Home / Case Study: Emmis Radio
Case Study: Emmis Radio

Emmis Evolves the Business of Radio with Acquia and Drupal

Case Study: Emmis Radio

Emmis Radio is the ninth largest radio group in the U.S. (based on listeners) and owns 23 niche brands in New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Austin.

These brands provide listeners with a radio experience that honors the lifestyles inspired by an array of genres, such as hip hop, rock, news and sports. In a poll of industry CEOs, Emmis has been voted the Most Respected Radio Company. In order to enrich the experience of their listeners, Emmis turned to Drupal and Acquia Cloud Site Factory to elevate their traditional business in addition to each of their unique brands.

The Challenge

Emmis was originally on a homegrown Content Management System, which fulfilled their digital needs for a period of time. Emmis soon determined that in order to expand their traditional business of radio, they needed a new digital environment that made content the priority.

Emmis needed a cohesive technical system that would allow each unique brand to easily share on-demand audio, video, images, and social conversation all on one platform. Content creation and distribution needed to be easy, governance simplified, and site reliability was a must.

The Solution

With Acquia Cloud Site Factory, Emmis developed a collection of scalable multi sites to simplify governance requirements and guarantee site reliability. With three site templates to support all twenty-three radio stations, Acquia Cloud Site Factory enables each station to maintain their unique brand. With a cohesive CMS in place, the teams at Emmis were able to focus on their primary goal: producing great content. In partnership with Acquia and digital development agency FFW, Emmis was able to build a series of spotlight pages, custom modules, and responsive sites that continue to integrate the role of digital into the medium of radio.

Spotlight Pages

Emmis elevated the role of content for each brand by creating custom Spotlight pages, which aggregate content around radio personalities and branded events. Previously, Emmis’ CMS platform only enabled radio personalities to host blogs, which prevented users from discovering additional content from the personalities. With Spotlight Pages, personalities have the opportunity to build a content system that is more robust than just a blog. Spotlight Pages now provide radio personalities and events with the landing pages required to showcase different content types, such as videos, podcasts, and photo galleries in addition to show and lifestyle blogs. For example, this past year Emmis sold 55,000 MetLife Stadium seats for their SummerJam Concert. With the SummerJam Spotlight page, Emmis was able to house all the content created before, during and after the event in one place.

Customer User Generated Content Module

Emmis also created a custom User Generated Content Module (UGC), which enables radio fans to send photos, video and audio files to their favorite station. Emmis Radio fans and local communities like schools, choir groups, or passion segments like pet lovers can participate in contests by submitting content in exchange for the opportunity to win prizes.The flexibility of Drupal allowed Emmis to build a custom UGC solution that truly fit their needs. Emmis’ UGC Module digitizes the act of conversation, which has been a primary tenet of radio since its inception. The custom module allows content managers at each radio brand to create UGC contests on their own to engage fans through voting, rating, and social engagement. Previously, content managers had to refer to third party vendors in order to publish and run these kinds of contests. Now Emmis’ custom UGC module streamlines workflows and puts control back into the hands of the content managers.

Where Hip Hop Lives App

Two of Emmis’ most popular radio brands exist on rival coasts and represent the distinct Hip Hip dynasties of the East and West. When Emmis wanted to unite Los Angeles’ Power 106 and
New York City’s Hot 97 online, they looked to Acquia and FFW to help fuel a newly designed mobile application. The Where Hip Hop Lives App aggregates the content feeds of both Power 106 and Hot 97, and has created the ultimate hub for all the content coming out of both coasts. Because these Drupal sites are feed-based, it was easy for Emmis’ digital teams to develop a feed aggregator that publishes directly to the app in real time. Due to Drupal’s ability to create dynamic content for applications through feed-based aggregators, Emmis was able to quickly deploy Where Hip Hop Lives instead of having to build a new CMS inside a mobile application.

The Results

Within 10 months, Emmis was able to plan, build and roll out new content driven websites for all 23 radio brands. The digital management team also partnered with each station manager to migrate over 10 years of relevant content to their new CMS platform. With the support of Acquia, Emmis was able to replatform their entire content management system, migrate an extensive repertoire of content, and bring a new digital ecosystem to market in under a year. The development of Emmis’ custom modules have also been a large driver of revenue.

Since moving to the Acquia Platform, Emmis has created a collection of dynamic and engaging sites that elevate the traditional medium of radio and support the lifestyles of each brand. Emmis has taken advantage of both the simplicity of governance provided by Acquia Cloud Site Factory in addition to the flexibility of Drupal to customize modules. With Acquia and Drupal, Emmis has created a digital experience that is truly unique.

  • Emmis’ digital properties have witnessed 5 million of monthly unique visitors and 12 million monthly page views
  • 62 percent increase in digital revenues since adopting the platform

By leveraging the power of digital, Emmis is redefining what it means to broadcast radio.

With Acquia Cloud Site Factory, Emmis developed a collection of scalable multi sites to simplify governance requirements and guarantee site reliability.

Company Information

Emmis Radio
Founded in 1980 - Headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana
9th largest radio group in the United States based on listeners
23 Radio Brands
Acquia client since 2013
Success Enabled With
  • Acquia Cloud Elite
  • Acquia Cloud Site Factory
  • Drupal 7