Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 22, Issue 88, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Wednesday Morning May 4th, 2005

TV News®

Paxson slammed by court ruling
NBC Universal has won a legal round with Paxson Communications - - winning a ruling from the Delaware Chancery Court that sets the dividend rate on its Paxson convertible preferred stock at 28.3% annually. That's considerably higher than the 16.2% rate that Paxson had put in place last September, based on its interpretation of the formula (set by CIBC) to be used. Still pending is a court ruling on a more important matter - - whether Paxson is obligated to redeem the convertible preferred stock owned by NBC Uni.

TVBR observation: There's no way currently for Paxson to come up with the original 415 million face value of the NBC Uni investment, let alone the accumulated dividends, so a ruling against Paxson would force it into default. Just what that would mean, however, is unclear. NBC Uni can't acquire Paxson's TV stations under the current FCC ownership rules, so another buyer would have to be found - - and none has been found after several years of shopping the company.

UCC up in arms over Focus ad
The United Church of Christ is wondering why ABC Television Network gave it the brush-off when it tried to buy airtime for an ad back in December, and again in March - - then turned around and allowed Rev. James Dobson's Focus on the Family run a pair of :30s on "Supernanny" on 5/2/05. The UCC ad in question emphasized its open door policy toward potential members (12/2/04 RBR #234), and did so by depicting people of different races and apparent sexual orientation being "bounced" from an church of indeterminant denomination. It was deemed too controversial by NBC and CBS. However, according to UCC, ABC turned it away, citing a no religious ad policy. The ad did run on numerous cable channels. UCC's Robert Chase said, "Here's yet another illustration of how a particular narrow agenda makes up the rules as they go along, while another religious viewpoint cannot even purchase time on the people's airwaves to proclaim an all-inclusive message. Why are the network executives so willing to bow to this narrow agenda of the religious right?"

FEC hits Arkansas
Republicans for 360K

2M worth of media buys (and other expenses) coming from the Republican Party of Arkansas during the run-up to the 2000 elections were unaccounted for, according to the Federal Elections Commission, which has ordered the political organization to cough up a civil penalty of 360K. Soft money was a large part of the problem, but even more problematic was poor accounting for both incoming and outgoing cash. 600K coming in from national party sources was improperly reported, 28.5K from individuals was deemed over the personal donation limit, and another 11.5 was declared to be from expressly forbidden sources. The organization agreed to the fine and has six months to pay.

Paxson collects on World Trade Center insurance
Three and a half years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Paxson Communications has settled its insurance claim for the destruction of its WPXN-TV (Ch. 31, Pax) transmitter and antenna along with the World Trade Center towers. Under the settlement, Zurich American Insurance Company has agreed to pay Paxson 24.5 million (minus 7.7 previously paid) for its losses. "We are pleased that this long issue of our claims has finally been settled in a positive way for the company," said CEO Bud Paxson.

Bidders eying CC Entertainment
Clear Channel's plans to spin CC Entertainment off into a separate company has apparently prompted interest from people who want to buy the operation, rather than see it become an independent company. According to a Reuters report, two competitors and a former CC Entertainment executive are putting together bids. Both House of blues and Jam Productions told the news service they're working on financing to try to acquire at least the concert portion. Dave Lucas, the former CC Music CEO who now heads Live 360, is reportedly putting together a bid for the entire company.

TVBR observation: Whatever happens, Clear Channel shareholders are going to get considerably less than what the company paid in 2000 for what was then SFX Entertainment - - 4.4 billion. Estimates are that the company is now worth less than two billion, maybe as little at 1.5 billion. It seems unlikely to us that Clear Channel would agree to sell only the concert business, which would leave it stuck with other units for which there would be few bidders - - and not enough to spin off into a separate public company.

TVBR News Analysis
NBC doesn't get it - Radio's Opportunity to Cross Platform
I read with great interest and passion Jim Carnegie's perspective one of the great TV shows to come down the pike in ages. Ages because American Bandstand was on the air for 30 years and that is three (3) generations of a built in audience. Not to mention the re-runs and clips of American Bandstand and the era of culture of entertainment today. Our youth wonders and asks about the Viet Nam era well American Dreams educated and informs what that era was about. By the way, nobody wanted to hear about Nam until this past Presidential election and then many youths said - What's Viet Nam?

