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BlogTalkRadio makes leap into mobile

BlogTalkRadio has hired Michael Weaver, former director at Microsoft and vice president of Crisp Wireless, as the vice president of mobile service and strategy to expand the company's mobile initiatives.

In this position, Mr. Weaver will focus on BlogTalkRadio's mobile initiatives and their integration into current offerings. Specifically, he will be responsible for the development and promotion of BlogTalkRadio iPhone apps; CinchCast, the company's newest product; and http://m.blogtalkradio.com, the company's mobile site.

"There are close to 10,000 people hosting their own radio show on BlogTalkRadio, from Sasquatch people to Michelle Obama," Mr. Weaver said. "We also have an enterprise version, which companies such as Walmart and Pepsi are using with sponsored hosts who do fairly regular shows for them, and they own that content.

"I'm working on the mobile product and how we're going to extend BlogTalkRadio into mobile and create an audio blogging mobile tool to let consumers use their mobile phone to post messages and tie into the power of blogging using their mobile phone," he said.

"This is a natural extension for BlogTalkRadio to get into mobile as they get into advertising as well."

Launched in August 2006, BlogTalkRadio is a free, Web-based radio talk show platform that lets any user with a phone and a computer host a live, interactive radio show, with no downloads or extra equipment needed.

Hosts call into the service by phone to broadcast. Each show can accommodate unlimited live listeners.

Upon completion of the live broadcast, each show is automatically archived as a podcast.

Since the company's launch, thousands of hosts have broadcast more than 240,000 shows.

Many businesses are also using the platform as a tool to extend their brand on Web.

Notable hosts include brands such as Woman's Day magazine, HarperCollins Hachette Book Group, PBS, Walmart, Sun Microsystems and the U.S. Department of Defense.

Mr. Weaver and his team will work closely with carriers, portals, brands, advertisers, and agencies as he builds BlogTalkRadio's mobile presence.

Having worked for more than a decade in advertising for the technology sector, Mr. Weaver has spent the last several years making himself known in the growing mobile sector.

As vice president of strategy at Crisp Wireless, Mr. Weaver developed relationships with carriers, advertising agencies and enablers.

In his prior role as Microsoft's advertising strategy director for MSN's Digital Advertising Solutions, he played a key role in Microsoft's acquisition of ScreenTonic, a European-based mobile advertising company.

Mr. Weaver recently saw the mobile advertising company he founded and created, Third Screen Media, acquired by AOL.

Mr. Weaver serves on the boards of several early-stage technology companies.

He is planning to help BlogTalkRadio garner revenue from mobile advertising.

"Advertisers right now want a conversation with consumers, as opposed to ?I want CTRs and banner ads,' and we can help them take something designed for mass communication and micro-target for individuals," Mr. Weaver said. "The days of mobile as a totally separate channel are done, and advertising is more multidimensional.

"Mobile is a natural extension of where advertising is going, with sponsorship, paid content, free content placement -- there are a lot of different iterations of how this can be," he said. "We give consumer a voice and give marketers an opportunity to hear that and answer the question, ?How do I better understand the consumer?'"

"The success of Facebook, Twitter and blogging in general is letting brands hear what the consumer has to say."