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Welcome to RBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 239, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Thursday Morning December 8th, 2005

Radio News®

Disney CFO keeps cards close to vest
We got no hint yesterday of whether Disney has decided on a sale of ABC Radio as CFO Tom Staggs spoke at the CSFB Global Media Week conference in NYC. "We like the integrated nature of our businesses. We've said that we're looking at the possibility of divesting our radio business if we can do it in a way that drives more value that way than continuing to own it. And, if we're right about that, then that's a transaction that we would do. That's obviously a small piece of the puzzle. We'll continue to look at the issue of capital allocation and where we think we can get the best returns. At least right now for our company we don't think a wholesale split apart of broadcasting from cable or studio and parks from the other makes sense. As I said, we like the integrated nature of the business," Staggs said in discussing the company's structure going forward. So, no split down the middle like Viacom - - but no decision yet on a radio divestiture.

RBR observation: It appears we were a bit high in our previous estimate that it would take a sale price of around 3.3 billion just to equal the weak pricing for Susquehanna Radio (11/16/05 RBR #225). Indeed, that was a weak multiple of only 13 times cash flow, but it turns out that cash flow for ABC's network business is only about a third of what we thought, so equaling the Susquehanna pricing would only be 2.6 billion. It now appears that the multiple on ABC Radio will be higher than Susquehanna. If it hits three billion, that would be a 15 multiple - - equivalent to about 17 for a cash transaction due to Disney's requirement of a tax-advantaged Reverse Morris Trust arrangement (similar to the tax-advantaged structure of the Susquehanna deal).

Cumulus out of ABC Radio bidding
He won the bidding for Susquehanna Radio (11/1/05 RBR #214) at 1.2 billion, but Lew Dickey won't be adding ABC Radio to his trophy case. The Cumulus Media CEO told the UBS Media Week Conference in NYC that he thought his company was also the best strategic fit with ABC, but someone else was willing to pay Disney more than he could. Lew said he pursued ABC aggressively after announcing the Susquehanna deal. "That afternoon I went full bore on Disney and have been working on it seven days a week. We have worked extremely hard on this process. We viewed ourselves as the highest synergy buyers with the overlaps in San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta - - and strategic overlaps, not just overlaps. Emmis had overlaps in New York, LA, Chicago, but they weren't strategic overlaps like ours really were with News/Talk and Sports and men in San Francisco and Country in Dallas, as well as News/Talk and Sports in Dallas and general market in Atlanta - - so, very important synergies," he said, adding that his venture capital backers from the Susquehanna deal were willing to stretch for ABC. "That being said, we were told that we were hundreds of millions off and we were out of the process," Lew concluded.

RBR observation: So, who does that leave? Entercom, Citadel (yes, they're still in it afterall) and KKR? Jeff Smulyan confirmed at the UBS gathering yesterday that Emmis is out, but that had been known for some time. What's strange is that the only two bidders who could create in-market clusters with ABC Radio have been outbid. If Cumulus and Emmis can't go high enough to win, what's driving Entercom and Citadel? Is it just ego? Or do Farid Suleman and David Field fear that if they don't win this one - - after letting Susquehanna go to Cumulus - - that they'll eventually have to put their company on the auction block.

Cumulus boosts stock buyback
Like so many other broadcasters, Cumulus Media believes its stock is being undervalued by Wall Street. To that end, the board of directors has authorized management to spend a second 100 million bucks to buy back shares of the company's stock. "We are pleased to announce the completion of our initial 100 million board-approved stock repurchase program, as well as the authorization of an additional 100 million for future repurchases. This additional capacity gives us the flexibility to continue to invest our tremendous free cash flow in the most accretive way possible," said CEO Lew Dickey. Cumulus said that as of December 6th it had bought back 7,871,627 shares at an average price of 12.56 for a total of 99 million bucks.

