Welcome to RBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 25, Issue 36, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Thursday Morning February 21st, 2008

Radio News ®

Radio is down in the month
The good news is that it will be easy to score a better revenue performance than radio scored during the month of January 2008 as reported by the Radio Advertising Bureau and Miller Kaplan Arase & Co. The bad news is we have to talk about January 2008. Total revenues for the month went 6% in the wrong direction. The ugliness breaks down like this: Local was down -5%, national was down -13%, for a combined spot drop of -7%. This total was mitigated by another double-digit gain in the non-spot category, which picked up 11%, and shaved one point of the monthly loss to the aforementioned -6% bottom line. Unfortunately, the crystal ball readers on Wall Street are seeing more of the same stretching out month after month into the future. Anthony J. DiClemente at Lehman Brothers is looking for red ink ranging from -2% to -5% all the way to October, when he finally predicts a modest 1% gain. He expects that to be followed by a flat November, more red ink in December and a -2.6% finale. Marci Ryvicker at Wachovia did not mince word, calling the performance "a horrible start to the new year." She at least sprinkled a little salt on this, but in the end, it was very little. "While Q1 is typically the lightest quarter of the radio year and has not historically been a great indicator of the full year, we tend to think that such a significant decline does not bode well for 2008."

RBR observation: We're reminded of an old Woody Allen joke back when he was doing stand-up. He said that typically an audience liked for the artist to finish up a performance with a positive comment. "I don't have a positive comment," he admitted. "Would you settle for two negatives?" We don't have much of a positive comment either, but we do note a silver lining in the ever-increasing non-spot category. Most of that cash is internet-based, and there are few better ways to drive internet traffic than via broadcast ads. We'd try to use that non-spot category any way we can to boost the bread-and-butter traditional spot numbers.

Fox News scores a first in Internet transmission during Bush visit
Fox News Radio fed the press pool this time down in Africa for President Bush's visit this week. But in Tanzania, there are no ISDN lines. Fox News found a solution and was able to transmit the broadcasts over the Internet and provide that ability to the other networks-ABC, AP, CBS, NPR and VOA. This is the first time that a network news pool had access to an internet transmission. Says Mitch Davis, VP/Fox News Radio Network: "This is actually a set up routine for presidential trips overseas-the participating radio networks take turns feeding the transmission. Everything where we were set up was intermittent and unreliable-from electrical to phones. AT&T provides connectivity for the traveling press on these trips. They told us flat out they couldn't provide an ISDN hookup in Tanzania. So instead of settling for lesser service or have to spend an excess of money on satellite time, we've been using some hardware that gives us IT connectivity we used on a previous trip just for ourselves. We managed to move forward into the 21st Century and do this via Internet, because in many third world countries they don't have the traditional copper-based phone systems or ISDN." The gear was the Tieline Commander G3. Photo: Pool producers Jessica Curtis and Kirstin McNary.

RBR observation: Even in third world countries, digital technology comes to the rescue. Now that the internet has proven itself worthy of use during presidential visits, these codecs may get even more use for important global press events-they're dependable and money-saving.

Court ruling is for the birds
The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ordered the FCC to conduct a study of the effect of communications towers on migratory birds in the Gulf Coast region, charging that it violated the rules by allowing towers to be built in the absence of such a study. An attorney working on behalf of the birds on this issue said it was a significant ruling, forcing the FCC to "carefully assess the impact of communications towers on birds." The study is to focus on 6K tower in the Gulf region and deal with those found to be of greatest concern. According to the Associated Press, estimates form the US Fish and Wildlife Service place the annual number of bird tower collision deaths somewhere between 4M and 50M. Lighting and wiring issues are said to be areas where improvements may be possible in some cases. The FCC was also ordered to do a better job collecting public input before towers are approved for construction.

RBR observation: Most of the broadcasters we've heard from on this topic are wondering where the bodies are. One California radio owner had tower issues to deal with despite the fact that nobody had ever seen a dead bird of any type anywhere near the tower -- not even from natural causes. We're all for protecting wildlife and other green initiatives, but we'd at least like to make sure that the requirements are sensible. This ruling does at least appear to take a measured approach to the problem, rather than imposing a blanket requirement on all towers regardless of their culpability or proximity to migration routes.

