The Group Cumulus Wants To Buy Next

Lookout!

Lew Dickey is not done.

If you work for one of the groups I’m about to mention, consider this a fair warning.

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1.  The radio group Lew Dickey covets most – I’m going to name it – the one observers believe he would like to roll into Cumulus, Susquehanna and Citadel maybe as early as 2012.

2.  The thing Cumulus looks for the most in targeting its climb up to 800 plus stations – the number Clear Channel has that Dickey wants to exceed.  We know it’s not people.  Not even solid formats.  It’s something completely different that will help you fine tune your antenna to predict his next acquisition.

3.  The one other potential group besides Cumulus that might be a bidder for attractive radio groups in the year ahead.

4.  There are two groups that could be prey for Lew Dickey and his financial people in the next 12 months.  If you work at one of the two, you’re probably safe as long as your boss remains the boss.  If you work for the other, all bets are off.

5.  The group that could be in play because they have the same DNA as Cumulus.  If you work there, you’ll want to know.

6.  One owner who absolutely won’t sell – for any price.   Period.

The answers start here.

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What Cumulus and Clear Channel Will Do Next

Both Bob Pittman and Lew Dickey will be very active in the next 12 months.

What one does, the other will copy and there are now signs that a few other major radio groups will not be far behind. 

Bob Pittman is morphing into Lew Dickey and that spells trouble.

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1.  You’ve heard of Randy Michaels’ hub-and-spoke system of regional radio, well look at how Lew Dickey will take it to a new level at Cumulus in the next 12 months.

2.  Star Trek sees the future again – if Clear Channel is Radio Borg than guess what Cumulus will become?  You can predict what is going to happen next.

3.  How low can Lew Dickey go – when it comes to staffing a local cluster?  I’ve got the lowest number of employees you may see operating some Cumulus clusters next year.

4.  What is worse than Cumulus and Clear Channel continuing to reduce the work force?  Here it is and it’s even more deadly. 

5.  What happens to radio sales?  Cumulus fires its sellers and then runs ads to hire cheap replacements.  That can’t be the model, can it?  And don’t tell me Clear Channel would copy that model, would they?

6.  How Bob Pittman will resolve his $18 billion debt problem and who will be his role model.  You’ll never guess.

The answers start here.

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Tough Year Ahead for Music Formats

The next 12 months are actually more important to music formats than to all-news formats migrating from AM to FM.

And, here’s an early warning -- there’s big trouble ahead for a number of key reasons I am going to tell you about.

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1.  The biggest deterrent to music format growth in the next 12 months that basically didn’t exist just one year ago.  Track this one and don’t take your eyes off of it.

2.  The decline in ad revenue on local music stations that can be stopped in the critical year ahead if you brainstorm these strategies.

3.  The number one thing young listeners want from radio that they are not getting – do you know for sure the answer?  It will change everything.

4.  New technology that is perilous for radio that hasn’t ever existed before and will come of age starting in 2012 – and it’s not the iPhone or iPad.

5.  A music radio station that has it right – what we could learn from them about maintaining fan bases.

6.  The plan a music station should follow – or at least be aware of – if it is going to compete with customizable digital radio.

The answers start here.

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I’m going to lay it all out at my upcoming media conference February 9th – one topic is the survival of radio music formats in a digital world.  Two strategies that can be employed side by side for best results.  You’ll leave confident, not fearful.  With answers, no unanswered questions.  Register now for The 2012 Media Solutions Lab.

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Why Cumulus Is Playing the Bankruptcy Card

Lew Dickey is up to something big again.

While he finishes firing $50 million in personnel by year’s end, he is showing us his next card.

Bankruptcy.

Be afraid.  Be very afraid.

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1.  How Cumulus can be both the bellwether of radio and filer of bankruptcy in Delaware Court at the same time.  He knows what he’s doing and now you will.

2.  Why Cumulus needs protection from somewhere under 1,000 creditors – how can that be?

3.  The prepackaged bankruptcy plan Dickey is using that sounds just like what Farid Suleman did when he took Citadel bankrupt.  Here’s why.

4.  The possibility that Cumulus is in short pants already and what the consequences could mean within the next 12 months.

5.  What slight of hand trick by Cumulus could you expect after bankruptcy?  As hard as you’ll try, you’ll never guess.

The answers start here.

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Come to my upcoming media conference.  The year ahead is going to be devastating to those who rely on traditional radio companies to grow their businesses.  This event is designed to identify the ten biggest emerging trends ahead in the next 12 months and details how to get in on them.  Register and save $300 at my website -- The 2012 Media Solutions Lab.

