(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) —
Clear Channel Radio intends to create the most compelling online entertainment experience for those visiting music sites. The initiative will complement existing Internet radio broadcasts from the company's local stations. Leading the effort will be Evan Harrison, formerly vice president and general manager of AOL Music and the AOL Radio Network.
"The number of people listening to radio online has grown fivefold over the past five years and it's time to step up our programming here," said John Hogan, CEO of Clear Channel Radio. "Evan has played a central role in creating the online music experience and, combined with the power of our music formats including KISS, Power, Lite and Z100, we've got the makings of a differentiated experience that listeners can't get elsewhere."
Clear Channel Radio is currently a top-tier online radio broadcaster, with nearly 200 local stations streaming broadcasts from station-specific Web sites. At the heart of the new initiative is a broad variety of format-specific, custom and interactive programming aimed at what Harrison calls local stations' "devout listenership and fans on the local level."
Among the exclusive content from which listeners may choose: in-studio performances, custom music videos, and artist interviews.
"The Internet offers a music experience on fans' terms — what they want, when they want it — a natural community extension of the current radio experience," said Harrison. "Unlike any other medium, radio still drives the most passionate reaction from listeners. Clear Channel has established brands that are loved on a local level, and they will be our front door for the online experience."
An Internet content innovator, Harrison expanded relationships with hundreds of artists and labels during his tenure at AOL Music and built a vast audience of devoted online music fans via the development of innovating programming initiatives. He led the enhancement of the AOL Radio Network's music, news, sports and talk selections, and served as executive director of Music Industry Relations for the group. Prior to joining AOL in July of 2001, he worked for BMG Entertainment in distribution and marketing roles, and helped launch its Click2Music.com site. –Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner