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Nielsen Says No Plans to Reduce Headcount. In covering the Nielsen conference call with investors that took place on Monday, TALKERS took note of Nielsen CEO David Calhoun’s statement about realizing $20 million in synergies and, due to the fact that broadcasting companies often use that term to define the cost savings from elimination of duplicative positions and consolidation of duties after a merger or acquisition, interpreted his comment to mean the acquisition of Arbitron would mean exactly that for some of the Arbitron staff. However, Nielsen tells TALKERS, “In fact, there are no plans to reduce headcount at this time, and as a growing business, we have many opportunities to redeploy talent. Mr. Calhoun’s comment on a ‘logical and steady pace’ was related more to the pace of global expansion.”
Talk Media TV’s WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina Holds ‘Ribbon Cutting’ Tomorrow. News/talk outlet WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina announces the “official ribbon-cutting ceremony” at its Wilmington broadcast studios — sponsored by the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce – taking place Thursday, September 26 at 10:30 am. The station is owned by Talk Media TV principals Curtis Wright and George Bell who put the station on the air on July 22. The two say they built the station to appeal to conservative talk radio listeners whom they believe had lost a voice in Southeastern North Carolina. They add, “WMYT 106.7 FM has returned America’s top syndicated conservative talk, subject talk and spoken-word shows to FM and the region. Since the launch of WMYT 106.7 FM, five new locally produced shows have been added to its lineup, while expanding its audio streaming on the web.” Wright hosts his “On the Beat” morning drive show from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. The station also features Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity plus Courtside Entertainment’s Laura Ingraham. George Bell is the former Brunswick County GOP chair and a life-long business professional in the region. Talk Media TV’s business plan includes acquiring additional radio stations, expanding its internet broadcasting capabilities, and adding cable broadcasting over the next several months.
Bob Pittman Stands Up for Radio at Goldman Sachs Ad Week Conference. Clear Channel chairman and CEO Bob Pittman is working the “Advertising Week” events in New York this week and today (9/25) he laid down the case for what he sees as radio’s rightful place in an advertising mix at the “Goldman Sachs Communacopia” investor conference. The Hollywood Reporter’s Georg Szalai is covering the event and reports Pittman is saying (about radio), “’The sector is way under-represented’ while TV is over-represented in marketers’ media mix…‘TV is wonderful, is very effective, but doesn’t deserve quite as much money as it has.’” Pittman argues that TV gets three times the rate that radio does but “all the studies show the impact is about the same.” He then explains how advertisers could benefit by moving 15% of their ad spend into radio. Clearly, when Pittman says, “There is a huge opportunity in radio…We need to monetize it better, sell it better,” he is trying to get the message through at the agency level, where an industry-wide sea change must take place.
Michael Harrison’s NAB/RAB Radio Show Address Now Posted on TALKERS TV. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison’s annual address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show drew a standing-room-only crowd and rave reviews from those in attendance. The speech which runs 56:33 includes an information-packed “countdown” of the 10 most important things AM/FM radio must do to remain culturally relevant and thrive in the digital age of the 21st century. In this ambitious and far-ranging overview of the state of broadcast radio, the man dubbed by the mainstream press as “The Wise Old Owl of the Radio Industry” connected the dots between Edward R. Murrow broadcasting live on rooftops from World War II bombing raids over London — to Murray the K anointing himself the “Fifth Beatle” — to today’s transitional period between the “old country” of the 20th century to the “new world” of the digital age — to the potential emergence of 21st century “Homo Technicus” listening to internet broadcasts piped directly into the temporal lobes of the brain via nanotechnology. Harrison fearlessly speaks his mind about today’s debt-soaked radio mega-corporations that have emerged as a result of consolidation — to the dangers of mindless, product-less “branding” that plays to the shortcut mentality crippling today’s creative process in broadcasting. The speech received an ovation and was later described on the air by WSOY, Decatur morning host and Marconi Award winner Brian Byers as “sensational.” Byers told his listeners it was “smokin'” and a “barn burner” saying, “He fired me up. I looked around and the rest of the room was electric. You could feel it in the air. I can’t tell you how good it was!” To see Michael Harrison’s speech please check out the TALKERS TV box at the top of the right-hand column of this page.
