Spurred by the reality that its radio stations may be
missing out on the brand-building power of the Internet, Cox
Interactive Media (CIMedia) has created a joint venture with MP3.com Inc., a current darling on Wall
Street and the purveyor of audio-compression technology that lets consumers download
The offshoot of CIMedia's recent $45 million investment in
San Diego-based MP3.com, mp3radio.com, will build a cluster of music portals on the
Internet in a co-branded effort with local radio stations for seven radio formats.
The portals will not only offer consumers MP3 music
downloads, but they will also serve up e-commerce and other interactive content, helping
affiliated radio stations to increase their traffic and reach.
The formats are alternative, contemporary hit radio,
country, hot adult contemporary, rock, urban and urban adult contemporary. The sites will
launch simultaneously beginning in October, with 60 Cox Radio Inc. stations in 12 markets
representing mp3radio.com's first affiliates.
"As a company that has a significant presence in
radio, we at Cox believe this venture is a call to arms to the radio industry before it's
too late to act," said Peter Winter, president of Atlanta-based CIMedia, a sister
company to MSO Cox Communications Inc. "Radio-station Web sites aren't well
represented in the Media Metrix [Inc.] top 100. It's getting late early for the radio
Winter added, "We also have this big, fat broadband
pipe via Cox cable to exploit for this venture."
Gregg Lindahl, who was named president and chief operating
officer, will run mp3radio.com. Lindahl previously ran Eagle Research, a Cox
The new unit will be located in Atlanta, with a head count
of 50 employees expected by the end of the year.