Welcome to RBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 33, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Wednesday Morning February 16th, 2005

Radio News®

Regent sees
ad demand increasing
January ad sales were up 3% at Regent Communications and President/COO Bill Stakelin is telling Wall Street to expect "sequential improvement" through the rest of Q1. In the company's quarterly conference call, he said advertiser demand is improving, although he doesn't yet see any upward pressure on rates. Stakelin and Chairman/COO Terry Jacobs attribute the improving demand to a number of factors, ranging from Regent's own sales efforts and staff training to Clear Channel's "Less is More" initiative, presentations to major advertisers by the Radio Advertising Bureau and studies put out by the Radio Advertising Effectiveness Lab. Asked specifically about Less is More, Stakelin said it is observable in markets where Regent competes with Clear Channel that the inventory-reducing program has been implemented, but again he says there's no pressure yet on rates. That, he said, will be seen in time. For all of Q1, Regent is telling Wall Street to expect same station revenues to be up 5-6% - - and company officials note that's on top of nearly 7% growth a year ago.

McCain back on the warpath
"If a local candidate wants to be on TV and can't afford to buy advertising, his only hope is to have a freak accident." Those are the words of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), reacting to the latest USC Annenberg School and University of Wisconsin study of broadcast campaign coverage. McCain has a bill ready in response. Saying it is time to introduce localism back into local broadcasting, McCain said he is introducing a new bill which would reduce the broadcast license renewal period from eight to three years. It would require that public hearings be held to get the opinion of a station licensee's constituents as to how good a job the station is doing at meeting its public interest obligation. Finally, it would establish posting requirements on licensees, compelling them to put information relevant to its public interest obligation on its website. Asked if the ongoing controversy on media ownership had an effect, McCain said, "The media consolidation issue plays into this - - I don't think there's any doubt about that...Most observers would say there's been a decrease in local news." Asked if broadcasters, by following the "if it bleeds it leads" theory, were merely giving their audience what it wants as opposed to coverage of overlong campaigns, McCain said, "If the only obligation broadcasters have is to broadcast new and information that is most popular, they would be in defiance of their obligation to act in the public interest."

RBR observation: Just these statements raise the hair on the back of your neck - 'A new bill reducing license renewal period from eight to three years. Require public hearings if a station licensee's constituents as to how good a job they are doing at meeting its public interest obligation.' Sen. McCain when was the last or first time you looked at a radio all news or TV news investment in people to report the local news? People re-read this report and the one below and now you say out loud - Holly xxxT. We want to hear from you on this one [email protected]

Free airtime for politicians: It won't go away
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) used his press conference on release of the USC Annenberg School and University of Wisconsin study to reiterate his call for free air time for politicians in the period just before election day. He was reacting to the combination of decreased news coverage of the campaigns, combined with record spending on political advertising as the politicians struggle to make themselves known in the absence of adequate coverage. He said he would prefer that such time be made available by broadcasters voluntarily. However, there are many plans floating around, and he finds value in all of them - - to him, it's more a matter of finding a plan that will have legs on the legislative floor. As for coverage costing a station viewership, he said that if he had time, he'd want to hold the attention of as many viewers as possible, and would certainly take that into account when determining how to use his own time. He noted that most politicians, himself certainly included, were pretty good at putting forth a compelling message in an attention-grabbing manner. Martin Kaplan, who represented the producers of the study, noted that those stations which do provide excellent coverage of local campaigns are often market news leaders. Often, he said, its a matter of applying their expertise in presenting other types of news to political news. Bottom line: quality campaign coverage, ratings and revenues often go hand in hand.

Journal delivers on January promises
After Journal Broadcast Group President Doug Kiel told Wall Street during the company's Q4 conference call that January revenues were stronger than expected (2/4/05 RBR #25), the company has now delivered the actual numbers - - and they are quite strong. Total broadcast revenues were up 18.7% in January to 10.55 million bucks - - which we calculate as a gain of 12.3% after subtracting 570,000 in revenues from recently acquired WGBA-TV Green Bay, WI. Radio revenues were up 19.3% to 5.18 million. TV revenues gained 18.1% to 5.37 million - - or a 5.7% gain without WGBA. Newspaper revenues were up 5.4% to 21.3 million, with ad revenues up 2.6%. All in all, January revenues for Journal Communications rose 9.5% to 31.85 million.

