Lew Dickey Started CBS Acquisition Rumor

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Just 2½ weeks until my Philly management seminar. Brochure here.

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Philly Conference Agenda Finalized

Here we go.

Registration starts at 8am.

That takes 30 seconds and then we eat (all meals included).

BREAKFAST

Seasonal fruit

Roasted new potatoes
Breakfast sandwiches (egg, bacon and cheddar on bagel or egg-white, turkey sausage on a bagel).

Spinach and asparagus with feta cheese frittatas

Assorted juices and hot and cold beverages

We’re going to need our energy.

Here’s the program content:

  1. Attracting More Website Visits. WTOP in DC does 2 million every month and 31.8 million page views. So we’re bringing PD Laurie Cantillo in to sit with us and discuss. We can question here together.
  2. Solutions to Commercial Clutter. Look, running 8-minutes of unlistenable commercials every hour is a suicide wish.  I know, they pay the bills. I’m going to present you with 11 ways to make this problem get better.
  3. How Much Radio, How Much Digital. I can tell you right now I am going to show you the digital initiatives that have no payoff. But you’ll be impressed by the few that do and you’re going to want to jump on them. One costs under $1,000 and is pretty impressive.
  4. Listen Longer Strategies. Radio TSL has been dropping every year since the early 1990s. This calls for disrupting the way we build our hot clocks. I’m going to show you how to throw that hourly clock out and replace it with something better.
  5. Eliminating 2015’s 3 Biggest Listener Objections. Outdated morning shows, too many commercials and repetitious music. Do even one thing on these three listener objections and you’re ahead of the market.
  6. Effective Ways To Compete With On-Demand Content. I am going to play dirty with Millennials developing content they cannot possibly resist about employment, college loans, themselves. We can do this – as you will see.
  7. What Millennials Want From Radio. This list has seven things on it and I can tell you I live by this list every day whether I am talking to Millennials or not.
  8. Selling Against Programmatic Buying. This is essentially bidding down rates so its time to have an action plan to combat it. How to walk from a deal that media buyers ruined by bidding down the rate on a competitor. The secret to getting longer term contracts. A few very smart stations are way ahead of the industry on this.
  9. Start Your Own Short-Form Video Business. Digital shouldn’t be an add-on to what you do on the air. Do the best on-air radio you can possibly do and a separate stream of revenue from the hottest digital project ever. Let me play some short-form videos for you that are being done by young people who are making more money than most stations do from all their digital initiatives.
  10. Beyond Clicks – Listener Engagement. Social media is changing rapidly from mass audience to small groups of participants. Radio must rethink using social media to promote what’s on the air.   It’s a waste. Let’s talk about what your listeners who “like” you really want.  Which social media site is ascending at the pace of YouTube?
  11. Telling Stories – the New Spoken Word Radio. You don’t have to run a talk station to cash in on storytelling.  And it is highly saleable.
  12. Why You Should Take a Pass On Podcasting. Podcasting is another form of talk radio. It may appeal to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers but it sure hasn’t made any real money. Ask me about storytelling and how it could find its way onto your station – even a music station. Especially, a music station.
  13. 8 Millennial Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make. There are 95 million Millennials out there – the largest generation ever, even larger than the Baby Boom generation. Here are the 7 things Millennials want most from radio.

This is a collaborative environment in an atmosphere of approval and acceptance. We work together, learn together and explore.

I’ll play video, give you resources, come up with a plan of attack to get out ahead of the most critical issues affecting the radio industry in the year ahead.

March 18th – a day of information and inspiration where we work together. I’m putting lots of time aside for your questions.

This event will not be available by stream or video – only live and in-person.

Just 2½ weeks until conference day.

Independent broadcasters and digital entrepreneurs are invited to the 6th annual Media Solutions Seminar at the Hub Conference Center March 18th in Philadelphia, walking distance from Amtrak’s 30th Street Station and 20 minutes from Philadelphia International Airport.

Buffet breakfast, lunch and all breaks prepared by James Beard award-winning chef Jean-Marie Lacroix, former executive chef at The Four Seasons included.

By the way, here’s the lunch menu:

LUNCH

Beef cheesesteaks with sautéed onions and banana peppers and/or chicken cheesesteak with mushrooms on spring rolls.

