Twitter posts:
"Commercial music radio NEEDS a major shake-up, and #new97x is doing something revolutionary in a top 20 market." – Dan Guarro, @DannyAJ4DG (Twitter)
"I was really, really bummed when I heard The Morning X is no longer, but I'm actually loving the new format!" – Alexis Chamberlain @aqchamberlain (Twitter)
"I love the changes. Brings radio into the 21st century. Best thing to happen to these old waves in a long time." – Joshua Moon (Facebook)
"The engagement levels and average time spent on 97Xonline.com as well as the 97X LDR mobile app are extremely encouraging," said Daniel Anstandig, president and CEO of LDR. "Since LDR launched, we've been fine-tuning our approach to developing crowdcasting technology that uniquely merges social media, mobile and web technologies and broadcast programming to drive broadcast ratings, revenue and web traffic."
In addition to the music voting features, the LDR platform also offers other interactive elements. It allows listeners to record their voice and send it directly to the station for broadcast, sign-up for instant SMS, email and twitter alerts when their voice or their favorite songs are about to play, and share votes on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Also, when they earn "badges," they can share their accomplishment on Facebook and Twitter.
About Cox Media Group
Cox Media Group is an integrated broadcasting, publishing, direct marketing and digital media company that includes the national advertising rep firms of Cox Reps. Additionally, CMG owns and operates Valpak, one of North America's leading direct marketing companies. With $1.7 billion in revenue, the company operations include 15 broadcast television stations and one local cable channel, 86 radio stations, eight daily newspapers and more than a dozen non-daily publications, and more than 100 digital services. CMG operates in more than 30 media markets and reaches approximately 52 million Americans weekly, including 30 million TV viewers, more than 4 million print and online newspaper readers, and 18 million radio listeners. For more information about Cox Media Group, please check us out online at www.coxmediagroup.com.
LDR is a global leader in innovative interactive broadcast technology. Its LDR.1 and LDR.Takeover platforms are on the air at over 160 radio stations, networks, and broadcast groups in the USA, Canada, Europe and Asia, reaching over 30 million listeners monthly. LDR empowers listeners to become real-time collaborators in on-air programming, automatically adjusting content based on audience input. LDR's new TopicPulse system provides valuable real-time information to newsrooms and content producers on what topics are getting local social buzz. More information is available on LDR at http://www.LDRinteractive.com.