Is Smulyan closer to playing ball?
The Washington Times is saying that Emmis honcho Jeff Smulyan has picked up, if not an endorsement, then at least a friendly nod from a local council member in his bid to win the reins to MLB's Washington Nationals. Smulyan is not a local favorite, precisely because he's not local, but District politician Kwame Brown likes what he sees on Smulyan's list of co-investors. Broadcasters are very familiar with one of them, Radio One/TV One honcho Al Liggins, who is just one of many Smulyan protégés who brings the added benefit of minority status to the ownership lineup. Others include former NFL Washington Redskins Charles Mann, Calvin Hill and Art Monk. The list also includes other local names, like Dwight Bush, Ernie and William Jarvis, and Eric Holder. Together, it's said they'll have at least 100M equity in the team. Acording to the Times, Brown is not endorsing Smulyan by any means, but indicated he's very comfortable with the lineup Smulyan has put together.

RBR observation: As a Washington Senators fan whose pedigree goes back to the days of Chuck Hinton, Bennie Daniels, Don Lock, Jim King and Fred Valentine (if any of you remember those names, you're a true baseball nut), all we can say is whatever MLB is going to do, we wish they'd do it. We're already tired of watching our division rivals stock up their rosters while at the same time watching our own players pack their bags for points in all directions while we haggle over stadiums, leases and owners. With that all said now lets ask the investors of Emmis how they feel about their money playing baseball?

Adelphia sell-off gets further inquiry
The FCC wants more info from Comcast and Time Warner before it will sign off on their proposal to split troubled Adelphia Communications. It has questions about the effects on the competitive landscape once the merger is complete, particularly on the programming side, according to an article in Multichannel News. The two buyers are trying to divvy up the spoils of bankrupt Adelphia in a cash/stock deal valued at 17.6B (4/22/05 RBR #80). According to Multichannel, the FCC wants to know about regional system merging, local sports programming and carriage on program channels not under the same ownership umbrella. In particular, the FCC is looking into divergent contracting practices, where O&O channels are carried system-wide, while other channels are forced to contact local or regional managers individually to try and gain carriage. The Federal Trade Commission is also looking into the mergers, which are aiming for a summer 2006 closing date.

Ag media firm has a beef with noncom competitor
Farm Journal is annoyed that an agricultural offering on satellite MVPDs EchoStar and DirecTV is benefiting from its noncommercial status, and that its commercial activities cast doubt on that status in the first place. The complainant, which publishes agricultural magazines like "Beef Business Journal" and produces television programs "AgDay" and "US Farm Report," says that it has been monitoring RFD-TV for a year, and alleges that it carries "pervasive commercial programming." It is asking the IRS and the FCC to investigate the programmer's non-profit 501(c)3 status.

RBR observation: It is not uncommon for small non-profit stations to go over the commercial line when inserting underwriting testimonials into its programs. Generally, the FCC gives the station a wrist slap and hits it with a relatively small fine. We suspect that the most likely result of this case is that RFD-TV will get some lessons in copywriting noncom-style, and if it then toes the line, it will probably get to keep its non-com status.


Army shakeup: McCann Erickson in,
Leo Burnett out

It looks like the "Army of One" ad campaign is history. The Pentagon announced yesterday that a 1.35 billion bucks, five-year ad contract for the Army has been awarded to McCann Erickson, replacing Leo Burnett USA. The lengthy bidding process for the ad contract began last year and was delayed past the expiration of Burnett's previous five-year contract. McCann is now guaranteed two years, with the Army having options for three more. With many young men and women hesitant to sign up for duty that's likely to include long stretches in Iraq, the Army missed its 80K soldier recruitment goal last year, although it claims to be on track to meet its target this year. Now McCann will have to come up with some new ideas to spur enlistments. Since the contract was awarded through a government bidding process, it's not your normal business contract. Here's the official description from the Pentagon: "McCann Erickson, New York, is being awarded an estimated 1.35 billion firm-fixed price, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract for the planning and implementation of advertising, promotional and publicity programs to support all recruiting and retention programs for the active-duty Army and the U.S. Army Reserve. This includes a full range of services from developing a tactical advertising strategy to producing advertising using numerous communications methods - including television, radio, print and Internet site, direct marketing, promotions, and events. The Request For Proposals was released Aug. 8, 2005 under full and open competition. Work will be performed at McCann Erickson in New York City and is estimated to be completed by Dec. 6, 2011 - - based on a five year contract with the performance period consisting of a base period of two years and three one year options. The Communications-Electronics Life Cycle Management Command Acquisition Center at Fort Monmouth, N.J., is the contracting activity."