click to see full size
Perception vs. reality, Part II
Radio stations may think that they're pretty good at running schedules properly for advertisers, but the Advertiser Perception Study released last week at RAB2005 showed that advertisers and agencies have a very different view of radio's accountability as far as schedule integrity is concerned. Even as the report's results were presented last week in Atlanta, one of the broadcasters in the room took umbrage at the survey's finding that advertisers and agencies rank radio below most other media on schedule integrity. "What they don't realize is that the criteria for whether a spot ran correctly or not goes way beyond the time that it ran. It goes into 'did the correct copy run,' for example," RAB President & CEO
Gary Fries told RBR afterward. "The copy needs to be matched up with the schedule, because a lot of times advertisers find that the wrong spot ran. Maybe the spot came in on Friday afternoon and didn't get changed until Monday morning, while the advertiser assumed it would be changed on Friday afternoon." Another issue, he noted, is what constitutes "fair and equal rotation." Whereas an advertiser may expect that to mean equal rotation throughout all dayparts, but Fries notes that station schedules may not allow for that, for example, if the station airs syndicated programming for a part of its daily schedule.

Source authority: Reporters told to talk
"There is no First Amendment privilege protecting the evidence sought," said appeals court Judge David Sentelle in denying the right of Time reporter Matthew Cooper and New York Times reporter Judith Miller to protect sources from a grand jury in the Valerie Plame case, per a Reuters report. The Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) immediately appealed to Congress for shield legislation that would protect reporters. RTNDA President Barbara Cochran said, "The courts are making it clear that reporters cannot rely on First Amendment protections. This decision underscores the need for federal legislators to enact a shield law to establish reasonable standards for compelling and shielding disclosure of sources and information. RTNDA supports the federal shield law proposals recently introduced in both houses of Congress. Protecting a reporter's right to confidential sources is essential to preserving the public's right to know and to hold government accountable for their actions. Without this protection, whistleblowers and others would be afraid to come forward to expose wrongdoing and to effect change. It would be devastating if reporters have to choose between going to jail and breaking a promise to a source."

RBR observation: We STILL fail to understand why Cooper and Miller are bearing the brunt of this when the obvious person to subpoena - - if you're going to subpoena anyone - - is Robert Novak. Mr. Sentelle, Your Honor - - that's N-O-V-A-K. And he should be shielded as well.

Conference Calls Q4 2004
Regent closes 2004 with strong quarter
Regent Communications hit its revenue guidance for Q4 at 22.1 million bucks, up 5.4% on a same station basis and 14.9% compared to actual results from a year earlier. And it did even better on the bottom line, with earnings per share of six cents - - beating the Thomson First Call analysts' consensus by a penny. "We ended 2004 with a strong fourth quarter. We delivered same-station revenue and same-station operating income growth of 5.4% and 14.7%, respectively. We achieved this impressive growth by employing the most talented professionals in radio, operating market-leading stations, and delivering results and value to advertisers. Middle and small-market radio is alive and well, and our results underscore the growth of these attractive markets," said Chairman/CEO Terry Jacobs. Q4 station operating income was eight million, up 33.4% from the actual results of Q4 a year earlier. Those adjustments for actual and same station figures were due to a swap deal with Citadel that made Regent a big player in the Bloomington, IL market. (And just last month the company completed a swap with Clear Channel to bulk up in Evansville, IN.) Asked about acquisition multiples today, Jacobs said sellers are still demanding 13.5 to 15 times - - "and there are buyers willing to pay those multiples," he noted. Like many other public companies, who see their own stock as cheaper than potential acquisitions, Regent indicated that it is ready to resume stock buybacks, which had been put on hold during Q4 while the company renegotiated its bank credit facility.


