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Welcome to RBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 24, Issue 69, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Monday Morning April 9th, 2007

Radio News ®

Competitors ask court
to toss PPM patents

The Media Audit (TMA) and Ipsos, co-developers of a Smart Cell Phone-based radio ratings system, have fired back at Arbitron's lawsuit accusing them of infringing patents related to Arbitron's Portable People Meter, or PPM (10/12/06 RBR #199). In separate responses to the lawsuit filed in federal court in Marshall, TX, both TMA and Ipsos deny any patent infringement. Rather, they ask the court to rule that all three patents claimed by Arbitron are invalid and should be thrown out. At this point the filings do not state the basis for claiming that the patents are invalid, but the companies are expected to argue that Arbitron didn't really invent anything new and all three patent claims consist of "prior art." The three patents cited by Arbitron as being infringed by TMA/Ipsos include one for encoding inaudible sounds for tracking audio, one for monitoring those codes and finally one for systems and methods to promoting compliance by ratings panel members. TMA and Ipsos claim that all three are invalid. And they filed counterclaims asking that Arbitron be ordered to pay their costs for being dragged into court. Arbitron has already responded to those counterclaims as well. It reasserts the patent infringement claims and denies that TMA/Ipsos should be granted judgments invalidating the patents. Arbitron also says the defendants should be paying Arbitron's attorney fees, not the other way around.

Trouble for the Times
Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) - the same firm that has recommended that shareholders vote down the private equity buyout of Clear Channel (3/30/07 RBR #63) - has now issued a recommendation for an anti-management vote at the New York Times Company. ISS, the most influential advisor to large institutional investors, has told its clients they should withhold their votes for the four directors to be elected by the Class A shareholders at the company's annual meeting. Not that ISS has anything against the four individuals. Rather, it says, there are few ways for holders of the publicly traded Class A shares to express dissatisfaction with the way the company is being run by the Ochs-Sulzberger family, whose minority stake in non-public Class B shares lets them elect nine board members. ISS is calling for separation of the roles of New York Times Company chairman and publisher of the flagship New York Times newspaper - roles both held now by Arthur Sulzberger Jr. The ISS recommendation is seen as lending support to Morgan Stanley fund manager Hassan Elmasry, who has been pressing for separation of Sulzberger's dual roles and elimination of the two-tiered voting stock structure. Last year he managed to get more than 30% of Class A shareholders to withhold their director votes (7% came from his own funds).

RBR observation: Again, we wonder what this will, or even could, accomplish. If the Class A director nominees see an even higher withhold tally this year, it will do little more than embarrass New York Times Company management. The directors will still keep their seats. After witnessing the buyout dramas at Knight-Ridder and then Tribune, the founding family at NYT Co. is less likely than ever to open the doorway to a similar scenario. They yielded to pressure to sell off the TV group, but have hunkered down to ride out the storm for the newspaper business, while countering that with Internet growth and holding onto WQXR-FM NYC. The Ochs-Sulzberger family isn't interested in cashing out, so it is not going to surrender its voting control to outside investors who might want to pursue that course.

Imus put himself in hot water
Syndicated radio host Don Imus, whose "Imus in the Morning" show is also simulcast on MSNBC, apologized Friday for a racist comment he had made on Wednesday's show. But some critics are demanding more - that he be taken off the air. Both his originating station, CBS-owned WFAN-AM New York, and MSNBC issued statements condemning the remark Imus made while talking about the Rutgers women's basketball team, referring to the team members as "nappy headed hos." On Friday, he issued this on-air apology: "Want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the other morning regarding the Rutgers women's basketball team. It was completely inappropriate, and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry." So far, both CBS and MSNBC are sticking with the veteran broadcast personality, but critics are keeping up the pressure. "We can only accept his apology if we accept his resignation," said Rev. Al Sharpton, who has vowed to picket Imus' studio to demand his ouster. The President of the National Association of Black Journalists, Bryan Monroe, has also demanded that Imus be fired.

