Welcome to RBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 24, Issue 209, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Thursday Morning October 25th, 2007

Radio News ®

CBS Radio reorganizes
CBS Radio announced Interep's CBS Radio Sales President Michael Weiss is being hired by the company to be in charge of sales for all CBS Radio-owned stations. Weiss replaces Michael Kincaid who has resigned due to medical reasons. Kincaid will be taking on a new position within CBS to be announced. Interep says it has begun the process of finding a new President for CBS Radio Sales. CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason is taking a more hands-on role, overseeing 57 stations in 10 top markets, including Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, LA, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Scott Herman, who had been EVP, Eastern Region, now takes the role of EVP/Operations, overseeing 87 stations in the other CBS Radio markets.

In addition, the Regional Director role is being eliminated. Regional Vice Presidents Don Bouloukos and Lisa Decker will remain as SVP/Market Managers for New York, and Seattle and Portland, respectively. Bouloukos will also assume the role of GM for top-10 billing WFAN-AM NY (former GM Chuck Bortnick is no longer with the station). We had mischaracterized these moves as "demotions" yesterday in our bulletin, but in fact, they're sharing the responsibility with Herman in the markets and just doing away with the extra layer of management.

RBR observation: It's really a more direct form of management, moving away from the Clear Channel style of RVP roles. The changes have Market Managers now reporting directly to top management at CBS Radio, providing faster response and more efficient communications. This is a big leg up for Herman, who adds Riverside, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Denver, Rochester, NY, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Orlando, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Tampa, West Palm, Hartford, Charlotte, Atlanta, Baltimore, Minneapolis, San Diego and St. Louis. At the top, though, it emphasizes again what a hands-on guy Dan Mason is. He's already been dealing personally and directly with re-formatting stations in the largest markets that have been the biggest problems for CBS. How's that working out? We get his latest report card a week from today when CBS reports its Q3 results.

Withers bats at CCU while batting for broadcasters
The Commerce Committee hearing on the Future of Radio heard testimony from a wide variety of industry players, and there could have been room for more. Russ Withers represented the NAB and group owners. Mac McCaughan of Merge Records was the small record label owner; Tim Westergren of Pandora represented internet radio; Free Press's Derek Turner was the watchdog; Carol Pierson made the case for small community and LPFM broadcasters; and Dana Davis Rehm gave NPR's perspective.
| Read More |

Dorgan comes out with guns blazing
If the FCC is planning to act on media ownership by 12/18/07, "they should understand they are going to be in for a huge battle." That is how Byron Dorgan (D-ND) opened up yesterdays Senate Commerce Committee hearing on the Future of Radio, and it was the entire theme of his subsequent press conference which also included Trent Lott (R-MS). At the press conference, Dorgan said that until an in-progress FCC study of localism begun under former Chairman Michael Powell is completed, along with study of public interest standards and minority/female ownership, any talk of rule changes is premature. He said that the announcement that current FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wished to shoot for a 12/18/07 vote on the topic caught the Senate by complete surprise. Lott, who reminisced about his days providing reports to a local radio station from his high school in the Pascagoula-Moss Point MS area, said that kind of programming has virtually disappeared. "The FCC must first establish that there are mechanisms in place to make sure broadcasters are serving their local communities." And once that's been done, the FCC should proceed on the basis of assessing what rules are in the public interest, not what rules can be successfully relaxed.

Dorgan is certain he has "massive" support among Senate Democrats, and Lott, who said this is a bipartisan issue, expects to have supporters from his side of the aisle as well. A 12/18/07 vote is likely to draw the same Resolution of Disapproval that it did four years ago. RBR asked why the Senators don't just write rules themselves, as Congress did with the conference-committee law putting the national television audience cap at 39%. Dorgan said they're still trying to find the closet in which that plank became law, but added that it is the FCC's job to write regulations. Other legislative tactics may come into play, but he said, "We would hope that the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission would not try to ram this through by December 18." Dorgan said there was no urgency to the matter. They were unaware that the principals in the pending sale of Tribune Company may have a different view of that, but said that regardless, one business transaction should not be the basis for a body of regulation.

