Say It Ain’t So, Hubbard Going Rogue!

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  • No more Mrs. Nice Gal for Ginny Hubbard Morris.
  • Shocking details on Ginny’s plans to turn what used to be a much-admired group into – well, a mean-spirited consolidator.
  • More bodies will fly – here’s a map of where.
  • Why is Hubbard committing radio’s version of assisted suicide?
  • How far is Ginny prepared to go.
  • She pulled the trigger on Chicago this week, who is next.

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2017 Radio Conference, Philadelphia – April 5.  

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Unexpected Consequences at Beasley

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  • Why Beasley is a bad bet going forward.
  • And why it’s a last ditch destination for people wanting to remain in radio.
  • Three things that will absolutely kill Beasley’s chance of going anywhere unless they are fixed – and so far, nothing going.
  • Princess Caroline’s game of hardball.
  • Rumors that she’s ready to buy more stations.
  • How far she will go to grow Beasley at the expense of sound management.

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2017 Radio Conference, Philadelphia – April 5.

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Breakthrough in Selling Local Radio Ad Revenue

There is one thing that advertisers and their agencies crave.

That they have to pay a premium for.

That’s right, pay more not less.

A major radio group is this close to signing on with an independent company and requiring all their stations to change the way they handle commercial advertising.

And it’s the opposite of programmatic buying.

What can we expect?

And how will this breakthrough in local ad revenue work?

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I want to thank the Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers Board for the honor of inducting me into the Radio & Television Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Here is a short video of my acceptance speech about radio being the original social medium. Click here.

Fake News

They’re making a big thing about the fake news that has been trying to influence voters on Facebook.

That’s bad enough, but you don’t have to blame only Facebook.

CNN has fake news.

It’s a pee-r factory for Hillary Clinton and us Bernie supporters will never go with them to parts unknown with Anthony Bourdain.

MSNBC is so in the tank for the Democrats that they make Fox News look mainstream.

In fact, is it my imagination or is Fox News moving to the center?

The New York Times publisher all but apologized for their political coverage promising better but the next day it was the same slanted viewpoint in their news coverage.

The Washington Post under Jeff Bezos is great if you’re a 1999 liberal. They are working overtime to report the news from the left and it’s unreadable because you know they wouldn’t go this far to disparage Hillary Clinton had she won.

The Huffington Post is so embarrassing in their coverage of women’s issues and politics that you’d think they were waging gender warfare. And they hate Trump which is fine except don’t go there for real news.

And Drudge is still the aggregator-in-chief or should I say agitator-in-chief who can actually elect a president if he wants to – and he just did. Drudge mostly draws on articles from the right but artfully includes liberal biased newspapers like The New York Times and Washington Post in his mission to destroy the left.

All-news radio is non-existent unless you like garden reports and bullshit that can be wrapped around one of the many commercials they run which is why only real old people listen to all-news.

And the disgrace of all disgraces is the demise or self-immolation of talk radio which seems to have gotten the message from owners that it exists to fill up air time on AM stations only seniors listen to.  

Talk radio hasn’t changed a thing in decades – just like their audience. And you wonder why radio has managed to kill off one of its best formats.

There is only one thing that is real.

One thing that is authentic.

One thing remains untarnished by bias and biased reporting.

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The Market Senses Something Big at Cumulus

Since I reported that Cumulus and/or Lew Dickey could be involved in picking up some CBS Radio stations, their stock has increased by over 40% although it has given back some of the increases.

You’ve got to appreciate how piss poor Cumulus stock had been performing.

Over the last year it was worth a mere quarter and some change.

Then CEO Mary Berner executed (a bad word, sorry) a reverse stock split and the stock price was artificially increased to several dollars.

Until the bottom fell out.

And on November 10th Cumulus was worth a dollar again even after the one for eight reverse split.

Panic set in.

And now, the market – which never lies because greedy bastards are like the canary in the coalmine when it comes to protecting their financial investments --- is speaking to us.

It must be the prospect of buying some CBS stations or Lew Dickey riding to the rescue of the company he tanked.

But that’s not all.

When greedy bastards speak (with their money), Jerry listens.

Something big is up.

Something not already known that investors feel in their greedy little hands.

It could only be one thing.

No, two.

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The CBS Radio IPO

If you think that this is going to be a simple transfer of currently owned stations to an IPO that Les Moonves slapped $1.5 billion of debt on recently, that’s not what I’m hearing.

