The University of Pennsylvania's Wharton business college this week launches "Business Radio Powered by the Wharton School," on pay-radio's Sirius Channel 111, where the school's headline scholars will interview corporate CEOs, comment on stock and economic degvelopments and offer subscribers how-to advice on starting, running and cashing in on businesses, in shows broadcast 24/7 -- including an average five hours scheduled new content each workday, which they hope to boost to 8 hours a day soon, with playbacks on-demand.
Nevermind that Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox Business and other networks already offer business radio and relentlessly query Fortune 500 bosses, investors who own them and disruptors who would replace them. Wharton can uniquely slake the business public's "thirst for expert information on the fundamentals of running a business successfully," says Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM president and Chief Content Officer, in a statement offering "direct access to some of the brightest minds in business today." It's a "unique avenue to disseminate creative cutting-edge programming," adds Wharton Dean Thomas S. Robertson, who plans to step down in favor of newly hired Australian Geoffrey Garrett this summer.
"This is not CNBC or Fox Business Network" -- not for breaking news -- said SiriusXM spokesman Patrick Reilly -- though he promised "very, very timely" guests and topics. For example? During the "soft launch," host operations and information management Prof. David Robertson reported on how SXSW "has become a showcase for much more than just music." Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen (who is also chairman of Penn's trustees) was on to talk about the company's planned takeover of Time Warner Cable, Reilly added (revised).
What's the business model? "This is not a money-making 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 Project, which is overseeing the effort, told me.
Who has editorial control? A board of faculty and administrators will review programming and potenital contracts. "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 added.
"They're not going to stand for censoring of any sort," added Don Huesman, Lodriguss's colleague at Innovation Project.
Regular programs include, for example:
- Behind the Markets, Fridays 1 p.m. Eastern time, when host Jeremy Schwartz joins typically bullish Wharton Finance Prof Jeremy Siegel (the self-described "Wizard of Wharton") to talk stocks and strategists.
- The Digital Show, Mondays 5-7, where Profs. Kevin Werbach and Kartik Hosanagar will be joined by ex-FCC Chairman Reed Hundt to talk about, for example, Comcast's next merger. Followed at 7 p.m. Mondays by Bay Area Ventures, "live 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, where sports business Profs Kenneth Shropshire and Scott Rosner will 'take you behind the scenes" with sports guests like Scott McNeil, president of the Philadelphia 76ers (corrected), and Neil Glat, president of the New York Jets. (For a nerdier take, see 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 Prof. Michael Useem and his management colleagues "invite leaders from top organizations to reveal the steps to effective leadership."
Corporate guests this week will also include William Lauder of Estee Lauder Cos., Bob Crandall the retired boss of American Airlines, glass mogul David Gilboa of Warby Parker, and beer marketer Don Smolenski, among others.
There will also be shows focusing on women at work, personal finance, real estate, and "When Things Go Wrong."