Univision, Ford launch
"Salud, Dinero y Amor"
Univision Radio, together with Univision Television and Univision Online, announced it will launch "Salud, Dinero y Amor," an Expo focusing on Hispanic women and their roles as leaders in their families and their communities in Los Angeles on February 26th and 27th. Presented by Ford, "Salud, Dinero y Amor," is scheduled to visit other US cities later this year including Houston, Miami, Chicago and New York. "Salud, Dinero y Amor" is also sponsored by McDonald's. The two-day expo to be held at the LA Convention Center will provide attendees with information on topics ranging from finance, to family to health. Featured speakers will include Univision Radio talkers Psychologist Dra. Isabel, Financial Expert Julie Stav and Health Correspondent Dr. Aliza Lifshitz. Special guests from Univision Television Network, include Noticiero Univision Fin de Semana Anchor Maria Antonieta Collins. "Univision is pleased to partner with Ford to launch this integrated effort to educate Hispanic women on a variety of topics that are relevant to their daily lives," said Jack Hobbs, EVP/Corporate Sales. "Through the launch of the "Salud, Dinero y Amor" expo, Univision continues to be a consistently reliable source of valuable information for its dedicated audience."

ExxonMobil launches new line of high-endurance oils
ExxonMobil announced it is rolling out one of the most aggressive fully-integrated marketing campaigns in the history of its Mobil lubricants brand to increase its share of the $2 billion retail motor oil segment. The initiative was developed to support the new line of high-endurance Mobil motor oils, which meet the longer oil-change intervals being recommended by many of today's automobile manufacturers and to respond to the fact that drivers today are going longer between oil changes -- an average of 4,300 miles. It includes a major new ad campaign, with television ads debuting 2/20, during the most high-profile racing event of the year, the Daytona 500. In addition to the placements during the race coverage, the ads will run more than 200 times that day on more than 30 networks. The campaign will be complemented by large-scale public relations and sales-promotion efforts to help raise awareness of the new motor oil line and drive sales. Creative is centered around two TV ads that are designed to appeal to people's sense of fun while communicating the benefits of the high-endurance product line. The first spot, "Slot Car," begins with a real driver behind the wheel of his car, being joined by two other real cars on a giant slot-car track where they're able to drive on and on, thanks to new high-endurance oils from Mobil. The second spot, "Video Game," shows a real driver in his car driving in a videogame world, where his steadily-dropping engine protection level gets recharged for a fresh 15,000 miles when he "captures" a bottle of new Mobil 1 Extended Performance oil. The campaign will also include print, outdoor and online elements, all of which will tie in thematically and visually with the television creative.

New Avaya ads show
"Communications at the Heart of Business"

Avaya, a leading global provider of business communicwations software, systems and services, chose Valentine's Day to introduce American viewers to "Communications at the Heart of Business" -- showing how Avaya solutions help employees work smarter and companies compete better. Beginning today, new Avaya ads will appear on cable networks depicting workers in action with Avaya Internet Protocol (IP) telephony and mobility solutions, conducting business on the road and at home as easily and effectively as if they were in the office. | More... |

Pepsi's "Cindy Crawford" spot most viewed
Super Bowl Ad on AOL
AOL announced Pepsi's "Cindy Crawford" commercial was the most viewed 2005 Super Bowl ad on AOL.com and the AOL services, with GoDaddy.com's popular "Hearing" ad coming in second. Bud's Light's "Skydiving" and "Cedric" commercials were the third and fourth most viewed ads, and Ameriquest's "Store Trip" rounded out the top five. The ads, which were available through Saturday on the web at AOL.com and on the AOL service, were viewed 18.6 million times, more than double the 9.2 million views recorded last year for the 2004 Super Bowl ads. AOL also announced that ads from its Classic Commercials package, which featured popular spots from previous Super Bowls, were viewed 3.8 million times, bringing the total number views for all Super Bowl commercials to more than 22 million.

Media Markets & MoneyTM
Close encounter in Lake Charles
The Cumulus Broadcasting empire has just gotten a little bigger. The mid- to small-market megagroup took to keys to KQLK-FM, adding to their cluster in Lake Charles LA. According to broker Michael J. Bergner, seller Pittman Broadcasting LLC received 3M for the station. By the way, the seller was not THAT Pittman - - it was Marcus Pittman, who owned the station along with Mike Schutta.