Mergers and acquisitions specialist Andre Fernandez wasn’t brought in to replace Dan Mason for nothing.

But the most significant thing about the CBS Radio IPO to be known as CBSR is being overlooked.

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How New Part-time Laws Will Affect iHeart, Cumulus

If there has been a boom in radio hiring, it has been by making formerly full-time employees part-time.

And hiring part-timers instead of full-timers after layoffs.

All employers will be subject to the new rules that may act as an incentive to either raise unlivable salaries or get someone else fired.

And all radio companies will be affected however iHeart and Cumulus being the largest employers will potentially be the most destabilizing because of the sheer numbers alone.

And all the other radio groups wind up doing what they do.

For example, the backbone of iHeart are employees making between $23,000 and $51,000 a year and most newsrooms and board ops work well over 40 hours a week.

Could radio employers be adding bodies?

Or find some way around it off the clock?

One of the unintended consequences of conducting so many layoffs was that hourly radio workers racked up too much overtime to pick up the workload.

What to do – fire them, pay a few and fire the others, cut benefits or worse? There are six major changes based on the new law.

The effective date of the part-time employee law is coming up quickly – December 1st.

That’s why it’s urgent to know what radio groups have to do to comply and what they are likely to do because it affects so many of their employees.

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Alpha Revolt

Larry Wilson used to be the bomb.

Bought up all those stations and put them into his Alpha-male company.

Went out of his way to remind us that they are all live and local with autonomy that could only be hoped for at other groups.

And then … well, the wheels came off.

Alpha is no longer the quintessential live and local radio outlet touted.

Suddenly, orders were coming down from on high at corporate.

No choice – just yes, sir!

The natives were getting restless.

All of this because Larry Wilson was hell bent on buying that crappy little radio company known as Digity with only one or two markets that could enhance the company.

But the debt made him act funny.

He dreamed of going public but that ship has sailed.

Now we learn that heavy-handed corporate decisions are being met with such resistance in places that it is tantamount to open revolt.

And then the unthinkable happened.

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The Cumulus/Dickey CBS Radio Merger May Be Back On

CBS Radio’s move to Nashville (home of “Nash”) is very suspicious.

Yesterday it was revealed that this anonymous company has negotiated a favorable new tax deal to move 200 employees to Nashville.

The Nashville Business Journal outed that company as none other than CBS Radio.

Huh?

CBS – the Tiffany Network people are doing a deal to up and move out of the Big Town for the rolling hills of Tennessee.

Oh boy, would I love to drink that Kool-Aid.

But it all tastes like B.S. to me.

Blah, blah, blah – I know Nashville isn’t New York even if it is a great city.

But CBS Radio isn’t your father’s CBS radio anymore, either.

200 jobs.

An average salary of $48,000 per employee – at least that’s what this secret new entity told the state of Tennessee during tax abatement negotiations.

Who could be THAT cheap?

How about Lew Dickey?

And/or Cumulus.

Who is synonymous with Nashville, none other than the creator of “Nash” itself, Lewis Dickey, Jr and his brother Fredo.

You think I’m kidding?

CBS is ready to launch an IPO or so they want everyone to think.

But they blew their best opportunity to sell the entire group to the one company that needs and wants them – Cumulus (with or without Dickey).  Lew has lost a reported $200 million as his Cumulus shares have declined.

So either CBS has gone nuts or they are setting the table for a December surprise the likes of which will have their employees heading to CVS to buy Depends and shaking up an unstable radio industry.

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Cumulus — Time Running Out

Mary Berner is the best thing that ever happened to Cumulus Media.

Too bad it wasn’t five years ago when she took over from Lew Dickey.

Now, Cumulus is in a bad way – worse than they are letting on and worse than Wall Street cares to admit.

There is a reason why Cumulus is selling for $1.15 a share even after a recent reverse buyback. 

The future is catching up with the present and debt, poor revenue results and middling programming success does not leave the second largest radio group much room to avoid bankruptcy.

Earnings are disappointing with no fix in sight.

And its $2.4 billion debt (second to iHeart’s whopping $20.8 billion) is hardly manageable under current conditions.

Over 50% of their larger PPM markets deliver about 50% of their revenue.

Even an optimist recognizes that impairment charges taken by Cumulus last year that adversely affected their performance are good comps for this year.

Even with Berner firmly in charge after a year, there is one thing that could push the company into bankruptcy.

Only one way to avoid it.

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