Entercom CEO David Field issues midyear update


David FieldLast week, all of the company’s PD and GMs gathered in Minneapolis for management meetings, hearing presentations from a number of programming, research and digital thought-leaders from across the country on the state of radio and how they can continue to develop, improve and grow. Entercom shared the memo from Field, and it continues:

“We also celebrated the wonderful job our programming team has done to build the incredible brands we are fortunate to own.  We have terrific content, large audiences, outstanding personalities, great ratings, and powerful listener engagement.  I found the meetings extremely motivating and informative and really enjoyed the time with our team of top-notch programming leaders.

Coming out of these meetings, I’d like to share with each of you my thoughts on where we are headed, focusing on a few key principles that will continue to guide us as we build our company and invest in our collective future.

INVESTING IN OUR PEOPLE – We strongly believe in the importance of investing in our people.  We are continually looking for ways to improve the quality of tools, resources, coaching, and training we provide to support each of you and enable you to grow and achieve success in your careers.   Over the past couple years, we have added significant new capabilities and many talented professionals to our support team.  Just last week, we created a new Director of Audience Digital Engagement position and named Kim Reis to this role.  Kim will work full-time as a resource to our PD’s and air talent to enhance their effectiveness across all digital and social media platforms.  We also announced that Lorna Ozmon of Ozmon Media, who has built a stellar reputation coaching air talent, will now be spending a significantly greater portion of her time with Entercom helping our personalities improve their shows.   We intend to continue to make additional investments in great training, coaching and support.

I would add that providing internal career advancement opportunities for our top performers remains a core value in our Company and we intend to emphasize that even more in the future.  As an example, we take great pride from the fact that over half of our General Managers were promoted from within.

INVESTING IN OUR FUTURE – We live in an era of hyperchange with a rapidly evolving  competitive landscape.  Our listeners and customers have lots of choices and to stay competitive we need to get better every day.  We are making a number of changes to enable Entercom to grow and thrive in the years ahead.  While some of these changes are difficult and painful, we need to recognize that we are investing tens of millions of dollars in adding new positions and capabilities that are enabling us to do a better job of serving our listeners and customers.  Over the past couple years, we have launched a number of terrific new brands, added lots of great content (including a number of new air personalities and sports play-by-play partners), enhanced our digital platforms, hired a Revenue Management team, created a Sales Resource Center, and upgraded our operating systems.   These are just a few examples of the recent investments we have made.  We have a number of other exciting projects in the works and will continue to work tirelessly to identify opportunities to improve ourselves by investing in various ways that make us more attractive to our listeners and our customers.

MAKING ENTERCOM A BETTER PLACE TO WORK  – As you know, Weezie Kramer assumed the role of Station Group President a few months ago.   She immediately embarked on a “listening tour” to reach out to many of you across the country to hear your thoughts on how we could improve the Company.  She then initiated an employee survey so that everyone in the Company had a chance to weigh in and share their thoughts.  The level of engagement was terrific as 86% of you completed the survey.  Candidly, while there was a lot of very positive feedback, there were also a number of issues and concerns raised and suggestions on how we can improve.   We learned a lot from the survey and I can assure you that she and I and the entire management team are taking the feedback seriously and viewing it as an opportunity to make Entercom  a better place to work and a stronger organization.  Weezie formed a task force to review and consider the issues that have been raised and make recommendations on how we can improve.   Making sure that Entercom is a great place to work is important and we are committed to that goal.

WHY WE MATTER – In Minneapolis, we heard from a number of prominent outside speakers who reminded us of the hugely important role Radio plays in the lives of our listeners, our customers, and our communities.  Immersed in our day-to-day jobs, it is sometimes hard to see the big picture, but when you take the time to step back and focus on what makes Radio so special, it is truly remarkable.

We entertain and inform over 230 million Americans weekly.  We provide companionship and connect people with news and information about their local communities.  We set the mood; we can help people work more productively or provide them with a relaxing escape from life’s pressures.  We enable music discovery and curate to provide the best songs of today and yesterday.  We are the primary way new music and artists are introduced to the American public.  We deliver sports play-by-play and commentary.  Our personalities form meaningful connections and engagement with their audiences.  We literally save lives by providing a lifeline in times of emergency.  We connect the public with thought-leaders who offer their opinions and moderate local town hall discussions on issues of topical significance.  We help our communities heal in the wake of tragedies.  We rally our communities to rescue our neediest neighbors and support our most worthy charitable organizations.  We help Americans become better people through our public service campaigns.  We move people to action, on behalf of their communities or our advertisers.  We serve the American public in all of these important ways and yet charge them nothing in exchange.  WHO ELSE DOES ALL OF THIS?  Who comes even close to matching what we do?  Nobody.  It is true that we are sometimes overlooked and underappreciated, but the bottom line is that WE TRULY MATTER TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE…….. in a very big way.

And Radio is thriving.  More people listen to AM/FM Radio than ever before in history.  And AM/FM Radio has more than 9x the combined listening of all satellite and internet radio combined.   The addition of our digital platforms has enabled us to engage our audiences and serve our advertisers in unprecedented ways.   We have generated hundreds and hundreds of case studies demonstrating our effectiveness in delivering results for our customers.    And we have a huge opportunity to grow our revenues significantly by taking a much larger share of our customers’ marketing budgets from challenged competitors like newspaper, direct mail, yellow pages, television and others.  The simple fact is we offer our customers a much better value proposition than these competitors and should get a much bigger share of customer budgets.

FINAL THOUGHTS – It is truly a privilege to work in Radio and impact the world in so many profoundly important ways.  Again, we don’t always reflect on that, but it is the truth.  Entercom will continue to strive to be among the best local radio and digital companies.  We will continue to strive to be among the best local marketing solutions companies.  We will continue to strive to be a great corporate citizen and to provide a fulfilling workplace for our people.  Like every business in today’s ever-changing world, the road ahead will have some bumps and there will be some tough decisions along the way.  But we remain fundamentally committed to making big investments in our people, our workplace, our brands, and our capabilities to ensure that we succeed and thrive in the years ahead.

I thank you for all you have done and all you will do to make Entercom special.

All best wishes,