FCC gets to the bare bottom of blue NYPD Blue episode
ABC has had its say on behalf of its Central and Mountain time zone affiliates and O&Os, and the FCC isn't buying what it's saying. For showing a "woman's naked buttocks and a portion of her breasts," 52 stations are being fined 27.5K apiece, or 1.43M in aggregate, in what has been upgraded from a notice of apparent liability to a full-fledged forfeiture order. According to the FCC, ABC argued that the "buttocks are not a sexual or excretory organ," but it did so "without citing any authority." ABC cited the dramatic reasons for including the scene in question, argued that it was not presented in a "lewd, prurient, pandering or titillating way," and noted that "the modest number of complaints" generated by it despite its high ratings indicated that it was well within contemporary viewing standards.

The FCC noted that ABC consulted medical texts to support its claims that buttocks are not sexual or excretory in nature, but disagreed, saying "The Commission has consistently interpreted the term 'sexual or excretory organs' in its own definition of indecency as including the buttocks, which though not physiologically necessary to procreation or excretion, are widely associated with by most people with excretory activities." FCC supported this by referring to prior findings, including the infamous Janet Jackson incident, which featured an exposed breast, which is also not necessary for procreation but is commonly associated with procreation. As for the sufficiency of the complaints, ABC noted that with one exception, all of the complaints were identical form letters sent in from a single source, and most did not even claim to have actually seen the scene. FCC said that did not matter, and they made sure there was a complainant in the markets of each of the cited ABC affiliates. FCC also noted that there was no time limit placed on submission of indecency complaints, answering ABC's procedural objection to the length of time between airing the scene and issuance of the NAL.

RBR observation: Maybe this is the key fear igniting the FCC to take this action. "Moreover, if we interpreted these terms in the narrow physiological sense advocated by ABC and ABC affiliates, the airwaves could be filled with naked buttocks and breast during daytime and prime time hours because they would be outside the scope of indecency regulation (at least if no sexual or excretory activities were shown or discussed.)" We suppose the FCC has a point, although it's hard to believe that this unsavory result will take place if the Commission backs off this incident. Indeed, shouldn't canny producers have noticed that over four years have gone by, indicating the ABC "got away with it," and put out their own me-too butt-shots? Sorry, FCC, but in the absence of any meaningful public outcry other than the click-and-send national nanny crowd, we're sticking with the First Amendment and opposing this fine.

Ad Business Report TM

Arbitron hosts "Urban Radio
in the PPM World"

Arbitron Director of Urban Media Services Julian Davis hosted "Urban Radio in the PPM World" webcast yesterday. During the webcast, Arbitron reviewed insights into how people listen to Urban radio as revealed by the Portable People Meter system. Based on the findings in the presentation, radio continues to be the most influential medium among African-American consumers - reaching 97% of all Black persons 12+ each week. Black audiences continue to be extremely loyal to Urban radio. A full 75% of all African-American listeners 12+ spend most of their listening time with Urban radio, their number one format preference.

"We are continuing our efforts to help the industry make a successful and informed transition to electronic measurement," said Davis. "This includes providing agencies and advertisers with useful information that can help them make decisions in their radio planning and buying strategies in the Portable People Meter world and training radio broadcasters to effectively use new Portable People Meter audience insights to make their stations more attractive to advertisers. At Arbitron, we are working with Urban broadcasters and advertising agencies to help with the transition to the Portable People Meter and to highlight the importance of Urban radio and its connection to its audience." "Urban Radio in the PPM World" is an ongoing series. The next webcast will be on 3/19.

Media Markets & Money TM
Foster parent for Citadel orphan
The Last Bastion Station Trust is a temporary home for displaced Citadel Broadcasting stations placed in local cap jeopardy during the group's merger/acquisition deal with Disney/ABC, and under the TLC of Media Venture Partners' Elliot Evers. It now has a buyer for a second and final FM in the Portland ME market. Noncommercial Education Media Foundation will step up and claim WCYI-FM Lewiston ME for an as-yet-undisclosed price. EMF recently agreed to by a station not too far from here in the Portsmouth-Rochester-Dover NH market. Citadel's other Portland spin-off, WCLZ-FM, was snapped up by Saga Communications last summer.

