It seems you can’t toss a brick these days without hitting a negative economic poll of one kind or another. The Conference Board came out with the latest to measure CEO pessimism. The current confidence index is now at 24, the lowest reading since 2Q 1976, and the first time it’s dipped below 30 since 2Q 1980. The figure represents CEO sentiment at the end of 4Q 2008; it stood at 40 at the end of 3Q. Future expectations fare somewhat better, with an index reading of 34, but that also represents more than a ten-point drop from 3Q’s 45.

RBR/TVBR observation: Are you surprised? Of course not. The trick for broadcasters is to remind all these CEOs that the ones who perform ahead of the curve will be the ones who maintain their presence before the public while others give in to the temptation to disappear. They need to know that cutting back on advertising will also cause them to cut back on income.