Along with his partner Sam Ambrose, Nathan Green founded New Level Radio in 2007 and began providing customizable radio networks for businesses all over the U.S.
Since that time, the thriving Denver, Colo.-based company has found its niche in the casino industry, working with nearly 40 properties in over 20 states.
The idea for New Level Radio spawned just like so many other start-up businesses. Green was working in radio sales and marketing for terrestrial radio stations in Hawaii, where Ambrose was an on-air personality. One of the clients for the radio station Ambrose worked at asked if he could cut a promotional spot that they could play at their business and the proverbial light bulb went on.
“We started to brainstorm and we said, ‘Instead of just cutting a promotional piece, why not provide an entire playlist of songs surrounding it?’” Green said. “We both agreed that it could be huge, and before long we were in business.
“It was a pretty innovative thing when we started; we really didn’t have any competition and even today there’s not anyone else that does exactly what we do. We kind of created the category and we’ve owned it ever since.”
There are several factors that make New Level Radio’s offerings much different and more effective for a business to utilize as compared to firing up Pandora or a satellite radio station. First off, everyone in the company comes from a radio background. Secondly, the programming New Level Radio creates is unique to every client, based on the business type and, not only the customer, but the demographic of the clientele as it changes throughout the day. This is essentially why New Level Radio is perfect for a casino. In the case of MGM Grand Las Vegas, there are more than 20 zones throughout with specific music and messaging tailored to the kind of customer that comes in at different times of the day.
While every property is different, typically some sort of promotion is played after every four to eight songs or about every 15 to 20 minutes, although most restaurants don’t have any marketing messages included in their playlist.
“We’re so much more than a background music provider,” Green said. “The idea is to make music a part of the whole experience. When you walk into the casino, you immediately smell, taste and hear something. The audio is a huge part of that. If they’re playing Metallica and Slayer, that’s probably not going to provide the vibe you’re looking for.”
New Level Radio’s casino clients have certainly embraced the concept. The company provides programming for nearly the entire south end of the Las Vegas Strip, with properties such as Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Tropicana Las Vegas, Luxor Hotel and Casino, New York-New York Hotel & Casino and MGM being long-time customers. Elsewhere in Las Vegas, New Level Radio programming can also be heard at Circus Circus Hotel Casino – Las Vegas, Silver Sevens Hotel & Casino and El Cortez Hotel & Casino. Clients in other parts of the country include Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Saratoga Casino Black Hawk and Isle Casino Hotel – Blackhawk in Colorado and the Affinity Gaming properties in Missouri and Iowa.
Green says that New Level’s client retention rate is above 90 percent and most of its casino property clients have been with them for more than five years.
“With casinos, you have such a big variance of customers coming in at all different hours of the day, so it’s important to keep the music and messaging fresh,” he said. “We are creating a living, breathing station that is constantly evolving and changing. We’re always adding new content and switching up the messaging depending on what’s going on at the property. If a casino is going to be hosting a country music concert, we will work in more country music. It’s a subtle thing, but it’s very important.”
But above all, Green credits the personal touch and customer service that he and his team provide as the key reason for success.