Welcome to RBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 24, Issue 237, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Thursday Morning December 6th, 2007

Radio News ®

Advisory Council backs PPM, but wants it fixed
Arbitron has agreed to tighten its money-back guarantee for its Portable People Meter (PPM) sample, moving to an 80% guarantee for the 18-54 target, rather than the previously announced guarantee of 90% of the 6+ target. That new guarantee was announced yesterday as the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council (RAC) wrapped up three days of meetings in Atlanta - sessions that outgoing RAC Chairman Steve Sinicropi of Cox Radio said had a much higher stress level than any previous meeting because there were so many issues to iron out. But he also said it was "pretty productive" and incoming Chairman Chuck DuCoty of NRG Media, pictured below, read reporters a lengthy statement on the progress made in the talks with Arbitron.

In the conference call with reporters, a first for the RAC (which is usually less formal), DuCoty stressed that the RAC still supports the continued rollout of PPM while Arbitron works on winning Media Rating Council (MRC) accreditation. And he said the RAC "is supportive of the Philadelphia and Houston PPM measurement currently in the market" and has been assured by Arbitron that the ratings company will work to address concerns about sample performance and accreditation in those markets. Houston is MRC accredited, but not Philadelphia. When asked by RBR about the MRC accreditation, DuCoty admitted to some frustration with the secretive nature of the MRC process, so the RAC doesn't know what the holdup is in Philly. "We think that the accreditation process is important. We are pushing them to continue that process. They're committed to that process," DuCoty said. Most markets, though, will still have diaries, not PPM, for many years to come. The RAC applauded Arbitron for naming Tom O'Sullivan as point person ("Diary Czar") for all diary measurement "as a clear sign that diary measurement remains a priority for the short- and the long-term."
| Read the RAC statement |

RBR observation: The RAC and Arbitron's biggest station group clients are clearly holding the company's feet to the fire. Although there have been lots of complaints and concerns about PPM, the bottom line is that the radio companies have a lot of revenues at stake and they want PPM to work. They want Arbitron to deliver what was promised, but they also know that electronic measurement is vital to radio's future. This week's meetings may have been heated, but the March 2008 RAC meeting in Orlando will be even more heated if substantial progress isn't made by that time.

Arbitron spells out new guarantee
"The Arbitron Radio Advisory Council has recommended that we narrow the guardrails of our current PPM sample guarantee to Persons 18-54. We have considered the Council's recommendation and believe that a Persons 18-54 guarantee is an appropriate next step in our efforts to enhance the quality of our PPM services," said Arbitron CEO Steve Morris in a company announcement corresponding to yesterday's completion of the RAC meeting in Atlanta. "Meeting sample targets is an integral part of our effort to instill greater confidence in the currency and we hold ourselves accountable for doing so. The revised guarantee is keyed to Persons 18-54, where most radio selling is focused. If we meet our targets, there will be no need for rebates. We feel confident that we can meet these targets on the schedule provided in the new sample guarantee program," Morris added. Here is when and how Arbitron says the new PPM sample size guarantee will take effect:
| Read More |

Grill session more of a warm-up
Anybody expecting major fireworks from yesterday's FCC oversight hearing at the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet was in for a disappointment. However, differences of opinion were expressed and a solid divide between the two political parties was evident. In general, Democrats think, as expressed by Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA), that considering the proposed elimination of the cross-ownership ban in the top 20 markets on 12/18/07 is premature, and that it should follow further in-depth study and comment. Further, it should not be done until issues of localism and minority/female ownership are more thoroughly dealt with. Markey said diversity of ownership is the only way to promote diversity of viewpoint, and while praising Martin for avoiding blanket deregulatory moves, wants the brakes applied now. Republicans, on the other hand, said repeatedly that Martin's plan did not go far enough. The cross-ownership rule should go away, period, and Subcommittee Ranking Fred Upton (R-MI) said that radio rules should be eased to allow a 10-station cluster in markets with 60-74 stations and a 12-station cluster should be allowed where there are 75 or more stations.

