CBS, AOL on same wavelength

Ad revenue drives deal to create huge Web radio net

CBS Radio and Time Warner's AOL are partnering to create one of the largest online radio networks, with the CBS unit set to sell the advertising and split it with the online giant.

The move is designed to aggregate a bigger Web audience that can attract more ad revenue.

CBS Radio, the second-largest radio station group in the U.S., will make available its 140 stations to AOL along with online-only stations. CBS Radio's flagship stations include WFAN-AM and 1010 WINS in New York and KLSX-FM and KROQ-FM in Los Angeles. AOL has more than 200 online stations. The two also plan to launch new channels.

The CBS stations also will continue to stream audio on their own Web sites.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

For AOL, the CBS Radio partnership — set to go live in May — will replace an arrangement with XM Satellite Radio Holdings.

The two companies also will work together to create product enhancements, including a new online radio player, as well as support for Apple's Mac.

The new player will allow audiences to toggle between stations; view song titles, album information and link to Web sites featuring the artist being streamed; and purchase songs, albums and concert tickets.

"CBS Radio continues to invest in high-growth areas including Internet streaming," CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason said. "We have been very clear about our goals in this area, and teaming with AOL is a tremendous step forward in that regard. Couple that with years of progress building out our own streaming operations, and CBS Radio is instantly positioned as the leader in the online radio space."

He said the company should remain positioned as the new big online radio player, unless Yahoo and Clear Channel Communications came up with a similar partnership, for example.

CBS Radio began streaming its stations in 2005.
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