RBR observation: "Off with his head" is always the cry from critics. Firing someone doesn't solve anything and "Imus in the Morning" without Imus would be rather pointless. The "I-Man" stuck his foot in his mouth and gave an easy opening to Rev. Al and the others. The media attention they have received for their professed outrage has just made this a bigger issue. But it is indisputable that what Imus said was racist and indefensible -- not just a little over the line, a lot over the line. What prompted an experienced broadcast pro to say something so stupid? Just saying "I'm sorry" is not enough to resolve this. Don Imus needs to look deep inside himself and come up with a more sincere way of dealing with this huge blunder.

Still plenty of markets left
Even with last week's announcement of deals to sell 11 markets to George Laughlin's GAP Broadcasting and three to Rolland Johnson's Three Eagles, 54 of the 90 small and medium market clusters put up for sale by Clear Channel have yet to be sold. At least, deals for those remaining 54 have yet to be announced. Each and every one of the markets in the auction had at least one interested bidder, so it is mainly a matter of agreeing on price and getting the terms written down on paper. We await more announcements. In the meantime, here is an updated list of the markets up for sale and which have had buyers announced.
| View the List |

CAB members back out of eBay trials;
what about radio?

The Cable Television Advertising Bureau announced last week its members won't participate in further trials of eBay's eMedia Exchange, the beta online marketplace for buying ad time. (4/6/07 TVBR #68). Both eBay and the coalition of 10 advertisers that came together last fall to create and test the system, including Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Toyota and Microsoft, said they will continue moving forward with the system. RBR asked a couple of media agency folks what they thought. Ray Warren, Carat Americas President, was one of the people behind the testing and design of the system: "This is market forces at work. Those forces will change over time, and an electronic exchange will exist. Lots of status quo inertia. That said, I'd rather be an active participant in change than not." Said another senior media buyer: "I don't think a lot of the buyers, and obviously the networks, believe that we really needed this. The process that we currently use works for us and is actually getting better because we're not getting pushed so much to do everything all at one time. And also, the process that we use makes it less of a commodity marketplace and more of an idea marketplace. So to automate something to just get costs, we're trying to move away from that. Talk about engagement, added value, program integrations and digital extensions. Additionally, what it seemed to be at this point was a standardized way of putting requests into the networks. Meaning, every upfront each agency submits budgets and specs to the networks-the cans and cannots of the buy. He added, "Now the one thing about Google's system that intrigues me on the test with local cable system in San Francisco is that while they're not going to get the prime inventory, they were delivering different commercials to different households. You have a dog, I don't. You'll get a dog food commercial, I won't. But I have two kids and I'll get an ad from Toys R Us."

RBR observation: What does this mean to the radio business? Probably a lot of the same. eBay would likely be great for remnant and some spot inventory in radio (should it move there), but as far as prime, flighted inventory-that should be left to the experts. Now, the transactional capabilities offered may or may not have been desirable, sans any auction functionality, but as far as auctioning prime inventory, especially in major markets, we don't think so. The eBay system details have been kept a bit close to the vest, so it may be while before we know. What buyers and agencies want is an electronic exchange and to keep control of their prime inventory.

First Syracuse ratings from Eastlan
Eastlan Resources is out with its first radio ratings for Syracuse, NY, the largest market to date for the company and a market where it is in head-to-head competition with Arbitron. Galaxy Communications CEO Ed Levine signed a contract to bring Eastlan ratings to Syracuse when he resigned from the Arbitron Radio Advisory Council, saying he was fed up with price increases (12/1/06 RBR #233). How did his stations do? Eastlan shows the Galaxy stations ranking 5th, 9th, 14th, 16th and 22nd Adults 12+. We can't compare that to Arbitron, because it has stopped releasing ratings data for non-subscribing stations in the Syracuse market.
| See the Eastlan report |

RBR observation: Other than the Galaxy stations, how different are the Arbitron and Eastlan results? Clear Channel's Country WBBS-FM is #1 in both, but thereafter the rankings are quite different. Clear Channel's News/Talk WSYR-AM does much better in Eastlan (#2 vs #5) while its CHR WWHT-FM and AC WYYY-FM do better in Arbitron (#2 & #3 respectively, vs. #7 & #8). Citadel's top station, CHR WNTQ-FM, is #4 in both surveys.