Washington Business Report TM
Promises, promises
It's easy to say you'll do something, and it's another to actually do it. The NAB would like the FCC to enforce a promise made by DIRECTV on the occasion of seeking approval to merge with Liberty Media. That promise was to provide true local-into-local broadcast carriage in all 210 Nielsen DMAs. To date, the service is available in only 144, "...some 66 markets short of the promise it made to the FCC in 2003 that, by the end of 2008, it would deliver" service to all, points out the NAB. NAB says that under News Corp. ownership, DIRECTV was offering this to satisfy public interest planks, and that a new plan to instead provide a "seamless, integrated antenna" in currently unserved markets is not an adequate solution. "NAB respectfully requests that the Commission act in the public interest by requiring DIRECTV, through Liberty Media, to provide true local-into-local DBS delivery of local television station in all 210 DMAs by 12/31/08."

Media Business Report TM
Election coverage cools to red hot
Coverage of the 2008 election campaign was ratcheted back in the week after Super Duper Tuesday, according to the Project for Excellence in Journalism report for the week of 2/11/08-2/17/08. But it still came home at a hefty 40% of available time and space. Still, that made enough room for a grand total of five overall top ten stories with 5% of the total newshole, compared to only three the week before. Predictably, the shootings at Northern Illinois University made that group, along with more coverage of the troubled economy, domestic terrorism and the baseball steroids scandal, which rode the Capitol Hill testimony of Roger Clemens, a relatively unusual feat for a sports story (although, of course, the Clemens saga is as much substance abuse story as it is a sports story). Iraq/Mideast coverage was still subdued, especially compared to 2007 weekly levels. Three areas of coverage made the top ten, but for a combined share of only 5%.
| Top ten lists here |

Programming Business Report
Steve & Vikki return
to Atlanta's B98.5FM

Atlanta's Steve McCoy and Vikki Locke - will return as morning hosts on B98.5FM's 5:00 - 10:00 a.m. timeslot. After nearly an eight month hiatus, Steve & Vikki will brighten up Atlantans' morning commute beginning July 1. "B98.5FM places great emphasis on being a good neighbor in the community we serve," said Chris Wegmann, market manager for Cox Radio Atlanta. "It's rare to find personalities that have done as much for Atlanta as Steve & Vikki. Their light-hearted fun will usher in a new era for B98.5FM." Prior to July 1, B98.5FM will continue to air the Kelly & Alpha show.

Internet Business Report TM
93XRT drives listeners to website with exclusive webcast
Here's something that shows how audio streams are becoming appointment listening and event programming is driving traffic to CBS Radio sites during off hours when traffic is normally low. By broadcasting Wilco's concert live on-air and on-line, WXRT-FM Chicago was able to capture a buzz that rippled through the city the past few days, and none more than Tuesday. The station was the talk of the town for all the Wilco fans who were not at last night's show, and by looking at WXRT's online stats, all the Wilco fans in Chicago and around the country came to 93XRT.com to hear the broadcast. The station's streaming stats last night during the Wilco broadcast peaked higher than their peaks during the normal workday (XRT consistently ranks among the Top 10 CBS Radio stations streamed). Typically WXRT's stream numbers drop off after the workday hours, but last night it was obvious people drove home from work, then logged right back on in higher numbers than during the day. Page views on 93XRT.com tripled Tues. night and gave them nearly 50,000 page views over the course of one day alone - by far, the highest single day online in terms of stats yet.

