PhillyDeals: Wharton School starts its own radio station

Posted: March 26, 2014

"Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School" debuted Monday on SiriusXM Channel 111, where drivers and other hands-free listeners can hear scholars interview corporate bosses, comment on stocks and economic news, and offer the satellite station's subscribers how-to's on starting, running and selling companies.

Wharton shows now broadcast 24/7, with an average of five hours live each workday - the organizers want to expand that to eight - plus playbacks on demand.

Never mind that Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox Business, and other networks already offer business radio and relentlessly query Fortune 500 bosses, investors who own their companies, and disrupters who would replace them.

"This is not CNBC or Fox Business Network" - not for breaking news - said SiriusXM spokesman Patrick Reilly, though he promised "very, very timely" guests.

For example? During a wintertime "soft launch," operations and information management professor David Robertson reported how the South by Southwest gathering in Austin "has become a showcase for much more than just music." Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen (who is also chairman of the University of Pennsylvania's board of trustees) did a segment to talk about the company's pending takeover of Time Warner Cable.

What's the business model? "This is not a moneymaking venture for Wharton. We view it as part of our mission to disseminate business content and to build our reputation as the authoritative source of business knowledge," while "SiriusXM seeks good content because their business model is based on subscriptions," Brandon Lodriguss of Wharton's Innovation Group, which is overseeing the effort, told me.

Who has editorial control? A board of faculty and administrators will review programming and potential conflicts. "But we are [broadcasting] live, and the default position of the school, so long as there are no legal violations or libel or slander, is that we don't censor our faculty or hosts," Lodriguss said.

"They're not going to stand for censoring of any sort," added Don Huesman, Lodriguss' colleague.

Regular programs include:

Behind the Markets, Fridays 1-2 p.m., when host Jeremy Schwartz joins finance professor Jeremy Siegel (the self-described "Wizard of Wharton") to talk stocks and strategists.

The Digital Show, Mondays 5-7 p.m., when professors Kevin Werbach and Kartik Hosanagar will be joined by ex- Federal Communications Commission Chairman Reed Hundt to talk about, for example, Comcast mergers. Followed at 7 Mondays by Bay Area Ventures, "from the campus of Wharton San Francisco," with "insights and opinions" from Silicon Valley and biotech makers and backers.

The Wharton Sports Business Show, Tuesdays 4-5 p.m., where sports business profs Kenneth Shropshire and Scott Rosner will "take you behind the scenes" with sports guests like Scott O'Neil, CEO of Comcast-Spectacor's Philadelphia 76ers, and Neil Glat, president of the New York Jets. (For a nerdier take, there's also Wharton Moneyball, 8-10 a.m. Wednesdays, which will feature sports statisticians ranking players and trying to compare athletes across sports.)

Leadership in Action, where professor Michael Useem and his management colleagues "invite leaders from top organizations to reveal the steps to effective leadership."

Corporate guests this week also will include William Lauder of Estee Lauder Cos. and retired American Airlines boss Bob Crandall.

There also will be shows focusing on women at work, personal finance, real estate, and promising segments on When Things Go Wrong.



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