Ad Business Report TM

Reliant Energy launches campaign
featuring "Energy Expert" appliances

Reliant Energy launched a new campaign with The Richards Group featuring "energy expert" appliances that secretly "come to life" and urge their owners to select Reliant Energy. The campaign consists of a fully integrated set of television, radio, print, online, direct marketing, and outdoor advertising elements. It is the company's first new creative work since 2001 without the use of the character "Tom." The campaign launched April 2 and will be seen in key Reliant Energy markets, including: Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Corpus Christi, McAllen-Harlingen, Abilene, San Angelo, Waco/Temple/Killeen and Wichita Falls. One television ad features a lamp on a journey from its own home to a neighbor's home in search of Reliant Energy as its electricity source. That ad will serve as a transition spot to say goodbye to "Tom" and usher in the new Appliance campaign creative. Another television ad, titled "Sign Up," features a group of appliances determined to help their owner lower his electricity bill. The commercial will be used to promote Reliant Energy's new price savings and the easier-to-understand Reliant Energy OneRate Secure Plan. The print and outdoor boards follow a similar theme, with one billboard featuring an electronic calculator stating: "I've done the math. Reliant can lower your bill."

NAB Daytime Planner
The following will be attending the NAB.
Call or email to make your
appointment in advance.

Jacob J. Barker; Barker Capital Bellagio Hotel
(212) 332-4312 [email protected]

Peter H. Ottmar; Dover Capital Partners, LLC; office 401/723-1063 x103;
cell 401/639-4958; Bellagio Hotel; [email protected]

Brian Eick/Dave Meier/John Weller; Gladstone Capital; Bellagio Hotel;
Brian cell 847-612-3002, Dave cell 847-650-1735, John cell 509-496-3254; [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

Todd Fowler/David Reeder; American Media Services; Bellagio Hotel; 843-972-2200; [email protected], [email protected]

Brian Cobb/ Denis LeClair /Dan Graves/Jack Higgins; Cobb Corp; Bellagio Hotel; 212-812-5020; [email protected]

Andy McClure/Erick Steinberg, The Exline Company, Bellagio Hotel, office 415-479-3484, cell 415-497-3855, [email protected]. [email protected]

Frank Boyle; Frank Boyle & Co.;
Bellagio Hotel;
203-969-2020; cell 203-249-7818; [email protected]

John L. Pierce/ Jamie Rasnick; John Pierce & Company LLC; office 859-647-0101, John cell 859-512-3015; Jamie cell 513-252-1186, Bellagio Hotel; [email protected]; [email protected]
Gordon Rice; Gordon Rice Associates;
843-884-3590; Bellagio Hotel; [email protected]

Dick Kozacko/George Kimble;
Kozacko Media Services; office 607-733-7138; cell 607-738-1219; Bellagio Hotel; [email protected], [email protected]

Media Services Group; Bellagio Hotel;

Elliot Evers/Greg Widroe/Brian Pryor/Patricia Carberry-Harris;
Media Venture Partners;
415-391-4877; Bellagio Hotel;
[email protected]

Brian Byrnes; Paramount Media
Advisors, Inc.; 312-396-4043;
cell 312-933-7559; Bellagio Hotel; [email protected]

Glenn Serafin; Serafin Bros., Inc.;
office 813-885-6060; cell 813-494-6875; Aladdin Hotel; [email protected]

Bill Schutz; Schutz & Company; Bellagio Hotel; 757-258-8740, cell 757-880-9251; [email protected]

Larry C. Wood; Wood & Company, Inc.; Alexis Park Hotel; Office: 513-528-7373; Cell: 513-225-5100; [email protected]

