Diana and Rick Fleming, who funded and O&O’d Radio-Info.com as a tribute to their late son, are merging with [now] online-only radio trade pub Talkers. On paper, the Flemings, principals of In3media, are merging with Michael Harrison’s Talk Media Inc., based in Springfield, MA. The timing coincides with Rick Fleming’s retirement as EVP/CFO of USG Corporation.
The new corporate entity, named Radio Info, Inc., will serve as owner and operator of Radio-Info.com. Talkers will remain under the corporate ownership of Talk Media, Inc.
The deal becomes effective on August 19, at which time Radio-Info.com will begin operating out of Talk Media, Inc. headquarters in Springfield, MA with Michael Harrison serving as publisher of both trades.
RBR-TVBR spoke with Harrison:
How was the deal hatched and what changes, if any, you’ll make to the two entities?
I have always had a warm relationship with the other trades, especially the Flemings, whom I admire. I have always been touched by the legacy of Doug Fleming and with the journalistic integrity of Diana and her son Doug. The conversation just began to develop between us.
At this point, running any trade pub in an industry going through the changes facing radio now is a challenge. We enter this with complete humility for the challenges we all face. We will announce any changes in the coming week as we have a feel for the dynamics of the situation.
I will be dedicated, like with Talkers, to follow this philosophy: The role of a trade publication is to do everything it can in its power to benefit the industry it serves–the interests of those who work day-to-day in the trenches. Any differences in content may be a reflection of my take on the industry.
What about the boards?
The boards are not part of this deal. They are being spun off as a separate company and will remain under the ownership and direction of the Flemings. They may operate in some kind of an alliance with us but not under my management or ownership.
Will there be any additions/expansions to your conferences?
I certainly plan to build upon some of the services Talkers does for its constituency, but in terms of a massive joint convention, I’ve been downsizing our seminar over the past couple years, so last thing I’m thinking is expanding that for now.
“Rick and I have been looking for a succession plan for some time,” Diana Fleming told Robert Feder of the Chicago Media Blog. “We finally landed with a plan that we think works very well.”
The two publications will keep their separate brands, identities and websites.
All of Radio-Info’s format and sales newsletters–Stark Country, Urban First, NewsTalk Edge, connected and Taz’s Tips on Sales & Marketing–are gone as of 8/3.