The Dial Debuts Online Audio Entertainment Service and Exclusive Relationships with Leading Internet Sites,, The Sporting News,, and OneNet Communications Are Among First Sites to 'do theDial'

By Salon Staff

Published November 1, 1999 11:14AM (EST)

Internet audio start-up theDial today launched a syndicated audio network featuring some of the top names on the Web, to provide leading sites with a major online audio presence. Through exclusive relationships with,, The Sporting News,, and OneNet, theDial is providing original, customized audio programming to Internet users through their favorite Web sites. theDial is also featured as a premier online audio provider on the Microsoft WindowsMedia Radio Guide accessible through the Internet Explorer radio toolbar. Through these distribution and exclusive agreements, theDial is primed to reach more than 15 million consumers with
its online audio entertainment service at the time of launch.

Unlike existing Internet radio pages, which provide jukeboxes or an aggregation of traditional radio, theDial creates personality-rich programming called POWerbytes that are played between music selections. POWs are short pieces of original entertainment that provide cutting-edge looks at pop culture and the world. Additionally, theDial creates customized audio advertisements that bring Internet advertising to a remarkable new level  using creative, online audio to bring consumers and advertisers together on the Web.

``Microsoft and our partners have shown tremendous support in theDial as we work to raise the bar on Internet audio and create an experience that is unmatched in both interactivity and entertainment quality on the Web,'' said Todd Herman, president and chief evangelizing officer for theDial. ``theDial is not 'Robbie the robot' spinning CD's for you and it's not a rehash of a radio station; theDial is unique content and interactivity that has never before been done on the Web.''

``Internet radio, using the Internet Explorer Radio Toolbar and the WindowsMedia Radio Guide, is dramatically growing listeners on the Web,'' said Dave Fester, director of Marketing, Streaming Media Division, Microsoft Corp. ``The addition of the theDial and its affiliate stations will enrich this experience and provide more compelling content to attract consumers to this new radio medium.''

First Private-Label Audio on the Web

theDial's player delivers proprietary interactive features and is customized and privately branded for each partner. Although the music playlist and back-end technology for theDial player are consistent for all affiliates, the branding, color scheme and even the audio presentation varies based on individual affiliate preferences. theDial ``hosts'' will introduce various elements with such phrases as: ``For on theDial, I'm Simone Seikaly with TheBuzz,'' or ``For on theDial, I'm Al Pace with Dialed In.'' This new level of personalization is unparalleled on the Web today and brings a new stage of branding to the Internet.

theDial goes even further in personalized content for its premier partners. For and theDial delivers customized audio programming that leverages these sites' most popular written features, for example: on theDial brings the popular ``Sexpert'' columnist to the Internet airwaves, and will establish an audio program to complement
its popular ``eMale'' forum -- a new, lively discussion between and its audience. on theDial elevates its smart, feisty and compelling writing into a spoken format that truly grabs the visitor's -- attention.

POWerbytes: Original Programming On the Web

Founded by a group of broadcasting veterans, theDial's cadre of on-air talent -- known internally as ``C3,'' the ``Content Creation Crew'' -- produces original POWerbytes daily. POWerbytes compliment the music and listening experience with often funny, sometimes serious and always
entertaining and original looks at pop culture, the way we live and the wired world. Each POWerbyte is developed specifically with the online consumer in mind and includes:

-- Heard it in a Newsgroup -- quotes, stories and reports uncovered while
eavesdropping on the 33,000+ Usenet newsgroups.
-- The Protoplasm Report -- a legitimate but skewed take on health.
-- Potion #9 -- a satirical look at being single, engaged or married in
the modern world.
-- Fashion, Smashion -- fashion for the not-so-fashionable; a systematic
dismantling of the fashion world as we know it.
-- No Way! And Other Odd Stories - stories of the odd and the
unbelievable, news of the weird and bizarre -- you decide if they're
-- Ask The Dial -- ask anything via email, fax, telephone and we'll have
the answer - be it how to overdrive a Pentium processor or what to do
with those unppoped kernels of popcorn.
-- Dialed In - not corporate news but news "Dial style" with lots of
nodding and winking (if you know what we mean).
-- Pop Stop -- parodies of all things pop: TV, ads, anything in the pop
culture pantheon.
-- Trash your TV - uncovers and satirically presents reasons why you
shouldn't be too upset if you missed a moment of current TV fare.

theDial Player: Immediate Gratification through the ``GO'' Button

theDial player is highly interactive, enabling listeners to quickly change channels, program their favorite music, learn about a particular song or artist, and act on the advertising they hear on theDial. When people hear programming on theDial that captures them -- whether it be a POWerbyte like Fashion Smashion, a song or an advertisement -- they can instantly get more information through theDial player's proprietary GO Button. The GO Button springboards people directly to the Web site associated with the programming they just heard -- without requiring them to type in the site's URL. The GO Button gives advertisers the first true interactive venue for reaching customers, offering a direct link to the purchase point of the product being advertised on theDial.

Should listeners forget to hit the GO Button while programming of interest is airing, they can use the ``History'' button on theDial player to retrieve any segment from the last 60 minutes and instantly find the link to the information they want. Similarly, clicking theDial player's ``Buy CD'' button automatically links listeners to music they hear on an affiliate, giving them the ability to purchase the CD or audiocassette with a single click.

Powered by the Windows. Media Player and other popular streaming media players, theDial can function on the desktop as a live interaction device or run in the background, thus allowing listeners to visit other Web sites while still tuned into an affiliate of theDial.

Advertising: Revenue for Partners, Real-Time Results for Advertisers

theDial offers a compelling new advertising model for both affiliates and advertisers, providing each with audio space and real estate on theDial player for interactive advertising opportunities.

Advertisers on theDial affiliates have the luxury of creating interactive, customized promotions to target very specific audiences. theDial also provides advertisers with detailed information about how people are responding to their ads, which ads are working and which cause listeners to lose interest. This feedback enables advertisers to adapt quickly if their ads prove undesirable or if they want to test-market different promotions. In step with that adaptability, theDial can quickly update a commercial and begin running it right away.

Where and When to 'Do the Dial'

theDial is a free service that does not require a special download and is available at theDial's affiliate partner sites. theDial can be found today at the following Internet addresses:

Microsoft WindowsMedia Radio Guide:
The Sporting News:
OneNet: (available mid November)


Based in Seattle, theDial is made up of broadcast professionals who have been involved in successful radio enterprises for more than a decade. theDial was established in 1997 to meet the demand for original and creative audio programming over the Internet. theDial is a privately held company and is backed by Utah Ventures and Wasatch Ventures, part of the Draper, Fisher, Jurvetson Family of Venture Capital Funds. For more information, please visit the company's Web site at .

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