The business network, part of an effort to franchise ws.Radio.com into local markets, includes more than 40 live and archived shows that cover a variety of business topics. The programs include "CRM Talk Radio," "SEO Radio" and "Small Business Trends Radio."
Also featured are the "Inventions and Patents Show," "Marketing Matters Live! PayPal Radio," "Product Sourcing Radio" and "The Executive Hour." wsRadio.Biz partners include the American Marketing Association, eBay and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
So far, about a dozen business advertisers have signed on for the service with at least another dozen in the pipeline, said Chris Murch, president of wsRadio.com. (The "ws" stands for world syndication.)
Murch started the Internet radio network in 2001 with five shows. It now has more than 80.
About 95% of wsRadio.Biz listeners patch into programs "on demand," Murch said. Advertisers affiliated with the network provide links on their own Web sites. "Unlike traditional radio, where the advertiser might get an immediate response, our archived shows serve as building blocks," Murch said.
As long as the content stays relevant, shows will remain posted on the network long after they originally run, Murch said. "You may not have much happen in the first couple of months but, over time, as the archives get more populated, advertisers can start to see returns," he said.
Before he committed to launching the business network, Murch huddled with several b-to-b advertisers to get a sense of their appetite for purchasing talk radio.
"I thought it would be easy to get advertisers with target audiences, but it took years to convince them that this is a good place to be," he said, pointing to a 70% renewal rate among advertisers affiliated with ws.Radio.com. "The future of radio itself is on the Internet when you think of technology and wireless applications."
Advertisers have the option of buying 30- or 60-second spots. They can also sign on as "title sponsors," an example of which is the "PricewaterhouseCoopers Start-up Show."
The "Start-up Show" "is another way we show our commitment to the start-up space," said Steve Bengston, who hosts the show and is director of emerging company services at PricewaterhouseCoopers. "It's part of our brand, and people can link to the show from our Web site."
Evan Lasky, president-CEO of Pak Mail Centers of America, buys two commercial segments for each hourlong edition of the "eBay Radio Ask Griff Show," a weekly call-in show that is part of wsRadio.Biz.
Lasky, whose company has 400 stores nationwide, also appears on "eBay Radio" once a month to field questions from callers about packing and shipping related to the online auction site.
By contributing to the show, Lasky said, he is able to put a human face on his business. "It gives me an opportunity to talk about what we do and when is the best time to use our services," he said. "It's a long-term approach to building trust with the small-business community."
Chris Malta, CEO of Worldwide Brands, is co-host of "Product Sourcing Radio," which draws about 45,000 listeners a month, according to Murch. (The program originated on wsRadio.com as "The Entrepreneur Magazine Product Sourcing Show.")
"I get a chance to teach people how to source wholesale products for their online business," Malta said. "When people can hear your voice and ask you questions, it provides tremendous value for anyone in marketing."
Murch stressed that the branded programs are not infomercials and that executives who appear as hosts or regular guests know not to actively promote their products or services during the programs.