TNS reports 104 billion in
US ad spend YTD September
Total ad expenditures for the first nine months of 2005 increased 3.0% to 104.1 billion compared to the same time period in 2004, according to data released today by TNS Media Intelligence, the leading provider of strategic advertising and marketing information. Total ad spending during the third quarter of 2005 was down by 0.3% compared to 2004, during which the Olympics and Presidential election greatly impacted the overall ad market. "Advertising expenditure percentage growth through September is in line with our original 2005 forecast of 2.9%," said Steven Fredericks, President and CEO of TNS Media Intelligence. "It is important to recognize that when we factor out the incremental 2004 ad volume attributed to the Olympics and the Elections, core ad spending grew by approximately 4.5% during the January to September period and 3.9% during the third quarter." TNS MI estimates the third quarter losses in measured local media ad spending due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita were $15-$20 million; about one tenth of one% of the $13.3 billion spent on local media during the quarter.
| View the Charts |

Coca-Cola debuts new slogan,
"Welcome to the Coke Side of Life"

Coca-Cola Co. unveiled "Welcome to the Coke side of life" as its new global advertising slogan for 2006. The announcement, according to a WSJ story, came at a Coke investor conference Wednesday, with Mary Minnick, head of Coke's global marketing, innovation and strategy, giving analysts and investors a sample of the upcoming campaign. "Welcome to the Coke side of life" would replace the "Real" campaign. In some instances, the word "Welcome" was changed to "Think" or "Dream" as part of the campaign, said the story. It will use print and television to start. Coke plans to run several new ads around the world and complement those with more local advertising in '06. Coke also said it will introduce a branding campaign centered around the idea of health and wellness during the Winter Olympics next February. The effort seeks to educate consumers about what to drink in order to strike a healthy balance. One of the themes will be to "make every drop count."

Media Business Report
WorldSpace inks sub #100K
There's another player in the digital satellite radio field, and it just took its subscriber base into six digits. It doesn't seem to be in the duel with XM and Sirius however. WorldSpace is its name, and Asia is its game at the moment. It says most of its subscribers are in India. With six satellite beams, it says it covers 2/3 of the Earth, and has the potential to reach 5B people with 300M cars in 130 countries - - if it can get them to subscribe.

RBR observation: Hey, 0.0001B down, 4.9999B to go.

Media Markets & MoneyTM
Double O gets double markets for double Bobs
Pilot Group, home of Bobs Pittman and Sherman, is behind a deal which will add two Texas clusters to the group's radio portfolio. Three stations in Odessa-Midland and a quintet in San Angelo are going to Double O Texas Corp. for 12.4M dollars. The seller is Tommy Vascocu's Encore Broadcasting. In Odessa-Midland, Double O gets a trio of FMs, valued at 7.7M, including KHKX-FM and KMCM-FM in Odessa and KQRX-FM in Midland. The San Angelo portion of the deal, valued at 4.3M, includes KGLK AM & FM and KILI-FM in San Angelo, KNRX-FM Sterling City and KKCN-FM Ballinger. The final 400K is allocated to a pair of non-competition agreements.

Washington Beat
Decency part deux set for next Monday
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) is wasting any time in pushing forward on the indecency issue. He announced late yesterday that the Senate Commerce Committee will hold a follow up to its recent Decency Forum (11/30/05 RBR #233) next Monday (12/12). The Decency Forum Follow-up Meeting is set for 10:00 am in the Dirksen building. Former MPAA President Jack Valenti is confirmed to attend with an update on the issue of a uniform ratings system. Also confirmed as a participant is Kyle McSlarrow, President and CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. Both were panelist in the first session as well.

McCain lauds Connecticut campaign finance measure
It should come as no surprise that one of the authors and most vocal supporters of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act was thrilled by the recent enactment of a campaign financing law in Connecticut which will ensure that most of the financing for political campaigns in the state will be government funded. The goal is to assure that politicians do not feel beholden to individuals and/or entities which helped finance their run for office. "The passage of this legislation issues a bold challenge to reform state campaign finance and ethics laws across the country," said McCain. "I commend legislators in both parties in the House and Senate for answering Governor M. Jodi Rell's call for comprehensive reform. The governor's consistent leadership and the legislation agreed upon by both chambers, prove that Connecticut's elected officials are willing to look beyond their self-interest and do what is truly in the public interest. These reforms will help rebuild the public's confidence in Connecticut's leaders. Connecticut's legislators have successfully created an atmosphere of ethical government that is focused on what is best for the people's interests not the special interests."

