Welcome to RBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 25, Issue 6, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Thursday Morning January 10th, 2008

Radio News ®

Emmis meets radio expectations - and that ain't good
"I think this is probably the bottom," Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan told analysts after calling this the worst point in the history of the radio industry. Emmis reported that fiscal Q3 (September-November) domestic radio revenues fell 7% to 55.6 million, which was what had been expected. Station operating income (SOI) fell 23.7% to 18.3 million. With better performance overseas, total radio revenues decreased only 3.2% to 64.6 million and SOI was down 18.5% to 20.9 million. Smulyan noted some long hoped for improvement in the company's biggest markets and Emmis told Wall Street to expect flat results for the current quarter. Despite the dismal quarter, Smulyan insisted "I'm surprisingly upbeat today." He declared that 2008 will be better, for radio in general and specifically for Emmis. With the exception of KMVN-FM Los Angeles, which is still lagging, Smulyan said Emmis stations are now outperforming their markets. "We especially see really a remarkable turnaround in our sales in New York," he noted.

That outperformance is really a turnaround for Emmis. While the big three markets have been tough for everyone, Emmis has been trailing its peers. CFO Pat Walsh detailed that for fiscal Q3, ad sales for Emmis stations were down 11% in New York, while the market was down 5%; down 9% in LA, while the market was off 7%; and down 13% in Chicago, while the market was down 6%. Even in Indianapolis Emmis was down 17%, while the market was down 12%, and down 1% in Austin, while the market was up 4%. The only market where Emmis outperformed in the quarter was St. Louis, where its stations were down 10%, while the market was off 12%. For all of its US markets, Emmis was down 7%, while its markets overall were down 5.8%. Walsh reported that sell-out for the quarter was up 4% and the average unit rate declined 14%. Publishing revenues and operating income were up for the quarter, bringing Emmis in slightly ahead of Wall Street expectations with 91.7 million of revenues, up 0.6%. EBITDA was down 2% to 22.4 million, but ahead of expectations.

RBR observation: Emmis is no longer typical of the entire radio industry, due to its heavy dependence on the big three markets, which have been suffering greatly. Nevertheless, don't expect to see other radio companies report rosy results when the quarterly report cycle begins in earnest in a few weeks, since Emmis is out of sync with calendar year reporting. As bad as fiscal Q3 was, at least Emmis didn't miss the admittedly low expectations of analysts, while some other radio companies are believed to be in danger of missing their Q4 targets. CFO Walsh also assured analysts that Emmis that the company is confident that it will remain in compliance with its loan covenants, even after those leverage covenants tighten at the end of fiscal Q1. But if conditions deteriorate further, he said the company is aware of ways to remedy any potential covenant violations.

Emmis takes a pass on guessing national revenues
While Emmis Communications is working internally to increase billing in its local radio markets, the company isn't even guessing what is going to happen to national spot. The company said its forecast of flat radio revenues for the current quarter is based on its pacings and the revenue guarantees under its new national rep agreement with Katz, after switching from Interep in October. Thus far, Katz has not had to make any payments for falling short of its revenue guarantees, the terms of which are being kept secret for competitive reasons. "The Company is not able to reasonably estimate the exact amount, if any, of the national revenue guarantees at this time," Emmis said of the current quarter in its quarterly financial release. That guarantee from Katz runs only through the next fiscal year, ending February 28, 2009, while the rep contract runs for nearly 10 years, through March 2018.

KOOP-FM fire intentionally set
The fire that knocked radio station KOOP-FM 91.7 Austin, TX off the air over the weekend was intentionally set, fire officials said. The blaze caused 100,000 in damages to the building in East Austin and 200,000 in damages to equipment. The Texas State Arson Hotline is offering a reward of up to 5,000 for information leading to the arrest (not necessarily conviction) of those responsible for the recent fire at KOOP's facility. The hotline may be reached 24x7 at 1-877-4FIRE45 (1-877-434-7345).The fire struck two years after a Jan. 6, 2006, blaze at the station's old home on Fifth Street. It did an estimated 600,000 in damage and knocked KOOP off the air for a week. On Feb. 4, 2006, the KOOP building was destroyed by another fire. Officials determined that a malfunction in a heating and air-conditioning unit on the first floor of nearby Club Taste started the final blaze, which caused 2.7 million in damage. KOOP moved to its new studios in December 2006.
| KOOP's Andrew Dickens says "Violence will not stop us" |

