Katz Radio Group

Cumulus Media is taking the plunge into programmatic ad sales. The company’s Westwood One Spot Sales, which handles national spot inventory for Cumulus stations, said Monday it is participating in Expressway from Katz, the programmatic ad buying exchange for broadcast radio developed by Katz Radio Group in partnership with tech provider Jelli.

Eleven of Cumulus’ top-markets are live, offering full inventory access on the exchange; the markets include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, St. Louis, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Detroit and Washington, DC. All Cumulus markets are expected to be online by July.

Programmatic for radio automates some parts of the broadcast sales process, allowing buyers to log into a cloud-based “demand-side” exchange to view and buy available inventory in real time. Prices are set by participating broadcasters, who contribute inventory into a “supply side” ad exchange or marketplace.

Proponents believe its adoption at radio will make the medium more attractive to advertisers and agencies and help shift dollars back to radio that were diverted to digital and TV. “America’s prominent agencies and advertisers have clearly stated they want AM/FM radio to join the evolution toward programmatic,” Rafe D’Amico, senior VP of Sales for Cumulus and Westwood One, said in a news release. “Expressway from Katz and programmatic are key elements of our strategy to serve our clients’ needs.”

Cumulus is believed to be the eighth top 10 radio company to join the exchange, although neither Katz nor Jelli have officially named all of the participating broadcasters.

“Programmatic buying is an exciting step forward for the radio industry,” said Joe Brewer, chief administrative officer and executive VP of Business Operations at Katz. “Through Expressway from Katz, our radio partners now have the ability to offer their premium inventory to advertisers programmatically—with automation, real-time monitoring and reporting capabilities.”