"iPod fatigue" setting in?
In his presentation to the UBS conference yesterday, Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan noted that it was CB radios which were supposed to wipe out the radio business when he bought his first station in the 1970s. Now the death threat is from iPods, so he asked Emmis Radio President Rick Cummings to tell the investor gathering about his research on iPods. Cummings says his team spends a lot of time checking out trends on college campuses because people there are at the cutting edge for young adult demos. "We're seeing iPod fatigue already," he said. "I was on the USC campus last week and heard student after student in a presentation talking about how their iPod had a hundred songs on it because they didn't have the time to load it and they were sick of dealing with it." Cummings admitted that traditional radio hasn't delivered everything that the college age population wants and that radio needs to focus on content and find ways to bridge new technologies with the radio audience. He suggested that if HD-2 channels are done correctly "you're going to see HD-2 in a couple of years look like FM radio did in the 1970s."

Ratings & Research
Young consumers first
''Technology Everywhere'' generation

Young consumers are using more technology at a younger age to connect with more people than ever before, according to a survey of more than 5,000 U.S. and Canadian online youth aged 12-21 by Forrester Research. For example, 87% of 15-year-olds use instant messaging, while nearly half of 12- to 14-year-olds have a mobile phone.
| Read More... |

Arbitron's Kolessar honored by EE times
Ron Kolessar, VP/Technology at Arbitron, is being honored as an electronics industry innovator by EE Times at "The Great Minds, Great Ideas Project" to be presented at the 2006 Consumer Electronics Show. Kolessar is being recognized by the editors of EE Times for leading the development of the Portable People Meter technology at Arbitron. "The Great Minds, Great Ideas Project" is a celebration of the people and technologies that will shake the marketplace and open new opportunities. The people who developed these innovations are being recognized for their revolutionary vision and their ambition to disrupt the status quo in their respective markets. Among the innovators and the innovations that EE Times is honoring in the digital media category are: Jim Barton, developer of TiVo; Leonardo Chiariglione, a leader of the industry group that developed the MPEG compression standards; and Shuji Nakamura, who helped develop the bright blue LEDs that power high definition DVDs. Also among the honorees are: Mike Lazaridis, who put wireless e-mail on the map with the Blackberry in 1999 and Dov Moran, who inspired the development of the USB flash drive.

Scarborough signs Salem
Salem Communications has selected Scarborough Research for local and national consumer research. Salem will utilize the consumer insights of Scarborough's Local Market Studies for select U.S. cities as well as Scarborough USA+, a national consumer study. Listeners who tune into to Salem's 105 radio stations, according to Scarborough, are 37% more likely than all consumers in the 75 local markets measured by Scarborough to have an annual household income of 100,000 or greater; 46% more likely to have a home whose market value is 350,000 or greater; and 34% more likely to have a college degree. Salem Radio Listeners are more likely than the average consumer to have a variety of financial products, including mutual funds (20% more likely than all consumers), and stocks or stock options (15% more likely). These listeners are more likely 25% more likely to participate in company purchasing decisions for computer hardware/software. Salem Radio Listeners are 18% more likely than the average American to be married and 26% more likely to have children living at home.

First Broadcasting launches
"Spectrum Innovation Lab"

First Broadcasting announced the launch of its Spectrum Innovation Laboratory effective 1/1. The facility will be devoted exclusively to the study of digital and analog RF signal propagation including the development of sophisticated software tools to predict and measure such signals. Located in Dallas, the Lab houses a team of resident technical professionals including experts in RF, complex software algorithms and computational modeling as it relates to transmission and propagation characteristics of broadcast signals. Principal areas of focus include analog and digital terrestrial radio, spectrum allocation and analysis software, and digital technologies related to the distribution of entertainment and information content. Also effective 1/1, Bert Goldman, currently First Broadcasting's Senior Vice President of Engineering and former head of engineering for ABC Radio, will become Senior Technical Advisor to First Broadcasting and will serve as Honorary Chairman of the Spectrum Innovation Lab. First also announced that Bill Hieatt, formerly a regional director for leading broadband services and information systems developer Communication Technologies, was named VP/Engineering and Software Development for the company, responsible for new technology and software initiatives, including the development and integration of digital tools and systems to broaden First Broadcasting's overall technology platform.