Scrambled primaries should be good for business
The race for the Republican nomination did not figure to be settled in New Hampshire, but a lot of pundits seemed to think that the Democrats might be simply marking time until the convention. The upturning of the pollsters by Granite Staters has left both races competitive, and that means advertising dollars, almost certainly through Super Duper Tuesday. Tracking polls on the Democratic side seemed to indicate a possible knockout punch from Barack Obama (D-IL) with the power to make Hillary Clinton (D-NY) an early also-ran, along with all of the other Democratic candidates. Clinton's comeback win should inspire both well-financed candidates to spend, spend and spend some more at least through the massive coast-to-coast battle on 2/5/08. John Edwards (D-NC) followed his second place showing with a third place here and has vowed to continue his quest all the way through the convention. He could get some help in the upcoming South Carolina primary.

On the Republican side, John McCain (R-AZ) delivered a serious blow to Mitt Romney (R-MA) in Romney's back yard. Romney still has life, however, with two "silver" second-place finishes and more money to spend. Iowa winner Mike Huckabee (R-AR) will be moving on more congenial turf, and Rudy Giuliani (R-NY) should be preparing for a big push after largely writing off Iowa and New Hampshire. The fading campaign of Fred Thompson (R-TN) is hoping to pick up steam in South Carolina. Ron Paul (R-TX) has yet to register in double digits among potential voters, but is doing quite well in the cash donation department, so he too should be good for business.

RBR observation: According to talkingpointsmemo.com, the last time Iowa and New Hampshire produced four winners was 1998, when Dick Gephardt (D-MO) and Bob Dole (R-KS) took Iowa, and George H.W. Bush (R-TX) and Michael Dukakis (D-MA) snagged New Hampshire. Matters are far from settled in both parties. And there remains a solid possibility that the massive scope of Super Duper Tuesday could prevent any one candidate from getting the upper hand, putting a huge focus and advertising investment on the handful of remaining states.

As promised:
FCC under investigation

The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has initiated its look at processes at the Kevin Martin FCC, as promised. In a letter to Martin, it said document request would be coming soon, and that it wants all FCC employees to be on notice that their testimony may be required. It also asked that all paper and electronic documentation in existence at this moment be preserved pending the document request. E&C Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) and subcommittee Chair Bart Stupak (D-MI) were joined by the respective ranking members, Joe Barton (R-TX) and John Shimkus (R-IL) in the letter. The legislators wanted Martin to remind employees that there is no right among management "to deny or interfere with their rights to furnish information to Congress," and to remind management that it is illegal to retaliate against whistleblowers. Any routine document destruction is to be halted immediately: "...no such records shall be destroyed, modified, altered, deleted, removed, relocated, or otherwise negligently or intentionally handled so as to make them inaccessible to the Committee."

RBR observation: This investigation figures to center on charges that lobbyists have far greater access to the Commission than do advocacy groups, and address reports that lobbyists have at times been tipped off about upcoming FCC actions; complaints, principally from the Democratic commissioners, that they are often out of the loop when certain actions are being prepped, have inadequate access to FCC resources, and are not given enough time to fully study issues before they are put forth for a vote; and that documentation is both initiated to arrive at a preordained conclusion, or suppressed if it fails to support a preordained conclusion.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has addressed these types of questions frequently over the course of the last year or two, and has patiently attempted justify his approach as being consistent with long-standing FCC procedure. Dingell and Stupak will be joined by Telecommunications and the Internet Subcommittee Chair Ed Markey (D-MA) as aggressive questioners. On the other side of the aisle, Barton, Shimkus and other Republicans may well offer Martin some sympathy. It will be very interesting to see how this plays out, with the easing of top-20 market cross-ownership restrictions and a national election looming large in the background.

Wall Street Business Report TM
Goldman Sachs predicts 2008 recession
Wall Street powerhouse Goldman Sachs told clients that it expects the US economy to drop into recession this year. Its prediction is that unemployment will rise to 6.5% and that the fed will cut rates by an additional 1.75 percentage points to try to spur growth. Goldman Sachs Sr. Economist Ed McKelvey expects, though, that the recession, which may have already arrived, will be relative short. "The recession is likely to last two to three quarters and should be relatively mild by historical standards, with a cumulative decline in real GDP of only about a half percent," McKelvey said in a research note. Goldman's move from caution to an outright recession call came as the housing slump and the subprime fallout in the credit markets appears to have spilled over into the broader economy. Recent evidence of that was this week's government report showing a rise in the jobless rate to 5%. Goldman Sachs economic team is now expecting that to go to 6.5% by late 2008 and that consumer spending will take a dive. To try to counteract the recession, the fed is predicted to cut its benchmark fed funds rate, the overnight loan rate for borrowing between banks, to 2.5% from the current 4.25%. However, McKelvey and his associates predict the recession will run only two or three quarters and that the economy will gradually recover in 2009. Goldman Sachs does see some safe harbors from investors. As you've probably guessed, the media sector is not one of them. The report suggests overweighting investments in health care, consumer staples, energy and utilities.