Gary Cavell, Richard Mertz, Michael Rhodes, Dan Ryson; Cavell, Mertz & Associates, Inc.; Main Office 703-392-9090; [email protected]

Washington Media Business Report TM
Noncom sale approved at last
The FCC has approved the sale of three non-commercial FM stations in Ohio and Indiana from Cincinnati Public Radio to Christian Voice of Central Ohio (8/29/06 RBR #168) after dismissing objections filed by two dozen listeners of WVXW-FM West Union, OH. They had objected to the one million bucks sale because they didn't want the public radio programming on the station replaced by the religious programming of the buyer. "While the Commission recognizes that Station WVXW(FM)'s format has developed a devoted listenership, it is well-settled policy that the Commission does not regulate programming formats, nor does it take potential formation changes into consideration in reviewing license assignment applications," wrote Peter Doyle, Chief of the Audio Division of the FCC's Media Bureau, in his order dismissing the objections and granting the license transfers.

RBR observation: Why, we wonder, did it take over seven months after the deal was filed to toss out such obviously frivolous objections? This just encourages people to file baseless objections to tie-up station sales in hopes that the deals will fall apart because of the delay.

Internet Media Business Report TM
Zell may crack down on Google
In his new role at Tribune Company, Sam Zell may lead the charge against allowing Google free access to aggregate news and other content. "If all of the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content, how profitable would Google be? Not very," Zell said in an audience Q&A session following a speech in Silicon Valley. As it stands now, Google indexes links to stories in the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other Tribune company newspapers, not to mention the websites of its TV stations and WGN-AM Chicago, without any compensation. It looks like Zell may be planning court action to change that. Just last week Google settled with Agence France-Presse, which had sued the search engine firm for copyright infringement. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Ratings & Research
New tool to visualize
brand associations

Nielsen BuzzMetrics, which measures consumer-generated media, launched avisualization tool to map how consumers naturally think and talk about brands across billions of unaided conversations online. The Brand Association Map (BAM) uses advanced text-mining algorithms to plot the most important language, attributes, issues and themes about a brand in concentric circles, derived from consumer expression in blogs, boards, ratings sites and other forms of consumer-generated media. With the brand represented in the bull's eye, the resulting visualization empowers marketers to quickly grasp how brand identity, reputation and equity mesh with core assumptions. "The Brand Association Map takes a powerful snapshot of a brand DNA, helping marketers reconcile intuition and beliefs about brands with how consumers really contextualize them," said Jerry Needel, SVP/Product Management, Nielsen BuzzMetrics. "This aids understanding of true brand health, and results in marketers asking the right questions and making better decisions."

Brand stakeholders who benefit from BAM include:
Marketers - to understand relevant initiatives and product benefits. Researchers - to identify hot issues invisible or unaddressed by traditional techniques. Advertising Agencies - to ensure messaging preserves and optimizes brand equity. External Relations - to uncover vulnerabilities in corporate reputation. Media Buyers - to measure response and engagement with specific communications campaigns, spokespeople and contexts.

Wealthy consumers embrace
online collaboration and community

Among wealthy Americans, adoption rates for first-wave Web applications such as email, shopping, and retrieving news and information are nearly 100%, while second-wave applications -- or "Web 2.0" -- are gaining widespread acceptance. This shift creates opportunities for luxury goods marketers to deepen relationships with their wealthy clientele, and the skill with which they seize -- or fail to seize - these opportunities will have long-term implications. One of the most dramatic adoption increases in a Web 2.0 application is reading blogs. More than three-fourths of Americans (76%) earning over 150,000 reported doing so in 2007, compared to 57% who said that they were blog-readers in a similar survey in 12/05. A much smaller percentage writes blogs, but this practice has shown a big stride, growing from 18% in 2005, to 24% today. More than one-half of wealthy Web users (55%) communicate via instant messaging. What many luxury firms may find surprising is the growing popularity of social networking sites among the wealthy, but long term, it may not be about the usual suspects. About one-third (31%) of the wealthy report using an online networking site, but just 13% say they are a member of Google's YouTube, and only 10% report being a member of News Corp.'s MySpace. Less popular still are LinkedIn (7%), photo-networking site, Yahoo! 360, Friendster and Facebook (3% each). Predictably, networking sites are currently most popular with younger wealthy consumers; 41% of the wealthy 44 years of age and younger are members of a social networking site, just 19% of those ages 45-54 and 12% of those 55+ belong. In addition, men are more likely to be networking site members -- 32% versus 22% of women.

