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Welcome to RBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 25, Issue 197, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Wednesday Morning October 8th, 2008

Now it's up to the FCC to decide
Reply comments are in for the FCC's docket proceeding on whether it should launch an investigation of PPM. Very few of the filings, however, addressed the key issue - whether the FCC has any authority to conduct such an investigation. The PPM Coalition, which sought the investigation, says it is not asking the FCC to regulate Arbitron, but insists that the Commission certainly has authority to inform itself about facts affecting the radio industry. Arbitron counters that it would be a "serious mistake" for the FCC to jump into the fray and divert the company's attention from securing MRC accreditation for PPM.

RBR observation: The FCC has no in-house expertise in evaluating media ratings methodologies. The FCC has no power to make Arbitron change anything even after completing such a probe. Even if you accept the position that the Commission somehow has the authority to conduct such an investigation - which is quite a legal stretch - what's the point?

Arbitron cancels monthly PPM call
Faced with battling the Attorney General of New York in court and trying to convince the FCC to stay out of the Portable People Meter (PPM) controversy, Arbitron has canceled its monthly client and press call to go over PPM panel data and answer questions. The call had been scheduled for today, which was also to have been the day when September PPM data was released. That was moved up to Monday to ensure that New York AG Andrew Cuomo would not be able to get a court order barring the first currency release of PPM data in the New York market. So, instead of the monthly call, Arbitron simply released a summary, which you can read by clicking the headline.

FCC checking into military analysts
It was revealed some time ago that many if not most retired military officers used by news organizations for commentary on hostilities around the world had ties to the Pentagon, defense-related private companies or both. John Dingell (D-MI), pictured, asked the FCC in May to look into whether failure to disclose the relationship was a violation of sponsorship identification rules; now word is out that the FCC is doing so. Dingell and others are concerned that analysts had a business interest in providing favorable coverage of military operations abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that their business ties should have been revealed so consumers could make a judgment on how much weight their expressed opinions deserved.

RBR observation: This inquiry hangs on the same regulatory peg as payola, product placement, pay-for-say, secretly-sponsored product demonstrations/reviews and unattributed video and audio news releases.

Kelly Communications still above water
The owner of WOAM-AM & WPMJ-FM in Peoria IL flatly states that Kelly Communications is not headed into bankruptcy. The company is taking a breather to try to deal with an untenable situation brought about by five predominant factors, according to owner Bob Kelly. They include: (1) Flat income over a 5-year period; (2) drastic increases in operating expenses over this same period; (3) lack of ability to obtain refinancing; (4) inability to produce the operating funds; and (5) no indication that this situation is going to improve in the near future.

RBR observation: Kelly is worried that others will find themselves in a similar situation. Companies paid a certain price to enter markets. If revenue growth was plugged in as a factor in meeting covenants, and the growth fails to show up...well, enough said. He thinks television, newspaper and other media sectors face the same vulnerability.

Ideas Working Now
Election Weekend Sales
By Gregg Skall
Election day, November 4, 2008, is only five weeks away. If the past is any teacher, as we drill down to E-Day, the fury of last minute attack and response political advertising will increase at a frenzied pace. The weekend of November 1-2 will be particularly important to the candidates. Typically, they will be cutting new spots daily. They will want access to stations to place them. The question arises, must a station provide access to political time buyers in the weekend before the election?

SunTrust selects Mullen after review
SunTrust Banks has selected Mullen as its new AOR, which will encompass advertising and integrated brand communications responsibilities. Mullen's offices in Wenham, MA and Winston-Salem, NC, will handle creative, media and digital for the bank. The decision follows a review that included three finalists. Young & Rubicam had been the previous lead creative agency.


New Empire for Power Broadcasting
A buyer has been found for another station at another troubled company. The restructuring of On Top Communications will take a big step forward with the sale of KNOU-FM, licensed to Empire LA, a town about 40 miles down the Mississippi from New Orleans. The buyer is Power Broadcasting Company, headed by Rick Moreno. He'll pay $6M for the station. The sale is being steered through bankruptcy court by chief restructuring office Brian C. Rice.



$265K KYTM-FM Lufkin TX (Corrigan TX) from Tammy L. Pearce to Family Worship Center Church Inc. (Jimmy Swaggart). Promissory note. Buyer is non-profit entity. [FCC file date 9/10/08]

N/A WMSX-AM Boston MA (Brockton MA) from Hispanic Broadcasters Inc. (Antonio Molina) to Hispanic Broadcasting Asset Trust (Susan Schlesinger). Reposession. Buyers owed over $1.263M principal, $500K interest and over $73K in taxes. [FCC file date 9/11/08]



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FCC appends time to amendment period
A trio of media companies, Bonneville International Corp., Scranton Times LP, and Morris Communications, was successful in asking the FCC for more time to amendment waiver requests pertaining to the revised newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership rules, which were passed by a 3-2 commissioner vote last December but are now, surprise, surprise, hung up in the courts. The deadline for such filings was 10/7/08. The FCC agreed not only to move the amendment deadline date to 11/7/08, it will use the month to consider a second request from the three companies, that the deadline be left upon pending a court order on the numerous challenges from both sides to the FCC's 12/18/07 ruling.

