In Radio Work Here, Not Here

Friends don’t let friends drive their radio careers into the ground.

With the radio industry kicking up turmoil these days  – and the largest group (Clear Channel) possibly in play – targeting solid companies to find a radio career that can last has become more difficult.

Until now.

My no-holds barred assessment is in this article and includes …

1.  The safest radio companies to work for.  That means, work here, not there.  I name names.  Read this and save the grief.

2.  Which radio groups are career killers?  You know one, but do you know them all?  You should if you want to keep working in radio.  And avoid them.

3.  Future employers with whom you must proceed with caution – and why.  You know me; I’ll lay it out honestly.

4.  A break down of each of the following radio groups:   CBS, Clear Channel, Saga, Entravision, Cox, Cumulus, Townsquare, Cox, the new Hubbard, the old Bonneville, Entravision, Beasley, Spanish, Salem, Radio One, Emmis, the merged new Citadel and Entercom. 

Plus, the four best radio companies with a bright digital future.  You’ll want to know which companies these are because radio without a strong digital component could be a dead end even if your future employers are nice.

Nowhere in print or online will you read a more complete list of where to work and who are radio’s jerks.  Must have.

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The Citadel Bloodbath Begins After Labor Day

In just months, Lew “Tricky” Dickey gets to take over Citadel and make Cumulus the second largest radio group. 

Lots of changes are ahead and in this article I have put together a list of 10 big ones I think you can expect.

1.  What will happen to Citadel local sales?  The folks at the former ABC stations will drink hemlock when they hear what Dickey is about to do to sales.

2.  What about commissions?  Top earners will cringe at this plan.

3.  Where new business will come from – even you will be surprised.

4.  Corporate sales meetings even at WABC.

5.  Who will call the shots on local programming and what will those “shots” be.  Here’s a taste.

6.  Imagine a sales climate that reminds you of Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross.  It’s already happened at a major Cumulus market.  An insider tells all.

7.  Do you know what the new mantra of Cumulus will be once they get Citadel? It’s three words you’ll be hearing a lot of. 

8.  Dickey’s response to Groupon, which is increasingly stealing local radio dollars.  This is a classic.

9.  Imagine how Citadel stations will look after Dickey merges with Cumulus.  I’ll describe it in words for the brave hearted.

10.  Big changes ahead for the former ABC Radio Networks.  Dickey has a new mission in mind for Citadel Media but you won’t believe what it is.

Plus … contact information for two lawyers who are giving Cumulus fits in their employment litigation … just in case.

I’ve got your back.  And this story is worth it.

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Predicting Apple’s New iCloud

The cloud will change everything in June when we see what Apple is up to.

You see some hints out there already.

Google and Amazon jumped the gun to beat Apple with their cloud-based music locker system but neither could work out a deal with the record labels.  Ironically, the labels are siding with Apple this time.  And that tells me that Steve Jobs is up to something big that promises the labels a significant financial reward – somewhere down the line.

So what will iCloud be and how will it affect the music industry – and for that matter radio – as well as TV and movies?

For consumers, how will they soon access music, content, movies and TV?  What the price point will likely be.  What the tricky transition from storing content on digital devices to content on the cloud will be like Apple-style.  What’s the likelihood of Apple going after Pandora or the other monthly paid subscription music services.

For content creators, who will be your new competition?  How fatal will it be if you can’t deliver content from the cloud?  What is it that has record labels siding with Apple all of a sudden in licensing talks?  I’d hate to be Google and Amazon next month when Steve Jobs makes his big announcement.  Just how effective a strategy can cloud distribution be if improved fidelity is part of the deal. And, how the cloud could allow Apple to get into the radio business.

I’ve had a pretty good record of predicting Apple’s moves – a dangerous living at best. 

Here’s what I’m sensing about Apple’s new iCloud and its potential impact.

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Effective New Commercial-Free Strategies

There is a new outbreak of commercial-free programming going around with some ratings upside and some very serious downsides.

