Emmis To ‘Dramatically Reduce’ NextRadio & TagStation Operations

NextRadio TagStation EmmisAfter launching with much bravado in 2013, Emmis Communications intends to “dramatically reduce” the operations of its NextRadio and TagStation businesses.

NextRadio was launched with the purpose of bringing FM tuners to mobile devices. While it was successful on getting the app on many devices there was one major hold-out in Apple who made it impossible to get the momentum needed for the app to gain critical mass, or was it simply the lack of demand for FM on a phone? As the two biggest radio operators in iHeartMedia and Entercom proceeded with building their own streaming platforms in iHeartRadio and Radio.com respectively, it showed that the future was in getting radio into a proper streaming platform and not just making FM available on a device. TagStation is the underlying cloud data service that allows stations to synchronize their broadcasts with images, interactive touch points, and other related data for display in the NextRadio app, HD Radio, and connected car dashboards while producing analytics around it.

In its quarterly earnings report today, CEO Jeff Smulyan stated Emmis had been working to create a consortium of radio operators to own the NextRadio/TagStation business “using their collective scale and resources to build an attribution platform for the radio industry that would have provided the common language and measurement that radio advertisers are demanding,” but appear to be unsuccessful. Due to the losses incurred Emmis is “unwilling and unable to continue to fund the NextRadio and TagStation businesses as they are currently structured, we plan to dramatically reduce the operations of these businesses and explore other means of eliminating the operating losses from these businesses in the coming months.”

Smulyan added later in their earnings conference call that while other operators were willing to support the platform through words they not willing to support it with dollars and that the operation will be winding down completely.

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