Welcome to RBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 25, Issue 22, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Friday Morning February 1st, 2008

Radio News ®

Boston is Super Bowl crazy
RBR and TVBR have been getting announcements from stations in Boston going all out for Sunday's Super bowl in Phoenix, which they hope will cap an undefeated season for the New England Patriots. WAAF's Hill-Man Morning Show has been originating live from the NFL Media Center in Phoenix, with a wrap-up show set for Monday after the Super Bowl. Tom Doyle of WROR-FM's Loren & Wally Morning Show wrote a song, "Patriots are 16 & 0." Video has been added by BostonSportz.com and the song has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on YouTube."This is, by far, the most important Super Bowl of all time," declared Jason Wolfe, Vice President of Programming at WEEI-AM. His station launched what it termed a "360 Degree" approach to coverage, including not only audio, but visual, text and on-site experiences for WEEI's audience and advertisers. WEEI has also been broadcasting live from Phoenix 10 am to 6 pm daily this week, with 33 straight hours of pre-Super Bowl programming planned this weekend, followed by 26 hours of post-game programming.

WCVB-TV has been airing special programming leading up to the big weekend. On Sunday, since it is an ABC affiliate, WCVB won't actually have the game broadcast, but it will air its own "Pursuit of Perfection" post-game show at 10:30 pm. WFXT-TV, which does have the live broadcast from Fox, is happily billing itself as "New England Patriots Headquarters." New England is bigger than just the Boston market. In Providence, LIN's duopoly has sent Internet journalist Dan Haggerty along with its news and sports crews to Phoenix to focus on original coverage for the stations' websites. Among other things, he'll be interviewing local fans who've made the trek to Arizona. LIN has the game broadcast on Fox WNAC-TV, but is also going heavy with Super Bowl coverage on CBS affiliate WPRI-TV. The New Englanders are going crazy over what they hope and expect will be a historic perfect season for the Patriots. No doubt radio and TV stations in New York are also going all out to boost the hometown Giants, but they haven't been sending us the details.

Super Duper Tuesday
may not be a windfall
The Mitt Romney (R-MA) campaign has indicated that it will not be going in for a major national media buy, or even numerous local spot shots in the run-up to Super Duper Tuesday, when the presidential nominations for both parties may hang in the balance. Add to that the fact that the John McCain (R-AZ) campaign began the year in the red and that Mike Huckabee (R-AR) has always been cash-strapped, and it would appear that the Republicans will not be funding a political cash windfall over the weekend. However, it may be a different story on the Democratic side. The fourth Republican still up and running, Ron Paul (R-TX), has seen contributions flow in consistently, but his other consistency is that he remains a prisoner of sub-double-digit poll numbers. It will be interesting to see if Paul uses some of his cash to try for a splash in selected states where his message is resonating above and beyond his national numbers.

On the Democratic side, the incoming cash spigots seem to be operating in overdrive. Such is the case for Barack Obama (D-IL) at any rate, who is reporting a surge of 30M+ into his warchest in January of 2008 alone. (Q4 2007 contribution totals for all campaigns should be available from the FEC soon.) If Hillary Clinton (D-NY) is enjoying anywhere near the same amount of fund-raising success, the two remaining Democrats could possibly make up for any spending shortfall on the Republican side.

RBR observation: The obvious place to spend some cash would be the Super Bowl, but that event has been sold out and is priced well beyond the means of most campaigns anyway. The real winners could be the states holding primary events directly after Super Duper Tuesday, if the results on that day prove inconclusive. A small, manageable number of contests, with the stakes accelerating higher and higher, could be a cash magnet for broadcasters.

Tribune Company sells LA studio complex
The price tag for the Tribune Studios complex, known to many as "Tara," is 125 million as Tribune Company under Sam Zell seeks to clean up its balance sheet by offloading unnecessary assets. Further avoiding any tax liability, Zell will use the proceeds in a like-kind exchange for Tribune to exercise its option to buy real estate associated with some of its big newspapers for 175 million. The purchase of the newspaper-related real estate will also allow Tribune to exit one of its remaining entanglements with the Chandler family, which had controlled Times Mirror before its merger with Tribune and had been a driving force in seeking a sale of Tribune, leading to the sale to Zell and an Employee Stock Ownership Plan. Tribune had cut a deal in 2006 to restructure the real estate partnerships with the Chandlers and received an option to buy the real estate from two partnerships, known as TMCT and owned 95% by the Chandlers, for 175 million. The date for exercise of that option was January 2008, so Zell, who made his billions in real estate, had a clear target for getting the LA studio deal done as well. Tribune announced in August that it was putting Tribune Studios up for sale (8/31/07 TVBR #171). Tribune had owned the 10.5-acre studio complex, the original Warner Brothers studio, since 1988. Much of it is leased out for various productions. Tribune's KTLA-TV (Ch. 5, CW) will remain at the site through 2012 under a five-year lease with the acquirer, Hudson Capital.

