Welcome to RBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 24, Issue 211, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Monday Morning October 29th, 2007
Publishers Perspective
At the stroke of midnight
12/31/07 we shout "Happy New Year 2008!" Let me be the first to say now Happy New Year, as the new two-year business cycle has already begun. The 2008 clock is ticking right this second. RBR/TVBR has stated this numerous times, "Technology Waits for No One." PPM and LPM are rolling, gathering real time data. Therefore, I am not waiting for the New Year's baby to arrive to bring forth our electronic improvements.

Right now, TODAY, RBR/TVBR goes completely electronic. We will cease printing our monthly SmartMedia magazine with the December '07 issue. We are no longer paying alimony to the US Postal Service and we will save a tree by not printing paper. The valuable content in SmartMedia will be delivered electronically, where you can control and print our informative content on your color printer. YES! Permission granted to forward to your staff and clients at no charge.

This is the 2nd time in 25 years I have had to make this hard decision. The first time was 07/08/02 RBR Epaper #1 (worth a history read). Then 19-year-old RBR was a weekly mag. It ceased appearing in print and went daily, electronically, as the now-familiar RBR Morning Epaper. Back then my colleagues thought I had lost my friggin' mind. This time the decision was easier. At the NAB Radio Show in Charlotte I saw executives, even the old guys like me, carrying their hand-held devices -- and knowing how to use them! And I saw the trade publication bins - mine and everyone else's - overflowing, as nobody was picking up anyone's magazine or newspaper. Nobody brought extra luggage to take all that paper back home. You, our readers, are online. We go where you are.

What you will receive 100% electronically:
1. RBR or TVBR Epaper: 250 issues a year at 7:30am sharp Monday-Friday, with Observations.
2. MBR afternoon update: 4:30pm sharp with a tweaked design.
3. RBR/TVBR Special Biz Info reports: (content formerly printed in SmartMedia) now delivered 9:00am sharp on key days.
4. Website: You've asked for it and now we deliver. Our new Internet site will be up and running, with access by year's end. It will take time to populate 25 years of content and archived history, but be patient and it will be accomplished.
5. Software: Improvement also brings Software Upgrading. You will be notified to perform a simple and painless task of filling out fewer boxes and submitting it to our Mail Server. Then you are solid in our system for another three years.

Lastly, I shall personally attempt to contact by phone every executive that is conducting marketing business with RBR & TVBR to answer any questions, as your sponsorship support has been and always will be appreciated. When we wish all a Happy New Year 2008, RBR will turn 25 years young, our Silver Anniversary. The RBR/TVBR Team will celebrate every day by delivering the best content possible. You have known this and depended on us for the first 24 years. As we begin our 25th year, the best is on the way as "Technology Waits for No One." Have a comment?, send with a photo to [email protected]

Jim Carnegie

Radio News ®

Lincoln set to pull the trigger
Despite a huge price reduction from original expectations, RBR sources confirmed last Friday that Lincoln Financial Group is set to swallow hard and exit the broadcasting business for a mere 1.2 billion bucks. The company releases its Q3 results after the closing bell tomorrow and conducts its conference call with analysts on Wednesday, Halloween, so the sale announcements could come by then. As first reported by Reuters, Raycom appears to have the inside track to buy the Lincoln Financial Media TV group for around a half billion. The radio group will likely have multiple buyers for a total of 650 million, and then there's another 50 million for the sports syndication business. Yep, that's a total of 1.2 billion for assets that were expected to bring around 1.5 billion when they were put on the market last spring. As we reported last week, bidders for the radio properties included Joel Hollander, Randy Michaels, Entercom and Greater Media. That list is now said to also include Cumulus and Bonneville International. Which markets to whom? We wait to find out.

RBR observation: We thought that the people who run big insurance companies are supposed to be smart money guys. Oh, well. One person involved in the bidding noted that in the current credit environment, 1.2 billion works out to more than what 1.5 billion was back in the spring. OK, that may be true for the buyer - but not for the seller.