780K WYSR-AM Greensboro-Winston Salem-High Point (High Point NC) from Eastern Broadcasting Group Inc. (Michael J. Sbuttoni) to Latino Communicationsw LLC (Jose A. Isasi). 39K escrow, balance in cash at closing. De facto superduopoly with WWBG-AM Greensboro & WTOB-AM Winston-Salem, both being LMA'd from Davidson Media. [File date 11/15/05.]

482.5K WKQV-FM CP Richwood WV from Radioactive LLC (Benjamin L. Homel) to Summit Media Broadcasting LLC (Nanzio Aldo Sergi). 80K escrow, 320K cash at closing, 82.5K note. Includes non-compete. CP is for Clas B1 on 105.5 mHz with 3.96 kw @ 823'. [File date 11/15/05.]

Stock Talk
Fed worries continue
Fears of continued rate increases by the Federal Reserve are keeping Wall Street traders from joining in any year-end rally. With no real news to move the market, the Dow Industrials fell 46 points yesterday, or 0.4%, to 10,811.

Radio stocks were also lower. The Radio Index dropped 0.981, or 0.5%, to 185.157. Cumulus bucked the trend, rising 3.4% after announcing that it was out of the bidding for ABC Radio. Salem fell 2.4% as the worst performer.

Radio Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Wednesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change













Journal Comm.




Citadel CDL
13.48 -0.13

Radio One, Cl. A




Clear Channel




Radio One, Cl. D




Cox Radio












Saga Commun.








Salem Comm.








Sirius Sat. Radio








Spanish Bcg.
















Viacom, Cl. A








Viacom, Cl. B








Westwood One








XM Sat. Radio





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Radio Media Moves

at Capitol

Capitol Broadcasting Co. has promoted Brandon Alexander to the newly created position of Promotion Supervisor for WRAL-FM & WCMC-FM Raleigh. Paige Ellis, who had been Promotion Coordinator for WRAL has been transferred to WCMC and promoted to Promotion Supervisor.

Chernoff doubles
in NYC

Effective immediately, Mark Chernoff has been upped to the newly-created title of Vice President/Programming of New York's 92.3 FREE FM (WXRK) and WFAN-AM. Additionally, he'll continue serving as WFAN's Operations Director. Eric Spitz is the PD of WFAN. Chernoff first joined Infinity in 1989 as PD for WXRK and held the same position at WFAN from 1993-2004.

Three upped at Journal
Jouranl Broadcast Group announced three promotions. Jim Timm has been upped to Station Manager of the Omaha cluster and will continue to be Director of Sales as well. In Springfield, MO, Janelle Carter has been named Sales Manager for KSPW-FM & KZRQ-FM and Chris Cannon has been named Operations Manager for the five-station cluster, with programming responsibilities for all.

Below the Fold

Ad Biz
TNS reports 104 billion
In US ad spend YTD September...

Washington Beat
McCain lauds Connecticut
Campaign finance measure and should come as no surprise...

Ratings & Research
Young consumers first
''Technology Everywhere'' generation 87% of 15-year-olds use instant messaging...

Media Markets & Money
Double O gets double markets
Home of Bobs Pittman and Sherman add two Texas clusters...

Stations for Sale

AM daytimer with excellent coverage of entire metro. Low operating costs, no revenue. Asking $495K. Details, [email protected]
or 781-848-4201.

