Westergren Outlines Plan To Attack Radio


Keeping you in the loop about how Pandora continues to pursue its goal of stealing radio’s listeners and revenue, we listened in to CEO Tim Westergren’s presentation at the annual J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Wednesday.

Westergren made it clear his primary competition is broadcast radio. And he says he has a “much more attractive product for advertisers than they do.” Westergren said he’s feeling positive and energized. “We have a really healthy core product.”

The Pandora founder, who recently took over the company again, has been feeling the heat lately after hedge fund Corvex Management said the company was pursuing a “costly and uncertain business plan” (more on that below). Westergren reaffirmed that business plan, which includes launching a subscription on-demand product later this year, a product for consumers to listen offline, and to sell more products to its large listener base, including tickets.

And on the topic of broadcast radio, Westergren told conference attendees that if you really want to get a sense of the path Pandora is on, have a conversation with a seller at Pandora that has come from the broadcast world. “You’ll find they are performing fantastically well, often times making more money than they were back in broadcast, even after taking a pay cut to come to Pandora. And they are selling to the same rolodex that they had at AM/FM, but they are selling this much more sophisticated product with multiple forms of media, accountability, targetability, all the things that broadcast can’t offer. We feel really good about being able to take market share from them in the coming years and that’s our intent.”


  1. Salespeople are nervous? When I was in radio, yes I was! Has anyone in the peanut gallery actually worked at Pandora AS WELL AS in Radio for comparison sake? I didn’t think so. I have, and every salesperson I know who has left Radio for Pandora (or Spotify) has never looked back unless they could not hack it at one of those companies (I can think of two who limped back). I was a top seller at a top 5 billing station in the country that kept slashing my commission year after year even though I was outperforming the previous year’s numbers. I can say from personal experience after almost 3 years… And a digital job in between… The grass is definitely greener. I have also had the pleasure of meeting just about every top manager in radio around the country in my 15 years of experience. Tim is by far the kindest, most caring and humble of the bunch. Not to mention much smarter. He actually created something… A task most radio CEO’s have never accomplished.

    • WTF…there are a ton of you who choose to leave radio to try and be bigger and better somewhere else (go just go)…the true numbers have been released…Pandora on an oranges to oranges comparison doesnt measure up to broadcast radio (sorry say what you want). I stated this over 5 years ago and directly to the Jobs of Pandora…Pandora wont be around in 5 years (10 years is what i stated back then). it will be purchased by google or facebook…someone…but it wont be Pandora. The fact that every frickn auto company was driving the Pandora brand in their advertising and publishers like radio ink hoisting them even higher…all for nothing! Failed business model…just failed! FAILED

      • iHeart and Cumulus have more debt than Pandora. By about $24 Billion. Say what you want… you can’t put enough lipstick on that pig.

        • stop looking at iheart and cumulus…they are not radio or don’t want to be. they want to be a better Pandora!

          • Take away deep breath Faily McFailface. So I can’t look at the two largest Radio companies in world when talking about Radio? That makes sense. Talk about cola only avoid talking about Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Riiight.

  2. He isn’t that smart or he would have thought of a better business strategy at the beginning…or by now. They are fumbling and he came back to try and look like a Jobs. That’s not going to fool enough people at this stage. I believe it’s too little, too late.

  3. OPandora’s product is SO good that one day they hope to turn a profit.
    Unless Wall Street gets sick of losing money first.

  4. Broadcast radio can’t offer multiple forms of media, accountability or targeting? Has this guy ever read an industry publication?! Pandora will never achieve what traditional radio has, and with its poor business model, will likely quietly fade away. Advertisers who do buy into this are being mislead and taken advantage of. A take the money and run attitude since even their salespeople are nervous.


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