Peter Kafka

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Google Turns Off Its Radio Ad Business; Up to 40 Layoffs

A nonsurprise: Google is getting out of the radio advertising business, yet another nonstarter the company is trimming from its extensive portfolio. Google says it will continue to work on audio advertising, though–in the nascent market for Internet audio streaming ads.

Last month, Google killed its print advertising business, a move that didn’t result in layoffs. But in a blog post, VP Susan Wojicki says that the decision to close down Google Audio Ad and to sell off its Radio Automation business may result in up to 40 firings.

This is the second time in less than a month that Google (GOOG) has announced it’s getting rid of full-time employees. In January, the company said it would sack as many as 100 recruiters.

Google got into audio in 2006 via the acquisition of dMarc, a deal that involved a $102 million upfront payment and potential earnouts of more than $1 billion. It’s doubtful that Google ever paid more than its initial fee, however: The start-up’s founders left fairly quickly after the acquisition, and the company never made real headway in radio.

That leaves TV as the remaining Google foray into traditional ad formats. It’s the one the company has spent the most effort on, but there’s not much to show for it so far: basically, a deal to sell some ads via EchoStar (SATS) and  a pact signed with GE’s (GE) NBC last fall.