Interview with Alan Levy, CEO of BlogTalkRadio
TechAddress: Tell me a bit about your company, what it does and what’s your value proposition?
BlogTalkRadio: BlogTalkRadio is the world’s first “social radio network”. Blogtalkradio allows anyone with something valuable to say to engage a live audience. By merging radio, the oldest broadcast medium, with Web 2.0, Blogtalkradio is enabling citizen broadcasters around the world to express themselves.
TechAddress: What makes your company stand apart from your competitors?
BlogTalkRadio: While we are the only true social radio network, there a few companies which have products which allow users to engage a live audience; however, there are important differences between these platforms. For example, Skype has a service called Skypecast, which allows up to 100 people to speak with one another at the same time. Unlike BlogTalkRadio, the Skypecast shows require the host and listener to be a Skype user, the shows are not archived, and they do not have universal streaming.
TechAddress: What are some of the main features?
BlogTalkRadio: BlogTalkRadio hosts create their own host channel which describes their show, scheduled segments, and archived segments, which can be pod casts with a link to their blog or website. The host schedules their own show, when they want it to air and whatever topic they choose to discuss. When the show is schedule to air, the host manages a switchboard to receive callers. Each show can accommodate up to 5 live callers at any given time. All of our shows are free to the host and the listener and the host uses any type of phone to broadcast the show.
TechAddress: Who’s your target customer or audience?
BlogTalkRadio: Anyone with something valuable to say can use BlogTalkRadio. All you need is a phone or an Internet connection. Any blogger with an audience of 1 or 10,000 can use this platform to engage their audience in real time. Political bloggers (right, left and center), business professionals and consultants, politicians can use our platform to conduct town hall meetings, authors to conduct book readings, musicians to promote their music and be interviewed, etc. There are really endless uses for this platform.
TechAddress: Any new things in particular that you’re working on right now?
BlogTalkRadio: We have been in beta for less than three months so we are continually looking to upgrade the platform and experience. We are looking to develop a flash player so our hosts can play archived segments directly on their blog, Myspace page or website. Also, very shortly our hosts will be able to upload mp3 files to be played during their blogshows. We have many other plans in place, so stay tuned.
TechAddress: Where do you see your company heading in the future?
BlogTalkRadio: We are very excited about where this platform has developed in such a short time. Building upon services such as Myspace, Youtube and other social networking services, Blogtalkradio actually provides a live interactive platform where people can engage one another in real time. We talked about the potential uses of BTR above, and I envision significant international usage. Regardless of language or geographic location, people love to talk and people love to listen and BlogTalkRadio provides an outlet for both.
TechAddress: Any negative feedback or criticism regarding technology and services?
BlogTalkRadio: As a new company, which has developed a platform, which has not yet been seen, we spend a lot of time simplifying our feature set and getting the kinks out. So far, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
TechAddress: So what would you say is the guiding principle behind your company?
BlogTalkRadio: We are excited about giving people a platform to share something with their audience. It’s called empowerment. We want to make sure that the user experience is the best that it can be. Everyone has the ability to host or listen to radio now.
TechAddress: What is the mission of your company and what are you bringing to the market that is innovative?
BlogTalkRadio: We are allowing everyone to broadcast their own radio show or listen to a show from a member of his or her community without constraint. It is a movement of citizen broadcasters who can now extend their blogs or sites easily through live audio.
TechAddress: Where are you in terms of funding and your lifecycle?
BlogTalkRadio: I have funded BlogTalkRadio and as of now we have no outside funding in the company. Down the road, it may make sense on a number of levels to bring in outside investors but until now, this hasn’t been the case.
TechAddress: If your technology or service is not formally launched yet, when’s the launch date?
BlogTalkRadio: We launched the beta version of BlogTalkRadio on August 1, 2006, and we continue to operate in beta as we develop new features to enhance the experience for hosts and listeners.
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