Here is the real kicker:
It's interesting when you look at the TV landscape and how they just move shows around and hope you find them, but what is more appalling on the marketing side in the case of something like "American Dreams". Here you have a scripted show that features a built in marketing component that is and has been grossly overlooked: Current artists redoing great songs from the 60's, how does NBC not set up a deal with every R&B station not to play
Usher covering Marvin Gaye or John Legend doing Stevie Wonder? It's a built in day-after promotion on radio, or better yet, play it the day of the program to hype the show. Why NBC wouldn't cut a deal with radio, which by the way is the number one way to drive tune-in, to run these songs to promote the show? The redone songs are fantastic and radio would embrace them. Think about it, the number one show (American Idol) is amateurs covering old songs. Does it get any better than current hot artists today doing the same in a drama series? It's a marketing home run. Hopefully, somebody in the TV network business with some marketing sense picks up American Dreams and figures out how to drive viewers.

Rich Russo,
SVP/Director of Broadcast Services
JL Media

Publisher observation: Thanks Rich and as I have said before and again - The word is out that NBC will not pick up American Dreams and now re-read what this program brings to your local community in the perspective 05/02/05 TVBR #86. ABC-TV or even Fox, if you are smart and understand this cross platform of programming, marketing, and selling then - Pick Up American Dreams. Radio's gain and strong participation is cross-platform at the local level with your ABC affiliate. Remember: Coke, Fox TV, with 'American Idol' - here was that secret ingredient to the success from the start with 'Idol' - Clear Channel Radio. Yep, CCU made this work from the ground up. Now all of radio, especially Oldies and CHR personality-driven stations, this is your once in a lifetime programming shot to do as CC Radio did. You can do it locally just as Russo stated, so you too can put the pressure on and recommendation to your local ABC or Fox affiliate to make a call to Hollywood. TV networks may never understand that content is king.

Conference Calls Q1 2005
Political shortfall hurts Liberty Corp.
Q1 net revenues fell 3% at Liberty Corporation to 46.5 million, due to the lack of 2.2 million in political revenues seen in the same quarter of 2004. Operating income fell by half to four mission. However, the company noted that local revenues were up for the quarter. "We have always believed that being the leading provider of local news, information and community service enhances the communities we serve and adds value for our advertisers. As a result, even though 2005 is a year without the political advertising dollars of a year ago and, thus far, a soft national ad market, our stations were able to grow their local in-market advertising revenues, including local Internet advertising, by over four percent," said CEO Hayne Hipp.

Hispanic market hot for Entravision
Advertising on Spanish media continues to grow, even as many English stations experience a softer ad environment. Entravision reported that Q1 net revenues shot up 10% to 57.2 million and broadcast cash flow (BCF) ballooned 28% to 17.2 million. The improvement cut across all sectors of the company. TV revenues rose 12% to 30.8 million and BCF grew 24% to 11.7 million. For radio, revenues gained 8% to 19.8 million and BCF rose 24% to 5.7 million. Outdoor revenues also rose 8% to 6.6 million, although the outdoor division still had negative cash flow, improved to a 164,000 shortfall from 605,000 a year earlier. "Our top line growth is being fueled by our success in capitalizing on our market leading stations and strong ratings to garner a larger share of Hispanic advertising dollars. As we expand our revenues, we remain focused on controlling our expenses and improving operating leverage as we seek to maximize the cash flows generated by our diverse asset base. Our operating momentum coupled with our presence in the most populated and highest density Hispanic markets positions us for continued growth as the year unfolds," said CEO Walter Ulloa. As for Q2, the company says pro forma revenues should be up 6-7% for TV and 8-9% for radio.