Get the benefits but know the difference.

This article is about effective new commercial-free strategies that actually please listeners and get higher ratings at the same time!  And they don’t piss off advertisers.

This piece focuses on…

What works in commercial-free programming that should and can be kept a part of radio station programming strategies going forward?  The safest non-commercial tactics and which moves are self-destructive and should be avoided. 

When to do commercial-free hours and when not to.  What mistake to avoid if you wipe out commercials for an hour, a daypart or an entire workday.  What to change when you finally have to stop again for commercials. 

New evidence of what commercials young people will gladly tolerate. What you can change between the commercial sets.  How to time-shift a large group of listeners effectively from one daypart to another.  The most effective way to pressure your commercial inventory and get higher rates that will in turn allow you to cut commercial loads permanently.

Here are 8 effective new commercial-free strategies.

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What Now For Bonneville and Hubbard

How wacky is the radio industry these days?

Clear Channel intensifies its schizophrenic behavior. 

Fires long-term top execs at point blank range with zero notice while coming up with $119 million to buy Metro Traffic even as they face a $19 billion unpayable loan.

Then there are Bonneville and Hubbard.

They are both solvent and well run.

Hubbard split off from Bonneville with 17 radio stations and Bonneville, arguably the best radio group, is going it alone with just four markets.  Clear Channel is desperate right now outsourcing its future to Bob Pittman and whomever he can get to help him buy the company. Bonneville and Hubbard are not.

What’s going to happen now that Hubbard owns 17 Bonneville stations and Bonneville emerges with four remaining markets?

Which stations are Hubbard likely to buy next? Does Bonneville now unload the final four markets before price multiples erode further?  Who is the most likely Bonneville buyer?  But could Bonneville start acquiring again?  What happens to all that digital revenue Bruce Reese used to rake in at Bonneville now that he’s gone?  And what’s the prognosis for Hubbard and Bonneville now that they are separate and apart?

This article is about the challenges and perils ahead for two of radio’s elite operators – Hubbard and Bonneville -- and what they plan to do next.

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. 

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Clear Channel Is Up To Something Major

First, Mark Mays of the founding family leaves. 

Then, Bob Pittman shows up out of nowhere paying $5 million to get a nebulous job at Clear Channel.  He pays them!

This week the venture capitalists who own Clear Channel suddenly start firing longtime, loyal senior managers – no notice, no thank yous.

Yet the company spends $119 million to acquire Metro Traffic to form a traffic monopoly with what they already own.  And did a very expensive multi-year renewal of their ratings contract within the year with Arbitron – one year ahead of its expiration!  So they’re spending, right?

What’s going on at Clear Channel? 

Are they staying or going away?  What does the firing of top executives portend for the future?  Why is regionalization so important to them at this moment in time?  Why do they keep acquiring things and committing to contracts while slimming down the company?  Is Clear Channel getting ready to sell and if so – who is their buyer?

This article is about the end game for Clear Channel owners Lee and Bain who are beginning to show their hand at what they plan next for radio’s biggest group.

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Cox Radio After Bob Neil

Big changes ahead at two major radio groups.

Cox will get a new leader after almost 20 years as Bob Neil “retires”.

Clear Channel has entered into Phase 3 of its ongoing consolidation plan.

For Cox, why did Neil leave?  What is likely to happen to Cox stations and employees now?  Where to look for Bob Neil’s replacement.  Why the long-term ramifications of Neil’s departure suggest a more significant shakeup ahead.

For Clear Channel, Phase 3 of their consolidation plan was launched yesterday.  Details on how it impacts local and regional markets.  The next endangered management position at Clear Channel.  An accurate picture of what Clear Channel will come to look like within the next 12 months.

This article is about the repercussions for employees at Cox and Clear Channel as well as what it means to other radio groups contemplating the future.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (over 1,200 pieces) and get daily intelligence reports, click “read more” for your choices. 

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