The Real Cumulus Citadel Merger

The real merger of Cumulus with Citadel isn’t consolidation like radio used to see in the late 90’s.  It’s about a methodical takeover of the radio industry by banking interests who reward losers and punish winners.

This article reveals …

•  A slight opening in the exclusive negotiating window Cumulus is paying Citadel for – it could allow a white knight to save Citadel from Cumulus or it could be a bust.  Here’s how it works.

•  Who could give Cumulus a run for their money at this point.

•  Why the banks are hell bent to create yet another heavily debt ridden radio group.  It defies logic until you read this.

•  The Cumulus end game.  Lew Dickey is out shopping for loans to complete the deal, but here is his plan.

•  What will the merged Cumulus and Citadel look like?  More layoffs?  Lots or a few?  What will happen to Citadel programming?  Management changes.  The corporate setup.   This describes the net result of the Cumulus-Citadel merger.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (over 1,200 pieces) and get the next month of my writing included, click “read more” for your choices. 

Ex-GM Kicking Cumulus in Court

Lew Dickey may be snapping his suspenders and enjoying making Citadel CEO Farid Suleman and his 14,000 employees squirm as he attempts a hostile takeover.

But in a little Connecticut courthouse, an ex-Cumulus employee who the Dickeys sued when she left them for Cox is prevailing in court so much so that she may be able to get Lew to say “uncle”.

You know that these kinds of stories are not reported in the radio trade press, which is happy to skirt controversy to stay in Dickey’s good graces.  But Cumulus is attempting to be the big dog among radio consolidators with a record of employee dissatisfaction and a punitive management style.

This article will reveal the draconian tactics being used by Cumulus and how one employee appears to be overcoming them:

1.  What a judge did with a Cumulus attempt to hogtie the income and personal possessions of former market manager Kristin Okesson.

2.  How low would Cumulus go to put a stranglehold on an employee’s life after she left their company?  I’ve got two scary examples for you.

3.  How much does this judge think Cumulus can win – if they win -- and the case goes to trial?  Let’s play high low.  Cumulus wants over $1 million from their ex-employee.  She wants to pay zero.  You guess what the judge said was Cumulus’ best-case scenario (yes, it’s higher than zero).

4.  Inside info on the shrewd countersuit that Dickey’s ex-employee filed against Cumulus – a suit so dangerous that one way or the other I think it forces Cumulus to settle the original case.

5.  Can you imagine Lew Dickey being deposed in this case?  Imagine it.  Here’s how Dickey cannot avoid a deposition.

6.  Cumulus has no women in senior management positions, most people know that.  But the very company that is hot in pursuit of Citadel has how many women as market managers?  Whatever your guess, keep in mind that it is three fewer than when Okesson was employed there. 

7.  What will happen in the end?  It’s harder to predict whether Cumulus will be successful in its takeover attempt of rival Citadel than it is to see how this secret and vindictive lawsuit will end.  I’ll tell you my prediction right here.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (over 1,100 pieces) and get the next month of my writing included, click “read more” for your choices. 

Stupid Music and Media Mistakes

Radio and the record industry along with their brethren in TV and print continue to make major strategic mistakes that are so contrary to today’s evolving consumer behavior that they are self-destructive.

Are you making these mistakes or are you smart enough to avoid them?

This article reveals the faulty strategic thinking of radio, music industry and TV networks that are tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot:

1.  What’s the fatal flaw in Sony’s just launched Music Unlimited music service that is aimed at where heavy radio listeners live.  This one – from a company that used to do everything right – explains why Apple is the new Sony.  It’s all you need to know.

2.  Getting upset about the new gatekeepers like Apple, Google and Internet ISPs charging access for their toll road is an emotional argument that even the U.S. Department of Justice is getting into, but what is the one mistake industry executives are making when they get lost in the debate on paying Apple for access to their mobile devices.  This one is important.

3.  Why Rupert Murdoch’s The Daily made-for-iPad app is The Dud.  Three things that the powerful News Corp forgot to do when they designed their groundbreaking newspaper app that they want $50 a year for.

4.  Why do traditional content providers still think they are in charge of your viewer?  Here’s a sorry example of NBC’s attempt to present Hockey Day last Sunday without showing one game all the way through – plus other anti-fan and consumer missteps you’ll want to avoid.

5.  Why do radio and TV stations continue to drive their terrestrial audiences to their websites?  I know, it’s to boost website traffic, but it doesn’t work and in fact, it hurts them in this one very significant way.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (over 1,100 pieces) and get the next month of my writing included, click “read more” for your choices. 

Music Industry Terrorists

The radio industry got dissed again on the recent Grammy show by none other than most of the artists and their Academy leader Neil Portnow.

That’s funny because the telecast memorialized the decline of the record industry the moment Arcade Fire, an indie group, won best album.

The radio industry could put a stop to music industry terrorism and I’ve got a plan for your consideration.  After all, consumers are voting with social networking in Egypt and in a less important way in the music business.

One thing is for sure – the labels won’t be around for the music industry I see in my crystal ball.