Tribune's quarter
better than expected

Q3 revenues were down, but only 4% for Tribune Company, not the 7% that Wall Street had expected, and earnings per share were much better than expected. CEO Dennis FitzSimons said TV ad revenues improved as the quarter went on and newspaper revenue trends improved slightly. FitzSimons still says the company expects to complete its going private transaction in Q4, but that still needs FCC waiver approvals. Tribune has not been conducting quarterly conference calls with analysts since announcing its plan to go private. Even so, it still issues detailed quarterly earnings reports. The company did not, however, provide any forward guidance, except about hoping to close the transaction in Q4. Radio/Entertainment revenues, including the lone radio property WGN-AM Chicago, rose 2.4% to 117.8 million. But with fewer home games for the Chicago Cubs than a year ago, cash flow decreased 8.7% to 32.3 million.

"In television, ad revenue improved as the quarter progressed. New York finished the quarter strong on higher ratings from new syndicated programming and the CW network's fall launch. Chicago also had a good September, thanks in part to Chicago Cubs telecasts," FitzSimons said in the quarterly announcement. TV revenues rose 3.9% for Q3 to 288.3 million, with the gain credited mostly to cable retransmission consent payments. TV operating cash flow gained 14.3% to 98.2 million. Total revenues for the Broadcasting and Entertainment division rose 3.4% to 406.1 million and cash flow gained 7.6% to 130.5 million. That was the good news. In Publishing, revenues declined 7.3% to 870.8 million and operating cash flow slumped 11.3% to 165.6 million. Even so, FitzSimons said publishing revenue trends improved slightly. Retail advertising for the newspapers declined 6%, while national rose 2%. Classified, however, dropped 18%.

Ticket price lawsuits
get class action OK

A federal judge in Los Angeles has granted class action status to a bunch of different lawsuits from several states alleging that Clear Channel Communications and its former subsidiary, Clear Channel Entertainment, illegally inflated concert ticket prices through market dominance. Although the concert business, now called Live Nation, is no longer part of Clear Channel, the latter remains a defendant in the lawsuits. If nothing else, the lawsuits make the case that radio is a powerful medium. "The complaints state that radio is by far the most effective marketing tool for music artists to promote concerts, and Clear Channel enjoys a near monopoly of the market. Artists often have no other choice but to use Clear Channel to promote live concerts, the complaint continues. According to the complaints, the company's unlawful leveraging of its economic strength in the FM radio business obligates artists who would otherwise turn to other concert promoters to use Clear Channel's promotion services," said the lead law firm, Seattle-based Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, in announcing the class action certification. "The claims made by the plaintiffs are erroneous, misleading and completely without merit. We look forward to proving that it court," said a company statement from Clear Channel sent to RBR.

RBR observation: "Near monopoly" may be a bit of a stretch when talking about Clear Channel Radio. It isn't even the dominant radio company in its headquarters town. And lately it has been selling, not buying stations. Now, if the combination of radio and concert promotion had been as potent as the critics claimed, Clear Channel would likely still be in the concert business today - instead of having spun-off Live Nation at a huge loss.

Satellite radio sales still falling
Retail sales of XM and Sirius receivers were down 30% in September, according to NPD data. And Bank of America analyst Jonathan Jacoby notes that September had the easiest comps this year, since the month had been down 9% a year ago. XM unit sales were down 35% year-over-year in September and Sirus sales dropped 26%. "Yes, OEM manufacturers have made recent announcements on increasing rates, but retail sales continue to deteriorate at a much worse than expected rate," Jacoby told clients. The BofA analyst is also less optimistic than most of Wall Street about the likelihood of the proposed XM-Sirius merger clearing regulatory hurdles.

Ad Business Report TM

Youth radio and
new media habits

Paragon Media Strategies has unveiled its study of Youth Radio and New Media Habits, quantifying how the next generations of 25-54 year olds use radio and new media. They interviewed 474 respondents age 14-24 via an online survey. Highlights:

* 73% of respondents say a majority of their music listening time is spent listening to music on sources other than radio (CDs, MP3s, iPods, streaming, satellite radio, etc).
* Radio maintains a strong 41% of 14-24's time listening to recorded music.
* Throughout the study, females 19-24 indicate their use of radio is significantly more than the other three age/gender groups.
* Listening to music on sources other than radio is pronounced among younger and male respondents.
* iPods and personal mixed CDs are the major threats to radio time spent listening (TSL).
* 78% have iPods, and half of them (49%) are now listening less to radio (18% are listening more).
* 68% of iPod owners have personalized playlists; they are creating their own content.
* Over three-quarters listen to personalized music CDs (mix CDs), and a third of them (32%) are now listening less to radio (19% are listening more).
* Listening to audio over the internet is also an important reason among those who say they're listening to radio less.
* There is a lot of churn in radio tuning. 44% are listening more and 40% are listening less to radio than before.