TV and radio gain for Saga
Television isn't a very big part of Saga Communications, but TV operating income shot up 43.2% in Q1, although to only 169,000 bucks. That came on a 9.6% increase in TV revenues to 3.5 million. Meanwhile, the much larger radio operation also had an up quarter, although not on that percentage scale. Radio revenues rose 9% to 28.4 million and operating income gained 1% to seven million. On a same station basis, radio revenues rose 2.1% and operating income gained 1.1%. Whatever efforts stations may make to boost their relative share of advertising, CEO Ed Christian noted that radio advertising is still tied to the US economy, so growth will accelerate as the economy accelerates.


Online market to reach 26 billion by 2010
...that's according to a new five-year forecast from Forrester Research, which also forecasts almost half of marketers plan to decrease spending in traditional advertising channels like magazines, direct mail, and newspapers to fund an increase in online ad spending in 2005. Total US online advertising and marketing spending will reach 14.7 billion in 2005, a 23% increase over 2004. Forrester says online marketing and advertising will represent 8% of total ad spend in 2010 - - rivaling ad spending on cable/satellite TV and radio. "Despite significant changes in consumer behavior, there is a large disparity between the amount of time consumers are spending online and the money marketers are spending trying to reach them online," says Forrester Research analyst Charlene Li. "When at-work Internet use is taken into consideration, online consumers spend more than one-third of their time online -- roughly the same amount of time they spend watching TV. Yet marketers spend only 4% of ad budgets online versus 25% on TV."
| Key data points include: |

BET launches promo effort
spoofing lingerie ads

BET is launching a series of sensuous, seductive and silly promotional spots this week to promote the network's primetime syndicated series Girlfriends, The Parkers, and Soul Food. In the ads, a romantic mood is set in a bedroom with satin sheets, ambient lighting and playful music. But this seductive aura is given a comedic spin by stars
Tracee Ellis Ross and Reggie Hayes from Girlfriends; Mo'Nique, Countess Vaughn and Dorien Wilson from The Parkers; and Vanessa Williams and Darrin Henson of Soul Food as they are featured frolicking on the bed and flirting with the camera. A 60-second version promoting all three programs in the primetime lineup premiered 5/2 on BET. Additional 15 and 30 -second show-specific versions of the new ads will also run in rotation on the network well into the spring, as BET marks its 25th anniversary.

PRN, Telemundo team for Hispanic programming
on Wal-Mart TV net
PRN Corporation announced today that Premier Retail Networks, its wholly owned subsidiary, is teaming up with Telemundo to support the Wal-Mart Television Network's strategic programming platform in 515 targeted Wal-Mart stores with highly concentrated Hispanic populations. Customized for the Wal-Mart TV network, short segments, produced by Telemundo and presented by Telemundo show hosts, will tie directly to seasonal initiatives focusing on family, home, entertainment and sports information relevant to the Hispanic audience. The content will air one time per hour for up to five minutes of every 60-minute programming loop. Charlie Nooney, chairman and chief executive officer of PRN Corporation, commented, "PRN continues to deliver on our commitment to providing programming and advertising that viewers will find relevant and informative and by bringing Telemundo to the Wal-Mart TV Network we are enhancing our Hispanic programming in the 515 Wal-Mart stores that have a high concentration of Hispanic consumers. In addition, our advertisers are looking for new and effective ways to reach the 531 billion Hispanic consumer market in the U.S. and we believe that Telemundo's programming segments will enhance their ability to reach this key demographic on the Wal-Mart TV Network."