Greg Walden (R-OR) just left the ranks of radio ownership as sale of this small-market Oregon radio group just closed. He pointed out that often the benefits of consolidation are most keenly felt in small markets where size enables levels of service taken for granted in larger markets, like local news staff. Energy and Commerce Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) foreshadowed the investigation of FCC procedure being initiated by Bart Stupak's (D-MI) Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, talking of sniping and short-circuited procedures, and noted that Republican and Democratic commissioners alike must promote an open and civil dialogue. He wondered if there was a lack of fairness and transparency. This topic figures to be on the agenda at some point in the near future.

Grill session: Commissioners speak
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin (R) remains convinced that his plan to eliminate cross-ownership restrictions in the top 20 markets, with no further deregulatory proposals, is moderate and justified. But the two Democrats on the Commission see the waiver process as a road to cross-ownership in markets of all sizes. Martin admitted that the Third Circuit sent back the 6/2/03 deregulatory package of Michael Powell (supported by Martin and former Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy and opposed by Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein). The court opinion noted that the ban on cross-ownership was inappropriate but needed better justification, so he came up with a limited elimination of it and left all other deregulatory proposals of the Powell effort out of it completely. He took pains to include expert testimony and public input. Meanwhile, he has the Commission working on proposals to increase localism and minority/female/SDB ownership.

Michael Copps (D) and Jonathan Adelstein (D) believe that the proposal to eliminate out the top 20 cross-ownership restriction unfortunately include provisions for waivers to allow such combinations anywhere. The vagueness of the review process, coupled with his view of the FCC's track record on such things led to his belief that cross-owned clusters would be springing up everywhere to the detriment of diversity of viewpoint. They want localism and minority proceedings completed before moving on the any deregulatory actions. Robert McDowell argued that the proceeding has already been more than adequate to justify action, with ample opportunity for concerned people to provide input. He noted a Congressional mandate on the books predisposing the elimination of unnecessary regulation, and suggested that the explosion of new media has antiquated many broadcast rules. Deborah Taylor Tate (R) simply noted the controversial nature of the issue and said she was there to hear what members of Congress had to say.
| Commissioner testimony summaries here |

Grill session:
Questions and answers

Here's a selection of items of interest that came up under Congressional questioning of the five FCC Commissioners. * Martin said that drawing the cross-ownership line at market 20 may appear arbitrary, but in fact that seemed to be a natural line of demarcation between markets with 10 or more independent owners and those with less. * There was disagreement as to whether the waiver process for smaller markets was a high hurdle or a speed bump. Dems said the latter due to vague language, and Martin indicated a willingness to work with them to strengthen it. * Asked by Fred Upton (R-MI) why he wasn't deregulating further, Martin said cross-ownership rules have been dormant the longest and newspapers seem to have the greatest need, and court record and the preponderance of testimony against dereg indicated moving cautiously elsewhere. Upton thought allowing a bigger company into his small market would improve local news; Copps countered that what he's heard in his travels is that distant owners come into a market and eliminate or curtail local coverage. * Mike Doyle (D-PA) supported Copps claim that news is being dumbed down, citing lack of Pennsylvania coverage of Harrisburg FCC Forum, while Hugh Heffner comments on Anna Nicole Smith was highlighted in the same sources. * Joe Barton (R-TX) wants more attention paid to broadcast/print deregulation, and is perplexed about attempts to add regulation to cable. * Charles Gonzalez (D-TX) and Bobby Rush (D-IL) both demanded that minority ownership issue be dealt with before any further dereg is considered. Rush said he's been hearing the same line on the issue since 1988, and that little or nothing has happened other than more rhetoric. * John Dingell (D-MI) foreshadowed

Ad Business Report TM

BMO Capital Markets: November radio airtime fell 3%
The radio monthly commercial time BMO Radio Airtime Monitor analysis found that commercial time decreased 3.0% in November, "yet another reflection of eroding ad cycle," according to the report. In October and preliminarily in November, estimated pricing dropped 4% and 1% respectively. Historically during prior downcycles, lapses in value-based pricing for the radio industry occurred during the early and middle stages of the 2001 ad-cycle downturn: So reviving rates once eroded has, historically, been unachievable for radio, said the report. BMO analyst Lee Westerfield anticipates anticipate radio pureplays will trade off to near 7.5x projected EBITDA. Currently, radio pureplay peers trade at 9.6x projected EBITDA and 10.6x P/FCF in 2008. For radio stocks, BMO is recommending "avoiding the sector at current levels."

