Cumulus Panics

Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey, facing increasing debt and decreasing revenue, panicked into several moves already this week that he thinks will give him some wiggle room.

The repercussions are seismic for those who work at Cumulus and will also be felt at other groups in markets where they compete.

A full court press to get San Francisco generating the kind of money Dickey needs to help cut into his earnings deficit is obviously failing.

We have reports that even the bread and butter small Cumulus markets are missing their projections for the fourth quarter so Lew Dickey is faced with meeting analysts just after the first of the year to either blame his major markets for letting the company down (for the third quarter in a row) or try something different.

Here’s what’s different.

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  1. What big announcement Dickey will use to get the financial world to stop thinking about another quarter of Cumulus not making their numbers.
     
  2. Why salespeople at Cumulus should seek cover right now because Dickey is coming after them. 
     
  3. How selling at Cumulus will change from commissions to who gets to keep accounts and worst of all – total sales automation.
     
  4. How the mass conversion of local stations to a new strategy will show Wall Street that Cumulus is serious about reining in the costs.
     
  5. All the details about the multimedia platform Cumulus says it is building but what they’re really going to do instead.
     
  6. How long to bankruptcy court for Cumulus.

If you would like to see how Cumulus is panicking over increasing debt and decreasing sales, click “read more” below.

The man who helps Jerry Lee build 80% more effective commercials for WBEB, Philadelphia advertisers will be sharing his method at my January Media Solutions Lab.  What bad economy?  Once your advertisers can learn this system, they will be addicted to you and will pay a premium for running commercials on your air.  The 2013 Media Solutions Lab is the only industry learning event that’s all about solutions.  See what else is on the agenda at the 4th Annual Media Solutions Lab here.

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Earthshattering Changes in Radio

It’s the calm before the storm.

But sources close to the major radio groups say work is underway for what promises to be some dramatic if not game changing events in the months and year ahead.

The moon and planets are in alignment for some terrible things to happen.

Here’s a heads-up.

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  1. What radio group could be headed for bankruptcy soon and I’m not just talking about Cumulus.
     
  2. The amazing race to buy CBS Radio is on with financial sources tattling on who is seeking big loans from investment banks.
     
  3. Which second bidder could emerge as a buyer for CBS Radio.
     
  4. Why would CBS want to sell its radio division.
     
  5. Which group of Clear Channel employees will become toast sooner rather than later.
     
  6. Why has Entercom all of a sudden swallowed its tongue.
     
  7. Why Cox Radio’s strategy will be so different next year.

If you would like to see what earthshattering things are now being kicked around by major radio groups, click “read more” below.

See the 24 Killer Ideas for Radio & Digital that will be presented at the 2013 Media Solutions Lab here.

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Vital New Radio Strategies You Can’t Afford To Ignore

Did you know that there are exciting cost effective new ways to run a successful and even profitable radio station in the era of digital media?

Unfortunately, most broadcast operators are relying on old habits or new tricks that are compromising local radio at the expense of cutting costs.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Radio can be reborn with a new focus on what changing listeners are expecting from radio in the digital age and the new economics of doing local radio in a stagnant economy.

I find the list that I’m going to share with you empowering and encouraging.

I’ve been working on this module for my upcoming Media Solutions Lab in January and wanted to share it with you:

  1. If you do nothing else, do a live local morning show.  It doesn’t have to break the bank, but media buyers will still pay a premium for a live morning show.  50-60% of a radio station’s total income should come from the morning show if you want a shot at being super successful against digital competition.
  2. A live afternoon show should be next when affordable.  It is a way to put the station in the profit column no matter what happens in any other dayparts. In other words, this is a guarantee of fiscal success.  It is no accident that the top consolidators who have gutted morning and afternoon drive cannot post a profit.  You should know that there is a controversy as to whether radio attracts more listeners in the morning or afternoon according to new People Meter data.  This is something we should strategize together.
  3. Live without PPM ratings.  This huge expense is not necessary.  There are workarounds that are better and will satisfy media buyers.  Less money.  Just as effective.  What’s not to like if you know how to carry it off.
  4. Rethink the hot clock to include many content types and lots of interruptions contrary to our old way of clumping spots together with only one type of content.  Big groups and their followers just don’t get it, but short attention span listeners will actually stay with you longer and come back more often if you interrupt (or disrupt) your traditional approach to programming.  You’ll want a list of potential ways to disrupt listeners’ pre-conceived ideas about radio.
  5. Variable hours with different content.  That’s a big change.  I’m going to show you how to build variable hours that don’t look or sound like each other and stand back to watch what happens next.
  6. Shorter stop sets that never run at the same times but progressively keep moving.  I’d like to draw the plan for you when we meet in person and take your questions and get input. 
  7. Discover “found money” on the all-night show.  Stop trying to put the cheapest thing on the air to fill time and space until morning drive.  Here’s a plan that will cost pennies and I’ll bet it reaps many dollars right away.
  8. Schedule Saturday and Sunday night programming that is disruptive to your format.  Do you have the guts to do it?  Would you like to see the plan that more listeners would like?
  9. Pull the plug on your station website and instead do these separate sites that directly link to the airplay content that I’m going to ask you to adopt.
  10. A new way to do news that will not be cost prohibitive and will payoff with listeners and advertisers within the first few months.  It can be really different and even non-traditional using listeners to submit pictures, audio, text and keep the conversation going.
  11. Get familiar with Tumblr.  If you don’t have a Tumblr site, let me help you build it the right way because it is going to be the hottest new tool for acquiring on-air listeners.
  12. The magic bullet is to research how to make advertising more effective.  Stop running spots that advertisers can easily walk away from when their campaign is over.  Make their ads on your station compelling.  I’m bringing in Dan Hill to share show how to make advertising 80% more effective for your local clients.  He ought to know.  His system helps Jerry Lee and Blaise Howard rake in the renewals at B101 in Philadelphia.
  13. Include salespeople in the daily creation of content.  Do this wrong and it will backfire!  Do it right and watch the revenue go up without having to offer a single new sales incentive.  You’ll want to take notes on this.
  14. Never ever sell on-air along with digital.  There is a better way and it will get you a premium for both instead of conceding a discount for each.  After you hear this, you’ll never offer the excuse “I can’t afford a separate radio and digital sales staff”.
  15. The one on-air promotion that can even attract non-radio listeners and make them addicts.  Yes, addicts!  Never stop running this promotion that I will share.  And don’t let a competitor get to it first.
  16. Name your radio station after the promotion not your format brand as everyone does now.  Do I have your interest?  You don’t want a competitor to do this because being number two on this is deadly.
  17. A way to try these ideas safely until you convince yourself of what I am saying -- that this disruptive change in the direction for radio would be welcomed by both listeners and advertisers.