AirTran launches five new TV spots
AirTran Airways is launching five new television advertising spots as part of its Go campaign to illustrate how the low-fare carrier breaks down consumers' travel barriers. Launched in early 2003, the Go campaign challenges flyers to take charge of their travel plans, whether they are hopping a plane to solve a client problem or for a spur of the moment getaway. Developed by AOR, Cramer-Krasselt Chicago, the new spots debut this week in Atlanta, Baltimore/DC, Dallas/Fort Worth, Newport News, VA, and Richmond, VA. The Go campaign uses comic situations to dramatize how AirTran makes it possible to get where you need to be when you need to be there. In "Conference Call", employees gather around a conference table while the boss is talking. One employee begins imitating the boss not realizing the boss is actually in the room, but since AirTran Airways offers affordable fares, the boss can afford to fly in to the meeting instead of using a speakerphone. The employee is embarrassed when the boss says, "This is not a conference call...I am actually in the room." In "Channeling", a business exec takes a seat on an older jet. As he buckles his seatbelt and begins to smell a strange odor, the camera cuts to shots of people who have occupied the same seat in the past -- a businessman in a 1970's leisure suit puffing on a cigarette (back when smoking was permitted on an aircraft), a mother with a child with a messy diaper, a couple from the 80's kissing, a lady who gets sick from flying, etc. The voiceover then announces, "A plane with a long history? Not a good thing." The on- screen text then states AirTran Airways has the youngest all-Boeing fleet in the country.

Lowe's in review
Lowe's is reviewing its 300 million creative, planning and buying account. Incumbents McCann Erickson Worldwide and Universal McCann have handled, respectively, since 1999. Both have been invited to participate, and they will defend.

Washington Beat
Ad campaigns at twenty paces
A pair of advocacy groups are loading up their dueling pistols - - in the form of media buy warchests - - and are exchanging fire on the topic of judge confirmations and filibusters. On one side is Progress for America, which has 3.3M to spend. It's on the confirm the judge side, and is targeting states with senators seen as either wavering Republicans or vulnerable Democrats, including Alaska, Arkansas, Maine, Nebraska, North Dakota and Rhode Island. However, ready to return 5M worth of media fire is People for the American Way, a pro-filibuster group. Look for action from each next week on both radio and television.

Beachfront property from Canada
You may not think of Canada when you think of beaches, but ABC Family will be airing "Falcon Beach," which is not only filmed in Canada (like so many US TV series) but has a storyline based on life at a summer resort at a Canadian lake. The primetime soap targets a young audience, featuring interactions between teens and twenty-somethings from different socio-economic backgrounds who cross paths at the beach. "Falcon Beach" is a co-production of Original Pictures and Insight Productions, both Canadian production companies. The two-hours pilot has already aired on Global Television in Canada, which is also expected to carry the series.

Secret 9/11 miniseries planned
ABC is readying a major and secret "fictionalized" multi-parter about the history of terrorism, from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing to the disasters 9/11, according to a Fox News report. From the looks of it, the story is going to be about how stupid the government was: If only they'd listened to one man, all would have been right. The title offered on call sheets for actors is "The Untitled ABC History Project." Last week, the call went out for dozens of Arab actors. Today, ABC showed a little more of its effort by putting out requests for 16 characters. The main one? Former FBI agent John O'Neill, who seems to be the lead figure in this 'history.'

"American Latino TV" cleared for second season
AIM TV Group announced American Latino TV (ALTV), the most widely distributed English language half hour culture and lifestyle program for young Latinos, confirmed renewals in key U.S. Markets clearing the way for a second season. Stations renewing include KABC in Los Angeles, WCBS in New York, WBBM-CBS in Chicago, WFOR-CBS in Miami, KTXA-UPN in Dallas, KBHK-UPN in San Francisco, and KYW-CBS in Philadelphia. "American Latino took culturally relevant programming for U.S. born Latinos to a higher level with its debut last season on a record number of affiliates. Our distribution recently surpassed 60 million homes (87% of Hispanic homes) making it the broadest reach vehicle available for advertisers interested in reaching the largest, untapped market today" states Robert Rose, CEO of AIM Tell-A-Vision Group.

Ratings & Research
Apollo to gather data across media
Wall Street analysts got answers of essentially "we don't know yet" to the questions they were most interested in about Arbitron's coming launch of Project Apollo with VNU (5/3/05 TVBR #87) - - what will the test cost in 2006 and, longer-term, will the Portable People Meter-based national research panel be as profitable as the radio ratings business? Arbitron CEO Steve Morris said some advertisers have told the company that Project Apollo will eventually be bigger than anything Arbitron is projecting, but he refused to speculate on anything at this early point. We did learn from the conference call that Project Apollo will measure a wide swath of consumer media and link it to participants' shopping/purchase behavior. Plans are to use PPM audio encoding to measure network television, network radio, movies and Internet audio. In addition, participants will be surveyed online about print media usage. Arbitron even plans to have part of the Apollo panel participate in VNU's Nielsen//NetRatings to factor that Internet usage in as well.