Ratings & Research
Arbitron: PUR, Format trends down from Summer Book
In Arbitron's Fall book numbers, Format Trends and Persons Using Radio (PUR) were down significantly-record-breaking--especially among the youngest demos for PUR. For instance, From the Summer to Fall book, Teens 12-17 dropped a full point-from 9.1 to 8.1. The biggest format drops from the Summer book included Oldies, Rock and Smooth Jazz. But some were up-like News Talk and AC (a whopping 13.9 to 15.2). 12+ PURs were down from from 14.1 to 13.7-that's a lot in one year. The numbers were down almost across the boards, with younger demos down the most.
| See the PUR numbers here |

The good news in format trends can really be seen on a YOY basis, where Alternative was up .2; CHR, up .1; News talk, up .03; Oldies, up .4 and Rock, up .2.
| See the format trend numbers here |

HD Radio 2008
DC drops the HD ball....again
Well, we've complained about this before, and we'll keep doing it: How are folks going to "get into" HD Radio multicasts when they are off the air for extended periods? We don't care about the excuses and won't ask this time, but CBS Radio' WTGB-FM HD2 Classic Rock was off air yesterday (and possibly today). CC Radio's WBIG-FM HD2 50s and 60s Oldies has been off air for days.

Colliding fronts cloud
LPTV's DTV future

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wants to do something to help low power and Class A television stations, seemingly the forgotten stepchild of the DTV conversion. In fact, he would go beyond just making sure that those still broadcasting in analog are still viewable off-air. However, the MVPD community is balking at the proposals. Smaller cable systems have already been complaining about having an analog-digital dual carriage requirement imposed on them for full-power television stations, citing lack of capacity. Although the NCTA has agreed to dual carriage for the three years after 2/17/09, the ACA, representing smaller cable operators has objected, saying subscribers will lose viewing options, and that the requirement will inhibit their ability to provide other services, such as broadband access.

Basic cable operators have also opposed dual carriage, saying it may force some of their offerings off the channel cards. This problem will only be aggravated if the FCC suddenly grants must-carry rights to LPTVs/Class As, as is being discussed, especially since most of them operate communities too small to support full power TV, which is also where the most capacity-challenged cable systems are. Also at issue is an analog pass-through requirement, allowing analog LPTV's to be picked up off-air in households using a digital-to-analog converter box to receive broadcast signals on old analog television sets.

RBR observation: Something needs to be done about the plight of low power stations, which may be forced into bankruptcy if left behind on conversion day. This issue will quite possibly surface on the agenda for next week's February FCC Open Meeting. Stay tuned.

3.8M WRRD-AM Milwaukee-Racine WI (Jackson WI) from SCA License Corporation, a subsidiary of Salem Communications Corporation (Stuart W. Epperson, Edward G. Atsinger III) to Good Karma Broadcasting LLC (Craig Karmazin). 190K escrow, balance in cash at closing. Duopoly with WAUK-AM. Buyer also has LMA with WMCS-AM. LMA until closing. [File date 1/23/08.]

Stock Talk
Steady as she goes
It was a quiet day for broadcast issues, all things considered. Very few stocks ended the day with a wildly higher value than they began with, but at the same time few had to endure that sinking sensation. On the radio side most results could be explained in denominations less than a dime, and only a handful of television stocks were beyond that threshold.

Radio Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Wednesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change




















Journal Comm.







Lincoln Natl.




Citadel* CDL
1.32 -0.06

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 feedback on Jim Carnegie's take on RAB

I read your article this morning (Stop Talking the Talk - Start Walking the Walk) and feel it is right on. How many group heads are 'street savvy? How many are experienced 'on the street?' Not many. Commission cuts, sale management cuts and even cutting sales staffs have proven not to be the answer and for that matter down right stupid! But it was done and is still being done. Is this a demonstration of pride in the product or desperation trying to increase margin to answer the analysts calls from Wall Street and the Banks? The Wall Street play has been over and the industry has been raped by those who took the big money and ran over the past several years. Leaving behind the damage for those poor souls still trying to increase ROI, usually at the expense of people. What a mess, this is shameful. It took years to get to this point, it will take more years to straighten it out and try to recover. Recovery will come from the investment in product/content and sales. How embarrassing. A basic tenant lost in the greed for the dollar by some who today are gone and could care less.


And here's some commentary on the Florida ad tax situation

Florida's ad tax for education is a joke to us in the Sunshine State! Many of us remember long time former Education Commissioner Ralph Turlington claiming the Florida Lottery would fund education well into the 21st century. I didn't think he had in mind just till 2008! Why don't Florida legislators look to include direct mail marketers who target Floridians with tons of unwanted catalogs and letters? Newspaper inserts? Outdoor? A dollar a board a day would make us all Gators, Seminoles, and Hurricanes!! Pro & College sports sponsors? Florida schools and colleges are among some of the best in the world and we want to keep it that way. Looking to broadcasters, who from most forecasts are in a down trend, is like the lottery that asks the poorest of us to pay for all! Let's get the message to Tallahassee that if they start taxing broadcast revenue that radio & TV stations will charge the state for EAS!!!