M2O signs Bonneville Phoenix for [eco] Loyalty Platform
Mass 2 One Media (M2O), a media loyalty marketing company, announced the signing of Bonneville Phoenix to utilize its loyalty, engagement and social networking database platform known as [eco]. M2O COO Tracy Johnson explains, "Facing the challenge of the digital world and staying competitive requires a shift in thinking for traditional media. M2O's multi-faceted marketing and programming suite of products embraces the new media world." "Bonneville's Phoenix cluster of KTAR Sports, KTAR News and KPKX are innovators in the development of digital revenue generating programs and adding the [eco] platform enables these stations take their strategy to the next level," said Mike Agovino, COO of Triton Media Group which exclusively markets the [eco] platform. Bonneville Phoenix joins 200 other radio stations extending their digital strategy through the [eco] system.

Executive Comment
Oh where, oh where has our industry (Radio) gone?
From my viewpoint as someone who has worked all angles of radio over the past 20+ years, where reps use to get together and trade leads, where creative promotional campaigns were the norm, when reach and frequency mattered and no one cared about share because the cost of the spot was more important and after all if there was rate integrity, you didn't have to worry about share.

With all due respect to the mega-group leaders out there, no need to mention names, but the sad state of affairs that Radio is in today can be directly correlated to the effect of homogenized radio, all stations sound the same, and at the sales end, going after share...wasn't that always TV terminology? In the process, rate integrity was lost, this was even alluded to at one of the conferences during the Radio Show in Charlotte, with all the "Heads of State" sitting at one table, "we as an industry needed to get away from share," you are right about that!

At this point I know my boss is cringing, but in my humble opinion, here are the facts as I see and hear them on a daily basis...
| Read Gail's full comment |

Gail Lawing
Vice President/Regional Manager
Regional Reps Corp

Media Business Report TM
Graham stays the course
Washington Post Company CEO Donald Graham doesn't do quarterly conference calls, so it is always interesting to hear him speak, as he did yesterday at the UBS Media Conference in New York. Graham again said short-term-focused investors shouldn't buy his stock, but he believes in the long-term value of all of the company's businesses - and that includes the media businesses. "We're absolutely committed to Detroit," Graham insisted when asked what the company was doing to turn around WDIV-TV (Ch. 4, NBC) in the Motor City, a market that Graham had earlier called challenging. And he defended his reluctance to sell assets, saying that the company's reputation for buying and holding is important when he goes out to acquire new businesses from the people who have built them. Graham acknowledged that TV had been disappointing in 2007, but he noted bright spots as well. He praised WPLG-TV (Ch. 10, ABC) Miami for becoming the market's news ratings leader, for all stations, in a market where it is unusual of late for any English-language station to hold that title. Graham also noted "absolutely unbelievable performance" by independent WJXT-TV (Ch. 4) Jacksonville, FL.

With the big election year ahead, one questioner wanted to know whether new media outlets are going to be making big inroads into the political ad pie that has traditionally gone to TV. Graham said his TV managers had been talking with colleagues in early primary states and had seen no indication of any diversion of significant spending to new media. But Graham wouldn't mind getting some political bucks for his own new media outlets. He noted that washingtonpost.com, newsweek.com and Slate all have highly political audiences and will be going after the campaigns for advertising. However, he noted, "candidates only have so much money."