CBS wins, Fox claims 18-49
Last week was another ratings win for CBS, but Fox, with the strength of "American Idol," again won the 18-49 demo and is barely ahead of CBS for the season to date in that big money demo. Overall, CBS scored an average rating of 8.5 and a 14 share, well ahead of Fox and NBC at 6.1/10 (with Fox barely ahead for total audience), ABC 6.0/10, WB 2.4/4, UPN 2.2/4 and Pax 0.4/1. ABC's "Desperate Housewives" claimed the top spot among the network show, holding off "Idol." Here are the top 20 primetime shows for the week of 4/25-5/1. | View the Nielsen Television Index Ranking Report |

State Broadcaster Association News
New Jersey
The intense work to halt the FCC's issuing Low Power FM licenses to local stations and translators, has put a six month freeze on the granting of licenses for translators.

New York
Has written to every member of the House from New York asking each to co-sponsor HR 998, the "Local Emergency Radio Service Act."

A bill that would have imposed a 1% surcharge on every ticket to a live entertainment event was defeated last week. Such a measure could have dramatically increased the economic risk of this community service.

Legislation that will protect broadcasters from lawsuits arising from the broadcast of erroneous information during an AMBER Alert has passed the Washington Legislature and was signed into law by the Governor on April 21st.

The Kentucky Broadcasters Association is sponsoring two training sessions in July conducted by the Radio Advertising Bureau. Recognizing that many stations find it difficult, due to the expense and time, to send trainees to the RAB classes in Dallas, the KBA brings RAB to Kentucky.

| More from these State Associations |

Stock Talk
Fed raises rates again, stocks mixed
The Federal Reserve raised rates another quarter point, just as expected, and stocks closed mixed as traders evaluated just where the Fed is heading. The Dow Industrials rose five points to 10,257 and the Nasdaq Composite was also up slightly, but the S&P 500 slipped a bit.

TV stocks were mostly lower. Entravision was off 4%, despite strong earnings. Liberty Corporation also reported Q1 earnings and fell 3.2%. The biggest losers, though, were ACME, down 6.5%, and Young, off 5.1%. On the up side, Paxson surged 28% (20 cents) after announcing an insurance settlement.


Here's how stocks fared on Monday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change













Media General




Clear Channel












News Corp.
















NY Times
















Saga Commun.




Gen. Electric




















Time Warner




Gray, C1. A




















Viacom, Cl. A




Journal Comm.




Viacom, Cl. B




Liberty Corp




Wash. Post













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Our Executive Editor still thinks that everyone doing the "Jack" format owes him a royalty payment...

I've been reading with interest the stories and letters to the editor about stations going lemming-like, with the "Jack/Bob/Simon-we-play-everything-we're-just-like-an-iPod-on-shuffle-format." Here's my "take," as a 28 year broadcaster, albeit a "Sales Guy", not a Programmer, who literally grew up in the business (my father, Bob Weiss and his partner, Norm Wain merged Metroplex Communications into Clear Channel in 1994 after 30 years owning and operating radio stations in large and medium markets including WIXY 1260 in Cleveland and Y-100/Miami) ... Some indisputable truths I have observed when it comes to successful (ratings) music stations:

1. "People don't know what they like, they like what they know" (familiar, "hit" music, played in tight rotations WINS everytime vs a Broad, Eclectic Playlist)

2. No one ever calls up a request line and says: "hey, stop playing my favorite songs so often!"

3. Radio stations that are primarily "Sweepers and Liners" with little or no Personalities that aren't reflecting to the audience that they are "all over" what is going on LOCALLY and don't conduct appropriate on-air promotions for their format might get a 2.7 but will never get a 7.2!

