Cumulus Looking To Cut AP and Traffic Costs

Lew Dickey now wants to be cheaper than his archrival Saga’s Ed Christian.

He’s targeting the large lucrative contracts AP has with Cumulus and is ready to dump his traffic services to go with a cheaper vendor.

The other shoe is about ready to drop.

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1.  Who the new Cumulus traffic provider will be and approximately when that bombshell will hit.

2.  Next target:  Associated Press.  How Cumulus expects to save and the two leading candidates to replace AP.

3.  The former Clear Channel employee that was recruited at the time of the Citadel takeover under the radar by the Dickeys to cut news expenses across the group.

4.  Once a deal is in place, the strategy Cumulus will implement to guarantee that the costs continue to go down. 

5.  And, ironically, how former Citadel CEO Farid Suleman actually made it possible for Lew Dickey to completely gut his news agreements and start over at a lower rate.

The answers begin here.

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How Cumulus May Buy Dial Global & Westwood One

I’m hearing a scenario where Lew Dickey winds up with all the radio networks he needs to compete against Clear Channel’s Premiere.

It’s a fascinating play.

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1.  How Dickey lost out on buying Westwood One that he could have merged with Citadel Media.

2.  Which venture capital group actually screwed him out of buying Westwood One.

3.  Which investment group is willing to put Westwood One and Dial Global in Dickey’s hands.

4.  Cumulus is the hottest radio stock in the industry – at a mere $3.57!  What insiders know that outsiders don’t know.

5.  The new double standard on Wall Street for media deals that allows bankers to compete with investors and then sell them assets in return for a bigger share of the company.

The answers begin here.

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Clear Channel’s Buyer

I’ve got a big one for you today.

I am going to identify the company I think is on track to buy Clear Channel.

It’s not a radio company.

They don’t even own a single radio station, yet you will soon see how this helps explain the erratic behavior lately of CEO Bob Pittman.

Print and save it but don’t bet against it.

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1.  I’ll name the company you probably would never name that I’m betting Bob Pittman is wooing right now to acquire Clear Channel. 

2.  The time frame – not this year but not that far off, either.  There are certain things Pittman must do that will prepare Clear Channel to be acquired.  If radio must suffer, so be it. Here’s how.

3.  Why everyone is misreading Pittman’s appointment of John Hogan to a promotion! Pittman is grooming Clear Channel to be purchased by this company and is changing it right before our very eyes to fit their needs not Clear Channel’s. 

4.  Evidence that Hogan will not be running Clear Channel radio soon – maybe within six months although no announcements will ever be made.  And you’ll see who Hogan’s replacement will be because sources close to Clear Channel say he is already “in the house” and going on station sales calls.  Now.

5.  Hint:  Mel Karmazin tried to buy CBS Radio from Viacom’s Sumner Redstone and Redstone bought Infinity and then hired Mel to run it all.  I’ll tell you what Bob Pittman likes about Mel’s strategy and why he may borrow it.

The answers begin here.

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Trouble at Cox Radio

Big trouble is brewing within Cox Radio.

Cumulus and Clear Channel open their big mouths and even brag about firing people, but Cox has kept it all on the down low.

Until now.

Through my confidential newstip network I’ve got 12 credible examples of why things are beginning to trend the wrong way at a formerly excellent radio group.

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1. All the details on the latest cost cutting right down to which market and what the estimated savings were.

2.  Examples of Cumulus-type cutbacks.  That’s right, at Cox!

3.  The almost unthinkable post-Bob Neil serial cutback of program directors and where it is likely to lead next.  Market manager/station manager cutbacks, too.

4.  How Cox is pissing all over Bob Neil’s 8 units per hour commercial dictum.

5.  The vanishing research and consultation arm of Cox Radio.

6.  The answer to whose watching the store.  Neil had been the “ground stop”, but this story will show how decisions are being made fast and furious no matter what the implications.

7.  The next Cox cluster likely to get a “haircut”.

8.  And heartbreaking stories from within the company to show alleged shoddy treatment of loyal employees that will make you wonder whether we’re talking about Cox or Cumulus. 

The answers begin here.

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Next Media Solutions Lab is January 30-31, 2013 at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ.

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Clear Channel’s Madonna Flop

Even hourly airplay on Clear Channel hit stations couldn’t prevent Madonna’s “Give Me All Your Luvin’” from being a flop.  Forget the Super Bowl.

This new corporate payola – “you give us a partnership and we give you the world” should be prosecuted in court.  It’s worse than djs or PDs taking payola.

But, there is more to the Madonna-Clear Channel flop than meets the ears.

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1.  What they are saying in the UK about Madonna’s first studio album in years even before she launces a worldwide tour.  Ouch!

2.  Why Bob Pittman who could never beat the giant WABC in New York when he was at rival WNBC is making the same mistake as Programmer in Chief of Clear Channel.

3.  So Madonna has a stiff – does that mean that from now on radio stations have to play it in return for favors?

4.  Why playing Madonna every hour on the hour is about as cool as Mitt Romney saying he is against ObamaCare every time he opens his mouth.

