New Year, New CEO for MediaBay

Cedar Knolls, NJ-based MediaBay, a wholesaler/cataloger of spoken-audio content, is ringing in the new tear with changes both to its management as well its marketing strategy.

On Jan. 6, the parent company of the Audio Book Club and Radio Spirits catalog announced the resignation of CEO Ron Celmer. Replaced in the interim by chairman of the board Carl Wolf, Celmer left following a decision by the company to pursue “new directions, new initiatives,” says executive vice president/chief financial officer John Levy.

The new paths being explored, says Levy, include selling its audio recordings to a market that has ample time to listen—truck drivers. The company has just begun offering its RadioClassics line of recorded radio performances from the 1930s and 1940s to truck-stop retailers, as well as to gift shops. “It’s a wonderful gift for men, and gift stores are always looking for gifts for men,” says Levy.

Other new distribution channels are the Lillian Vernon and LTD Commodities catalogs, both of which will offer MediaBay products in their next editions, says Levy. The company is also hoping to reach a younger audience with the introduction of its Learning Annex audio products, a line of motivational, self-help recordings.

There will also be a push in 2004 to improve customer acquisition and retention. “We’re trying to identify products that will be important to an individual based on past buying behavior,” says Levy. The Audio Book Club catalog will also be expanded to include all 1,000 or so of the company’s available titles.