Gary A. Weiss, VP/GM
Radio-One Inc.
K-97.5/Foxy 107.1&104.3/
The Light 103.9
Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina

Upped & Tapped

Kelly-Brown to NYC; Sullivan to DC
NBC Universal has moved Kathy Kelly-Brown from the West Coast to New York to be the chief corporate spokesperson as Sr. VP of Corporate Communications & Media Relations. The post opened up because Kevin Sullivan has been nominated by President George Bush to be Assistant Secretary of Education for communications and outreach.

RBR - Radio News

Cumulus threatens
to quit Interep
After reporting that local sales were up in Q1, but national sales were, again, down, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey set a 30-day deadline to make a change. He told analysts that there are three options - - either Interep's Cumulus Radio Sales will adopt that types of new business initiatives and accountability that Cumulus has adopted for its local sales, or Cumulus will take its national business elsewhere, either to another rep firm, or create an in-house national rep. Quizzed about the latter, the Cumulus CEO said the current commission structure with Interep would provide sufficient funds for an in-house rep. Dickey had complained before about his company's national sales representation, but this is the first time he has set a deadline to cut ties with Interep. He noted that local is pacing up 4.1% for Q2, with national down 15% (and June national down 21%). In all, Cumulus is projecting that Q2 will be up in the low single digits. "Interep has had a long and mutually advantageous relationship with Cumulus for a number of years. We take the concerns Lew Dickey expressed in his conference call very seriously. I will discuss the matter with Lew personally. I will address his concerns and expect to continue our representation of Cumulus," Interep CEO Ralph Guild told RBR after hearing of Dickey's comments.

RBR observation: It's not that Lew is anxious to jump to Katz as Citadel did a little over a year ago. Rather, he's complaining that the national rep business isn't structured for growth. He thinks both rep companies are too focused on continuing business from existing national advertisers, rather than working to expand the mix of advertisers and build new business. Meanwhile, Guild has to keep his clients happy while he fends off a hostile bidder (4/18/05 RBR #76) and seeks to recapitalize Interep. We'll be watching to see how this plays out.

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

CBS Les Moonves wants retransmission cash
Since his company will no longer have MTV Networks' expansion needs as a bargaining consideration for negotiations with the cable MSOs, he expects to get something else - - cash payments. No longer will it be Perry Sook at Nexstar standing alone in smaller markets to do battle with the MSOs - - CBS will be demanding payment in the nation's largest markets. TVBR observation: This could make CBS the 800-pound gorilla that forces the MSOs to come to the negotiating table and finally agree to pay for the most popular programming that they sell to their subscribers - - broadcast network television. It's one thing for Cox Communications and Cable One to lose subscribers in the Joplin, MO, Shreveport, LA, San Angelo and Abilene, TX markets and hope they'll be able to outlast Perry Sook. It will be quite another thing for cable systems to have the channels occupied by CBS and UPN O&Os (plus Viacom's independent giant KCAL-TV Los Angeles) go dark in the nation's largest and most lucrative markets. 05/03/05 TVBR #87

Univision claims parity
with Big Four
A few years back Fox expanded the Big Three of network TV to the Big Four. Now, as the upfront season begins, Univision is pressing its case for the Big Five. It is claiming parity with ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC in the youthful (and sought after) 18-34 demo, using Nielsen data to show that for the first time ever it was the #1 network 18-34 in primetime on 19 nights so far in the 2004-2005 TV season. And Univision says it was in the top four - - beating at least one of the so-called Big Four - - 137 nights. See the chart in 05/03/05 TVBR #87

Project Apollo a go for end of year
Arbitron and VNU have agreed to deploy a demonstration of the "Project Apollo" national marketing research service by the end of this year. The pilot project, using Arbitron's Portable People Meter, will include more than 6,000 households nationwide. TVBR observation: Arbitron and VNU/Nielsen are emphasizing that the use of PPM for Project Apollo will be very different from any use of the technology for radio and/or TV ratings. Nevertheless, it is significant for broadcasters to see the companies working together. 05/03/05 TVBR #87