My January 30-31 Media Solutions Lab will be at held at the beautiful Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona when it will be 70 degrees and sunny.  Many of our previous attendees add a few days to warm up or share some family time in mid-winter.

The Media Solutions Lab -- 7 hours of interactive learning on day one.

The next morning we collaborate around the table to build custom strategies together.

If you would like to learn the vital new radio strategies you can’t afford to ignore, reserve a seat at this year’s conference here.

Take a look at the 24 Killer Ideas for Radio and Digital Media that will also be revealed at this conference here.

The Media Solutions Lab – not a convention or show.

Number one in media solutions for four years running.

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Big Cumulus Management Shakeup Ahead

Cumulus is in short pants and headed for bankruptcy.

They are trying to get the funding to buy some or all of CBS Radio to dilute their red ink with CBS’ black ink, but time is short.

So, Plan B is ready to be implemented.

Not just personnel cuts – that’s nothing new for them – this is a radical redesign of local radio and it’s not pretty.

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If you’ve been thinking about subscribing and would like to access this story, let me tell you what you will get.

  1. Who will be running many if not most Cumulus stations over the next year – and it won’t be the people who are running them now.
     
  2. Which position will be the most overworked, underpaid and least appreciated by the time this shakeup is complete -- the radio job from hell before long.
     
  3. All the details on a major sales shakeup that has never been tried by any other radio group. 
     
  4. How and why local station operations will be downsized in a way consistent with the new Dickey shakeup.
     
  5. Which sellers will get screwed out of their clients as Plan B is installed at Cumulus stations nationwide.

If you would like to see the drastic Cumulus management shakeup that has already quietly begun in some markets and will soon spread to others, click “read more” below. 

Only 2 months until my Media Solutions Lab in Scottsdale, January 30-31.  Attend the full-day interactive seminar on radio and the digital future or the optional next day Big Ideas Strategy Breakfast where we work around a table and share ideas.  Or both!  Reserve your best rate here.  Wish to send multiple attendees or have company meetings with me?  Contact me directly here.

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Radio’s Dark, Dirty Secrets Exposed

New initiatives, partnerships, best practices – that’s the deceiving lingo of radio consolidators who are operating themselves into bankruptcy.

But there are dark, dirty secrets they would rather have the public not know because it shows how clueless they really are.

A nationwide network of newstipsters has exposed what consolidators think would be better not said.

If you are a subscriber, thank you for joining our group.  Just click through and unlock the content.

If you’ve been thinking about subscribing and would like to access this story, let me tell you what you will get.

  1. How Cumulus offers some of its people “employee pricing”.
     
  2. Why KABC’s Larry Elder should work on his resume.
     
  3. What one radio company in a major market is telling its employees to keep them working for peanuts.  
     
  4. How a major station secretly tried to fudge Hurricane Sandy storm coverage and got caught.
     
  5. Which radio group is running 16-18 minutes of commercials hour after hour and still losing money.  You’ll never guess this one.
     
  6. How Clear Channel makes its long-term talent contracts short-term – revealed here.  CBS may be doing it, too.

If you would like to see radio’s dark and dirty secrets exposed, click “read more” below.

2 more months until my Media Solutions Lab in Scottsdale, January 30-31.  Attend the full-day interactive seminar on radio and the digital future or the optional next day Big Ideas Strategy Breakfast where we work around a table and share ideas.  Or both!  Reserve your best rate here.  Wish to send multiple attendees or have company meetings with me?  Contact me directly here.

Join our witness protection program: the smartest, safest newstip network – 100% anonymity guaranteed – here.   

Talk to me privately here.

Follow me on Twitter & Facebook and LinkedIn.

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