Jack Hobbs is one of the key executives making it happen for Spanish Broadcasting Systems, a company which just reported a nice surge in Q3 revenue. He discusses what SBS has in the works, the particular challenges it faces as an Hispanic group and the challenges it shares with all broadcasters.
Current company: Spanish Broadcasting Systems
Position: Executive Vice President
Location: Dallas and Miami
Place of Birth: Philly
Date of Birth: 11/11/55
Spouse/Kid/Personal info: Married, two kids – girl at NYU Tisch School – filmmaker, boy senior at Coppell High School, wife Lee
College: Lynchburg College
Favorite band or artist: Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Green Day
Favorite movies: Bull Durham, Ferris Bueller, Stripes, Vacation, Step Brothers, Zoolander, Talladega Nights, Anchorman
Favorite books: The Hunger Games
Sports Team Preferences: Eagles, Philly, Sixers, Flyers
Hobbies/Passions: Coacingh Little League
Causes/Charities: Border Collie Rescue. Is NYU a charity?
1.How did you get started in the business?
After my professional baseball career finished, I became a weather man at WMGM channel 40 and man did I suck. I couldn’t read a Teleprompter, but I did hang the USA Today Weather Map from the camera. I also worked as an intern at KYW 3 in Philadelphia on the “People are Talking” magazine show and after an illustrious Major League career, also worked as a waiter during that time, much to my father’s chagrin. Ultimately, I interviewed with every major broadcast entity in NY until Andy Goldman and Renee Anselmo from SIN (the precursor of Univision), thought I had moxie and hired me as a regional sales representative. One of the first gringos in the Latin broadcast business. I worked at Univision from 1985 as a regional sales rep up to Executive Vice President of Corporate Sales 2013.
2. How is Q4 looking for SBS, and how are your prospects for 2014 shaping up for both radio and television?
Q4 is shaping up nicely for radio and television. We have also soft-launched Aire Radio Networks and have been fine tuning our delivery systems and programs. For 2014, we are very, very involved with the upfront activity going on currently. We expect to be able to deliver strong ratings against the five new network lineups with the Advantage Network (for men), the Young Adult Network (for young Hispanic adults), the Millennial Network for A18-34 (bilingual) and the first ever retail network, which enables a retailer to have multiple spot placement across the country. In addition, we have Thalia, our number one guy in NY, Alex Sensation, Rafa Hernandez who is the primo in deportes, as well as network traffic and weather reports.
3. Does SBS have plans to expand the business, such as M&A activity, or expansion of digital assets, or anything else?
We have already started our expansion with Phoenix and Bakersfield additions into the sales process. Our digital assets, La Musica, have seen a tremendous increase from a user base as well as overall sales. Andrew Polsky and his digital sales team have done a tremendous job prospecting, presenting, and closing many new clients, such as Lexus automotives, UFC, movie releases, etc. Our concert events from SBSE (SBS Entertainment) had a tremendous year starting with Ricardo Arjona and 10 sold out arenas and then followed by Carlos Vives during the summer with eight of the 10 venues sold out, and Carlos garnering six Latin GRAMMY nominations. Next year, we look at Enrique Iglesias to start the year and the year looks even more robust. Aire Radio Networks will be part of all of the concert promotion, activation going through 2014.
4. What challenges does SBS face that are different from mainstream broadcasters?
Within the Hispanic market, there always seems to be the need for us to truly have to “prove” that Hispanic listeners consume. Now, that Hispanic is truly mainstream, general market shops have started to allocate resources for Hispanic against radio overall. Our challenge is to provide the general market shops with the systems that they are familiar with, for us to be measured and bought going forward. OMD with Natalie Swed-Stone, and Carat with Diane Anderson, as well as MV42 with Jessica Roman and Caleb Windover and Havas with Melissa Colon and Sara Jane, are all looking at Hispanic and especially Aire radio networks and will activate accordingly. As the only true Hispanic owned media company, our finger is on the pulse in markets like NY (#1 station) and Los Angeles (another #1 station) and that provides us with the ability to “listen” to our core listeners and consumers as well as our core advertisers.
5. What challenges does SBS face that are universal to all broadcasters?
It’s important that SBS remain relevant in the radio market place as it is important for all radio broadcasters. Jeff Smulyan’s plan with radio in cell, is an incredible opportunity for broadcasters to “get in the pocket “of listeners. Radio’s ability to reach millions every week has to be preached to advertisers, agencies and during all new business presentations. Over the past several years we’ve heard agencies tell us “digital this, digital that” but the proof is in the pudding, where our overall listening has increased almost every year. We have to be our own cheerleader. Radio works.
6. Is there any question you’d like to answer that we forgot to ask?
Aire is real radio that has arrived and it’s a unique alternative to the standard, ho-hum network platforms that I have unfortunately worked for in the past. SBS has the best talent, best stations, 30+ major concert events, interactive apps to finally reach Hispanic, bilingual consumers “through a Hispanic owned network!” Thank you for your time.