MTV spearheads
mass-media event Saturday

The assets of cable, broadcast , satellite and the Internet will be harnessed 2/2/08 at 6PM Eastern in an effort to give voters, particularly youthful voters, access to presidential candidates just three days before Super Duper Tuesday. Myspace, MTV and the Associated Press will be harnessing the media power, and so far four candidates have agreed to participate, including Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Barack Obama (D-IL), Mike Huckabee (R-AR) and Ron Paul (R-TX). The organizers say invitations have also been extended to John McCain (R-AZ) and Mitt Romney (R-MA), neither of whom has indicated they'd sign on as yet. Several of MTV's cable channels will carry the event; it'll be on Myspace; AP will make it available online and to radio stations (as will MTV as well); it'll be available on MTV Mobile; it will be carried on XM Satellite Radio, and will also be translated into Spanish and carried on the ImpreMedias LaVibra project. And you can catch it live at Times Square in New York. MTV specifically notes the excellent access the event will provide to the exceptionally interested younger demo, but of course the event is available to anybody who is interested. MTV says 200M citizens will have access.

Legal eagle view of enhanced disclosure
One of the many actions taken at the FCC's exceptional 12/18/07 Open Meeting was the ratification of a new questionnaire which will require television operators to keep track of many categories of local programming in detail. These details were finally revealed just recently (1/24/08). Attorney Michael Shacter of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC has taken the questionnaire completely apart and described in step-by-step detail what needs to be reported. This proceeding is referenced frequently in a notice of proposed rulemaking on enhancing localism in broadcast programming. As such, Shacter's dissection will be instructive not only in and of itself, but will offer a window in what's still coming down the pike - and it is our belief that even though radio operators were not roped in by this first round of enhanced disclosure, they will be caught in the next go-around.
| See RBR.com for more from WCSR's Shacter |

Wall Street Business Report TM
Highfields boosts CCU stake
Wall Street traders may be betting against Clear Channel completing its 26.7 billion buyout by Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital and the Mays Family, but Highfields Capital is showing confidence. The investment fund led the shareholder movement that got the price boosted to 39.20 per share and has indicated that it wants to convert as much of its stake as possible to shares of the new private company, while taking cash for the rest. In its latest SEC filing, Highfields says it has boosted its stake in Clear Channel to 38,133,415 shares, or 7.7%, with recent purchases at prices ranging from 29.11 to 31.04.

Ad Business Report TM

What GroupM reorg
means to local buying

Following up on our story that GroupM announced local broadcast buying units at its Mediaedge:cia, MediaCom, and MindShare media agencies will be consolidated into two separate teams called Team Matrix and Team Motion (1/30/08 RBR #20), we observed this follows similar moves as with WPP's Team Detroit for Ford Motor Media and Chrysler consolidating at PHD as well. For national spot, this is a pretty big story, from three aspects:

* For the mega agencies to run a national spot TV/spot radio group, it is exceedingly expensive to manage and maintain in the way of paperwork, real estate, data processing, research, training, churn--human factors. As well, media agencies work on very narrow commissions and the overhead is high. This is likely why the consolidation has been initiated. In general the expense of running these departments on the agency side in general could be one of the reasons national spot has been getting hurt lately.

* This is also going to create a sense of anxiety on the sales staff side, too. The management at the stations might like this, because it forces consolidation on the broadcast side, too. Instead of having all of those different folks calling all of the different agencies, there are less agency contacts to call upon. Salespeople on the staff will now be jockeying for position soon as to who will be the point person to call at these new consolidated agency teams.

* By consolidating on both sides, prices will be driven lower. It will be good for clients getting lower prices. It might be good for stations because it creates a central figure that can make decisions quickly without red tape, but pricing will get hurt which is not good.

Media Business Report TM
Amazon.com to acquire Audible.com
Amazon.com has reached an agreement to acquire Audible Inc., an online provider of digital spoken word audio content, specializing in digital audio editions of books, newspapers and magazines, television and radio programs and original programming. In recent months, Amazon has announced a number of innovations in the digital space, including Amazon Kindle, a revolutionary wireless portable reader that provides instant wireless downloads of more than 90,000 books, blogs, magazines and newspapers to a crisp, high-resolution electronic paper display. Under the terms, Amazon.com will commence a cash tender offer to purchase all of the outstanding shares of Audible.com for 11.50 per share and will assume Audible.com's outstanding stock-based awards, for an aggregate transaction value of 300 million which includes Audible.com's cash and short-term investments at closing. The acquisition is expected to close by Q2.

