By Brian Brus
Courtesy of The Journal Record
OKLAHOMA CITY – In the market of Internet music suppliers drawing consumers away from radio, Josh Wright has a difficult time explaining the appeal of his Buzzam radio station application.
The term “exactcast” – in contrast to a traditional radio broadcast – seems to be helping to sell the idea. Selling advertisements will be another matter.
“Whenever we tell people about Buzzam, they automatically respond, ‘Well, I already have Pandora or Spotify,’ or some other service like that,” he said. “And that’s great, because you can use Spotify or those others with Buzzam. They’re content providers, not really competitors with us.
“But it’s quite a bit of a learning curve for users,” he said. “We’re still working with some marketing companies to figure out the best way to say what we do.”
Wright is the company’s chief executive; he founded Buzzam with his friend Greg Starling, now president and chief operating officer. They’ve been in the Oklahoma City-based Blueprint for Business program for the last three months, one of five inaugural companies in the seed-stage accelerator.
Blueprint for Business is the brainchild of entrepreneur Guy Madison, who said the concept focuses on character values such as perseverance and honor as much as developing business models. Wright gave high marks to Madison’s mentorship program and said he feels Buzzam is on much better footing now to attract investors.
Most of that money would help get Buzzam over the hurdle of public education, Wright said. Early reviews in Apple’s online app store have been positive. But some funding would also be funneled to additional development of radio station programming.
Buzzam formally launched its mobile iOS app for iPhones in October. The so-called cloud-based data delivery of content, combined with GPS-enabled smartphone technology, allows Buzzam to provide programming unique to each user moving from site to site. A Buzzam station can send updates on weather, traffic and news interwoven with music. The company has also been developing a text-based translator of social media sources such as Facebook and Twitter.
In other words, Buzzam pulls material from other sources and puts it in a format that feels like a traditional AM-FM broadcast.
Ultimately, Wright envisions the concept paying for itself through advertising. Wright said he appreciates that ads are what consumers have been fleeing in traditional broadcast radio. But Buzzam’s model will be less invasive – users will be able to buy out of ads – and more productive because of demographic data feedback. Advertisers will be paying to reach out to precisely the consumers they want, where they want them.
“We’re not doing ads yet because you really have to have listeners before you can get advertisers,” he said. “We’ve been told that when we have about 100,000 we’ll be able to open up to ad revenue. … If we do this right, I don’t think it will be a problem for listeners.”