Frank Adair

Below the Fold
Media Business Report
Election coverage cools
To red hot was ratcheted back in the week after Super Duper Tuesday...

Media Markets & Money
Foster parent for Citadel ophan
Last Bastion Station Trust is a temp home for displaced Citadel...

Washington Business Report
Promises, promises
It's easy to say you'll do something, and it's another to actually do it...

Internet Business Report
93XRT drives listeners
To website with exclusive webcast...

Stations for Sale

Market your Stations For Sale
in our daily epapers.

Jim Carnegie
[email protected]

the Hot List on...

Radio Media Moves

Arbitron expands Rich Tunkel's role
Arbitron VP/National Group Services, Rich Tunkel will expand his responsibilities to include leading the Northeast sales efforts as a Radio Station Services Regional Manager. He will be based in New York. In addition to his new Regional Manager responsibilities, as VP, National Group Services, Tunkel oversees all aspects of Arbitron sales and service with major media clients and is the primary liaison for Arbitron's Hispanic broadcast customers.

Radio One
taps new CFO

The CFO slot at Radio One has been open since the beginning of the year, but that is no longer the case with the hiring of Peter D. Thompson to fill the role. He'll report to Alfred C. Liggins III. He is joining the company for the first time, but at the same time is no stranger -- he provide consulting services to the company back in 2006.


Canada joins Addirect's International Network
Canada is the latest country to be launching the AddMirror. AddMirror Canada signed a licensing agreement with Addirect and will shortly be rolling out the AddMirrors across Canada. Building on the existing great success of the AddMirror, currently operated in 600 locations in high end bars and nightclubs in England, the company has established partnerships with several other international media owners in line with the continuation of the global rollout. Working exactly like a regular mirror, The AddMirror reveals up to six A4-sized "hidden" ads using pre-set lighting sequences. The rationale behind The AddMirror is that it's a dynamic medium for advertisers and compels audiences to engage with their creative work. Simply put, people looking in washroom mirrors cannot fail to see their ads, the company attests.

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

XM/Sirius pact is a year old
And it's still trapped in the bowels of the FCC and the Department of Justice. Meanwhile, The NAB and its retained research firm Carmel Group are continuing to apply pressure to keep the firms apart. the NAB reminded the FCC of the duo's shenanigans regarding terrestrial repeaters. There has long been concern among broadcasters that the satcasters would use the repeater network for locally originated programming; NAB asks the FCC to clear up the language so that this event does not occur.

RBR observation: Bravo NAB for keeping the pressure on and staying focused on the issue at hand as one plus one does not equal two it equals one and that one if approved becomes a monopoly.
02/20/08 RBR #35

Billboards reached millions on Super Tuesday results
Clear Channel Outdoor's digital billboard networks reached more than 12 million motorists and commuters during last week's Super Tuesday voting session, providing the public with real-time results of the Presidential Election Primaries through live RSS-feeds from msnbc.com.

RBR observation: Ok, these stats are very impressive but if radio learns anything but this brief report is the word - Digital - and the reach of the message, awesome.
02/20/08 RBR #35

Carnegie's Observation:
Stop Talking the Talk -
Start Walking the Walk
By engaging in the business environment that is now here - Digital Media. This is not a cheap shot but a wake up call. Last week I attended my umpteenth RAB and on a scale of 1 to 10 it was around a 4. I put it into perspective - the last 25 years I have seen five different Presidents at the RAB. A trade association president receives his or her marching orders from the board of directors and executive committee. The president's duty is then to execute the plan. Ok, lets look at this - executing a plan by a board of directors - if I am not mistaken the RAB board is made up in part by a number of CEOs running radio companies that are publicly traded, and they are having real tough times. The fish stinks at the head.
02/19/08 RBR #34

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