Media Markets & Money TM
Not the same 'OLD story
In fact, this is the first time we can remember writing anything about WOLD-FM in Marion VA. We're doing so now because longtime owners Robert and Patricia Dix are selling the station they've held since 1968 under licensee name Emerald Sound Inc. The buyer is T.E.C.2 Broadcasting Inc., headed by Tom Copenhaver. He'll spend 500K for the station, 100K of which will go toward a non-compete with the Dix's. The sellers also retain the right to run ads on the station for the next several years. Copenhaver already owns WZVA-FM in the market, which is in an unrated portion of Virginia in the area between Roanoke-Lynchburg TN and Johnson City-Bristol- Kingsport TN-VA.

Charlotte is a Greater Media Market
Greater Media has closed its 100 million bucks acquisition of WBT-AM & FM and WLNK-FM from Lincoln Financial Media. The cluster will now be called Greater Media Charlotte. "Given the chance to hand-pick a company for our people, I would have chosen Greater Media," said Rick Jackson, Senior Vice President and General Manager of WBT and WLNK. He and the staff have made the move to their new employer and Greater Media CEO Peter Smyth declared "We anticipate a seamless transition."

Washington Business Report TM
Interep's Kizart played role in FCC No Urban/Hispanic Dictates meeting
Interep's Sherman Kizart, SVP/Director of Urban Marketing, played an integral role in arranging the meeting recently held between the FCC and members of key ad groups. The session focused on No Urban/No Hispanic Dictates, the first time the FCC has held such a meeting. Kizart arranged the meeting at the behest of FCC Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Robert McDowell. The result of the session was the securing of FCC support for the development of an educational program - targeted to advertisers and agencies -- by the organizations attending the meeting in Washington: the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), the American Advertising Federation (AAF), the National Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation (NABEF), the National Association of Black-Owned Broadcasters (NABOB), the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council (MMTC), Radio One and Interep.

The education platform that will be created by this group will be shared at association meetings as a means of educating the ad community to end discrimination in advertising practices. "Over the years, we have made great progress in the fight against No Urban/No Hispanic Dictates," Kizart said, "and now - with the FCC behind us - I feel that we can finally wipe out the last vestiges of this discriminatory practice." In addition to Kizart, attending the meeting were David Honig, Executive Director of MMTC, Adonis Hoffman, SVP/Counsel, AAAA; Connie Frazier, EVP/Diversity Initiatives, AAF; Clark Rector, Sr. VP/Government Relations, AAF; Marcellus Alexander, President, NABEF; Zemira Jones, VP Operations, Radio One; and, from the FCC, Cristina Pauze, Media Advisor; Robert McDowell, Commissioner; Rudy Briochet, Legal Advisor; and Jonathon Adelstein, Commissioner.

Adelstein weighs in on DTV
FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein (D) contributed his two cents in the wake of reports from NAB and the Consumers Union on the state of public awareness of the upcoming DTV transition. "The good news is that surveys from Consumers Union and the broadcast industry show that more Americans are becoming aware of the DTV transition," he said. "The bad news is there is still a lot of confusion that could turn into widespread panic if the government doesn't take a more proactive role. The FCC needs to present a comprehensive strategy -- a DTV State of the Union -- about how it plans to provide better guidance to the American people. We need to coordinate and work closer with the broadcast, cable, satellite and consumer electronic industries to ensure that no household is left confused by the DTV transition. The word is getting out, but we need a more coherent message to align the mixed signals people are getting." Meanwhile, PR trade Daily Dog says that the FCC may be getting closer to mandating as many as four daily PSAs on the transition on all licensed stations. Broadcasters are said to be pushing for a more limited grab into available local inventory, but supplemented with separate ads on major national networks.

Internet Business Report TM
Univision.com to power NFLatino.com
Univision Online and the NFL announced they will jointly manage and operate NFLatino.com powered by Univision.com, the official U.S. Spanish-language website of the NFL. NFLatino.com is the only Spanish-language website in the US to feature NFL video game highlights. The site also includes live radio broadcasts, stats, Hispanic player diaries, Fantasy Football and an insider's view of all 32 teams. The unveiling comes just in time for Super Bowl XLII.