RBR observation: We must have written this a thousand times by now - seems like it anyway - but nobody should be forced to transfer so much as a paper clip while matters are tied up in court, so long as there is a reasonable chance that an active cross-owned combination will pass muster once all the dust clears. The question is, will the dust ever clear? It is now five years, four months and counting since the FCC 6/2/03 rulemaking, and we're still waiting for the final act.


Roger Hedgecock goes daily with Radio America
Radio America announced the addition of The Roger Hedgecock Show, live and daily from flagship station KOGO-AM in San Diego. The long-time KOGO-AM host will make his debut 1/5/09 in the 6p-9p ET, Monday-Friday time slot. Hedgecock's program replaces The Michael Reagan Show, which has anchored that spot for the last five years. We spoke to Reagan on his future plans.

WSJ Radio Network launches new daily report
The Wall Street Journal Radio Network announced the launch of "Watching Your Wallet," a daily one-minute program with no network inventory hosted by WSJ Radio's Patrice Sikora and Jennifer Kushinka focusing on family finance will begin airing 10/13. The Radio Network will utilize its unique resources to provide financial analysis to make sound money decisions.

Z100 adds Ryan Seacrest
to middays in NYC

Z100, New York's Hit Music Station, welcomes Ryan Seacrest to middays at the station. "On Air with Ryan Seacrest" debuts Monday, October 13th and will be heard 10am-1pm, Monday through Fridays. The announcement was made by Tom Poleman, Z100's SVP Programming, and Sharon Dastur, Z100's Program Director.

WPGC-AM to announce new programming
CBS Radio DC blown up the inspirational talk format on WPGC-AM (1580) "Heaven 1580" and has replaced it with a simulcast of its Urban WPGC-FM. "The simulcast is not permanent, but we are not prepared to announce the direction with which we will be going," GM Sam Rogers tells RBR.

CRN and Salem sign deal
CRN Digital Talk Radio and Salem Broadcasting have resigned their agreement that allows CRN to syndicate Salem talent to satellite and cable television in HD audio. The agreement precedes a two year agreement and extends the relationship until 2011.


NABOB disputes Arbitron's PPM analysis
Arbitron was quick to issue a press release yesterday showing how well Urban and Spanish stations had done in the first PPM reports for eight new markets. Not so, said NABOB, which accused Arbitron of issuing a "deceptive press release." But NABOB Executive Director Jim Winston says ad buyers won't be fooled -and are likely to press for "huge reductions" in ad rates at top Urban stations based on PPM ratings.

Study uncovers consumer online ad preferences
iPerceptions, a provider of web-focused Voice of Customer analytics, announced the results of a new study that delivers accurate insights into which types of online ads are popular with consumers. iPerceptions collected user-generated feedback from over 14,000 visitors to leading media sites during the month of August to paint a detailed picture of consumer ad preferences based on their likelihood to click on different types of online ads.
The study found that, despite current buzz around video ads, marketers do not need to spend on fancy interactive ads in order to reach consumers. In fact, consumers are most likely to click on simple text ads (25% of respondents).



Bailout continues to trump election
Of course, in a way, the financial crisis feeds directly into the national conversation about the 2008 election, but in terms of direct media coverage, the travails on Wall Street are getting more play than the battle between John McCain and Barack Obama. According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism charts for 9/29/08-10/5/08, it was bailout 45%, election 34%. Even cable followed suit, despite its track record of going into election tunnel-vision-mode. Radio news picked up that baton and ran with it, however, with a near perfect reversal of the overall media newshole allocation, giving the election a 45%-35% win over the bailout. The discovery of the remains of Steve Fossett managed a two-share on the overall chart; no other story topped 1%.

Ban bonanza in California
Proposition 8 is hot. Real hot. The California ballot initiative seeks to limit marriage to a union between a man and a woman, or in other words, it seeks to ban same-gender marriage. This highly-charged issue is leading to big bucks being poured into the coffers of activist groups, and through them into the media. According to the Associated Press, the top group supporting the ban has raked in $25.4M, while those in favor of legal same-gender unions have pulled in $15.8M. The anti group has more on hand, both are planning $10M in media buys ASAP, and the lagging group expects to have caught up in funding by election day 11/4/08.

RBR observation: It just goes to show that the political category doesn't necessarily depend on battleground races.

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Merrill Lynch lowers CBS estimates
The latest research piece from Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif Cohen declares that CBS Corporation is "going from bad to worse." The analyst has lowered her financial estimates for CBS Corp. for both 2008 and 2009, along with dropping her target price by a buck. CBS will report Q3 results on October 30. Reif Cohen projects that radio EBITDA will drop 20% and television 16%.

Stocks fall again
The Federal Reserve moved into the commercial paper market, but even that didn't calm Wall Street traders. The Dow Industrials fell another 508 points, or 5.1%, to 9,447.

Radio stocks were not spared. The RBR Radio Index dropped 2.792, or 5.8%, to another all-time low of 45.128. Regent plunged 21.8%, SBS 20%, Cumulus 14.2%, Entercom 12.9% and Emmis 12.5%. But there were also double-digit gainers. Beasley gained 15.4% and Radio One 11.3%.

