Imagine Radio Launches With Ad-Backed Shows

Imagine Radio debuted its network of original radio stations delivering free, ad-backed content designed specifically for the Internet.

Imagine Radio combines the best of radio programming with the interactivity of the Internet for an entirely new listening experience, the company said.

The network offers a choice of more than 20 original radio stations, featuring 24-hour live news coverage from the Associated Press, four stations of talk show programming, and 16 genre-based music stations that range from smooth jazz to alternative rock to classical.

Users “tune in” to Imagine Radio with a specially created software “tuner,” which can be downloaded for free. It allows users to read artist and song information as well as customize their own song rotation within any given station.

Imagine Radio said its diversified business model is supported by advertising, as well as sponsorships and revenue-sharing agreements with online merchants. The network offers advertisers an opportunity to use synchronized audio and banner ads to reach their target audiences.

By leveraging the impact of an audio ad with the traditional banner advertisement displayed inside a window on the tuner, Imagine Radio advertisers can virtually double their branding and clickthrough potential, the company said. And online retailers can utilize this new model as a direct- response marketing opportunity in order to acquire new customers.

“Imagine Radio is about to change the way people experience radio,” said Chris Anderson, president and CEO of Brisbane, CA-based Imagine Media, the parent company. “We’ve morphed the best of traditional radio with the best of the Net to introduce a totally new medium.”

Imagine Media is the publisher of seven consumer publications covering video games, technology, and the Internet.

With the exception of news coverage from the Associated Press, all content is developed at Imagine Radio studios in the Silicon Valley under the direction of industry experts, the company said. These include experienced music directors, talk show veterans, music and technology journalists (including Imagine Media editors), and “imaging” directors, who develop the audio branding that gives each station its own personality.

The tuner is browser-independent and resides on the user’s desktop. Built using RealNetworks’ RealPlayer streaming technology, the tuner is optimized for both low-bandwidth Internet connections, such as 28.8 kbps, and faster connections, such as ISDN and above.

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