KCRW.com launches new media player
Public KCRW-FM LA/KCRW.com launched a custom-built media player created specifically to give their loyal listeners more of what they want. "There isn't another media player that offers listeners all these features in one place," said Anil Dewan, KCRW's Director of New Media. "The player allows them to access playlists, subscribe to podcasts, embed content on blogs, buy a CD from an artist or a book of the author being interviewed, and share links to their favorite programs with friends." "The goal was to create a player that offers listeners the ability to listen to our streams or watch video while also encouraging them to explore -- and bookmark -- the station's deep on-demand archive."

Engineering Business Report TM
Windfall in the mobile/handheld TV future?
NAB is citing a study from BIA Financial Network and the Law and Economics Consulting Group which posits that rapid adoption of a mobile DTV standard could bring 2B in new annual revenue to the industry as soon as 2012. The split it expects to see is 1.1B for local stations and 900M for networks and syndicators. However, access to this kind of cash hinges on adoption of a standardized protocol. Several competing technologies are vying to be the one.

RBR observation: Call us curmudgeons, but we tend to see TV phones as a potential 2B windfall for the automobile repair industry, and expect we will be spending much of our time on the road dodging our fellow citizens who can't drag their attention away from a "Gilligan's Island" rerun long enough to maintain their lane position on I-95. Laugh if you want, but we've already had to dodge people driving while working on their laptop. Nevertheless, if the money is out there, broadcasters should certainly go after it. NAB's FASTROAD program (Flexible Advanced Services for Television and Radio On All Devices) was the force behind the study, and we should expect the NAB to play a major role in getting its membership to the 2B promised land.

1.2M WIL-AM St. Louis MO from Bonneville Holding Company, a subsidiary of Bonneville International Corporation (Bruce Reese) to Entertainment Media Trust, Dennis J. Watkins, Trustee. 250K escrow, balance in cash at closing. Duopoly with WXOZ-AM Highland IL. [File date 1/3/08.]

Stock Talk
Stock rise on insurance reassurance
Bond insurer MBIA reported big write-downs, but assured investors that it is solvent and that its AAA credit rating is intact. Traders breathed a collective sigh of relief and sent stock prices higher. The Dow Industrials rose 208 points, or 1.7%, to 12,650. But the markets could have a rough ride today. After the closing bell yesterday, Google reported disappointing Q4 results and its stock took a tumble in after-hours trading.

Radio stocks were higher on Thursday. The RBR Radio Index gained 0.785, or 1%, to 81.579. Cumulus led the way, up 8.1%. Clear Channel rose 5.3% and Cox Radio 5.2%.

Radio Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Thursday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change




















Journal Comm.







Lincoln Natl.




Citadel* CDL
1.46 +0.01

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













*Component of the RBR Radio Index


Send Us Your OpinionsWe want to
hear from you.

This is your column, so send your comments and
a photo to [email protected]

More on full time staffing

Hi Jim,
I think you've missed the real outcome of forcing a studio to be manned 24/7. The Commission did not say the "staff" had to be on-air. That means the vast majority of stations will go find the cheapest minimum-wage employee they can to sit and answer the phone for those hours. I can guarantee the 30+ stations my company owns will. There's just no economic sense in paying someone of even marginal talent to be on the air when, like you pointed out, no one is listening. The other outcome is this. We all have enough problems getting full-time professional announcers to operate EAS correctly. Now, let's try to keep the overnight person of the week properly trained. It's just not going to happen, and I am positive it's not going to help fix the issues that started this policy either.

I guess one good thing could come out of it. I *was* that overnight baby sitter in the early 80's. Now look where I am. Wait, maybe it's not such a good thing! :) Everyone in the business knows this is a terrible idea that won't begin to fix the problem. That's why it will happen. Sorry to burst your bubble. Even if the Commission mandates staffing, I don't believe you're going to be returning to those nostalgic days of free-form overnighters!

Jon Hosford
Dir of Engineering
Northeast Broadcasting

Below the Fold
Ad Business Report
What GroupM reorg
Means to local buying, going to create a sense of anxiety on the sales staff...

Media Business Report
To acquire Audible.com...

Media Markets & Money
Not the same 'OLD story
WOLD-FM in Marion VA now being sold by long time owners...

Charlotte is a GM Market
That's Greater Media market closed its 100 million bucks acquisition...

Stations for Sale

Market your Stations For Sale
in our daily epapers.

Jim Carnegie
[email protected]

Radio Media Moves

Ad pro
joins SBS

Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) announced that it has hired Salvador Hasbún as the new Vice President of Sales for SBS Puerto Rico. Prior to joining SBS, Hasbún spent 17 years in various management positions at internationally recognized advertising firms such as Young & Rubicam, Grey, Foote, Cone & Belding, and de la Cruz Group.

