- The Washington Times - Monday, April 16, 2007

Google Inc. and Clear Channel Communications Inc. have teamed up in a deal that allows Google’s online advertisers to place 30-second audio spots on more than 675 Clear Channel radio stations, the companies said yesterday.

“There’s no secret that we would like to provide a wider distribution to our advertisers,” said Drew Hilles, national sales director for the ad-selling subsidiary Google Audio. “Generating a partnership with the leading broadcaster in the space — it’s very significant.”

The multiyear deal targets online advertisers who have little or no experience with radio ads. Google Audio’s online booking system enables users to place radio spots across participating stations, with the option of tailoring ad placement by geographic area, station format or audience demographics.

Clear Channel owns several stations in the Washington area, including soft-rock WASH-FM (97.1), WBIG-FM (100.3) and WIHT-FM (99.5).

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The move expands Google’s advertising footprint beyond its successful online model. Earlier this month, the Mountain View, Calif., company announced a deal with EchoStar Communications Corp. to buy, sell and measure television ads on the company’s 125 satellite programming networks.

For San Antonio company Clear Channel, the Google Audio partnership means new revenue from advertisers who otherwise might not have ventured into audio advertising.

“There are a number of advertisers who for whatever reason have not felt comfortable or have not been able to figure out how to access radio,” said Clear Channel spokeswoman Michele Clark, noting that Google has formed trusted relationships with tens of thousands of online advertisers.

“Because this is taking the Google front-end system and marrying it to the internal system that Clear Channel has, these people can buy ads the way they’re buying online ads, so it’s very easy for them.”

The Google Audio deal complements Clear Channel’s traditional sales channels, Ms. Clark said. Currently, about 75 percent of a station’s ad buys are done through local sales staff, she said, with bigger campaigns handled by the company’s national sales department.

Under the agreement with Google, Clear Channel will set aside a guaranteed inventory of 30-second audio spots for Google’s Internet advertisers, who can produce, upload and place ads online, conceivably without even speaking to a sales representative. Advertisers are given real-time reports with listener estimates to monitor their audio campaigns.

Yesterday’s deal means Google Audio advertisers now have access to about 1,600 stations. The search giant, which debuted the service in the fall, is in talks with other broadcasters, but Google representatives would not disclose further details.

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