Ad Business Report TM

"Octopus" launched by Point-to-Point, Savage Media
Point-To-Point Marketing and Savage Media Group have launched "Octopus," a new sales tool to interactively connect listeners to stations' advertisers. By combining radio's capacity to reach mass audiences with the interactivity of the Internet, "Octopus" provides advertisers an enhancement to their radio spot campaigns with the value-added benefit of one-on-one marketing that's measurable. "Octopus" was created to boost stations' non-spot revenue efforts to help recapture dollars lost to the Internet. Much of this shift is due to the Internet's ability to measure response levels as it "pulls" consumers seeking information about a product or company. Octopus melds that "pull" with radio's "push" of ad messages, resulting in a platform for advertisers' database marketing efforts.

Savage Media Group President Scott Savage tells RBR a radio salesperson will be on a sales call, selling a spot schedule. At the end of the call, this would be sold as a supplement to a schedule where in the commercial copy for the client, they will mention a keyword, for example "furniture set," and invite listeners to go to the station's website. On the homepage will be a keyword box. Listeners will enter the keyword, which will then link them to a microsite Savage Media/PTP creates for the client. When they submit their contact info on that microsite, they are able to redeem whatever offer is being made. "The offer has to be something really compelling," says Savage. "Like on Cumulus' KTCK The Ticket in Dallas last month, Ticketmaster was giving away bowl tickets in a contest format. A computer store was giving away a free 1-gig flash drive." They then submit their email address and go to another page-it could be a couple survey questions. They then finish it up and in about 30 seconds they'll get a thank you email from the client. The client gets an email at the same time informing them of the new contact info. "This is what the internet is all about now," Savage tells us. "Database marketing. Clients are mining for the best possible prospective customers that they can find."

Octopus uses a "cost-per-action" (variable expense-five to 20 dollars, depending on the industry/average transactions) pricing model. Advertisers and radio stations only pay for the service when results occur-all the way down to submission of contact info. Based on the results of test campaigns aired on the Ticket last month, Savage found Octopus capable of producing annual non-spot revenue that's about twice a station's weekly cumulative audience. "And that's without requiring the station give up inventory, add staff or any new expenses," says Savage. "When stations negotiate a rate with the client, we get paid a very small portion of that. So our model is based on the volume and we've done formulas based on stations' cumes and how much they can actually generate based on the response rates were seeing. So it's all treated as a variable expense by the station." Octopus will have a major presence at the RAB's sales conference in Atlanta Feb. 11-13. See the flash presentation at ptpoctopus.com.

HD Radio 2008
Next wave of HD Radio: 2008 North American International Auto Show
Hot off its presence at CES, HD Radio rolls into Detroit and the 2008 North American International Auto Show next week. The show will once again be host to the most talked about automotive in-vehicle digital entertainment of 2007: HD Radio. On Wednesday, January 16 and Thursday, January 17, 12 brand ambassadors, also known as the "street team," will be walking around town promoting HD Radio technology to the "industry insiders" from 10am-4pm. These ambassadors, dressed head to toe in orange gear, will also be handing out 20,000 HD Radio lanyards and VIP badges with a featured Detroit landing page and JVC product giveaways. Find these walking HD Radio ads on the streets and on the Detroit People Mover. HD Radio will also be hitting the streets of Detroit with five mobile billboards featuring new HD Radio units with night illumination and spreading the message "Are You Fully Equipped?", which will drive around each day of the Auto Show from 8:30am thru 10pm on January 19-21 and 26-27.

Media Markets & Money TM
Clement weather in New Smyrna Beach
WSBB-AM is headed for a new owner. The station, serving the Daytona Beach area from nearby New Smyrna Beach FL, is going to Clement F. Diegel's Diegel Communications LLC. The seller, Gore-Overgaard Broadcasting Inc., will receive a 6,250 down payment, 18,750 cash at closing and a note for 100K, for a total of 125K. The seller is headed by Harold W. Gore.

