New Level Radio has casino guests grooving to the beat

9 March 2018

New Level Radio co-founder Nathan Green

New Level Radio co-founder Nathan Green (photo by New Level Radio)

It's a busy afternoon on the Strip, and Nathan Green is walking quickly through MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas on his way to a business meeting. Suddenly, he hears a Bruno Mars track kick in through the sound system above and he can't help but stop, sit back and observe.

Before long, Green notices most of the patrons inside one of the world's largest casino floors willfully bobbing their heads and mouthing the words to the smash hit "Locked Out Of Heaven." The vibe throughout the space, full of table games and slot machines, has taken a sudden upbeat turn. Green can’t help but smile, knowing that he is just as responsible for the newly festive atmosphere as is Mars’ distinctive tenor.

Along with his partner Sam Ambrose, Green founded New Level Radio in 2007 and began providing customizable radio networks for businesses all over the U.S. Since that time, Green has delightedly experienced many moments just like the one described above as he strolls through casino floors from coast to coast.

The thriving Denver-based company has found its niche in the casino industry, working with nearly 40 properties in more than 20 states. So, chances are, it is New Level Radio that has coerced you to get your groove on while sitting at a blackjack table at some point over the last decade.

“Yeah, even after all these years, it never gets old,” Green admits. “I’ll always get a kick out of seeing people on the casino floor having a good time and knowing that we’re helping the cause.”

The idea for New Level Radio spawned just like so many other start-up businesses, with two longtime friends spitballing ideas. 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 remembers. “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 use than firing up Pandora or a satellite radio station. First off, everyone in the company comes from a radio background.

“We’re not just throwing 500 songs against the wall to see what sticks,” Green says. “There are other companies out there that have the tech expertise, but not the experience in the music industry. We have both.”

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. So, playing that Bruno Mars song wasn’t an accident. It was a well-thought out plan.

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,” says Green. “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, unless it’s at the Hard Rock.

New Level Radio provides original programming and messaging for many popular Las Vegas casinos, including the MGM Grand.

New Level Radio provides original programming and messaging for many popular Las Vegas casinos, including the MGM Grand. (photo by MGM Resorts International)

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 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 - Black Hawk in Colorado and the Affinity Gaming properties in Missouri and Iowa.

Green says that New Level's client retention rate is above 90% 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 says. “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.”

When Nathan and Ambrose launched New Level Radio more than a decade ago, most of the programming was done with simple technology. Since then, they have continually upgraded their equipment and menu of services. They started to introduce music video zones as part of their programming and all of their clients' content can be changed on a whim, oftentimes done by Green, who can access all of the individual stations via his cell phone.

But above all, Green credits the personal touch and customer service that he and his team provide as the key reason for success.

“We are about as hands-on as you can get,” Green says proudly. “I make visits to the client properties on a regular basis, and we’re always asking and discussing what we can do different, what we can do better. And that’s what makes it so fun.

"There’s nothing quite as magical as seeing a casino floor bursting with energy with people getting away from it all and having a good time. And if they’re having a good time, they are more apt to stay on property and ultimately spend more money. That fact that we can play a role in creating that is very exciting.”


Related Links
New Level Radio Gaming Vendor Information
New York-New York Hotel & Casino Details
Saratoga Casino Black Hawk Details
Silver Sevens Hotel & Casino Details
Tropicana Las Vegas Details
Beau Rivage Resort & Casino Details
Circus Circus Hotel Casino - Las Vegas Details
El Cortez Hotel & Casino Details
Isle Casino Hotel - Black Hawk Details
Luxor Hotel and Casino Details
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino Details
MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas Details

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