WSJ lends Martin a helping hand
Most of the commentary on FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's plans to bring media ownership rules up for a December vote has been severely negative, not to mention wildly speculative. However, Wall Street Journal weighed in supporting loosening the rules so that market forces could decide who owns what. Whereas some consolidation opponents have given free rein to their imaginations, WSJ speculated that Martin's goals are "less ambitious," confined to repealing or relaxing cross-ownership restrictions. (For the record, there has been no official word as to what will and will not be on the table.) WSJ said that the anti-consolidation outcry is a reflection of "the political left's paranoia about corporate media ownership," arguing at the same time that the left has "operational control" of public broadcasting outlets. It argued that "the free market should determine the size of a company," and further noted that consumers have more media choices now than ever before. "If federal media ownership regulations are to encourage such dynamism rather than inhibit it, they need to be updated." Meanwhile, industry labor union AFTRA is asking it members to fire off a letter to everybody in Congress asking them to slow the FCC down. Among their fears are less local news coverage, homogenized formats, decreasing opportunities for airplay and "fewer and less diverse opportunities for actors."

RBR observation: WSJ's argument would do a better job of holding water if it confined itself to economic theory and the actual situation on the media ground. By using the issue to attack the left, it opens itself to question due to the fact that the loyal opposition to consolidation is well-populated with members of the right wing community. Indeed, one of the most highlighted factors when opposition to Michael Powell was blossoming back in 2003 was that the issue managed the unlikely feat of bringing the NRA and Code Pink together. And on Capitol Hill, the ideological gulf between Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Trent Lott (R-MS) is about as wide as such gulfs get, but there they were the other day, standing together in opposition to further consolidation. Finally, the issue is not whether or not public broadcasting acts as some sort of counterweight to commercial broadcasting. The question is where the line is between diversity of ownership and economic viability. In other words, it is obviously better to have 20 viewpoints active in a market, but not if 17 of them are one bad book away from going out of business. What's going on down on the bottom of the radio dial or over at PBS really is immaterial.

Carmel Group revisits XM/Sirius
Research firm Carmel Group has been retained by the NAB to study the proposed merger between XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. They note the same problems with the merger that other antitrust experts have testified to before Congress. "The competition between Sirius and XM is a critical matter for artists, performers, agents and technicians who work for and with these two entities. Many will lose their jobs in a merger. Perhaps more important, continued competition is critical to consumers." That's because the competitive action between the two has been extensive, as Carmel documents in its "Ping-Pong" chart. Going back to 2001, it notes an improvement made by one and the subsequent competitive answer from the other. The categories include everything from program offerings, receiver qualities, factory-installation deals with auto makers and even use of geostationary satellites. Merge the two, and the need for this competition goes away. Further, there is no was for a land-based radio station to compete with the DARS services' massive channel capacity and national mobility. "Put shortly, if you can't obtain huge swaths of channels and programming anywhere else, how can AM, FM, HD radio, Internet radio, music-to-cell phones and MP3 devices be labeled competitive to satellite radio?"

Antitrust watchdogs aren't backing down
If you thought, as many on Wall Street apparently did, that a federal judge's refusal to block the acquisition of Wild Oats by Whole Foods Markets cleared the way for an XM-Sirius merger, think again. The Federal Trade Commission has decided to continue the antitrust court fight and try to break up the health food grocery merger, even though it has already closed. The FTC served notice last week that it intends to keep the case alive, opposing a motion by Whole Foods to have the matter dismissed by a federal appeals court because the merger has already closed. Instead, the FTC wants the case on a fast track, arguing that there is still time to break up what has been put together.

RBR observation: Surely we weren't the only ones to think it unlikely that the FTC and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice were just going to throw out their merger analysis guidelines because of an offbeat ruling by a single judge (8/30/07 RBR #170). As we predicted, the FTC is going to fight to have Judge Paul Friedman's new thinking thrown out to restore decades of antitrust precedents. The DOJ, which uses the same antitrust guidelines as the FTC, will use those guidelines for its analysis of the XM-Sirius proposed merger, without paying any heed to what Judge Friedman thinks.

RBR News Analysis

What about the public interest?
The battle lines have been drawn for the latest attempt by the FCC to reform its media ownership limits. Big financial interests want more deregulation, particularly in the biggest markets. Politicians from both parties have staked out the position that all media consolidation is bad. Both sides occasionally pay lip service to considering "the public interest," but, in fact, neither really gives a damn. If they were really concerned about what would be good for the public they would look at the real world and try to fix what is broken - or in the process of breaking. Everyone knows that daily newspapers are in a world of hurt. New Internet challengers are taking big bites out of what used to be their cash cow - classified advertising. Their news content business is also moving online and they are trying to follow their readers. Increasingly, those readers have broadband Internet access and are demanding video as a part of news coverage. From both an economic point of view and leveraging video and reporting expertise, combining the resources of a local newspaper and a local television station makes a lot of sense, regardless of market size.