High multiples for
Susquehanna stations
But it doesn't look like George Beasley will be in the final round of bidding for them. It appears that there will be a lot more merger and acquisition activity in radio in 2005 than in recent years. Beasley indicated that the projected multiples for Susquehanna's big market will be sky high and making it unlikely that publicly traded companies like Beasley Broadcast Group will be able to justify paying the price. Rather than public buyers, he sees companies with private equity backing emerging as the winning bidders. 05/03/05 RBR #87

Wall Street welcomes
Clear Channel breakup
After the initial excitement over the moves we reported in a special bulletin, the stock eased back and ended the day down slightly. The only big damper on the excitement was a warning by Moody's Investors Service that it may downgrade Clear Channel's band ratings because of the restructuring. Since the rating is now the lowest level investment grade, any downgrade would move Clear Channel's 7.5 billion in debt to junk bond status. TVBR observation: What went wrong? In the first place, Clear Channel overpaid for SFX Entertainment. It wasn't worth 4.4 billion in 2000, as quite a few people outside San Antonio said when the blockbuster transaction was announced. Oh well, not the first time that Bob Sillerman got the better of someone at the negotiating table. Here's what Moody's had to say. 05/02/05 TVBR #86

CCU's Less is More taking its toll
The final result was even worse. Radio revenues came in 7% below Q1 of 2004 at 773.6 million. LIM that focuses on convincing advertisers to use :30s and :15s instead of the traditional 60-second spots is also taking hold. Asked for specific categories, the use of :30s is widespread, named automotive and telecommunications in particular. Noted that Verizon recently began running its first-ever :30s. Big box retailer Home Depot is also using :30s. TVBR observation: While CC Radio is still facing a negative number for Q2 anyway you look at it, the gap is narrowing a bit from Q1. What analysts wanted to know was where is the end of the tunnel? 05/02/05 TVBR #86

Auto biz disappointing,
but LIN is fighting back
CEO Gary Chapman is optimistic about some of the initiatives his company has underway to boost revenues this year including deployment of its WAPA-America Hispanic cable network and growing Internet sales. The searchable classified ads are, of course, on the Internet, but are promoted on LIN's TV stations. The contracts with dealers are for a full year and the venture has already generated a million bucks in revenues, which is ahead of plan. TVBR observation: Times may be tough for car dealers, but they're still spending a ton on newspaper classifieds. Bravo to Chapman and company for figuring out a way to tap into that revenue stream. No doubt LIN will soon expand this to other markets and there will others making similar moves. Go to www.woodtvcars.com to see what all the fuss is about. 04/29/05 TVBR #85

Mel the salesman raises
the bar at Sirius
Projecting that Sirius will add 1.6 million subscribers this year, total to 2.7 million. Zen Master expects not just to make Sirius profitable, but to make it a very profitable. Research by Sirius, the biggest impediment is not the monthly subscription cost, but the cost of receivers. So, Sirius is launching a new 50-buck rebate program. RBR observation: Mel is a great salesman and it's always fun to hear him make his pitch, even if we remain skeptical of the long-term viability of the satellite pay radio business. It was interesting to note that Sirius has found that its ad-supported talk and sports programming (plus Howard Stern on the horizon) is increasingly driving its subscriber growth. No wonder they brought in a new CEO who knows how to drive ad sales! Sirius is also reporting a lower churn rate than XM a monthly rate of 1.3% for Q1, which it claims is its lowest churn rate ever. 04/29/05 RBR #85

Radio Marches forward 3%
Radio comps for March 2005 can be written in black ink, according to the latest figures from the RAB. A 3% gain in total business matched the gain in local a 5% uptick on the national side was insufficient to push the total figure any higher, an non-spot revenue was flat.
RBR observation: These numbers, while not eyecatching, are certainly in line with what we've been seeing since we got out from under the red-ink splatter of the dot-com bubble burst. What this means, while LIM doesn't seem to be causing a major revenue surge, neither does it seem to be punching a gaping hole into early 2005 results. 04/29/05 TVBR #85

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