Premiere Networks

At a Glance

  • Interviews take fans backstage
  • DJs build loyalty with listeners
  • Content streams to station sites and apps

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Premiere Networks Brings the CMA Awards Home to Every Fan

By the entertainment industry's most decisive measure of success – popularity – Premiere Networks (a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications) is the largest syndication company in the United States. To stay on top, Premiere has been quick to acknowledge that radio today is nothing like it once was.

"The world has changed," observes Julie Talbott, president at Premiere Networks, which has responded to the new reality of always-on Internet and mobile media without missing a beat. "Our consumers, listeners, and viewers want content any way that they can get it – on their websites and their mobiles," says Talbott, whose company provides programming more than 5,000 radio stations. Whether consumers want audio, video, or whatever's next, she says, "Premiere is in the content business."

Few listeners know this better than Premiere's country music fans. Since 2010, DJs attending the annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards in Nashville have used high-definition video collaboration systems from Polycom to capture thousands of live interviews with country artists, and then stream them to Premiere affiliate stations from coast to coast. Within minutes after interviews end, fans can view them on station websites and mobile apps.

The point, says Talbott, is to give listeners the sense of being there. "We really make sure that somebody who's listening in Albuquerque feels like they're here backstage with us in Nashville. And Polycom has really helped us achieve that."

Building Loyalty while Defying Distance

For Clay Moden, a morning DJ at WYRK in Buffalo, N.Y., the video interviews build loyalty with increasingly technology-savvy – and increasingly distracted – listeners. And fans get a unique experience that audio alone can't deliver: a chance to see their favorite DJs they interacting with their favorite most beloved country artists. "It's a chance to feel like you’re actually at the CMA Awards," he says, noting that the experience defies distance not just for him, but for millions of country music fans and even country artists. "There's no other way you can go to an event and get the word out so well, to so many people, in one day. That's made our job so much easier. It's amazing."

At the 2013 Country Music Association Awards, DJs like Moden conducted hundreds of interviews in three days, many with some of the biggest names in music. "The interviews have to be perfect, and they have to get to the radio station quickly, flawlessly," says Bill Hickey, SVP of engineering at Premiere Networks. "There is no room for error in events like this. That's why we use Polycom."

In fact, says Hickey, Premiere's annual CMA experience has proven so reliably effective that the company is deploying Polycom video collaboration solutions to enable face-to-face collaboration among Premiere executives, employees, and affiliates. "There's no one that does it as well, or provides the world-class technology and people," he says. "That makes a difference when you're under a lot of pressure to get things done."

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