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"This is what radio needs, a voice that effectively communicates the strengths and appeal of this great medium."
——Joel Hollander, Infinity President/CEO
RADIO LAUNCHES $28 MILLION IMAGE CAMPAIGN
Nelly, Ludacris, Avril Lavigne, Ashanti, Alicia Keys and Hoobastank Offer Endorsements
Look out satellite radio, broadband and you, too, iPod. The radio industry is fighting back.

In what is being called the largest cooperative effort in industry history, local radio stations across the country announced today they have banded together to launch a $28 million integrated marketing campaign celebrating the medium’s power as the primary source for new music and compelling audio entertainment.

The first wave of the program involves a series of radio commercials entitled "Radio. You Hear It Here First," produced by the award-winning New York-based advertising agency DeVito/Verdi. Assisting DeVito/Verdi is ex-LaFace and Arista Records exec Mark Shimmel, now heading his own N.Y.-based music promotion and marketing firm Mark Shimmel Music.

The first round of spots released this week feature Nelly, Ludacris, Avril Lavigne, Ashanti, Alicia Keys and Hoobastank, who acknowledge radio’s role in kicking-off their careers. They each list a series of accomplishments and milestones that were achieved only after the artist was initially discovered on the radio.

Over the course of the next several months, the campaign will continue providing the testimonials of artists to sing radio’s praises on a wide cross section of radio formats, including Urban, Alternative, Classic Rock, Country and others.

Virtually every major radio group, including ABC, Beasley, Bonneville, Buckley, Clear Channel, Cumulus, Emmis, Entercom, Greater Media, Infinity, Jefferson Pilot, Journal, Radio One, Regent and Susquehanna have stepped forward to voluntarily air the spots several times every day between now and the end of February.

The campaign also features up-and-coming artists like John Legend, The BraveryBrooke Valentine and The Ditty Bops.

"Fundamentally, the role of each local radio Programming Director is to find the most compelling, local, national and international music to bring to our listeners," said Entercom President/CEO David Field. "We are proud to note that local radio introduces thousands of new songs and artists to the public every year."

"This is what radio needs, a voice that effectively communicates the strengths and appeal of this great medium," said Infinity President/CEO Joel Hollander.

Emmis Sr. VP Programming Jimmy Steal commented, "This exciting campaign reminds us all of radio's continuing dominance in both breaking new music and providing unique entertainment, which builds unbreakable bonds with our audiences."

The on-air radio spots are the first step in a multi-media effort. The industry and DeVito-Verdi are jointly developing print, Internet and viral elements to the campaign. DeVito/Verdi’s radio commercials have won numerous awards, including one at this year’s Radio Mercury Awards, and the grand prize at last year’s annual ceremony.

Howard Stern suggested on his show this morning that the timing of the campaign was a reaction to his leaving terrestrial radio for Sirius at the end of the year.

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