BK launches "Real People, Real Success" campaign
Burger King has launched a marketing campaign highlighting its diversity and inclusion initiatives nationwide. The "Real People, Real Success" campaign shines the spotlight on BKC's diverse employees, suppliers and franchisees. The first ad from the campaign appeared during the National Council of La Raza's national conference in Miami (July 21-24), the premier event for Latinos, hosted by the largest Hispanic civil rights advocacy organization in the country. With an initial focus on print, the campaign consists of a series of real-life testimonials of Hispanic, African American and Asian franchisees and suppliers. One ad-a stylized black-and-white portrait-highlights a Cuban-American businessman who began as a BK restaurant employee and now owns almost 40 BKs. Another ad showcases an African American businesswoman who is one of BKC's largest suppliers. All the ads were designed to honor the diverse workforce and business partners who have made the BK system one of the largest quick-service restaurant franchises in the world. The initiative was developed for BK by its Diversity and Inclusion agency, República.

Media Markets & Money TM
Two Pritchards in a double double deal in Iowa
Four companies are involved in a four-station transaction in Fort Madison-Burlington IA. The starting point is Clear Channel, which is sending the quartet as part of a group deal with Skip Weller's GAP West Broadcasting II. In turn, GAP is going to pass the stations along to a pair of gentlemen named John Pritchard. According to broker Terry Greenwood of TAG Media Consulting LLC, who handled the transaction, the elder Pritchard is more completely identified as John T. Pritchard, who is paying 900K for KBKB-AM Fort Madison & KBUR-AM Burlington. He'll be in competition with his son, more completely identified as John C. Pritchard, who is paying 2.1M for KBKB-FM Fort Madison & KGRS-FM Burlington. Weller said that the GAP West strategy was keyed on geographical considerations, and Iowa is outside the target area. With that in mind, spinning the stations to local owners made perfect sense.

Washington Business Report TM
Eight is not enough
Clear Channel EVP/Chief Legal Officer Andrew Levin told the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet that the decision to loosen local radio ownership caps in 1996 was an industry-saving maneuver, and now it's time to do it again. He'd like to see the cap upped to 12 stations in the largest markets. Two panelists representing companies with television interests, Sidney Bliss of Bliss Communications and Jerald N. Fritz of Allbritton Communications, called for loosening the cross-ownership restrictions. Fritz in particular noted that his company was forced to separate WJLA-TV and the Washington Star in Washington DC, and the company that bought the newspaper killed it off shortly thereafter -- to the detriment of local diversity. Their opinions were echoed by John Sturm of the Newspaper Association of America. Juan Gonzalez of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and E. Faye Williams of the National Congress of Black Women both decried the disgraceful levels of minority ownership. Gonzalez said one result was that almost all mainstream reporting on Hispanics was about crime or immigration, presenting a distorted view of that population to the general public. Williams protested Martin's pet desire for a la carte cable menu, saying that it would kill off niche cable programmers.

NABOB's Jim Winston, pictured, had three requests: (1) Reinstate minority tax credit. (2) Prevent FCC from further dereg until minority ownership initiatives adopted. (3) Investigate Arbitron's PPM, which appears to be seriously flawed. He said the PPM situation, and the harm he said it was doing to Hispanic and Black broadcasters, warranted a separate Congressional investigation. The problem centers around suddenly lower listener counts, causing advertisers to demand lower rates. He said advice to program to the results amounted to a suggestion to abandon Urban formats and was unacceptable.

Watchdog Andrew Jay Schwartzman of Media Access Project said that if all broadcasters were like Bliss or Allbritton there would be no need for this hearing. But there is absolutely no national sentiment to allow Clear Channel to acquire further stations. He noted that Clear Channel is even now laying off employees to increase sales staff, and admired its chutzpah for complaining about the pending XM merger, and uses it as an excuse to buy more stations, even while it has owned thousands of shares in XM. On cross-ownership, he noted that studies unequivocally show that such combinations lower overall news in a market. He also argued that allowing strategic partnerships between TV and newspaper was preferable to allowing co-ownership.

Entertainment Business Report TM
"The Mark Levin Show" reaches 150-affiliate milestone
ABC Radio Networks announced that The Mark Levin Show is experiencing phenomenal growth. With the recent addition of Clear Channel's News/Talk WJNO in West Palm Beach, Fla., the program's reach now extends to 150 affiliates-including 41 of the top 50 markets. The Mark Levin Show recently picked up several of the nation's top News/Talk radio stations, including Clear Channel's KTRH in Houston, CBS' KXNT in Las Vegas, Entercom's KJCE in Austin, WIAU in Indianapolis, WTAQ in Green Bay, WJIM in Lansing, KIXZ in Amarillo and WISW in Columbia, SC.

