Monday, August 11, 2014

Chicago Radio: Pandora Seeks Local Ad Revenue

Advertising on Pandora example
Internet radio giant Pandora has more listeners in Chicago than most local radio stations, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Gabe Tartaglia
Veteran radio executive Gabe Tartaglia is working hard to make sure the fast-growing streaming music service gets its fair share of local radio advertising revenue, a sales pitch that seems to be gaining traction.

Chicago-based Tartaglia, 42, serves as vice president of sales for Pandora's central region, overseeing 13 markets from the company's North Michigan Avenue offices. The 2-year-old office includes 20 salespeople beating the streets to compete with Chicago's AM and FM stations, a market projected to generate nearly $478 million in over-the-air revenue this year, according to BIA/Kelsey.

Pandora had total revenue of nearly $638 million last year, with 82 percent from advertising. The balance came from a small subscription base, which receives the service commercial-free. The company lost $41 million last year, due in part to a higher royalty rate it pays compared with traditional radio stations, executives said.

Pandora has 1.7 million active monthly listeners in Chicago, which would rank it near the top of local radio stations. While Tartaglia would not disclose Chicago ad revenue, he said it is up 50 percent year over year.

A number of local advertisers have bought into Pandora as an alternative to traditional radio, including Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana Honda Dealers, Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, and Village Cycle Center in Chicago.

Before joining Pandora in 2011, Tartaglia spent 17 years with CBS Radio, most recently as general sales manager for WUSN 99.5 FM and WCFS 105.9 FM.

The Tribune recently sat down with Tartaglia for an interview.

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