- Feb 5, 2006
Gossip Blogger Expands Into Radio
By SARAH MCBRIDE
In a move that shows how the blogosphere is generating new talent for traditional media, Perez Hilton, ubiquitous purveyor of celebrity gossip on the Internet, is expanding his empire to the airwaves.
Starting May 5, the blogger, whose real name is Mario Lavandeira, will have his own twice-daily miniradio show. Running three minutes in both the morning and afternoon rush hours, the show will launch in big cities including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, with a goal of rolling out to more markets in the next few months. Mr. Lavandeira will call into the biggest stations to chat live with the hosts; smaller stations will get a produced version with some quips tailored for individual cities.
The radio show is part of a strategy that includes more television appearances; the release this summer of a feature movie, "Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild," in which Mr. Lavandeira stars as himself; a coming book; and a possible development deal with Warner Bros. Records.
Mr. Lavandeira said he draws inspiration from other celebrities who carefully cultivate public images and business deals, such as Paris Hilton. "She and her team have been able to create her into this cottage industry," he said.
Some fans might find radio an old-fashioned place for brand extension, but Mr. Lavandeira doesn't agree. He said he regularly listens to radio, particularly while driving, and sees the medium as an opportunity to drive more traffic to his Web site. "It will hopefully introduce me, potentially, to a whole new audience," he said.
Mr. Lavandeira's site drew 2.8 million unique visitors in February, according to comScore Inc., making it the ninth-most popular entertainment-news site in the U.S. OMG!, the Yahoo Inc. site, ranked first with 9.4 million visitors.
The show, "Radio Perez," marks the debut offering from "C" Student Entertainment Corp., a radio and mobile-focused programming provider created by Steve Lehman, former chairman and chief executive of Premiere Radio Networks, and Andy Schuon, former head of programming at MTV, MTV2, VH1 and Infinity Broadcasting, now CBS Radio.
"We're going to prove that [the blogosphere] is a place where you can find talent," said Mr. Schuon.