Here's how stocks fared on Tuesday




























Journal Comm.





Lincoln Natl.




CC Media




Radio One, Cl. A




Cox Radio*




Radio One, Cl. D*












Debut Bcg.




Saga Commun.*








Salem Comm.*








Sirius XM








Spanish Bcg.*








Westwood One*




*Component of the RBR Radio Index

Send Us Your OpinionsWe want to
hear from you
Send your comments and a photo to [email protected]

Sell honesty
First things first: I am no big fan of Arbitron. At least not the diary system that exists in the majority of the country's rated markets. I discontinued a contract with the ratings giant after spending thousands of dollars to watch ratings that varied by huge spreads book-to-book...That's why I have to stand in Arbitron's corner on PPM.

| Read the full comment |

Dan DeBruler
General Manager
Christian Listening Network
996 Helen Street
Fayetteville, NC

Below the Fold

Only On
Election Weekend Sales

Typically, they will be
cutting new spots daily

Media Markets & Money
New Empire

For Power Broadcasting a buyer has been found for another

Business Report

FCC appends

Time to amendment period
A trio of media companies
was successful in asking

Media Moves

Re-org announced
at ESPN Radio

Mo Davenport, ESPN Radio SVP/GM, announced three promotions designed maintain content and programming momentum allowing the network to present the best of both to its listeners.
Pete Gianesini, formerly Senior Director, Programming, has been promoted to the new position of Senior Director -- Radio Content & Operations, while Mike & Mike in the Morning Producer Scott Shapiro is named Program Director and Peter Ciccone is promoted from News Editor to Program Director - News Content.

New in Tucson
Journal Broadcast Group - Tucson Operations has named Dewayne Jones as Director of Sales. He joins the operation from Augusta, GA, where he served as General Sales Manager at WAGT-TV.

Rockin' in Omaha
Jim Spector has been named Program Director at Journal's heritage rock station KEZO-FM "Z-92" Omaha. Spector is a rock radio veteran with stops in Austin, Texas; Virginia Beach, and Philadelphia. He joins Z-92 from WWUZ and WWVB-FM/WYSK in Fredericksburg, VA.

More News Headlines

Minority tax credit still on back burner?
The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters notes in its latest newsletter that support is growing for reinstatement of the minority tax certificate, am instrument which encourages holders of broadcast licenses to sell to eligible entities. Bills are before the Senate, from Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and the House, from Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Bobby Rush (D-IL). However, it doesn't appear that much has changed in their status lately, and Congress is heading home to campaign. Is this matter going to be left up to the 111th Congress? Stay tuned.

Somebody still
has some money

If you assumed that private equity has dried up because of the current turmoil in the financial markets, think again. Dow Jones Private Equity Analyst reports that US private equity firms raised $222.6 billion through the first three quarters of 2008 and are on pace to set an all-time record this year. What's hot? Investing in private equity funds created to buy distressed firms.

Media Links is now ready to partner with you in our added Media Links section, click and take a look, there's alot there already. Help make this section grow and become your one-stop shop for industry-related websites. Feel free to submit websites for inclusion here. and add to your site as a reciprocal link.

Stations for Sale

Market your stations on and in our daily epaper.

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News you won't read any where else. RBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

Arbitron sues New York Attorney General
They say the best defense is a good offense - and Arbitron went on the offensive.

RBR observation: You can't reason with an out-of-control political hack, so don't even try. Arbitron must focus on winning Media Rating Council accreditation for PPM.
10/07/08 RBR #196

Cuomo to buyers:
Don't use PPM

There's been no ruling yet from a federal judge on Arbitron's proposed injunction against NY AG, so the AG is till fighting against PPM. He issued a statement calling PPM data "flawed" and warning advertisers and broadcasters not to use it.
10/07/08 RBR #196

Moody's launches broad review of broadcast ratings
The lucky ones are the companies who don't have to refinance or raise new cash in the coming months. Even so, though, many of them have to keep an eye on loan covenants so they don't trip any. So, buy your CFO an extra case of Maalox.
10/07/08 RBR #196

Smarter Strategies for Talent Blogs

A busy person with a crazy schedule and blogs like these take time. The problem lies with how the blog is set up and run.
10/07/08 RBR #196

On Markey's Satellite/HD/
AM/FM receiver bill...

Proposed radio Receiver Act I was hopeful for what would be a level playing field among AM-FM-HD-Satellite.
10/07/08 RBR #196

Arbitron threatened with lawsuit by New York Attorney General
Charging that the ratings company has engaged in unlawful and deceptive acts regarding its marketing and planned commercialization of its PPM service in New York.

RBR observation: Total BS. We thought the abuse of the NYG's office for political attacks had ended with Eliot Spitzer. Whether you love or hate PPM, Andrew Cuomo has no credentials to judge the validity of a broadcast ratings service and no legal authority to do so. His claims that the PPM methodology somehow violates a broad-based New York business law - the same law that Spitzer sought to apply to areas where he had no authority - is without legal merit. This is 100% politics.
10/06/08 RBR #195

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