Fresh mozzarella, tomato and pesto salad with balsamic reduction and/or “South Philly Hoagie” chopped salad (I can’t wait to see this) – iceberg lettuce, provolone, mortadella, imported ham, tomatoes, banana peppers with Italian vinaigrette.

Dessert: homemade “Tastycake” Butterscotch Krimpets, peanut butter Kandy Kakes and apple pies.

BREAKS

The morning break will feature mini-muffins and assorted KIND bars.

Afternoon break – soft pretzels (hey, we’re in Philly) and cookies.

Beverages all day.

Register Now

Contact Jerry about the conference and group rates here.

Online program brochure here.

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The iHeart Vegas Layoff Pep Rally

A red and white iHeart logo to walk through … sofas and easy chairs in the breakout rooms … creepy signs on the wall but make no mistake, the invited managers know why they have been called to Las Vegas.

  • The new titles CEO Bob Pittman is handing out to everyone in management.
  • These iHeart motivational slogans plastered all over the walls tells you everything you need to know about where Pittman is headed with this company.
  • The bad news on 2014 bonuses.
  • Worse news expected for 2015 bonuses.
  • The truth about iHeart debt – here’s what the company must make just to pay this year’s debt payment.

Read this story now

Less than 3 weeks until my Philly management seminar. Brochure here.

Send newstips (your name will never be used) to me privately here.

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Eliminating Radio’s 5 Biggest Weaknesses

TOO MANY COMMERCIALS

It’s getting worse and remember listeners were complaining about radio commercials decades ago.

Now, because stations are dropping their rates and forcing competitors to do the same, they have to all run more spots that are cheaper.

No one ever complains about the Super Bowl commercials. In fact, Super Bowl commercials are a source for attracting audience. But in radio the commercials are so bad. And because there are so many short spots it sounds like double or triple the average 18 minutes per hour.

The good news is that there are ways to approach the need to run these commercials in better ways without driving listeners nuts.

Grouping by length, departing from the PPM quarter hour wisdom that you must win 5 minutes in every 15-minute segment to win more quarter hours.

It isn’t working – just look at the PPMs for any market. They all follow the same rules but only a handful of stations seem to benefit.

That’s why I have put this topic on the agenda for my Philly conference in less than a month from now.

It’s a phased plan. You can even test it until you’re comfortable. We’ll discuss face to face.

REPETITIVE MUSIC

Actually, listeners want more music discovery which is why anyone under 33 years old rarely listens to any song all the way through.

Yet, think about it – a music radio station’s entire reason for being is that if they play the right songs and do a lot of music sweeps, they will keep their audiences tuned in.

Not so anymore.

And our listeners are way ahead of radio. They find new music from each other, streaming music services and YouTube. YouTube is everything today.

There is a way to deliver on much more music variety and the popular hits in a new mixture of music not seen in any current radio format.

SWEEPERS

The audience hates them because they’re so phony and idiotic.

Voices that don’t sound real.

Bragging (or as radio likes to call it – promotion).

No authentic messages.

The answer is dump the sweepers. They’ve served radio well but if we continue to rely on them we are going to turn off more listeners than we will attract. It makes radio sound old.

I’ll show you a way to replace sweepers with something more effective that all listeners – especially younger ones – will respond to.

OUTDATED MORNING SHOWS

Stations are essentially doing the same morning show that they have done for 40 years or more.

Not one new significant innovation has been added.

And it worked well until now.

We are going to get into the new features to add to morning shows that are unique, compelling and even more importantly, addicting.

Take them home and try them. Better yet, try them and sell them.

TOO MUCH HYPE

As you’ll see when I share with you the 7 Things Millennials Want From Radio that authenticity and no hype are the first two – are you surprised?

Any words that end in “est” are not believable (like “greatest”).

Self-promotion that used to be what radio did 24 hours a day now backfires.

These are 5 of the critical issues facing radio stations and digital entrepreneurs.

