Cumulus RFP submissions in; Dickey optimistic


Cumulus’ alternative ratings system RFP for markets 100+ was due yesterday. Over a dozen companies responded, Cumulus EVP/COO John Dickey tells RBR: “We’re very excited about where we are with the process and we’ve got lots of interest and lots of stuff to sort through. It’s been very heartening to see all of the interest in it and we’ve already started to dig into some of the proposals.”

The range of ideas includes everything from significant enhancements of traditional approaches to applications of new technology and hybrid solutions.

We also asked Dickey what companies, specifically, participated, but he said most of them submitted confidentiality. They will name all of the companies that submitted after the winner is selected.

“We have had a high degree of interest from some very, very large companies with some very interesting approaches. This just reaffirms our belief that we will be successful in delivering a product into our markets that will take care of our needs and do it cost-effectively…eventually, where this goes beyond that I can’t comment on, but the intent all along is for this to be a service that works for us and ultimately is something that is syndicatable to other operators in the space that we’re in as well.”

We asked how much lower the pricing is coming in than Arbitron. While he couldn’t say specifically, Dickey did say the whole premise of the RFP was to source a new solution to his audience estimate needs in these markets that provided some relief on pricing and provided a more reliable and robust product that merits the way they want to sell in those markets.

The next phase of the process is to carefully review all of the proposals and then work with select vendors to fine-tune the solutions that have the greatest potential. Cumulus anticipates having a number of proposals to work through in the second phase and are committed to investing the time needed to underwrite a solution that works for stakeholders in all of their markets.

All firms who have submitted proposals will be notified of their plans within the next two weeks.

RBR/TVBR observation: Some very, very large companies? Perhaps a previous RBR observation could apply here, from 4/18: “Imagine for a moment that Roper or Gallup responds to this RFP. For them, it’s just 54 market studies—which they do all the time—custom, tailored research for clients. The clients own the data. So the only real challenge is for Cumulus to find somebody like Gallup to work in conjunction with Cumulus to write a piece of software to display the needed data. So the solution that they may come to—or already have—will come from outside the broadcast community. If Cumulus announces they’ve teamed with a huge company like Gallup for ratings, what might that do to Cumulus’ stock price? What might that do for Gallup entering the radio biz?”