While there has been some modest deregulation of TV, allowing duopolies in very large markets, there has been no deregulation at all where there is a real crisis - in small TV markets. Markets that just a few years ago had three commercial stations now have five or six, or even more, responding to the proliferation of new national networks. The available local ad revenues, however, have not increased at the same pace. The result is that in many markets only one heritage TV station is able to staff a local news operation and turn a profit. Sometimes two. But the next station down the pecking order has a tough choice - continue to do news and maybe break even some years, or drop news and turn a profit. But if that station were allowed to acquire one of its competitors, have more ad inventory to sell and spread news programming over a second platform, it would be able to do news profitably. Some operators already have shared services agreements to jury-rig a virtual duopoly, but the real thing would work better for everyone, including local viewers. Radio got its deregulation in 1996. In the largest markets a single company can now own eight stations. We're not aware of anyone who is operating eight stations well in a single market, so radio can be largely bypassed on this round of dereg - except for allowing crossownership with newspapers to, hopefully, boost radio news coverage.

Some dereg ideas that would really serve the public interest:
First: Eliminate the crossownership rule. Let newspapers and broadcasters team up under common ownership in local markets. There are lots of broadcast signals, so let some of them be paired with print to make it economically feasible to do good local news coverage - on air, in print and online. The only limitation we would suggest is not allowing the top billing newspaper in a DMA to acquire the top billing TV station.

Second: Allow TV duopolies in all markets. Keep the current restriction that two of the top four billing stations can't merge for the top 50 markets. Make it no two of the top three for markets 51-100. For 101+, the restriction should be that the top two can't merge. Letting #1 or #2 acquire #3 isn't a problem, since #3, while it may be an affiliate of one of the "big four networks," probably isn't a local news powerhouse by any stretch of the imagination.

Third: Allow local media combinations to be transferred intact. Once a company has built up a potent local news operation across multiple platforms, don't force its breakup because of a sale or merger that makes a different entity the owner. If a daily newspaper buys the #3 TV station in a market and over the course of a decade or two builds it to #1, don't require separate sales because the estate of the original owner wants to sell the media outlets. Let the public continue to benefit from that established local news leader.

Ad Business Report TM

RCS, Nokia to market "Visual Radio"
to mobile users, advertisers

RCS is working with Nokia to roll out the "Visual Radio" experience to radio listeners and cell-phone users. Visual Radio enables mobile device users to receive FM broadcasts with fully synchronized interactive graphical content including info on artists, upcoming concert dates, etc. The service also allows stations to transmit visual ads at the same time listeners hear the spots on radio. RCS also announced a new version of its RadioShow software will work seamlessly with Visual Radio, so that the same rich content being seen on the mobile device will also appear simultaneously on multiple digital platforms including HD Radio, the Internet, DAB Digital Radio, DVB-H and more.

Media Business Report TM
Talkers range free during diffuse news week
When the concentration of news coverage for the second hottest story of the week (Pakistan) hits a mere 6%, especially when topic #1 (the 2008 campaign) wasn't particularly hot either at 11%, it leaves Talkers free to chart their own course. That was the case during the week of 10/14-19/07, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism. Talkers jazzed the campaign up to 21% and took Iraq policy from 5% of the newshole to 11%. But they also revisited areas that weren't on the news list, like the Larry Craig saga and the Nobel Prizes. Talkers passed on Pakistan, but found interest in the twists and turns of US/Turkey relations. Oh, and they made time for one of their own, giving the non-attack on Air America Talker Randi Rhodes 2% of the hole.

Media Markets & Money TM
Regent spins an Albany AM
Technically, WTMM-AM hails from Rensselaer NY, and it will soon be answering to a new master. We won't even have to wait for closing before buyer Capital Broadcasting Inc. begins programming the station it is acquiring from Regent Communications. Regent is spinning the station for 850K. With the transfer, Regent's Albany subsidiary will exit the AM band but will still have five FM stations in New York's capital. Capital is headed by Paul Banderburgh and Salvatore Ferlazzo, among others. They will begin an LMA 11/1/07.

here is another transaction brokered by Kalil & Co., Inc.

