US radio network first to integrate with iTunes

US radio and TV station owners and operators Emmis Communications has announced it is the first company to integrate the iTunes Music Store into its radio station websites.

The integration will reflect the programming of each radio station, allowing listeners to shop from playlists of station artists as well as top picks from on-air talent and celebrity guests.

Emmis VP/Interactive Rey Mena said, “We approached Apple with the idea and we developed the back-end technology to make this possible. Many Web sites link to iTunes, but we’re the first to pull the entire 2.5 million-song catalog into our sites, weaving station programming with the Apple platform. Emmis will receive a portion of all iTunes sales made through its Web sites. Individual stations will promote the new feature through on-air spots and their listener clubs.”

Emmis Radio President Rick Cummings said: “Radio has always been a promoter of music, but now our radio stations are also a point of purchase. This could take the industry in a new direction.”

The iTunes integration will roll out to all Emmis radio markets in the next month .