Showcase HD Radio
conditional access in Vegas

Who says your HD-2 and HD-3 channels have to be music? Broadcast Electronics and NDS, along with iBiquity Digital announced they will showcase HD Radio conditional access capabilities at the upcoming NAB2007 show. Access to specialty content and programming for niche markets, including reading services for the blind that have relied on expensive SCA technology in the past, are just a few of the opportunities open to broadcasters using conditional access for new multicast channels. BE and NDS, which specializes in conditional access technology, will bring the controlled-content experience to NAB2007 with an end-to-end HD Radio solution that includes NDS encryption and BE digital broadcast equipment. "We are pleased with the cooperation between NDS and Broadcast Electronics on bringing our conditional access solution to HD Radio broadcasting," stated Tom Rucktenwald, the Director of Data Application Delivery for the radio NDS product. "BE and NDS will continue to work together to test, field test, and bring the first and finest conditional access solution to the HD Radio marketplace." The demonstration will take place at NDS booth N7137, and showcase the integration of the NDS conditional access system into BE's HD Radio IDi 20 Importer unit, broadcasting program content addressable to receivers meeting access conditions. "We very much view this as a partnership of technology and people that will have tremendous impact on the future of radio. Conditional access is one of the cornerstones of HD Radio broadcasting's growth because it has so much potential, not only for the delivery of audio programs but also the delivery of data services," said Ray Miklius, BE Vice President Studio Systems.

Monday Morning Makers & Shakers

Transactions: 2/19/07-2/23/07
There have been numerous predictions that 2007 may wind up being one of the biggest station trading years since the big groups essentially completed the post-1996 consolidation craze. If that's true, it sure isn't happening yet. There have been a handful of big deals, but not much underneath. This week, transactions filed at the FCC failed to crack the 10M threshold.



Total Deals







| Complete Charts |
Radio Transactions of the Week
Colorado mountain group changes hands
| More...
TV Transactions of the Week
No TV action this time around

14M WLNE-TV Providence RI-New Bedford MA (New Bedford MA) from Freedom Broadcasting of Southern New England Licensee LLC, a subsidiary of Freedom Communications Inc. (Doreen D. Wade) to Global Broadcasting of Southern New England LLC, a subsidiary of Global Broadcasting LLC (Kevin P. O'Brien, Robinson Ewert). Cash. Includes non-compete. Station is ABC affiliate on Channel 6. [File date 3/23/07.]

450K FM CP Presho SD from College Creek Media LLC (Christopher F. Devine) to James River Broadcasting Inc. (Robert E. Ingstad). 22.5K deposit, balance in cash at closing. Superduopoly with KGFX AM & FM Pierre, KPLO-FM Reliance SD. CP is for Class C1 on 100.3 MHz wiht 90 kw @ 981'. [File date 3/16/07.]

75K WKSC-AM Kershaw SC from Kershaw Broadcasting Corporation (John R. Griffin) to Big Fish Broadcasting LLC (Jeffery S. Roper, J. Stanley Griffin). 10K down payment, balance in cash at closing. [File date 3/15/07.]

Stock Talk

US stock markets were closed Friday
in observance of Good Friday. Here are Thursdays numbers.

Radio Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Thursday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change













Journal Comm.







Lincoln Natl.