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One of the paradoxes in life is that we gain control by submission.  That’s why control freaks rarely last and are never happy.  Where your head is at is the most relevant marker for an outstanding career and it’s all in my new book “Out of Bad Comes Good – The Advantages of Disadvantages”.  Now in bookstores, Amazon.com and your favorite e-reader for under $9.99.  Read Jerry’s New Book

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8 Great Radio Predictions

Tough questions at the end of the year about where radio is headed.

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1.  Will Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media buy more stations considering the two flops they have had in very high profile markets?

2.  What other big radio group besides Merlin may like to buy that Family Broadcasting FM station in Philadelphia?

3.  Will Cumulus and Clear Channel get away with all their current downsizing they are doing?  I think my answer will shock you.

4.  Speaking of shock -- Who will buy WTOP?  Who already tried and failed?

5.  Which group will acquire the most stations in 2012? 

6.  Will radio finally embrace digital in 2012?

7.  What is the future of the program director’s position? 

8.  Besides downsizing what threatens radio the most in the next 12 months?  I bet you will not see this one coming.

The answers start here.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (1,400 pieces) and get daily email delivery, click “read more” for your choices. 

Don’t let another year go by missing out on opportunities to use your radio skills in new media, mobile media or the digital dashboard.  Come to my upcoming media conference and come away with the emerging trends for the next 12 months and a game plan for how you personally can reignite your career.  Register now at -- The 2012 Media Solutions Lab.

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Career advice from my new book:  become a free agent just like a sports star.  It’s all in there in “Out of Bad Comes Good – The Advantages of Disadvantages” available in bookstores, at Amazon.com or the major e-readers for under $9.99 --Read Jerry’s New Book

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Extreme Cumulus Dirty Tricks

Firing shouldn’t have to be this mean.

There is new evidence of hardballing employees who are caught off guard when they are fired and – as you’ll read – down and out in ways that are sad.

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1.  The cluster manager with a seriously sick child – wait until you see how Cumulus handled him.

2.  The morning personality with multiple sclerosis who was canned even as he is fighting the disease.  See the reaction advertisers had.

3.  Severance arm-twisting that makes it impossible for employees who feel they’ve done wrong to file suit. 

4.  Cumulus M.O. if you sue them – what to expect and what they almost always do.

5.  Forced contract renegotiations!  Wait until you see the tactics Cumulus is using to win pay reductions from employees with long-term existing contracts.

The answers start here.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (1,400 pieces) and get daily email delivery, click “read more” for your choices. 

Don’t let another year go by missing out on opportunities to use your radio skills in new media, mobile media or the digital dashboard.  Come to my upcoming media conference and come away with the emerging trends for the next 12 months and a game plan for how you personally can reignite your career.  Register now at -- The 2012 Media Solutions Lab.

Questions for me about attending my media conference here.

Career advice from my new book:  become a free agent just like a sports star.  It’s all in there in “Out of Bad Comes Good – The Advantages of Disadvantages” available in bookstores, at Amazon.com or the major e-readers for under $9.99 --Read Jerry’s New Book

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Updated Firing Timetable

Notice how Clear Channel is as quiet as a church mouse lately – stung by the massive layoffs that happened to coincide with the Cumulus bloodbath.

Cumulus has an end of year deadline to realize its $50 million in operational cutbacks – the one that promised lenders who funded the Citadel takeover.

But both Cumulus and Clear Channel have changed their tactics.

Here’s the latest information from those on the ground.

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1.  A very recent example of how Clear Channel is now “quietly” firing people in major markets.  But they are finding a new way to insulate the shock like this.

2.  Latest on the approximate time frame for the major market Clear Channel firings some of which have already begun (see item above). 

3.  The coming of stealth firings – mostly at Clear Channel but Cumulus did one this week at a station it devastated a week earlier.  

4.  The pro-active Cumulus plan on and off the air to make it appear like the industry’s largest “Unemployer “is actually hiring.  Wait until you see these tactics.

5.  Even Cox is acting funny by kind of distancing itself from Clear Channel and Cumulus as they fire for the sake of local radio.  Here’s how Cox is getting away with it.

6.  Once the year ends, the firings end, right?

The answers start here.

If you would like to read this story, have access to my entire archive (1,400 pieces) and get daily email delivery, click “read more” for your choices. 

If there was ever a year to attend my annual media conference, it is February 9, 2012.  It is about seeing future emerging trends clearly enough to take action.  Register for The 2012 Media Solutions Lab.  Questions for JD about the conference here.

Why do we remember the bad things people say about us and replay them on a continuous loop in our head? It demotivates us.  How to take charge of your own positive powers is in my new book “Out of Bad Comes Good – The Advantages of Disadvantages” now in stores, on Amazon.com and the major e-readers for $9.99 or less.  Read Jerry’s New Book

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