Dr. Arthur Laffer joins BizRadio Network
Daniel Frishberg, founder of The BizRadio Network, announces that famed economist Dr. Arthur Laffer will join the business and financial talk radio network BizRadio. Their new radio show, airing weekly, debuted yesterday. Dr. Laffer joins the Advisory Board of Frishberg Jordan Stewart & Kaleta Advisors also, bringing world-renowned influence to the firm and its clients. Laffer will co-host The MoneyMan Report with Frishberg for a featured hour each week during Frishberg's daily show, airing 4:00-6:00 p.m. CT, providing unique insights on a variety of economic issues.

Community Broadcasters in NY State add Imus, ESPN
Community Broadcasters, which owns seven radio stations in Watertown and the St. Lawrence Valley, has recently undergone format changes on two radio stations in its portfolio. The North Country's ESPN Radio 1400 has replaced the full-service talk station WSLB-AM, and 92.7 WQTK-FM, "The North Country's News and Talk Authority," has replaced the simulcast of hit music station WBDI-FM, "The Border." Both stations operate out of Ogdensburg, NY. WQTK-FM 92.7 brings conservative talk to the table, with Rush, Hannity, Michael Savage and Imus. In fact, WQTK debuted on 12/3, coinciding with the return of Imus to the airwaves.

Ratings & Research
Parents discussing Holiday shopping online motivated by cost, safety
Nielsen Online reported an analysis of online conversations among parents about their kids' holiday wish lists reveals that cost and safety are top priorities. Cost consciousness emerged in nearly 20% of discussions, with parents expressing budget concerns and vowing to avoid excessive spending on gifts. 10% of discussions mentioned toy recalls, pushing many readers to seek out domestic products to "play it safe." Toys "R" Us was cited as a helpful resource in determining safe toys. Parents expressed their intentions to buy specific products in approximately 60% of discussions. Nintendo's Wii and DS stand out as this year's "it" gifts; the Wii is especially popular because it provides entertainment for the whole family. Some parents are hoping to buck this trend and have a "green" Christmas with no plastic or electronic toys; others discussed intentions to buy educational toys like books and art supplies rather than the latest gadgets.

Overstock.com was the fastest growing online retailer when ranked by online mentions and inbound links in November 2007 versus a year ago, increasing 112%. Dell and Macy's ranked No. 2 and 3, with 84 and 83% growth, respectively. Target was No. 1 advertiser in Retail Goods & Services industry with 639.1 million image-based impressions. Books, Music and Movies was the largest Retail Goods & Services industry segment with 712.8 million image-based impressions. Office Supplies was the fastest growing Retail Goods & Services industry segment, increasing 285% in image-based impressions week over week

750K KWOR-AM/KKLX-FM Worland WY from KWOR Inc. (William B. Harrington, Nanci P. Harrington) to Legend Communications of Wyoming LLC (W. Lawrence Patrick, Susan K. Patrick, Douglas Wolf). Cash. Superduopoly with KZMQ AM & FM Greybull WY and KGCL-FM CP Ten Sleep WY. [File date 11/19/07.]

Stock Talk
Stocks turn up
A private jobs report gave Wall Street traders hope that Friday's November employment report from the US Labor Department will also be positive. Stock prices rose on the good news, with the Dow Industrials up 196 points, or 1.5%, to 13,445.

Radio stocks gained a bit. The Radio Index moved up 0.279, or 0.3%, to 98.383. Westwood One shot up 11.5% and Radio One 7.5%.

Radio Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Wednesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change




















Journal Comm.







Lincoln Natl.




Citadel CDL
2.00 -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
Executive Comment
Oh where, oh where
Has our industry (Radio) gone? At this point I know my boss is cringing...

Ad Business Report
BMO Capital Markets:
November radio airtime fell 3%...

Media Markets & Money
Two Pritchards
In a double double deal in Iowa four companies are involved...

