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Yang: Net no threat to radio

At a National Public Radio event, the Yahoo cofounder assures radio industry member that the two media can peacefully coexist.

SAN FRANCISCO--Traditional media got a taste of new media today when a Web torchbearer gave his perspective of things to come.

In a luncheon event at National Public Radio's Public Radio Conference at the San Francisco Hilton and Towers, Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang provided the gathering with an entertaining account of Yahoo's humble beginnings at Stanford University and then elaborated on uses of the Web

When one audience member asked how radio could protect its client base from being wooed to the Internet, Yang assured the participant that the Internet and radio do not pose a threat to each other. He noted that the significant majority of radio's audience tunes in during drive time, which advertisers continue to find attractive. The Internet would not ask for advertising dollars from another medium, Yang added.

Yang, a self-professed passionate listener to public radio, stressed that the numbers of new users jumping onto the Web still pose great opportunities for content providers, such as public radio stations, to target specific audiences.

"For the Web to succeed, it isn't about how much you give away for free," Yang said to the crowd of NPR member station managers and technicians. "The real challenge is helping people reach an audience they want to reach."

Yang noted that Web consumers, both new and existing, are self-selective about the services they choose. He stressed, however, that the opportunity to acquire new users is still "really huge."

In terms of business strategy, Yang told the audience that Yahoo continues to focus on ongoing branding, promotion, and marketing efforts to attract new users and retain existing ones, despite Yahoo's daily draw of 95 million page views.

Yang said Yahoo would maintain its current revenue model of pursuing advertising partners and e-commerce licensing deals, while continuing its ongoing policy to provide free content.

"We're like public radio--we're giving away content for free and somehow making money from it," said Yang, causing scattered dry chuckles among the audience.

Yang also told CNET NEWS.COM that the company is maintaining its strategy of acquiring other companies that produce attractive technologies. Yang said since the site's user base has increased significantly, the firm is interested in obtaining technology to manage it.