Media Markets & Money TM
Vox finds home in Indiana
Bruce Danziger, Dan Barlow and Keith Thomas are taking their Vox Communications Group into a new state - Indiana. Blackburn & Co. reports that they are buying clusters in Muncie-Marion and Kokomo from Dave Keister's Mid-America Radio Group. Included are WXXC-FM, WCJC-FM, WMRI-AM & WBAT-AM in Muncie-Marion and WZWZ-FM, WMYK-FM and WIOU-AM in Kokomo. Vox already has stations in Massachusetts, Virginia, Texas and Florida.

Media Business Report TM
Meredith pacts with Wal-Mart for
Better Homes and Gardens Home Products

Meredith announced a multi-year licensing agreement with Wal-Mart for the design, marketing and retailing of a wide range of home products based on the Better Homes and Gardens brand. This new line of home products is expected to be available by the fall of 2008. Merchandise includes items bedding and throws; bath accessories; dinnerware and kitchen textiles; and decorative pillows. "This represents the largest extension of products bearing the Better Homes and Gardens brand in its 85-year history," said Meredith President and CEO Stephen Lacy. "We're excited to be partnering with Wal-Mart in bringing the Better Homes and Gardens style into the homes of millions of American shoppers."

Washington Business Report TM
LPFM vote in the offing
The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a mark-up for 10/30/07. Included on the agenda is S.1675 Local Community Radio Act of 2007. Its main thrust is to promote the creation of LPFM stations by eliminating third-channel adjacency protections currently in place, citing what the NAB has argued is a flawed study to hold that there would not be undue interference to existing full-power FM service. Other issues of interest to the FCC but not necessarily broadcasters are S.1853 Community Broadband Act of 2007 and S.2096, Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007.

Internet Business Report TM
Microsoft wins
wooing of Facebook

Microsoft is taking a 240 million bucks equity stake in Facebook, valuing the social networking company at 15 billion. Both Microsoft and rival Google had been intensely wooing Facebook for some time. With the deal announced yesterday, Microsoft will become the exclusive third-party advertising platform partner for Facebook and will begin to sell advertising internationally in addition to the US. Facebook says 59% of its users are outside the US. The company's website signs up a quarter-million new users each day.

Cablevision buyout rejected
Shareholders of Cablevision have turned thumbs down on the offer from the Dolan family to buy them out for 36.26 per share and take the company private. The buyout bid - the 4th offer from the Dolans - had been accepted by the company's independent directors, but ran into trouble when several large shareholders decided it was insufficient. One of those big investors, Mario Gabelli and the funds he controls, has filed a formal demand for an appraisal under Delaware corporate law. That may not matter now, since the 10.6 billion bucks offer has been rejected. The Dolans had previously indicated that they would not increase their bid again. "While we are disappointed that shareholders did not approve the transaction, there is really nothing negative about today's outcome. In fact, in many ways, it is a very positive event. We see today's outcome as a vote of confidence in the prospects of Cablevision, its management team, its 20,000 employees and the industry's future. Cablevision has become a dynamic, industry leader during the past 35 years and we are ready to continue as a public company. We are extremely proud of all of our outstanding employees who have maintained their focus on the business. We look forward to continuing our work together to serve our customers, to build on Cablevision's success and to create value for our shareholders," said a family statement released by Charles and James Dolan.

TVBR observation: What changes now? Nothing. The company is still public and the Dolans are still in charge. Now we wait to see if management can get the stock price up to the 50 bucks or so that the big investors say is the true value of the company.

1.5M KJMU-AM Tulsa OK (Sand Spring OK) and KTUV-AM Little Rock AR from Davidson Media LLC (Peter Davidson) to Birach Broadcasting Corporation (Sima Birach). 50K escrow, balance in cash at closing. [File date 10/17/07.]

