Dickeys Selling on Cumulus Stock Weakness

What kind of a person bails out on his company when they need him to show confidence in its future?

Apparently, a Dickey.

While they are feeding the happy talk radio trade press with PR when their stock goes up a few cents, they are certainly not talking about what I’m going to tell you here.

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  1. He didn’t – did he? Yes, one of the Dickeys sold large numbers of Cumulus shares just as the price was in free fall and analysts were trashing it.
  2. What other Cumulus insider started selling stock the very next day.
  3. Wall Street has really turned on Cumulus and the Dickeys are so sensitive about it they have launched a bullshit campaign to prop up their stock – details.
  4. Be warned – the chance of a Cumulus bankruptcy has just changed again.
  5. The bad news about a revenue turnaround and the implications for Cumulus employees by April.

The answers begin here.

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My Dickey Is Bigger Than Yours

Here is how Seeking Alpha, the crowd-sourced content service for financial markets sees the future of Cumulus:

“Cumulus Media sinks to a 52-week low as sentiment remains weak on the broadcaster ever since it reported Q4 results earlier in the month”.

And despite CEO Lew Dickey’s spin about how great the company is, there now are two Cumulus’.

At $2.68 a share the stock is the lowest it has been since November of 2012 when it closed at $2.47.

Like in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, people are more afraid of what mind-numbing move radio’s Nurse Ratched (Lew Dickey) will do next than they are of Cumulus going bankrupt which is now a real possibility.

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  1. Okay, what’s the real story of sloppy seconds with the hiring of former Clear Channel manager Tom Schurr.
  2. And what the hell is the thinking behind hiring Pierre Bouvard to turn around their slumping billing.
  3. Does the hiring of all those CBS execs in the past month mean their merger with CBS is getting closer.
  4. What’s up with Lew’s plan to punish employees for not making their numbers.
  5. Who did ex-employees describe as “the ruthless, heartless asshole” that is coming to take them away.
  6. What’s to become of Dan Bennett, the manager overseeing Dallas and Houston who is arguably the best Cumulus manager.

The answers begin here.

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Radio’s Unnoticed Competitor

Not an app.

Not another radio station competitor.

Not Pandora, Spotify, Apple or any streaming music service.

Not podcasting for damn sure.

Certainly not a pure play stream.

Not social media.

Not even YouTube.

Radio’s potent new competitor is heating up under the radar with 95 million Millennials and yet while we’re off running stations the old way with sweepers, no commercials, too many commercials and everything in between, this new documented competitor is more dangerous than anything we have seen before.

So here is how to get ahead of it …

  • How to not just guard against this killer competitor but how to turn it around in your favor.
  • Creating the first Millennial radio station guaranteed to beat the hell out of recycled and tired music and talk formats.
  • How to keep this new threat away from media ad budgets because radio doesn’t need to have its share of the revenue pie shared with a hot new competitor.
  • What if I showed you a way to get Millennials to do exactly what they did when they took an app called Trivia Crack to 130 million users without the help of the owners? That’s what I am about to do.
  • Getting Millennials to tell you how to handle huge commercial loads and how to deal with music sweeps.

Access this story now

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What’s Holding Up the iHeart Tower Deal

They NEED this money.

It’s $400 million for the equity owners who need to get out of their investment.

Already, there is a troubling pattern emerging in the wake of the anticipated sale of iHeart towers and real estate.

Here’s what we’re hearing.

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  1. The unbelievable multiple the buyer is willing to pay.
  2. How iHeart is basing that multiple on revenue – ever hear of a broadcast tower earning revenue (it’s the station!).      
  3. The odd closing anticipated for this deal if it goes through.
  4. How Bain is looking to custom design the revenue figures to bend the deal to be most favorable for them – how Bain wants them to treat tower painting in the end deal.
  5. Market managers in numerous iHeart markets are shaking in their boots due to a directive from corporate after closing.
  6. Finally, the reason iHeart would be good with paying tower rent from now on in all of their markets and give up the rental income.

The answers start here.

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iHeart’s War On Salespeople Begins

CEO SpongeBob Bossy Pants just can’t deal with experienced salespeople who handle agency business that make six figures many times over in commission.

