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Growing Internet radio station Pandora plans for new Oakland jobs

on March 18, 2013

Pandora Media, Inc., the Oakland-based radio station, plans to expand its workforce. “We’re in big growth mode and we’re adding staff across all our offices,” said Vice President of Human Resources Matt Morgan.

The company currently employs more than 600 workers. It has been adding close to two hundred employees every year for the last few years. A new video produced by the company for the recruiting program is designed to tell people what it’s like to work at Pandora, Morgan said.

The video, Discover Your Future at Pandora, opens with images of the employees who work for the company hanging on the wall. Those faces soon become people from different areas of the company who talk about programming and the importance of creating a cohesive work environment, which translates to a unique listening experience for the customers.

Pandora’s business has doubled on multiple levels, Morgan said. Pandora needs to add staff to support the company growth. Openings for sales associates, business managers, graphic designers and engineers are listed on the company website. Representatives did not specify how many job openings are  available, however a number of job openings are expected to be available in the Oakland area.

The company began as Savage Beast Technologies in 2000. The customized radio program used today was conceived and built after a management team, which included co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren and CEO Joe Kennedy, was in place.

Renamed Pandora Media,the online radio station was launched in 2005, offering consumers automated customized music selections based on an individual’s selections and ratings given to musical offerings in the play lists. 90 percent of revenue for the radio service is generated by advertising sales from the free subscription service. There is also an ad-free, fee-based subscription plan.

Since the radio service began, it has been compared to companies offering a similar music format such as Live365. Now it is compared to competitors like Slacker, Jango and Spotify.

Pandora offers a unique model compared to the competition, Morgan said. “We think what we do is pretty different from what the others do,” he said. “We are personalized radio. That is a space that we can win in and we are ahead in terms of our capability.”

The company now has more than 175 million registered listeners and offers more than 1 million musical tracks. Pandora received the first Technology Innovation Award presented by the East Bay Economic Development Alliance in 2012. In his statement of thanks, Kennedy acknowledged Oakland and the East Bay community for its support over the last decade. “As Pandora continues to grow and one day achieves our goal of establishing a global presence, we hope to help bring a lot of attention back to the city of Oakland and the East Bay region in general,” Kennedy said at the time.

Now the company is moving forward with its plans to accommodate this continuing growth by hiring. Executives say they are dedicated to helping contribute to Oakland’s economy, and to continuing to provide a great experience for their listeners while also offering employees a great place to work.

“We believe no matter what your role is here, you are contributing to the overall satisfaction of our customers,” Morgan said. “Every person that we hire helps foster a better listening experience for the consumer.”

Pandora is in the midst of an executive transition. The company said in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Kennedy was resigning but planned to remain until a successor is found.

For the fiscal year that ended January 31, Pandora reported a 56 percent rise in revenue to $427.1 million. After expenses, the company said it experienced a net loss of $38.1 million for the year. However, the company reassured investors that it is making progress and offered guidance for the 2014 fiscal year that envisions revenue in the range of $600 million to $620 million and a smaller net loss or modest profit for the coming year.

Image courtesy of Pandora Internet Radio.


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