Washington Business Report TM
Early to bed, early to rise
If your AM station is operating with special pre-sunrise (PSRA) and post-sunset (PSSA) authority, the FCC has fired off a reminder that the new extension of Daylight Savings Time into November, pursuant to the US Energy Policy Act of 2005, will affect your broadcast day for the first three days of the month. It says to use "October DST "Advanced" powers and time periods shown on their current PSRAs and PSSAs..." Daylight Savings Time officially ceases at 2AM 11/4/07. If there are any questions or if you're getting interference you shouldn't be, the FCC asks that you call the Audio Division at (202) 418-2700 and ask for either Charles Miller, Susan Crawford or Son Nguyen.

Entertainment Business Report TM
"The Lars Larson Show"
on CelleCast's Cell Phone Radio

Westwood One now has a partnership with CelleCast that will make The Lars Larson Show accessible on any phone, any time, anywhere. Listeners will be able to access the show on demand via cell phone after the live broadcast, with the ability to pause, fast forward and rewind audio. Other shows carried on the service include shows from Business TalkRadio Network and Lifestyle TalkRadio Network-The Ray Lucia Show; Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline; Into Tomorrow Daily Features; The Good Stuff With Taylor and Colleen and The Millionaire Ranch. Launch date is expected 11/1.

RBR observation: CelleCast is 9.99 a month with no commercials. We would bet they would get more shows and subscribers if that model was free with ads inserted.

Ratings & Research
More color on industry contributions
Stats compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics are showing an undeniable shift in corporate giving toward Democrats this campaign cycle. Out of the top 20 categories, eight are either strongly tilted toward or leaning toward Democratic candidates, compared to three for Republicans (nine are "on the fence"). The Democratic advantage is even more stark when looking at just the top ten, where the score is Democrats five, on the fence five, Republicans zero. The closest of the CRP's categories to the RBR focus is TV/movies/music, which is the 9th most generous political giver and just one point off being the most severely tilted toward Democrats with 77% of the cash headed in that direction. Here are the totals by industry.
| Read More |

Monday Morning Makers & Shakers

Transactions: 9/10/07-9/14/07
Radio trading had a third decent if unspectacular week in a row, if you like small market action (there was also a niche AM sold in Denver). However, the television side was absent this week, resulting in a total that just failed to pull into the 30M range. Still, five separate transactions were good for 2M or more, not bad in this lending environment.



Total Deals







| Complete Charts |
Radio Transactions of the Week
GAP adds in Louisiana
| More...
TV Transactions of the Week
TV takes a nap

6.25M WFRY-FM/WCIZ-FM/WTNY-AM/WNER-AM Watertown NY from Regent Licensee of Watertown Inc., a subsidiary of Regent Communications Inc. (William L. Stakelin) to KXOJ Inc., a subsidiary of Stephens Family LP (Michael P. Stephens, Joy Stephens, David P. Stephens). 300K escrow, balance in cash at closing. Includes non-compete. Existing duopoly. [File date 10/15/07.]

125K WSQL-AM Brevard NC from A&L Broadcasting Inc. (Allen C. Reese) to Gonuts Media LLC (Erik D. Hansen et al). 5K escrow, balance in cash at closing. [File date 10/15/07.]

Stock Talk
An up day to finish the week
Mortgage giant Countrywide said it will soon return to profitability and Microsoft reported strong results, so Wall Street traders were happy on Friday. The Dow Industrials rose 135 points, or 1%, to 13,807.

Radio stocks enjoyed the optimism. The Radio Index rose 0.543, or 0.5%, to 121.110. Entercom led the advance, up 3.6%. Lincoln National rose 3.4% on rumors that it would, indeed, be selling its broadcast properties.

Radio Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Friday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change




















Journal Comm.







Lincoln Natl.




Citadel CDL
4.36 +0.04

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




Looking for Talent

Ad Sales Rep
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Below the Fold
RBR News Analysis
What about the public interest?
The battle lines have been drawn for the latest attempt by the FCC to reform its media ownership limits...

Media, Markets & Money
Regent spins an Albany AM
Technically, WTMM-AM hails from Rensselaer NY, and it will soon be answering to a new master...