WALTER SABO: The Return of the Neat Idea. Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo celebrates what he says it’s going to take to get radio back in a forward-moving position: the return to creatively operating the business. In this new column, Sabo writes, “The current economic depression celebrates ‘operators’ — executives with shrewd ‘operating’ skills who are known for their ability to cut costs, cut staffs, sell their story to Wall Street and keep their company within its COMFORT ZONE. They do not have, nor are they required to have, vision. Knowing what’s next is the key to growth in any industry. No vision, no growth.” Sabo offers five steps to establishing an environment for the birth and implementation of neat ideas with pragmatic results. Read this important column here.
Radio Sales Lead: ObamaCare. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says forget what people on the radio are saying about ObamaCare, start thinking about how your marketing department can get some of the advertising that’s coming from it. He recommends a video webinar available from the RAB. In it, Cooke says veteran broadcaster Dave Burke shares some of his research into the impact of the law on the stakeholders. Cooke writes, “AP estimates that $684 million will be spent on the initial activation period; and Burke reckons that 2014-2015 and beyond will be even bigger than 2013-2014: ‘I believe that this category, all-in, could be the biggest category on your stations.’” Read Holland Cooke’s column here.
Continuing Concern for Radio to Placate Men 18 – 34. Something new can now be added to the growing list for those who grumble, “They don’t make them like that anymore.” Unfortunately, that item is radio. A Mark Kassof & Company-conducted research project indicates that more than half (53%) of U.S. radio listeners aged 18 – 64 agree that, “Radio is not as good as it used to be.” Approximately four in 10 (41%) disagree, while 6% are not sure. “The perception that radio is not as good as it used to be seems pervasive in the industry,” Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Kassof comments. “This research reveals that a majority of listeners agree.” The most criticism regarding radio’s overall quality can be found among those 18 – 34, with more than six in 10 (61%) concurring that what they are hearing these days through their radio speakers has slipped; 31% however disagree and the remaining 8% are neutral. Men tend to be more pessimistic about the current state of the medium than women are. Consistent with the above-stated trend – and highly noteworthy – Men 18-34 are the most negative, as two of every three in that demo (67%) are of the opinion that radio has seen better days. Results of this Kassof study are based on slightly less than 1,000 online interviews conducted among U.S. radio listeners earlier this month (9/12 – 9/15). Reacting to the findings of the Kassof study, TALKERS magazine sister trade, RadioInfo’s music editor/director Duane Doobie states, “It reminds me of the famous line in Bob Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ that so powerfully says ‘you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.’”
No More FM Signal for News/Talk WBEN, Buffalo. Entercom is dropping the simulcast on news/talk WBEN, Buffalo and will install a different format on WLKK 107.7 licensed to Wethersfield Township (some 30 miles southeast of downtown Buffalo) beginning Thursday, September 26 at 12:00 noon. WBEN program director Tim Wenger tells Buffalo Business First that research tells the company 95% of the listening to WBEN is done on the huge 930 AM signal.
Odds & Sods. Compass Media Networks syndicated and WFLA, Tampa-based talk host Todd Schnitt was in court on Monday suing his former attorney Phillip Campbell for legal malpractice. Campbell was arrested for DUI while representing Schnitt in his defamation suit against Bubba the Love Sponge but the DUI case was dismissed in July after prosecutors agreed Campbell was set up. Schnitt maintains it damaged his case. Schnitt paid Campbell $1 million and owes another $1 million but he’s suing to get the first $1 million back, according to myfoxtampabay.com…..The Fourth Period continues its relationship with SiriusXM and the media site that calls itself “hockey’s only lifestyle destination” adds a program dubbed “The Players’ Lounge” to the SiriusXM NHL Network Radio channel airing Friday’s from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET. This is an addition to “TFP Live” which returns to the channel airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET hosted by TFP editor-in-chief David Pagnotta and VP Dennis Bernstein.
Government Shutdown Threat, ObamaCare Defunding/Implementation, U.S.-Iran Talks, and Kenya Mall Massacre Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24). The looming threat of a government shutdown; the fight to defund the Affordable Care Act and the consequences of its implementation; relations between the U.S. and Iran; plus the ongoing stalemate after a massacre by militant Muslims at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.