And he’s arrived on the scene to protect the greedy bastards that employ him from these freaks of nature.

Late last week, Pittman’s minions wiped out the sales careers for one-third of the sales force at their Houston cluster – one of its most lucrative.

When I say serial, I mean serial.

The sellers were lined up one by one – tapped on the shoulder and escorted to their career demise and fired by their sales manager.

For those not in the office at the time, they got fired over the phone. A nice touch.

Some with 29 years experience.

All had their personal belongings boxed as they were escorted to the door unable to say their goodbyes or leave with their dignity.

As repulsive and insensitive as this is, iHeart employees had better get used to it.

Pittman finally has the last piece in place that will allow him to start thinning out the sales department of a radio group that can’t even post positive revenue figures.

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  1. Why the Houston sales firings are just the beginning and how it spreads out next.
  2. Houston was a test for what Pittman has been planning next – what turns out to be this shortsighted way to reduce salespeople, benefits, expenses, commissions and still sell ads.
  3. What do media buyers think of losing their agency reps?
  4. A radio sales job is like sailing on the ill-fated Lusitania. Where is the best sales job in radio now? Let’s just put it out there because iHeart sellers are going to need it.
  5. Here’s how Pittman will thin iHeart’s sales force (in this order by job type).
  6. The future of iHeart commission cuts and bonus money explained.

The answers begin here.

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Employee Uprising At Cumulus San Francisco

The Dickeys tried to bust the union and now look what they got.

More than they can literally bargain for.

High-priced carpetbagger lawyers hired to come in and break the pesky union.

Instead, what Cumulus San Fran employees are accomplishing is the feel good story of the winter (and we need one).

The Bay Area victims of Lew Dickey’s stewardship are in full revolt and the Dickeys are starting to retreat.

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  1. How Lew’s union busting tactics backfired and bought him more headaches in San Francisco.
  2. Reports of retaliation by the company against employees that most certainly will wind up in front of an arbitrator.
  3. Tit-for-tat tactics by Cumulus that are so petty they must have had their feelings hurt. Details.
  4. Why the spirited pushback by San Francisco employees of Cumulus should be the template for wronged workers at iHeart, the rest of Cumulus markets and other egregious radio groups.
  5. The first step employees can take that will get them some say in their workplace mistreatment.

The answers begin here.

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Register For Tomorrow’s Philly Media Conference Here

You don’t have to look far to see why the radio industry is missing the future.

Often, media companies are not engaged with the issues that really matter going forward satisfied instead with yesterday’s strategic thinking.

Tomorrow, I am going to present for the sixth year in a row the blueprint for what content providers need to do to be relevant, successful and appreciated by audiences on-air and online in the 12 months ahead.

If you haven’t already registered for my Media Solutions Conference, you can do it today.

Here’s tomorrow’s program:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

REGISTRATION / COMPLMENTARY BREAKFAST

8:00 am         Registration / Complimentary Breakfast

9:00 am         Current State of the Radio Industry
                      Short Attention Spans & Radio
                      Solutions to Commercial Clutter
                      Listen Longer Strategies
                      Eliminating Radio’s 3 Biggest Objections
                      Selling Against Competitors Who Cut Rates

10:30 am       Break

10:45 am      Ways To Compete with Online Content
                      What Millennials Want From Radio
                      8 Millennial Mistakes You Don’t Want To Make
                      Available Radio Listeners

12 Noon        Complimentary Lunch

1:00 pm        How To Attract Millions To Your Website (Laurie Cantillo interview)

2:15 pm         Break

2:30 pm         Innovative Sources of New Radio Revenue
                      Telling Stories – the New Spoken Word
                      Why You Should Pass On Podcasting
                      Radio’s Potent New Competitor
                      Listener Engagement More Than Ratings

3:30 pm        Audience Q & A

4:00 pm        Conference Concludes

And here are the 13 critical areas we will cover:

  1. Attracting More Website Visits. WTOP in DC does 2 million every month and 31.8 million page views. So we’re bringing former 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 it's 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.

Reserve a seat.

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