Yes mobile is hot. It is hard to read any publication without coverage or prognostication on where the industry is headed. For the radio industry mobile currently means streaming their audio content to a mobile device. The primary way of doing this is to create an application for each major platform; iphone, android, blackberry. Some early entrants in this field built a portal where client stations could be listed. While some adopted this strategy Radio Time listed all stations in a guide format even though they had no business relationship with the stations. This mobile strategy was not attractive to radio stations as their brands were lost and as a result mobile companies such as AirKast began building applications for stations. The mobile handset also created opportunities to interact with listeners including album information, lyrics, station playlist, concert information, song purchase, music video or share station with friends. Some mobile apps are not superior to many audio players on the market.
There are a preponderance of app developers but only a few which specialize in the radio vertical. Like the early days of the web companies such as JacApps produce apps that are static and if a station wants to make a change they must go back to the creator of the app or start over again. AirKast has built more of a mobile CMS platform which can be customized by the station and its service runs on its AirBridge platform (specially developed server architecture). We see this more as the future of mobile.
While its cool to have a mobile app most stations will want to generate revenue. Just like internet radio there are numerous advertising opportunities including video preroll, in-stream audio and display. Typically when referring to a mobile network such as AdMob or Quattro Wireless this means display advertising. The CPM or now mostly CPC campaign are not attractively priced as ads are not targeted or contextual but just fit to a mobile device. I believe a listener/viewer is more engaged on a mobile device and thus CPM/CPC’s should be higher, witness what Apple is doing with iAd. The problem is most ad campaigns are not designed for mobile and the creative is poor. If we factor in geo advertising mobile ad rates should be significantly higher. Stations need to participate both in a national mobile ad network (one that can sell video/audio/display) as well as sell it locally. Currently mobile audiences are small but will grow significantly over time. In car applications and better device tethering will propel mobile audience growth.
The question you should be asking your mobile provider is whether they can measure your mobile audience (something that Ando has not fully implemented) as well as insert the various forms of advertising and of course measure impressions created. We are in the first inning but this channel is going to develop quickly.