More News Headlines

Opie & Anthony
get NJ gov. angry
over air horn stunt

An Opie & Anthony stunt from their "Assault on the Media" campaign had a fan in NJ disrupt a live WABC-TV NY newscast with journalist, Anthony Johnson. He was reporting on the snowstorm that hit the area. In addition to holding up the Opie & Anthony sign, as instructed by the duo, the fan used an air-horn to blow into Johnson's ear, causing hearing loss. The station cut away from the shot before the incident could air. Police were called in and the man was given a summons for disorderly conduct. The office of the Acting Governor of New Jersey, Richard J. Codey, issued a statement in response to the incident: "Following an incident today where WABC New Jersey Reporter Anthony Johnson was harassed by a fan of a popular radio show that encourages fans to disrupt live broadcasts, Acting Governor Richard J. Codey issued this statement: "Encouraging fans to intervene in live news shots is inappropriate and dangerous. Today a fan sounded an air horn in a reporter's ear and this action may result in permanent hearing damage for the reporter who was harassed. Reporters are professionals who provide a great service to the public by delivering news. They should be treated with respect and not antagonized as part of a radio show gag. I won't tolerate anything less in our state. The person who committed this act should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I wish Mr. Johnson a speedy and healthy recovery."


Canadian satellite
IPO priced

Canadian Satellite Radio Holdings, the north of the border affiliate of XM, has priced its IPO at 16 Canadian bucks per share, which values the company at about 800 million. The stock won't be traded in the US, but will trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange with the symbol "XSR.SV." The company, which brands its service as "XM Canada," began selling subscriptions last month. Rival Sirius Canada launched its service this week.

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RBR Radar 2005
Radio News you won't read any where else. RBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

HD Digital Radio Alliance launches
We pegged it (11/29 RBR #232): Finally, a coordinated industry effort to compete with the format variety of satellite radio. Orlando-based "HD Digital Radio Alliance" Peter Ferrara from Clear Channel is the President/CEO of the new alliance and will be solely dedicated to and paid by the alliance. Participating groups so far include Bonneville, Citadel, Clear Channel, Cumulus, Emmis, Entercom, Greater Media and Infinity. Staff will be hired there on an as-needed basis. RBR observation: It is vital that the radio industry speak with one voice to promote HD Radio to the US public and roll it out in an orderly manner. We don't need to remind anyone of the experience with AM stereo. While there's been a lot of talk about the programming side of the Alliance, which will provide unique programming for the new HD-2 channels, we think the more important parts are the plans to introduce HD Radio to the public and convince automakers to put the receivers in new cars. Even if your company has its own plans for programming HD-2 channels, you would do well to find out what the Alliance will be doing to make it possible for people to actually receive those new channels. Speak with One Voice. The biggest goal now is to "Get it into the cars. That's number one. More details with Peter Ferrara read
12/07/05 RBR #238

People want digital radio,
but not monthly bills
Auto industry columnist Joseph White's feature on new car options dissected a JD Powers & Associates survey of 17,000 consumers on what new car options they were most interested in - - and what they were willing to pay for them. Ranked #3 was "high-definition radio," even though HD Radio receivers are hardly even out in the market yet. The survey found that at a one-time cost of 150 bucks, people were eager to have a digital radio receiver in their car - - but didn't want to pay the monthly subscription fee for satellite digital radio. RBR observation: Speak with one voice in all areas.
12/07/05 RBR #238

Gloomy on ad outlook 2006
Seeing ad spending trail GDP growth this year, Universal McCann guru Bob Coen expects more of the same in 2006, with total ad spending up 5.8%, vs. 4.6% this year. In radio, he expects national business (network and spot combined) to be up 4% and local 4% as well. RBR observation: Much as we'd like to see more growth in 2006, we can't disagree with Coen's basic projections. Final projections for this year still look too high, given the industry's flat performance through October reported by RAB. That may explain why he appears, at this point, to have too high of a projection for 2006. Coen insisted that he wasn't optimistic at all. "The radio situation is in turmoil right now.
12/06/05 RBR #237

Arbitron chief
downplays VNU buyout
CEO Steve Morris noted that while lots of people have suggested that his company is a buyout prospect for Nielsen owner VNU, he doesn't see it happening. Given its (VNU) current internal turmoil, he doesn't see VNU acquiring anything. Noted that having Nielsen do a Portable People Meter (PPM) joint venture with Arbitron would be a lot more efficient way to get access to the PPM technology than trying to buy Arbitron.
12/06/05 RBR #237

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