Here’s the program content:

  1. Attracting More Website Visits. WTOP in DC does 2 million every month and 31.8 million page views. So we’re bringing PD Laurie Cantillo in to sit with us and discuss. We can question here together.
  2. Solutions to Commercial Clutter. Look, running 8-minutes of unlistenable commercials every hour is a suicide wish.  I know, they pay the bills. I’m going to present you with 11 ways to make this problem get better.
  3. How Much Radio, How Much Digital. I can tell you right now I am going to show you the digital initiatives that have no payoff. But you’ll be impressed by the few that do and you’re going to want to jump on them. One costs under $1,000 and is pretty impressive.
  4. Listen Longer Strategies. Radio TSL has been dropping every year since the early 1990s. This calls for disrupting the way we build our hot clocks. I’m going to show you how to throw that hourly clock out and replace it with something better.
  5. Eliminating 2015’s 3 Biggest Listener Objections. Outdated morning shows, too many commercials and repetitious music. Do even one thing on these three listener objections and you’re ahead of the market.
  6. Effective Ways To Compete With On-Demand Content. I am going to play dirty with Millennials developing content they cannot possibly resist about employment, college loans, themselves. We can do this – as you will see.
  7. What Millennials Want From Radio. This list has seven things on it and I can tell you I live by this list every day whether I am talking to Millennials or not.
  8. Selling Against Programmatic Buying. This is essentially bidding down rates so its time to have an action plan to combat it. How to walk from a deal that media buyers ruined by bidding down the rate on a competitor. The secret to getting longer term contracts. A few very smart stations are way ahead of the industry on this.
  9. Start Your Own Short-Form Video Business. Digital shouldn’t be an add-on to what you do on the air. Do the best on-air radio you can possibly do and a separate stream of revenue from the hottest digital project ever. Let me play some short-form videos for you that are being done by young people who are making more money than most stations do from all their digital initiatives.
  10. Beyond Clicks – Listener Engagement. Social media is changing rapidly from mass audience to small groups of participants. Radio must rethink using social media to promote what’s on the air.   It’s a waste. Let’s talk about what your listeners who “like” you really want.  Which social media site is ascending at the pace of YouTube?
  11. Telling Stories – the New Spoken Word Radio. You don’t have to run a talk station to cash in on storytelling.  And it is highly saleable.
  12. Why You Should Take a Pass On Podcasting. Podcasting is another form of talk radio. It may appeal to Gen Xers and Baby Boomers but it sure hasn’t made any real money. Ask me about storytelling and how it could find its way onto your station – even a music station. Especially, a music station.
  13. 8 Millennial Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make. There are 95 million Millennials out there – the largest generation ever, even larger than the Baby Boom generation. Here are the 7 things Millennials want most from radio.

March 18th – a day of information and inspiration where we work together. I’m putting lots of time aside for your questions.

This event will not be available by stream or video – only live and in-person.

Less than 3 weeks until conference day.

Independent broadcasters and digital entrepreneurs are invited to the 6th annual Media Solutions Seminar at the Hub Conference Center March 18th in Philadelphia, walking distance from Amtrak’s 30th Street Station and 20 minutes from Philadelphia International Airport.

Buffet breakfast, lunch and all breaks prepared by James Beard award-winning chef Jean-Marie Lacroix, former executive chef at The Four Seasons included.

Register Now

Contact Jerry about the conference and group rates here.

Online program brochure here.

Read More  FREE SAMPLES

Wall Street Senses Cumulus/CBS Radio Acquisition

I’ve been reporting this for years – giving CBS employees the chance to find suitable other employment while the getting was good.

Now, even though I’ve taken quite a hit for this story – after all, who wants to believe they will be working for the Dickeys -- Wall Street finally got the message after the market closed yesterday.

CBS and Cumulus up in after-hours trading yesterday on news that one large hedge fund is pressuring CBS to sell to Cumulus.

I’ve been reporting that Lew “Tricky” Dickey has been talking to CBS CEO Les Moonves about this for the past few years. Moonves wanted an unrealistic multiple and then Cumulus fell out of favor with investors for screwing up the radio group it owned.

Now the pieces are coming back together.

Radio President Dan Mason is said to be leaving – why would he? He’s done the best job of anyone in a large radio group. Let me be indelicate by saying I don’t think after working for Moonves that Mason wants to work for dumb and dumber.

CBS has been cutting expenses and making more and more bad long-term decisions for short-term savings ahead of any merger. Another sign that they are selling.

This is going to be ugly.

Scott Shannon, meet your new boss – John Dickey. Oh, God. DJ vu all over again!

