Google colonizes yet another medium: radio

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The beleaguered radio industry could get a lift from the company that makes most media quake, Google.

Google expanded into radio with last week's acquisition of dMarc, a company that has used its market share in automation systems-the software and hardware that run radio's on- and off-air operations-to create a 500-station media network that lets advertisers buy and insert radio advertising directly.

Josh McFarland, a business product manager at Google who was involved with the deal, said it "is a tremendous value add to the whole industry," and Chad Steelberg, CEO of Newport Beach, Calif.-based dMarc, called the two companies "a great match" and said the deal is "not a zero-sum game" but will bring a new advertising platform to radio.

No specifics

Just how Google will bring its contextual advertising to radio isn't clear-and the company isn't disclosing any specific product plans. It will work on integration through 2006 with the end goal of making it "as simple as possible for advertisers to manage online and radio buys," Mr. McFarland said.

Radio ads will be targeted more by city and demographic than run near content that is related to an advertiser's product. "We're always looking for ways to bring measurable and targeted advertising to other media," he said. "We will look toward other methods in the future."

Mr. Steelberg and his brother Ryan, dMarc's president, share a background in online ad-serving through their previous venture, AdForce.

They had long admired what Google has done with the online advertising industry and sought to create a similar system in radio.

"Self-service economy, pricing structure and technology that brought advertisers and stations together. We designed it in such a way that we tapped into the same ethos that Google has brought to online market," Ryan Steelberg said, adding that dMarc initiated discussions with Google last summer.

"From my perspective ... our relationship since day one has been about measurement, accountability and [return on investment] for advertisers," Mr. Steelberg said. "Google can do nothing but help us make that happen like they've done in the online space."

Contributing: Kris Oser

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