Washington Beat
Local campaign coverage an endangered species?
That's what Martin Kaplan of the USC Annenberg School for Communication says. He said the presidential battle sucked up most of the oxygen when it came to campaign coverage, and local campaigns are getting less and less coverage, of lessening quality. This per the ongoing USC Annenberg School and University of Wisconsin study of broadcast campaign coverage, which has examined 25K hours of local news, in 60 markets since 1998. The 2004 study focused on 44 affiliates of ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC in 11 markets about a month before the election. Among the findings for 2004: (1) 92% of all newscasts had no mention of any election below the level of president, US senator or governor; (2) accidents received eight times more coverage, news/sports 12 times more; (3) despite a white hot race for the Washington governorship, 95% of all broadcasts ignored it during the month before the election, and the hot Colorado senate race was ignored in 88%; (4) the were five hours of ads for US representatives for every hour of coverage, and in some senate races the ratio was 15-1; (5) only one in three stories were about issues, with the rest looking at strategy and the horse race. Noting the challenge posed by McCain and FCC Chairman Michael Powell to step up coverage, Kaplan concluded, "Base on our findings, it look like that challenge pretty much fell on deaf ears. Coverage of local politics or local news is an endangered species."

NAB issues a strong response
to Annenberg study

The National Association of Broadcasters is claiming that the Annenberg/Lear study on campaign coverage is what it is because that's what they want it to be - - NAB says it was engineered to deliver the result they wanted. Here are NAB's arguments. "(1) Lear researchers reviewed the election coverage of just 11 of 210 local television markets, hardly a representative sampling of an entire industry; (2) Lear researchers left out thousands of hours of election coverage in morning news programs, noon news programs, 4 p.m. local news programs, and late-night programming like 'Nightline.' Americans get their news 24/7, yet Lear researchers only 'counted' political coverage between the hours of 5 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.; (3) Lear researchers refused to 'count' Sunday morning talk show coverage, both local and national. How can one take seriously any study of broadcast election coverage that fails to include the political discourse offered on programs like 'Meet the Press,' 'This Week,' and 'Face the Nation?'; (4) Lear researchers lament a lack of coverage of 'local' races, including those for the U.S. House of Representatives. But Lear researchers fail to acknowledge that the vast majority of House races are not even remotely competitive. Nor do Lear researchers acknowledge that in a closely-contested Presidential election, broadcasters would naturally be more likely to devote additional amounts of airtime to the race for the White House." "Despite the report's shortcomings, it shouldn't be lost that their results showed that election coverage was the single biggest category of news coverage on these broadcasts in the period reviewed. NAB encourages broadcasters to cover elections, and we believe the industry in the aggregate does an excellent job. It's noteworthy that nationwide polls of actual voters agree. The most recent poll, done Oct. 22-25 by Wirthlin Worldwide, surveyed 1,001 citizens and found that 89% of Americans believe local broadcasters provide 'about the right amount' or 'too much time' covering elections."

WCEO-AM Columbia SC from Eastern Broadcasting Group Inc. to Norsan Consulting and Management Inc.

KMYR-AM Wichita KS from Agape Communications Inc. to Steckline Communications

| More... |

Stock Talk
Retail sales boost stocks
A good report on retail sales gave stock prices a boost, but traders remained cautious until they hear what Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan has to say today and tomorrow on Capitol Hill. The Dow Industrials rose 46 points, or 0.4%, to 10,837.

Radio stocks were barely higher. The Radio Index was up 0.311, or 0.4%, to 221.511. Cumulus was the top performer, up 2%.

Radio Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Tuesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change













Journal Comm.




Citadel CDL
14.01 -0.08

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




International Bcg.









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O'Shaughnessy comments on Phil Lombardo's recent views re: FCC indecency crackdown (2/4/05 RBR #25)

"The battle is joined ...I could hear the sound of brass clanging when Phil Lombardo got up off his chair and headed for the podium at the Media Institute luncheon in D.C. last week. The NAB chairman deserves great credit and the gratitude of everyone in our tribe for his courage and bravery in moving the indecency issue to the front burner... | More... |

Upped & Tapped

Benedik heading Christal
The vacant President's seat at Christal Radio created when Tucker Flood was dispatched to revive Eastman Radio (2/8/05 RBR #27) for Katz Radio Group has been filled. The new head of Christal is Brian Benedik, who is returning to the rep world after being General Sales Manager of Clear Channel's WHTZ-FM New York for the past three years. Prior to that, Benedik had been with Katz Media Group as Midwest Divisional VP for Clear Channel Radio Sales after many years with Eastman.