Meanwhile, this article reveals the music industry’s tough new strategy to stick it to terrestrial radio and my blueprint to return the favor to them.

This article reveals the labels' new strategy against radio …

1.  To use radio’s own trade association NAB against the industry with the lobby group’s cooperation.  This is the new twist on Gordon Smith’s failed attempt to go to the labels hat in hand and beg them to allow radio to start paying more music royalties.   And why Smith had to change his focus to coincide with the labels new plan.

2.  What the labels are threatening to do to radio stations that they believe can impact what makes it on the air.

3.  The final grenade – the music industry’s desperate threat to bring radio to its knees on a performance royalty.

Then, my blueprint to shut the labels down – Steve Jobs-style ...

1.  How radio can get the labels attention in a big way and turn the fear on them.  I’ll share the details.

2.  The ultimate strategic move that actually cuts off Congressional sympathy for inaugurating a music performance royalty for radio.  Why has no one thought of this idea?

3.  How to twist the music industry’s arm around its back in a move that will make them say “uncle” – at least when they see their profits decline further.

4.  How radio can easily take a page from Steve Jobs’ playbook because radio may be on the decline but the music industry cannot live without free exposure over the radio.  How do you like this move?

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (over 1,100 pieces) and get the next month of my writing included, click “read more” for your choices. 

The Entercom/Citadel Merger

Everyone seems resigned to the fact that Cumulus is going to succeed in its hostile takeover of Citadel. 

Everyone but Citadel CEO Farid “Fagreed” Suleman and me!  How’s that for strange bedfellows?

I think Entercom still has a chance and even if Citadel accepts the Cumulus offer while I am writing this piece, I still think Entercom (or some other group) is the horse to watch.  

The Cumulus/Citadel merger stinks. 

It has no merit other than to earn fat fees for investment bankers and high interest rates on the debt that will follow.  And let me be clear – it will be destructive to every other radio group except Clear Channel (I’ll explain).

Here’s what this article reveals ...

1.  Could Entercom still buy Citadel even after coming up short last week?  I’ve got some compelling evidence for you to consider.

2.  Why would Entercom want Citadel now?  There are two reasons that I think you will appreciate as I lay out the scenario I see happening.

3.  What is a fair price for Citadel?  Notice you haven’t seen one solid number on how much radio stations are worth.  Just a pig in a poke number.  Here’s why.  There is a new pricing system that is apparently being used to determine the value of the Citadel stations and if I told you it isn’t station comps and it isn’t the recent Bonneville station sales, would you believe what the parties are using as a way of pricing the deal?

4.  The adverse affects if Cumulus is the one that merges with Citadel. 

5.  What happens to current Citadel employees who survived one dictator and now this?

6.  The major changes ahead for Citadel markets where Harvard case study mentality is likely to replace what is still good about some Citadel stations.  I’ll explain.

7.  What happens if Cumulus gets Citadel, will there be more radio mergers even without real station values to price the acquisitions? 

8.  How some good radio companies can have bad things happen to them if Dickey and his Wall Street cronies pull off this improbable hostile takeover.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (over 1,100 pieces) and get the next month of my writing included, click “read more” for your choices. 

The Cumulus/Citadel Marriage Made in Hell

So Lew Dickey sweetens the pot and offers Farid Suleman what is effectively $37 a share instead of $31 and suddenly everyone assumes that these two toxic companies wind up as one – in debtors heaven.

Not so fast.

You can believe what you read if you want or you can consider what I am about to share with you and then decide.

This article will reveal the untold story of what is going on behind the scenes in this merger:

1.  Farid Suleman’s back room strategy to blow up the latest Lew Dickey attempt to steal his company.  All the latest details.

2.  Why the news of Dickey’s latest offer was leaked to Radio Ink, a friend of Farid Suleman.  Why I think it was done on purpose and I’ll tell you my reasoning.  Plus who I think leaked it.

3.  Evidence of Farid Suleman’s reluctance to sell and why he appears to be playing along with this second Dickey attempt to make him unemployed.

4.  What happens to Fagreed if Dickey wins?

5.  Why Citadel is attractive and why Fagreed Suleman himself may have accidently left the door open for archenemy Lew Dickey to steal his company.  I’ll tell Suleman’s costly miscalculation.

6.  The thing that could actually blow up the Cumulus takeover if it ever happens – something out of the control of Lew Dickey.

7.  Why a Cumulus/Citadel merger is a rotten deal for radio, local cities, employees, shareholders – need I go on.  We know that already perhaps. But it’s a great deal for someone – and that someone is not even Lew Dickey.  In this piece I’ll tell you who comes away the big winner if this marriage gets consummated.

8.  Details on the poison pill Fagreed established after Dickey’s first attempt to takeover Citadel.  It’s unbelievable and it’s brilliant in a sick kind of way.

9.  Can the Cumulus takeover of Citadel get done?  I’ll go on the record here.

10.  Could it get scuttled?  I’ll tell you what I know.

11. What other major radio group is said to be interested in fighting Lew Dickey for Citadel.  Read it here.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (over 1,100 pieces) and get the next month of my writing included, click “read more” for your choices. 