Washington Business Report TM
Martin, somewhere over the Rainbow
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin addressed the Rainbow Push Coalition's 11th Annual Wall Street Project Economic Summit. He had a story to tell the minority advocacy, too, about the FCC's recent moves to increase the percentage of minority broadcast owners, part of the Commission's active 12/18/07 Open Meeting. In addition to discussing measures put forth for serious consideration, many of them straight from the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, he touted his advocacy of making leased access available on digital side channels as a way to increase minority, female and SDB access to the airwaves. Martin said his advocacy of LPFM was another route available to local small broadcast operations, many of whom could come from the minority community. Martin noted other achievements, including increasing the number of minority households receiving broadband connections, and rules allowing increased competition providing communications services to apartment dwellers.

DTV conversion coming front and center
The public may not yet be sweating the DTV transition, but others sure are. According to the Associated Press, Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson told those assembled at the CES show that he's very nervous about being able to supply citizens in need of digital-to-analog converter boxes, and that the progress made by both manufacturers and those educating the public will bear close scrutiny. That said, he stated his belief that details of the transition have been well though out. Meanwhile, the number of Americans applying to NTIA for converter box coupons is fast approaching 1.5 million, according to Bloomberg. The coupon applications have been available since the first of the year, even if the boxes themselves haven't quite made it to store shelves yet. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) is taking matters into his own hands when considering the needs of his constituents. The widely scattered rural residents of his state pose a special education problem. Stevens is making the coupons available to Alaskans at all of his offices and via his official senate website. Stevens said he is working with retailers to make sure an adequate stock of the devices will be on hand in plenty of time for the 2/17/09 deadline.

Entertainment Business Report TM
ABCRN launches Doug Banks and DeDe McGuire Show
After ending the syndicated "Doug Banks Morning Show," which aired in some 35 markets nationwide on 12/31/07, ABC Radio Networks is bringing back Banks in afternoons, co-hosted by show vet DeDe McGuire. "The Doug Banks and DeDe McGuire Show" will hit the airwaves on 1/11 from flagship WVAZ-FM Chicago, and be available for national syndication 1/14. The show will offer a hip blend of music and entertainment targeting a unique 25-40 demo in the Urban AC arena. McGuire joined The Doug Banks Morning Show in 1997 and has been heard on programs in markets such as Dallas, Chicago and Philadelphia prior to becoming a part of Doug's show. She's known for her celebrity insights and the behind-the-scenes details.

LeAnn Rimes returns as host of Colgate Country Showdown
Curb Records recording artist LeAnn Rimes will again host and perform at the 26th Annual Colgate Country Showdown National Final on 1/24 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The Showdown is the Nation's largest and longest-running country music talent search and radio promotion. Each year the competition begins in the spring with country radio stations producing live shows to find the best new talent in their market. These winners then compete at the state and five regional competitions throughout the summer and fall. The five finalists compete for the grand prize of 100,000 at the National Final. Annually, more than 50,000 artists compete in the Colgate-sponsored local competitions with 450 radio stations throughout the U.S. and over 300,000 in cash prizes are awarded throughout 550+ live competitions. The competition boasts a "who's who" in the Country Music industry with past local, state and regional winners including Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sara Evans, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. The one-hour special is syndicated nationwide by MG Perin and will also air on the GAC (Great American Country) Network.

Ratings & Research
2007 Digital Music Promotion Poll results out
A recent industry survey on digital music and promotions reveals brand industry executives' outlook on the rise of Digital Music. The 2007 Digital Music Promotion Poll was recently commissioned to take an in-depth look at the state of digital music and how it impacts promotions, incentives and loyalty programs for brands and advertisers. This nationwide survey commissioned over 300 senior brand marketers and agencies to contribute thoughts & opinions on new digital opportunities for brands to attract customers. 57% of respondents feel they are not leveraging "new" digital media effectively when promoting their brand. In addition, 52% reported, they were not sure how mobile campaigns can be effective when driving loyalty, incentive and promotion programs. With digital downloads playing an important part in brand marketing, 49% of brand marketers polled are stating that they are unsure how music or ring tones could help promote their products,. In addition, 21% stated they don't offer digital music because they don't have access to licensing & clearance rights to music. These staggering results question whether or not the digital and mobile industries fully understand what it takes to reach consumers.
| See other findings here |