Washington Business Report
Early to bed, early to rise
AMer operating with special pre-sunrise & post-sunset FCC has fired off a reminder...

Monday Shakers & Makers
Transactions: trading had a third decent if unspectacular week...
Radio: GAP adds in Louisiana
Television: TV takes a nap

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Radio Media Moves

McNamara named GSM at WFAN
Stephanie McNamara has been named GSM for WFAN-AM, the country's most listened to sports station, effective immediately. The appointment was made by Don Bouloukos, named SVP/GM of the station last week. McNamara was most recently DOS at CBS RADIO in Hartford.

More News Headlines

Colbert drawing
solid support

Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central's faux political bloviator, is adding faux candidate for president to his resume, a form of schtick that first saw Pat Paulson of the old Smothers Brothers show engage in. In this instance, however, pollster Rasmussen Reports ran some numbers, and in selected matchups, Colbert pulls double digits running as a third-party independent. Colbert has said he will run in the primaries of both parties in his native South Carolina. Rasmussen went ahead and tested him as in independent in a race against Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Rudy Giuliani (R-NY), and the results were Clinton 45%, Giuliani 35% and Colbert 13%. When Fred Thompson (R-TN) was substituted for Guiliani, the results were almost identical: Clinton 46%, Thompson 34%, Colbert 12%. His power demo is 18-29, where his draw was 28% in the first contest and 31% in the second, in both cases outpolling the Republican candidate.

RBR observation: Some are pointing out that this is bad news for marginal candidates who are struggling to get into the spotlight. The more it shines on Colbert, the less may be left over for the Gravels and Hunters of the campaign. You can tell us whether that is a good or a bad thing.

Dale Clark dead at 93
Veteran Atlanta newsman Dale Clark died last week at age 93. He was heard on WAGA-AM from 1944 and became the first News Director of WAGA-TV in 1958. He retired in 1980.

TVBR - TV News

Cross-spectrum opposition to white space invaders
NAB's Dennis Wharton got off a good one in Congressional daily "The Hill," which was reporting on the strange bedfellows joining in opposition to the misguided effort to allow unlicensed devices into the white spaces between television allocations. "We have got Broadway theater, God and sports on our side," remarked Wharton. The television industry has ample reason to be concerned, since untraceable unlicensed spectrum devices will have the ability to completely disrupt a digital broadcast signal, putting the all-important DTV transition at risk at precisely the worst time imaginable. Tests of the devices have yet to show that they can operate safely. Remote broadcasters covering news and sporting events, along with theaters, concert halls and churches, rely on wireless microphones which operate in this spectrum and which will also be at risk. According to the Hill, over 40 legislators have written to the FCC in opposition to allowing unlicensed devices at this time. At least one, Jay Inslee (D-WA), is pushing in favor of them.

TVBR observation: We've said it before and we'll say it again. We're not technical experts, but if there is any doubt whatsoever, it is insane to experiment in this band with the DTV transition less than 500 days away. If the FCC wants to look at fixed, licensed services in the spectrum, fine. If it wants to let the technicians tinker away in their labs to see if they can come up with legitimately fool-proof devices that will work in an up-and-running, thoroughly debugged digital TV environment, after 2/17/09, fine. To allow them out of Pandora's box now is utterly irresponsible.

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

Another shareholder
pressuring Emmis
This time it is Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Advisers LLC calling for the creation of a special committee of independent directors to work with CEO Jeff Smulyan on a "value-creating transaction."

RBR observation: The question is, what could Smulyan offer now? Given the company's ongoing problems, it won't be the 15.25 per share that he offered last year, only to have it rejected by the board - and certainly not the 16.80 that was discussed during the failed negotiations. It sounds like Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder Advisers are ready to take about anything that's a significant premium to where the stock price has been lately, but would other shareholders be as willing to take what they can salvage and run away licking their wounds? (Read the details and the Letter in this special page report in RBR)
10/26/07 RBR #210

Localism on the Halloween docket
The FCC's October Open Meeting will include the final localism forum in the set begun way back under former Chairman Michael Powell. It will follow four other items in a meeting scheduled to run from 9AM until 2PM at FCC headquarters. And the announcement drew immediate fire both within and from outside the Commission.
10/26/07 RBR #210

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