Washington Business Report
Eight is not enough
Decision to loosen local radio ownership caps in '96 was an industry-saving maneuver, and now it's time to do it again...

Stations for Sale

Silver City, NM
Powerful Hispanic FM
Lovington, NM
Heritage AM/FM Combo
Explorer Communications
E-mail: [email protected]

Seller Financing Available
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Buy or Lease Studios, Tower
Gordon Rice Associates
(843) 884-3590
or E-mail Gordon Rice

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Radio Media Moves

New RAC leaders
Today's lead news story tells you that Chuck DuCoty, COO of NRG Media, is the new Chair of the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council and will preside over the next meeting March 6-8 in Orlando. The incoming Vice Chair is Lisa Decker, Sr. VP of CBS Radio.

Short-timer in Vegas
Just three days after beginning his new job (12/4/07 RBR #235), Mike Glickenhaus has resigned as Market Manager for the five-station Beasley Broadcast Group cluster in Las Vegas. The company said Glickenhaus cited personal reasons for his departure. "Although this has caught us by surprise, we remain committed to our staff, clients and listeners in Las Vegas. We had several strong candidates vie for this job. Las Vegas is a tremendous radio market and we feel confident that this position will be filled expeditiously," said Brian Beasley, Vice President of Operations for Beasley Broadcast Group.

Univision adds lobbyist
Univision Communications announced that Bert Gomez has been appointed Vice President, Government Relations. He will be based in Washington, DC, and will report to Cesar Conde, Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, Univision Communications. Gomez comes to Univision Communications Inc. after a 16-year career at the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, where he most recently served as Director of Federal Government Relations in Washington.

Bronsil upped
to President

Point-to-Point Marketing announced Tim Bronsil has been named President of the media marketing firm. Bronsil served as SVP there for the past two years. His appointment is effective 1/1. "Tim has earned this leadership role with his contributions in sales, ideas, energy, enthusiasm and vision. He's definitely the guy to lead our company to the next level" said Mark Heiden, co-owner of Point-to-Point.

New PD in Chicago
Spanish Broadcasting System announced Jose Ezequiel "Cheque" Gonzalez has been appointed as the new Programming Director of 107.9 "La Ley" WLEY-FM in Chicago. Gonzalez first joined La Ley in 1998 giving him a unique understanding of the station's heritage and the opportunities that lie ahead.

More News Headlines

WWDE drops Whoopi
Another one bites the dust: Entercom's AC WWDE-FM Norfolk has dropped Premiere's "Wake up with Whoopi" morning show. That means she has seven (or is it six?) markets left, with flagship KTU in NYC also recently dropping.

YouTube gets 28% video streaming market share
comScore released its comScore Video Metrix report for September 2007, revealing that nearly 75% of U.S. Internet users watched a video online (including both streaming video and progressive downloads), averaging three hours of video per person during the month. Google Sites, which includes YouTube.com, topped the September rankings with both the most unique video viewers and most videos viewed. September saw Americans view more than 9 billion videos online, with Google Sites once again ranking as the top U.S. video property with 2.6 billion videos viewed (28.3% share of videos), 2.5 billion of which occurred at YouTube.com (27.6%). Fox Interactive Media ranked second with 387 million (4.2%), followed by Yahoo! Sites with 381 million (4.1%) and Viacom Digital with 304 million (3.3%). In total, nearly 136 million Americans, or approximately three in four U.S Internet users, viewed online video in September. Google Sites also captured the largest online video audience with 71.6 million unique viewers, followed by Fox Interactive Media with 41.2 million and Yahoo! Sites with 39.6 million.

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

Clear Channel closing
won't come until 2008
While still awaiting regulatory approval for its private equity buyout, Clear Channel Communications announced plans to pay a regular quarterly dividend to its current shareholders. The buyout, but that closing will not come before the end of 2007. The company said it intends to exercise its right to extend the termination date for the buyout, which had been set for December12th. The new termination date will be June 12, 2008.

