MSN Expedia Gets Radio Show

For e-commerce companies, raising brand awareness through offline promotion can be an extremely costly yet crucial part of their marketing strategy. On Friday, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) announced that it had scored a significant coup in that regard.

Microsoft will launch Expedia Radio, a one-hour, syndicated weekly radio program that is designed as an audio companion to the company’s e-commerce travel site, MSN Expedia.

The program will start airing on radio stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Seattle on June 26. The show will also be available weekly on the MSN Expedia Web site starting on June 29. In addition, the program will be featured on Broadcast.com and Microsoft’s WindowsMedia.com.

“The fact that Americans took more than 1 billion trips last year reflects how large the audience for this type of [travel] program is,” said Lynn O’Connell, national sales manager of WRKO-AM in Boston.

Listeners Encouraged To Interact

Expedia Radio, which will be hosted by Seattle radio veterans Mike West and John Fisher, will broadcast content from the editorial staff for the MSN Expedia Web site and also feature content from travel writers and correspondents like Peter Greenberg of NBC’s Today show.

Planned program segments will feature breaking travel industry news, special fare sales, features about a selected destination of the week, restaurant and sightseeing recommendations, cultural profiles about destinations, and information on exclusive travel promotions and specials. Expedia Radio also plans to feature interviews with celebrities.

What may be most significant for Expedia’s e-commerce business is that listeners to the radio program will be able to send questions to Expedia Radio via the MSN Expedia Web site.

“Expedia Radio is designed to be a comprehensive and listener-friendly resource on the radio for travel,” said Renee Russak, group manager of content and programming for MSN Expedia.

About Expedia

MSN Expedia is a full-service travel agent where customers can buy airline tickets and make hotel and car reservations. The Web site also features travel-related content, including news and mapping services. According to Media Metrix, MSN Expedia is the Web’s leading online travel agency, with weekly sales of more than $16 million (US$) per week. The Web sites also had the top reach for online travel sites in April and May.

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