Stock Talk
Stocks lower on day of bad news
Home sales dropped in September and Merrill Lynch announced a bigger write-off for subprime mortgage investments. Even so, stock prices were only slightly lower on Wednesday. The Dow Industrials were down a single point to 13,675.

Radio stocks were mostly lower. The Radio Index declined 0.458, or 0.4%, to 121.084. Westwood One rebounded 3.3% as the day's best performer. Salem was down 3.4%.

Radio Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Wednesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change




















Journal Comm.







Lincoln Natl.




Citadel CDL
4.30 -0.08

Radio One, Cl. A




Clear Channel




Radio One, Cl. D




Cox Radio












Saga Commun.




Debut Bcg.




Salem Comm.








Sirius Sat. Radio








Spanish Bcg.
















Westwood One








XM Sat. Radio





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Below the Fold
Ad Business Report
Youth radio & New Media habits
73% of respondents say a majority of their music listening time is spent listening to music on sources...

Media Business Report
Meredith pacts with
Wal-Mart for Better Homes and Gardens Home Products...

Washington Business Report
LPFM vote in the offing
Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a mark-up for 10/30/07...

Ratings & Research
Another PPM holdout signs up
Cumulus Media (and its related Cumulus Media Partners) is the latest major group...

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Radio Media Moves

Hammer time at WOR Radio Network
The WOR Radio Network has hired Nick Hammer to the position of Affiliate Relations Manager. Nick brings 10 years of affiliate relations expertise to the Network, having worked at Westwood One and Traffic.com. "I'm delighted to have a professional of Nick's caliber at our company" states Chris Thompson, WOR Radio Network's executive director. "He is a welcome addition to our Network team".

iBiquity hires Densmore
iBiquity Digital has hired Steve Densmore as broadcast engineering technology manager. He will interact with iBiquity's broadcasting partners and internal development teams to help ensure smooth commercial transitions of HD Radio broadcast products and features. Densmore previously served for 32 years as the manager of radio operations at ABC Radio.

at MSG

Veteran broker Jerry Johnson has joined Media Services Group as a director. Meanwhile, Greg Merrill (top), one of the founding partners of MSG, has returned from his two year leave of absence, during which he and his wife, Joan, served in London as public affairs missionaries in Europe/West for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Also at MSG, Eddie Esserman (bottom), who has been with the brokerage firm since 1999, has been named a Director.

More News Headlines

Journal clarification
Yesterday's story stated that Journal Communications indicated it was open to an acquisition or stock buyback and some people apparently took that to mean that Journal was interested in being acquired. Quite the opposite. It is open to making acquisitions, not selling itself.

RBR Radar 2007
Radio News you won't read any where else. RBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

Ownership profile won't stay low
Broadcast hearings on Capitol Hill, no matter which aspect of the industry they are addressing, tend to be a hot ticket. Strong opinions rein, with high profile members of the broadcast management often clashing with even higher profile members of the artistic community, while academics and watchdogs weigh in with equally strong opinions. The politicians themselves eagerly throw themselves into the fray, often using the spotlight accompanying these events to further their own political goals. The latest is Joe Biden (D-DE). We doubt that anybody following this issue will be surprised to learn he's against it. (more details in RBR)
10/24/07 RBR #208

Attorney indicted on securities fraud
Nick Verbitsky's/United Stations' Corporate Counsel lawyer, Marty Weisberg has been indicted for securities fraud and other offenses Friday in an alleged kickback scheme involving PIPEs (private investment in public equity) transactions by Xybernaut Corp. and Ramp Corp., reported Dow Jones.
10/24/07 RBR #208

RBR Classifieds

New Listing
Account Executive
Have a passion for Sports and want to be in South Florida, then the #1 one sports station 790 The Ticket - WAXY, Miami is seeking experienced AEs. Strive to be the best on and off the field of play in Sports radio today and join our team. 790 The Ticket, We've got Game. E.O.E. See Radio Careers.

General Manager
Fisher Radio, 5 stations cluster in Great Falls, MT needs a GM with passion for radio and a proven track record. Getting involved with the community necessary and to lead by example as we at Fisher Radio are committed to our people and local communities, E.O.E. See Radio Careers.

Additional Positions
Available in RBR Classifieds.
See Radio Careers.

Hard finding that key person
to fill the important position at your organization? RBR Classifieds, Results with Service. Contact April McLynn at [email protected]

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