1010 WINS get ready for your new slogan – “You give us 22 minutes, we give you brokered programming”.

Michael Savage doing mornings on CBS-FM, New York (and evenings on WABC – hey, it’s Cumulus what do expect less work?).

Enough joking.

This miserable outcome could happen – this year.

How would this merger work – or not work?

Here’s what I know.

Access this story now

Solutions To Radio’s Commercial Clutter here.

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Solutions To Radio’s Commercial Clutter

The problem: good radio stations are being forced to cut their rates to remain competitive on buys because of desperate radio groups forcing stations to run more, cheaper commercials.

The result is unlistenable long commercial stop sets that sound like they are two or three times longer because so many short spots are being sold and included in stop sets often as long as 8-minutes every half hour.

To make matters worse, PPM “experts” have everyone fooled into thinking that limiting these stop sets to twice an hour in strategic quarter hour locations will soften the blow and actually help stations win more quarter hour listening.

Just look at the ratings to see this strategy doesn’t work.

Even if stations technically get credit for extra quarter hours by strategic placement of these commercial dumps – at what price when they alienate listeners instead of create passionate fans.

Growing commercial clutter is a serious problem.

It doesn't matter how local you are, how popular your personalities are or how great your music is. There is no getting around the deleterious effects of widespread commercial clutter.

Protect yourself with the latest information that will be presented at the Media Solutions Conference in Philly in three weeks.

You’ll discover everything you need to know, like:

  • Why one type of commercial is a tune-in when most others invite immediate tune-out.
  • The thing you can put in the middle of commercial stop sets that will force listening to continue.
  • Why experts now say more frequent stop sets are actually an advantage for today’s attention-deficit audiences.
  • 2 things you can do that will increase the effectiveness of commercials when you have some over producing it. In fact, listeners forget to leave the station when they hear these kinds of spots.
  • How to lower your risk of alienating audiences even if you lose them to overly long stop sets.
  • What one thing listeners hate even more than a radio station’s commercials? Is that possible? It sure is and 100% of all radio stations do this. You’ll discover what not to do.
  • The latest, most advanced ways to schedule commercial clusters by daypart with an eye toward reducing tune-out.
  • The results of actual station experiments when they made drastic reductions in commercial units aired per hour.
  • Information on whether it helps to position your station’s commercial limiting moves on-air.  
  • The word you must never say on the air because it makes listeners go bye-bye.
  • How to improve tune-out by 30% and increase billing by 15% – helping advertisers make their commercials more effective. Remember, commercials can be a bigger attraction.  Think about TV spots on Super Bowl Sunday. Viewers watch for the commercials. The radio stations that have figured this out are number one in ratings and billing in their markets.

Register Now.

Need assistance registering? Call (480) 998-9898

The Media Solutions Conference is recognized as an excellent resource for independent radio operators and digital entrepreneurs. One day can change the way you plan the next year.

Discounts available for groups of 3-5 or 5 or more here.

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Horizon Media’s “Mood Ratings” Is a Dangerous Idea

One of the largest national media buyers, Horizon, is reinventing ratings with proprietary software that will designate the mood of listeners and reach them by mood.

If so, they had better be careful what they wish for because radio listeners are in a damn lousy mood.

Let’s see how they are going to measure two 8-minute commercial breaks an hour that sound three times longer with all those cheap 10’s and 15s in there.

And Horizon knows a lot about buying cheap radio because in my view they have been responsible for bidding down radio ad rates.

Finally, something that can make PPM actually look good – but only by comparison.

How desperate are we getting?

The answer to radio’s problems is not going to come from a media buyer who is virtually devaluing it every day.

Keep running dumpsters full of lousy commercials and I’ll tell you the mood of radio listeners – piss poor.

That’s why they are listening less.

That’s why what audience remains is older and older.

The good, independent radio groups are having a good laugh on Horizon today (and all the coverage they are getting in the happy talk radio trade press).

Good operators know you never let a media buyer in the front door to help make your decisions.

These good radio companies – the ones that don’t have mist tunnels in their offices or their brother making programming decisions – actually have some startling revelations of their own.

On rates, morning shows, the new programmatic buying, spotloads and why non-commercial NPR would make an unbeatable commercial station.

Access this story now

“Millennial Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make” has been added as one of the 13 topics to be covered at my Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia March 18th. Learn more.

Send newstips, story ideas.

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