Radio One, Cl. A




Citadel CDL
9.64 +0.07

Radio One, Cl. D




Clear Channel








Cox Radio




Saga Commun.








Salem Comm.








Sirius Sat. Radio








Spanish Bcg.
















Westwood One








XM Sat. Radio





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Below the Fold
Ad Business Report
Reliant Energy launches
Campaign featuring "Energy Expert" appliances that secretly "come to life"...

Washington Media Business Report
Noncom sale approved at last
FCC has approved the sale of 3 non-commercial FM stations in...

Internet Media Business Report
Zell may crack down on Google
May lead the charge against allowing Google free access to aggregate...

Showcase HD Radio conditional
access in Vegas Broadcast Electronics NDS, along with iBiquity will showcase...

Stations for Sale

Syracuse, NY
metro FM: $3.25M

Open to purchase, swap plus cash, or LMA. Confidentiality agreement required. No brokers please.


Ski Country FM
NEast, very profitable w. T site.
8.5x trailing CF. Price 950K
Inquiries 781-848-4201
email: [email protected]

10 TX, AZ, NC, and GA
FM radio stations at an exceptional value offered for sale. Broker cooperation encouraged. Please visit for complete information including pricing.

Market your Stations For Sale
in our daily epapers.

June Barnes
[email protected]

Radio Media Moves

Stelzner sells Jack
Patrick Stelzner has been promoted to General Sale Manager at CBS-owned KZJK-FM "104.1 Jack-FM" Minneapolis. He joined the station as Local Sales Manager in January 2005.

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

How'd the other guys do?
We reported in last weeks RBR on the lackluster performance of radio stocks in Q1, which paralleled the overall stock market. The quarter was better for your television brethren, pure play TV companies in particular, as investors saw proof that new revenues are coming by way of cash payments for retransmission consent agreements with cable MSOs. Here are the numbers in this special page report of RBR.
04/06/07 RBR #68

Analyst ups radio forecast
It would be overstating the case to call him bullish on radio, but BMO Capital Markets analyst Lee Westerfield has raised his 2007 estimate for radio industry revenues by three percentage points - to plus 1.5% from his previous minus 1.5%. In a shift in our view, we no longer consider the radio sector at risk for a significant decline in advertising during 2007. consequently, we see same-station EBITDA growth equivalently positive, +1-3% for most radio groups.
04/06/07 RBR #68

Investor pressuring Regent
Regent Communications is the latest radio company to come under pressure from an investor who wants to cash out. Riley Investment Management is calling for the company to hang out a for sale sign.

RBR observation: Riley can hardly be called a patient or long-suffering shareholder as far as Regent is concerned. Over two million of the shares it holds were bought in March 2007, including 1,189,344 bought March 28th for 2.95 per share. Forcing a sale for its estimated 4.50-6.00 per share would give Riley a hefty return on a short-term investment. Riley is certainly right about one thing, though, Sarbanes-Oxley compliance has made it prohibitively expensive for small companies like Regent to maintain publicly traded stock. There has been a lot of talk on Capitol Hill about providing some relief, but so far it has only been talk. Read Riley's Letter in this RBR report.
04/05/07 RBR #67

Citadel fined 21K; License
revocation petitions dismissed
The FCC has at long last issued its full opinion and order from the meeting last month where the Commissioners approved the merger of Disney's ABC Radio with Citadel Broadcasting (3/23/07 RBR #58). We knew that Red Wolf Broadcasting did not succeed in its efforts to have the FCC deny license renewals for Citadel in Connecticut and Rhode Island and hold hearings on whether the company is fit to hold any license at all. Indeed, the FCC dismissed most of Red Wolf's allegations of rule violations as unsubstantiated or insignificant.