5.  And speaking of uncool – how Bob Pittman is killing program directors at Clear Channel who know how to program.

The answers begin here.

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The Pittman-Hogan Team

Everything CEO Bob Pittman has been doing lately is painting a picture of where Clear Channel is headed and it may not be where you think.

Why would Clear Channel extend once again the contract of the inept John Hogan to run its radio stations if they were serious about being in the radio business?

Hell, they’d hire a Dan Mason type.

The end is in sight for Clear Channel as you know it and hate it.

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1.  How long before Bob Pittman exits?  I’ll tell you the number of years he and his minions have.

2.  What is now the end game for Lee and Bain, the investment bank owners of Clear Channel.  You’ll see it more clearly after this.

3.  Is all this iHeartRadio stuff really serious or just a distraction?  And what’s up with that ad they bought for iHeartRadio on the CBS Evening News the other night?  Is that where their concert going audience now spends their time?

4.  Madonna’s flop that Clear Channel played at the top of each hour – and why Pittman’s partnership act has a limited life – very limited.

5.  Debt and Acquisitions.  Can Pittman refi $18 billion in debt?  Will they buy something?  What will it be?  Or sell the entire company.  Hint: I’m now convinced they are looking to sell the entire company and I’ll tell you when.

6.  Losing key people.  Clear Channel is keeping it quiet but I’ve got news for you about major personnel defections in a little market named New York and you’ll split your sides laughing when you hear who they went to work for.  Don’t even try – you’ll never guess.

The answers begin here.

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MUSIC: The Beatles Get Into Ringtones Too Late

What’s up with Adele and McCartney getting out of Spotify when Spotify is supposed to be the record labels great hope against piracy?

And then The Beatles get into ringtones just as the ringtone market peaks.

Here’s what’s up.

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1.  The projected ringtone, ringbacks and wallpaper market in just 3 years from now.  How it compares with the latest sales figures.

2.  What’s up with Adele – as smart and young as she is – dumping Spotify?

3.  What’s up with Macca – as smart and old as he is – dumping Spotify?

4.  Why the wheels are coming off of the record industry even as record execs are loosening the lug nuts.

5.  The one sure way – that none of these artists are paying attention to right now – to avoid big mistakes like these.

The answers start here.

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Secret Plans of Radio Consolidators

Notice how quiet it is out there in radioland?

Not for long.

Clear Channel, Cumulus and one other radio group is hell bent to thin out their workforce even more and put more programming on autopilot.

Here’s what people on the ground are telling me about reductions in workforce at two serial offenders and one new perpetrator.

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1.  If you’re in this size Clear Channel market, look out!

2.  My sources close to the action tell me there are big changes ahead for Cumulus clusters and I’ve got them for you right here.  And, by the way, is something up with Jan Jeffries?

3.  Believe it or not – one radio group is starting to head in the wrong direction.  I’ll tell you how and who it is so you can be warned in advance.

4.  The two big radio groups that are – so far, anyway – refusing to do any more major downsizing.  If you work for them, you can feel safe.  And believe me, I don’t use those words very much.

5.  The radio group once on the radar screen but lost in space that actually has a chance at a comeback.  No promises, but this would be major.

The answers begin here.

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Digital Radio Is a Fraud

The radio industry says that digital is up 15% while radio revenues are up 1%.

Huh!

And what is their definition of digital?

Radio, the industry that sat out the Internet revolution and lost an entire generation of future listeners to file sharing and mobile devices is flirting with danger again.

This article tells you why and names four things you can do right now to get real about digital content developed by radio and/or radio people.

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1.  The four big digital hot buttons – Siri, content dumping, you as the new social network not Twitter or Facebook and setting up shop with listener’s credit cards. No one in radio is focusing on this – here’s how you can.

2.  The medium ad agency buyers prefer after they buy spot TV.  You won’t believe it but a new study that I will quote says it is so.

3.  The real digital strategies of radio groups – even good ones – and why they aren’t ready for prime time.

4.  The big radio group that is known to require sellers to make their digital numbers even if they take drain money from radio buys.

5.  Four radio groups that have a reputation for not giving away streaming as value added to a radio buy.  You’re going to want to sit down for this intelligence.

6.  Why individuals or startups can jump on the four digital hot buttons today and get way out ahead of radio if they want to pursue a real hot growth business.

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KFI, Los Angeles – Idiots Playing With Whitney Houston’s Fans

Can radio find another way to screw up Whitney Houston’s death?

Now there is news of two more horrific examples of consolidated radio blowing it.

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1.  What at least one Cumulus classic hits station was ordered to do last Monday morning?  

2.  John & Ken weren’t the only idiots at KFI, Los Angeles when they called Whitney Houston a “crack ho” on-air yesterday.  There’s a bigger one than that.

3.  Why radio has all of a sudden started acting uncool and 7 surefire ways to please your audience instead of piss them off. 

4.  New social networking concepts that radio would be smart to employ a.s.a.p. because listeners would perceive them as positive.

These daily teasers will soon come to an end.  Hope you will continue on and join our group.

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