New Jersey has highest
percentage of millionaires

The Phoenix Affluent Marketing Service announced New Jersey has become the state with the largest percent of millionaires to total households. Ranked second past two years, New Jersey vaulted past Hawaii, which fell to fourth in the 2007 rankings. Phoenix's annual market sizing analysis and aggregate wealth rankings shows that New Jersey's ratio of millionaires to total households rose to 7.12%, up from 6.5% in 2006. Maryland is now in second place at 7.08%, up from 6.2% in 2006. Connecticut is third, with a ratio of 7.0%, up from 6.2% a year ago. Hawaii's ratio of 6.7% was unchanged from a year ago. Phoenix defines a millionaire household as one with 1 million or more in investable or liquid assets. Rounding out the top ten for 2007: Massachusetts remains in fifth place; Virginia rose to sixth from seventh past Delaware, which fell one spot; Alaska leaped to eighth from fourteenth a year ago; ninth-place New Hampshire, was up from eleventh in 2006; and California came in tenth, down two spots from 2006.

786,624 WBCG-FM Murdock FL. 100% of Concord Media Group from Mark W. Jorgenson to Clear Channel Broadcasting Inc. (Mark Mays). Cash. Station is in unrated area between Sarasota and Fort Myers-Naples, and overlaps various Clear Channel stations forming three distinct markets. [File date 12/17/07.]

Stock Talk
Late rally boosts blue chips
Stock prices were lower most of Wednesday, but moved higher late in the session as bargain hunters started snapping up big names. The Dow Industrials ended the day up 146 points, or 1.2%, at 12,735.

Radio stocks are not big names and did not fare so well. The RBR Radio Index fell 1.392, or 1.7%, to yet another all-time low of 80.845. Salem fell into penny stock territory for the first time ever, dropping 7.8% to 4.63. Beasley is just a nickel away from the same fate, plunging 12.9% to 5.05.

Radio Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Wednesday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change




















Journal Comm.







Lincoln Natl.




Citadel* CDL
1.69 +0.10

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


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Below the Fold
Ad Business Report
Launched by Point-to-Point, Savage Media a new sales tool to interactively connect listeners...

Media Markets & Money
Clement weather in
New Smyrna Beach w/WSBB-AM headed for a new owner...

Washington Business Report
DTV conversion
Coming front and center, the public may not yet be sweating the transition, but others sure are...

HD Radio - 2008
Next wave of HD Radio:
2008 North American International Auto Show...

Stations for Sale

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Jim Carnegie
[email protected]

Radio Media Moves

Digital promotion
The HD Digital Radio Alliance announced the promotion of Diane Warren to Executive Vice President from Sr. VP of Marketing and Communications. Warren has been the primary liaison for HD Radio marketing partners and was instrumental in helping to secure a number of distribution deals, including Wal-Mart and Radio Shack. She directed the Alliance's advertising campaigns and other marketing components focused on the nationwide rollout of HD Radio broadcasts. She has also been the primary point person for the NAB's HD Radio Marketing Task Force. In her new role, Warren will expand her management of relationships with HD Radio receiver makers, radio stations and press.

Changes at Triad
Triad Broadcasting announced that Mark Halverson, former Lincoln, NE, Market Manager, has been promoted to Vice President/Senior Market Manager in Savannah, Georgia/Hilton Head, South Carolina. The announcement follows the recent NRG Media acquisition of five Triad stations in the Lincoln market in August 2007. Halverson will be responsible for the Georgia and South Carolina markets, and current VP/Market Manager, Robert Leonard, will maintain responsibilities for Hilton Head. Up to now, Savannah and Hilton Head operated as one major market.

USRN adds staff for Dobbs Show
United Stations Radio Networks announced that Bernadette Duncan has been named to lead the production team on the network's forthcoming Lou Dobbs Show. Simultaneously, the net announced that Bob LaGrega joins the network to lead the affiliation effort for the program. Duncan has been named Executive Producer for the Lou Dobbs Show and she brings with her a long history in Talk Radio. Her experience includes stints as a Producer for the CBS Radio Network, WOR-AM in New York and NBC's Talknet. LaGrega joins United Stations as Director of Affiliations and he comes from the ABC Radio Networks in the same capacity.

Redisch to VOA
Veteran broadcast news executive Steve Redisch joined the Voice of America (VOA) this week as Executive Editor. He supervises the daily operations and activities of VOA's news, programs, language services, broadcast operations, and Internet departments. Redisch joins VOA after a 20-year career with CNN, where he earned two Emmy Awards and a National Headliner Award.

More News Headlines

A note of condolence
The Emmis conference call was cut short yesterday so that headquarters staffers in Indianapolis could head to Cloverdale, IN for the funeral of the mother of Emmis Radio President Rick Cummings. Laurra "Tootsie" Cummings, who was 76, died Saturday. Several analysts offered their condolences to Rick, who was absent from the call, and we at RBR would add ours as well.