RBR observation: The shareholders have voted to approve the deal and the parties insist that the financing is holding firm, but what it holding up those regulatory approvals? It is hard to imagine that there is anything for the DOJ antitrust watchdogs to really consider, since the company is not growing through a merger, just changing owners. We didn't think there was any reason for anyone at the FCC to object, either, but then Commissioner Michael Copps voted "no" on the sale of the Clear Channel TV group to Providence Equity Partners - not that he bothered to cite any legal basis for his no vote, just a vague concern that the FCC hadn't looked into the implications of private equity investment in media. Copps seems to think that is something new. Wake up Commissioner, private equity funds have been investing in radio and TV for decades. So hold your breath for another 6 months.
12/05/07 RBR #236

Executive Comment: Saga's Steve Goldstein responds to Randy Kabrich
Anyone who thinks the transition from the 40-year-old diary to a brand new technology will happen without bumps and glitches is not grounded in reality.. Radio is in a more difficult place than ever. The diary is challenged and it is likely that if it were presented to the MRC today would not meet the criteria for accreditation. Advertisers are demanding more accountability, or they will continue to move dollars to other media which have already made the move to electronic measurement. Radio is behind the curve because, as an industry we are not unified. Infighting, negativity, misinformation and head-in-the-sand pontification are combining to cost us money.
12/05/07 RBR #236

Coen sees more of the same in 2008
Aside from TV, which stands to gain from political spending and the Olympics in 2008, Universal McCann Sr. VP and Director of Forecasting Bob Coen doesn't see much to get excited about in the coming year. Coen said his original forecasts for 2007 missed the mark because big marketers became more focused on global corporate profits and tightened the reins on ad spending. That trend, he said, will continue in 2008, so he is not expecting to see much growth in ad spending, For 2008, Coen predicts that total US ad spending will be up 3.7% to 294.4 billion bucks, with local barely better than flat and national up 5.5%. In line with his prediction that most types of media will see little change in 2008 over 2007, Coen predicts that national radio ad sales (network and national spot combined) will be up only 1% next year. But that's better than his forecast for local radio, which he forecasts will be flat with 2007.

RBR observation: Here's hoping that Coen doesn't have to revise his estimates sharply downward as he did in 2007 - especially since they aren't all that strong to begin with. Just a little more sputtering of the economy could have radio joining newspapers in having a down year. TV gets a breather in 2008, but absent the elections and Olympics, those forecast numbers wouldn't be impressive either. For a complete Analysis review this report in RBR along with RAB estimates.
12/04/07 RBR #235

The PPM debate grows more heated
Randy Kabrich, Consultant in an Open letter to Dave Paulus, President/GM, Saga Communications, Norfolk, VA - Hey Dave... If your genius of a boss, Steve Goldstein, had paid attention to the people that now look like psychics concerning the pitfalls of what was going on with PPM...if your boss had worked to find out all the details and correct the problems, instead of pushing PPM, with a half dozen others geniuses who will bear this rollout on their legacy, we would not have the embarrassment in the trades you see today.

RBR observation: Ouch, and double ouch. See this special Comment page in RBR.
12/04/07 RBR #235

Uh oh: Another downsized forecast
BMO Capital Markets analyst Leland Westerfield has knocked the overall ad spending projection for 2007 from growth of 3.4% to 2.6%, and he's taking 2008 growth down from 4.3% to 3.6%. Radio: BMO sees not so much a downward spiral as a downward angled plane, with a -1.8% loss this year, another -1.8% loss next year and a -1.7% loss in 2009. Spot TV: Is expected to continue its election year pendulum swings while veering downward, finishing 2007 at -2.7%, riding the major national elections to a +9.2% gain in 2008, then giving much of that back in 2009 with a -6.3% drop. Broadcast networks are expected to follow a muted version of that same pattern, with a scant +0.1% gain in 2007, a +6.2% gain in 2008 and a -1.4% loss in 2009. The big gainer? If you said Internet, Don Rickles might award you a cookie. Its numbers are predicted at +24.2%, +19.6% and +30%. The big loser? If you said newspaper, help yourself to another cookie. Its red record is set at -5.3%, -4.5% and -6.2%.
12/03/07 RBR #234

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