Sherwyn adds job #2
Randy Sherwyn will continue to be morning host on Beasley's Adult CHR WXKB-FM Ft. Myers, FL, but he now has an additional role as Program Director of sister station WJPT-FM, which is Adult Standards.

MBC names writing-production team
The Museum of Broadcast Communications, whose new building is scheduled to open in downtown Chicago in the summer of 2006, has named Wall Podrazik as head writer for all exhibits. He is the co-author of "Watching TV: Six Decades of American Television" and a frequent media commentator for WBEZ-FM Chicago. Chuck Stepner, former Vice President of Special Projects for NBC, will work with Podrazik selecting historic radio-TV clips and preparing highlight reels. MBC Librarian Felicia Reilly is researching the massive project, which includes more than 25 scholars and media commentators from around the country.

More News Headlines

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

Indecency foes get behind Martin
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council is urging the White House to fill the seat of departing Chairman Michael Powell with a known commodity. His group wants a warrior - - someone who will carry on with a strong crackdown on indecent content on radio and television. And he's asking his constituents to urge the White House to make that issue the primary consideration when filling that seat and any others which may come open in the near future.
RBR observation: FYI, no matter who gets the chair the move is a political one for the next job inside the beltway. But broadcasters with indecent content in the front of minds - CYA. 02/15/05 RBR #32

Perception vs. reality, Part I
The Advertiser Perception Study found a disconnect between what advertisers and agencies think about the accountability of radio and what radio managers think about how well their industry does on the accountability front. The problem is that when it comes to accountability, radio is not perceived as being one of the top media. the survey of advertisers and agencies found a very different perception. Particularly in the area of credibility for audience measurement, people at radio stations who responded to the survey thought that local radio was right up near the top, placing radio's Arbitron diaries just behind network TV Nielsen ratings for credibility - - and ahead of local spot TV. Compare that to the advertisers and agencies who ranked local spot radio near the bottom - - even behind cable TV, which the radio people had ranked dead last! RBR observation: Perception is one half of reality. Now is the glass one half empty or one half full. You have got to see and print the charts. 02/15/05 RBR #32

RAB 2005 Atlanta presents
must issues to tackle
RAB CEO Gary Fries discussed the Advertiser Perception Study, noting that radio is still not perceived as the most accountable medium by advertisers. "Radio people think we are," he said, but went on to clarify that in today's environment, advertisers are obligated to show their stockholders or owners that they are getting what they purchased. "But the needle is moving." But we haven't had the ratings systems to tell the advertiser what is going on." Indicating that a three-book average consisting of data that could be as much as a year old is no longer acceptable. "We have to become more relevant. We have to deliver more information, real-time information, and accurate information. We are moving in that direction, but we're not there yet. We need to be the most accountable medium out there."
02/14/05 RBR #31

32M satellite radios by
the end of this decade
Despite concerns that consumer demand appears to have softened in the past year, JP Morgan analyst Barton Crockett is still projecting strong subscriber growth for both XM and Sirius, with Sirius gradually improving its market share after launching second in the two-company race. The analyst is projecting that the two satcasters combined will have 8.5 million subscribers by the end of this year, 32.4 million by 2010 and 56 million by 2020. 02/14/05 RBR #31

Single stream carriage:
The constitutional argument
The FCC vote against imposing a multicast carriage requirement on cable operators was 4-1. However, a more accurate way to describe the vote would be 2-2-1, and if the timing were different, it could easily have gone 2-3 in favor of broadcasters. It is therefore instructive to take a closer look at the reasons behind the votes. Republicans Michael Powell and Kathleen Abernathy voted against the rule for what are basically technical reasons. They determined that a close reading of statutory documentation and prior court cases showed that there was not enough evidence in favor of broadcasters to sustain the imposition of further requirements on cable operators. 02/14/05 RBR #31

Single stream carriage:
The public interest argument
On the other hand, Democrats Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein made it abundantly clear that they would have happily imposed multicast must carry on cable operators if they has first gotten assurances from broadcasters, and preferable to that, statutory requirements for those same broadcasters to use the added programming capacity in the public interest. The issue is under consideration at the FCC, but both said that it should have been completed before advancing to the must carry issue. 02/14/05 RBR #31

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