TVBR - TV News

Comcast Internet service under FCC scrutiny
Complaints have been pouring into the FCC about Comcast, charging that it has been interfering with certain kinds of peer-to-peer traffic. The issue revolved around users of file-sharing program BitTorrent and first surfaced in the media last October. Although some such programs are used to transfer files of copywritten material illegally, not all are. According to the Associated Press, Comcast said it was not blocking, but rather was delaying certain transactions to improve the surfing experience of the majority of its subscribers, and the company has promised to cooperate with the FCC.

Martin promised the investigation would proceed. Public advocacy groups see it as a net neutrality issue. Savetheinternet.com said, "We hope the Chairman's statements, made two months after we filed our complaint, will leads to immediate and accelerated action at the FCC on the critical issue of whether Comcast, AT&T and other Internet service providers can block the services people want to use."

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

Radio stocks could fall
15-30% this year

That's the warning to investors from analyst Lee Westerfield at BMO Capital Markets. After seeing the RAB report that November radio ad revenues were down 7% (down 6% including NTR), Westerfield has lowered his Q4 revenue and EBITDA estimates for Emmis, Clear Channel and CBS Radio. And he isn't stopping there - also cutting his expectations for 2008 and 2009. He is projecting that radio ad sales will drop 2% in 2008. He also doesn't see any more bids to take out public radio companies and go private in the current lending environment. Furthermore, he notes that Emmis and Regent are both in danger of breaching senior debt covenants. Each can sell assets to remedy that, but Westerfield warns that such sales would be at "fire sale" levels. With all those negatives, he sees a danger that radio stocks, which already fell! significantly in 2007, could drop another 15-30% in 2008.

RBR observation: Just look at Citadel if you want to see what happens when a selling frenzy feeds on itself. The stock was down 72.5% last year - and has fallen even more this month. A potential US recession and continued bad reports on radio ad sales could send radio stocks tumbling even more than they have already. Is there any good news on the horizon to counter this trend? RBR note: To the question just posed - Is there any good news on the horizon to counter this trend? Look for a Carnegie, Publisher Observation in Monday's RBR as this topic of How will be posted and RBR is the case study of first hand personal experience of the pain to accomplish and counter a down trend.
01/09/08 RBR #5

Buying the company bit by bit
After being rebuffed on its buyout bid, Hearst Corporation is moving ahead with its stated objective of boosting its stake in Hearst-Argyle Television above 80%. The latest tally filed with the SEC puts the ownership stake at 74.2%. Since announcing in December that its board of directors had authorized the purchase of up to eight million more Hearst-Argyle shares (12/10/07 TVBR #239), Hearst Corporation has bought up 558,300 shares for just over 12 million bucks. It has made open market purchase of as few as 100 shares at a time (the biggest block was 22,800) and all of the purchases have been at prices below the 23.50 per share that it had offered to buy out the public shareholders and take Hearst-Argyle private. Hearst-Argyle owns 26 television stations, and manages an additional th! ree television and two radio stations. Both of those radio stations and one of the LMA'd TV stations are owned by Hearst Corporation.

TVBR observation: We draw your attention to our 13 predictions of things that will happen in 2008 published on Monday (1/8/08 TVBR #3). Number 11 reads: "Hearst Corporation will take its ownership of Hearst-Argyle Television beyond 80% and then make a stronger bid to pick up the rest and take the TV company private."
01/09/08 TVBR #5

Waiting for the green light
Bear Stearns analyst Victor Miller tells clients in a note that the trains are still running toward a closing for the private equity buyout of Clear Channel Communications. He cites the tender underway for 1.3 billion of Clear Channel bonds, that Thomas H. Lee executives have resigned from the Univision board (necessary for making the private equity fund's Univision investment non-attributable at the FCC), that Clear Channel executives have seen the ratings agencies, that Clear Channel executives have met with the Thomas H. Lee investors, and that the Clear Channel TV sale has gotten FCC approval (although it is still up in the air whether the buyer will close. (See more in RBR)
01/08/08 RBR #4

WGA Strike Central, Day 65
Golden Globes awards show
a no-show
With essentially no actors willing to cross WGA picket lines, NBC and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) have pulled the plug on Sunday's gala broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards. What will air instead will be a stripped down broadcast largely produced by NBC News, rather than the entertainment division.
01/08/08 TVBR #4

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