LSM in Pittsburgh
Sheridan Broadcasting Corporation has named Kristie Kozuch Local Sales Manager of WAMO-AM & FM Pittsburgh. Kozuch came to Sheridan with 10 years of broadcast media experience.

More News Headlines

Allstate's Lisa Cochrane to deliver RAB keynote
Lisa Cochrane, VP/Integrated Communications for Allstate, will deliver the Wednesday morning keynote during RAB008 2/13 in Atlanta. In her address, What Makes Radio Work for Allstate: An Insurance Marketer's Perspective on Radio Advertising, Cochrane will discuss the dynamics of the insurance industry and the role that Radio advertising plays in Allstate's media strategy. The largest publicly traded personal lines insurer in the U.S., Allstate invests nearly half a billion dollars in total advertising annually. "Radio is essential for Allstate's consumer communications," Cochrane says. "Radio gives us a local footprint and helps us connect with our customers in an environment that is personal to them. That is significant for Allstate because our business is such a personal part of people's lives."

Rereg threat debated
Potential FCC re-regulation under the guise of encouraging "localism" was a hot topic for discussion as the NAB Board of Directors met this week in DC. The NAB currently has a lot on its plate, fighting against re-reg, opposing a performance tax for broadcasters and trying to keep the XM-Sirius merger from being approved. But the trade group is also fighting for some things as well. The TV board was updated on efforts to win duopoly relief in medium and smaller markets. The Radio Board heard of progress on an important front - getting the FCC to approve FM translators for signal-handicapped AM stations. The Radio Board also approved a resolution from the NAB Digital Radio committee seeking FCC authorization for higher-power operation of IBOC FM stations. The proposal would increase current HD Radio signals up to an additional 10 db.

RBR Radar 2008
Radio News you won't read any where else. RBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

Arbitron wins appeal at MRC; Houston re-accredited
Sources tell RBR that Arbitron won its appeal at the 1/22 Media Rating Council (MRC) meeting and PPM will remain accredited in Houston...for now. Arbitron declined comment and is not allowed to talk about the MRC process, however, Arbitron spokesperson Thom Mocarsky did confirm with RBR that PPM in Houston will continue being an active currency going forward. Arbitron presented to the MRC 1/22 the latest progress on improving PPM sample data, including specific plans for improving SPI [sample performance index], compliance rates and representation of the younger demo groups.

RBR observation: Remember, the number of 18-24 year-olds in Houston's PPM panels has been improving, Arbitron noted this month at its PPM conference call. Arbitron's figures showing the Houston panel being above the targeted in-tabs and Designated Delivery Index (DDI) in most key categories probably is what got the thumbs up from MRC. We also haven't seen some of the ratings declines in Houston that have been experienced in Philly. This is a good sign for Arbitron, especially if it can be replicated in other markets and if it keeps up its focus on recruiting more folks in the 18-24 demo. The MRC still officially lists PPM in Philly and NYC as "Radio Services Under Review."
01/31/08 RBR #21

Clear Channel stock still bouncing
The price moved back above 30 bucks in Wednesday's, 1/30/08, trading, but then fell again. Wall Street is clearly nervous about whether or not the buyout. Traders went into panic mode after Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan ordered sharp cutbacks in spending by stations because Q1 revenues were pacing down, while budgeted expenses were up 4% (1/28/08 RBR #18). again when Bain Capital managing director Steve Pagliuca refused to discuss the Clear Channel buyout at another financial conference. The Wall Street Journal reported that the two private equity firms were now involved in day-to-day operations and helped draft the Hogan email, which is posted on RBR.com. That WSJ report reassured some traders, who took it as evidence that T.H. Lee and Bain are committed to getting the deal to closing. Even so, there is such nervousness on Wall Street that Clear Channel's stock still closed yesterday more than 10 bucks below the buyout price of 39.20.

RBR observation: The question RBR has been asked in telephone calls from major financial institutions like JP Morgan - did Bain play a part in the Hogan cost cutting email. Well you decide read the Hogan email at RBR.com - see the Hot List.
01/31/08 RBR #21

Arbitron exec bonuses tied to PPM
Arbitron filed with the SEC its new bonus plan for top executives that ties payouts to three factors: the company's earnings per share (weighted 30%), revenue (weighted 10%), and commercialization of its Portable People Meter-based radio ratings service (weighted 60%). Under the previous bonus plan, PPM had been weighted 20% and the related Project Apollo 10%, so the board of directors has ratcheted up the importance of the PPM rollout, which hit a road bump that delayed the schedule nine months, with the next markets set to implement PPM as ratings "currency" in September. The new target Incentive Plan payment for executives see RBR.
01/31/08 RBR #21

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