RBR observation: What about the Eliot Spitzer "payola" allegations and additional allegations of sponsorship identification violations brought by Red Wolf? The FCC order states that Citadel entered into a consent decree with the Commission last month, under which it agreed to make a voluntary contribution to the US Treasury and adopt certain company policies and reforms. That public document has not yet been made public by the FCC or Citadel.
04/05/07 RBR #67

DoubleClick unveils
online ad marketplace
DoubleClick, a major provider of digital advertising technology and services, unveiled its proprietary DoubleClick Advertising Exchange service, an online marketplace that connects buyers and sellers of online display advertising. The service provides advertisers, agencies, publishers and ad networks with a dynamic marketplace where they can buy and sell online display advertising - impression by impression.

RBR observation: Another entry into the world of on line services. Big guns like Google, DoubleClick, and others are attempting to get into the broadcast media biz in a big way. Only factor RBR sees as the top issue is the working knowledge of our broadcast medium. How the inner parts of a station truly works. RBR does not think that anyone of these companies has ever worked for or been inside of a radio or TV station no less sold an ad campaign to a local advertiser. Again RBR strongly urges broadcasters to research all companies before you commit your stations inventory.
04/05/07 RBR #67

RBR observation: Do the math
It never ceases to amaze us at RBR how so many different figures are reported by various media outlets when a big M&A deal is announced. Numerous journalists have read that announcement and still reported that Tribune is being sold for 8.2 billion. Why? Are billions too hard to fathom? Then let us try a simple example. This is Not Brain Surgery for those journalists that just do not understand. RBR shows the simple math 101.
04/04/07 RBR #66

Report blasts Sirius-XM merger
Analysis by The Carmel Group helped convince the FCC to turn thumbs down on a merger of the two satellite TV companies just a few years back, so it is hardly surprising that NAB hired the firm to analyze the proposed satellite radio merger. Sure enough, the report now out says an XM-Sirius merger would result in "less service, less affordability, less diversity and less choice in content and hardware" - exactly the opposite of what Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin has said on Capitol Hill to try to win approval of the deal. There is more view the rest of the issue and the special full Report in RBR
04/04/07 RBR #66

Radio stocks in line
with blah quarter
While their television brethren saw stock prices rise in Q1 as new revenues began to flow in from cable retransmission consent payments, radio had no similar event to excite Wall Street traders. Yes, non-spot revenues are growing well, but Internet revenues are growing for all types of media companies, and the bread-and-butter spot business is still sluggish. So, radio stocks were right in line with a lackluster quarter for the overall stock market. View the stats see where you favorite media company stock is and tracked here in RBR
04/04/07 RBR #66

Can Sam Zell fix the
newspaper business?

February was a particularly bad month for the US newspaper business. Sam Zell had better hope that is not the start of a trend for an already suffering business to get even worse. The Chicago real estate billionaire thinks he knows how to make money from the so-called "old media" assets currently losing market share to new media. His track record in media, though limited, is good. He made a lot of money for himself and others when he bailed out Jacor Communications and eventually sold it to Clear Channel.

RBR observation: This deal would be a breeze to get FCC approval without the crossownership situations, but we understand why Zell wants to keep the company together. The CW network is building nicely and the cash flow from Tribune's big TV stations in New York, LA and Chicago should help counter the difficulties as their newspaper brethren go through the gut-wrenching phase of waiting for Internet ad growth to get to the point of counterbalancing print declines. But there is already pressure in Washington for the FCC to set an expiration date for Tribune's controversial crossownership waivers, since they were predicated on the expectation that the rule was on the verge of being eliminated anyway - something that hasn't happened and doesn't appear likely to happen in the foreseeable future. We see a real possibility that Zell will be turned down flat for new waivers. What then? Would the deal crater or would Tribune Television be put up for sale? One previous bidder who wanted only the TV group reportedly offered four billion bucks for them. One final note. Since Tribune is planning to sell the Chicago Cubs, why is it keeping WGN-AM Chicago, its only remaining radio station? The station's close ties to the baseball team appear to be the only business reason to keep it in the company - and that justification is going away. No doubt there are radio groups who would step up and bid aggressively for the legendary Chicago station.
(If you missed Tuesday RBR click and review)
04/03/07 RBR #65


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