Hot Media Issues

There is a lot heating up in the media business currently.  

BORDERS

Is the book chain’s failure a precursor of the toll the digital revolution will take on brick and mortar bookstores?  There is something else important that the bankruptcy of Borders is screaming out at you and we’ll nail it down here.

STREAMING TV

Big network executives are throwing cold water on the efforts of video websites to allow replay of their TV programs.  Many prefer to keep them in-house and display them on their own websites.  But streaming TV just may be the hottest consumer category out there right now.  The mistakes you don’t want to make.

WARNER/EMI

What’s more important or significant than the sale of EMI or Warner Music Group. 

FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND EGYPT

Did the Facebook revolution cause the Egyptian uprising?  Really?  Why few have made sense of social networking’s real role in today’s world and why consumers are the same as downtrodden people under dictatorships.  I’ll explain.

MUSIC PIRACY

Something critical is going on right now in music piracy that will change everything.

This article is about what is really behind some of the emerging hot media trends in the past month and what we can learn from them.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (over 1,100 pieces) and get the next month of my writing included, click “read more” for your choices. 

Why Would Anyone Buy Warner Music Group Now

In this article, you’ll get deep background on what is really going on with the record labels and predictions about which labels will be sold and how consumer changes may make all that activity moot.

There are 10 predictions plus 3 changes in consumer behavior that will impact the music industry

A sampling  …

1.  Will anyone buy Warner Music Group and what will happen if they do?

2.  In light of the fact that Warner is for sale, what does that mean for EMI which is also rushing to sell?  Here is what I think will be the timeline.

3.  The back-story – finagling being done by Warner because it knows EMI has to be sold and why all Warner’s maneuvers may blow up in their face.

4.  I have a critical prediction about illegal music downloading that will surprise you.

5.  Three changes in consumer behavior that are not to be ignored.  One has to do with lifestyle.  Another with piracy and the third about radio.

This article is about what is really behind the inevitable sale of EMI and probable sale of Warner assets and what it will mean to the music industry.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (over 1,100 pieces) and get the next month of my writing included, click “read more” for your choices. 

The Future of Radio

So much is happening in the media business right now. 

Pandora and Facebook are getting IPOs.  Both will affect terrestrial radio and the record industry.

Social networking has not only fueled a revolution in the music and media business but helped spread the word for democracy in Tunisia and Egypt.

Electronic products were selling like hotcakes right through that miserable recession we hope we’re done with.  So I thought you’d like to know what I am seeing specifically for the radio industry in the year ahead.

This piece focuses on …

1.  Consolidation – Did the Bonneville sale of 17 stations to Hubbard pave the way for more contraction.  It’s kind of interesting and not what you may think. I’ll get specific.

2.  The Cumulus Citadel takeover – is it possible?  Is it good?  What happens to radio either way?

3.  Local sales – This is the most important prediction I can make because the world of local sales is being pressured by online operators like Groupon and the proliferation of social networking sites.  I’ll tell you how much money Pandora is taking away from radio in its first year accepting local advertising.  You’ll want to sit down first.  I also have a solution that very few companies are using to bolster local sales but the ones that are using it are bolstering local sales.

4.  Morning shows – This year something major is going to happen with regard to local and live radio shows.  One way or the other, things will change.  Here’s the blueprint.

5.  Employment security – Are the layoffs over?  If not, which radio companies still have firing in their future.

6.  Social networking – What radio does not understand about social networking and what they had better learn soon.

7.  Online streaming of terrestrial radio – The missing link, the one thing radio streamers still don’t get.

This article is about the evolving trends that are being observed now that will have a direct affect on the future of radio.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (over 1,100 pieces) and get the next month of my writing included, click “read more” for your choices. 

Pandora IPO Targets Radio

If the Pandora IPO announced last Friday doesn’t scare you, think about Facebook, Groupon, iTunes and Twitter because all of these companies are in the process of becoming powerful competitors to radio stations and record labels even as soon as the next 12 months.

Here’s what this article predicts:

1.  What Pandora, fresh from its new $100 million IPO along with Facebook and Groupon – all hunting for investment capital will do next that is sure to catch terrestrial broadcasters asleep at their transmitters.  Ignore them at your own risk.

2.  What Pandora will do with the $100 million.  Hint:  It won’t be paying music royalties.

3.  While radio is trying to sell local advertising – and while local advertising is going to improve for radio this year – you won’t want to celebrate until you read what Pandora and these few powerful mobile websites will target that will change everything.

4.  The unintended consequences of consolidators in the radio and record industries cutting too deeply into the bone.  How these industries allowed a handful of powerful competitors to emerge and to this day, they don’t see the real threat ahead.

5.  I’ll name the specific things that Pandora and others are now targeting in terrestrial radio that at the very least will cut into profits and at the most redefine a struggling industry.

This article lends insight to radio’s real competitors – the few, the proud and the financially well endowed – in ways that could not be previously imagined.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (over 1,100 pieces) and get the next month of my writing included, click “read more” for your choices.