Record Labels To Squeeze Radio Events

Headlines …

  • How record labels plan to disrupt radio’s live event business.
  • The 5 radio groups with the most to lose.
  • What the record labels now want from radio and what they are willing to give in return.
  • The new difficulties of using artists for live radio events.
  • Why, of all broadcasters, SiriusXM could be a surprise live event player.

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The New Radio Business Model

  • The “new” number of spots per hour.
  • Where expenses will be cut beyond what’s happening today.
  • Where does programmatic buying fit in – and does it fit in?
  • Live and local will be replaced by a new approach that begins with a “P” – this is the replacement.
  • What is reverse digital – it’s coming to radio.

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Entercom Debt Worries

  • How serious are Entercom’s debt problems?
  • What is behind yesterday’s big Entercom stock selloff?
  • Is it time to be concerned about the future of Entercom.
  • How much time does Entercom have to deal with debt (remember, both iHeart & Cumulus denied bankruptcy up to the end)?
  • What they will do to cut expenses further.

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Google Targeting Radio

  • How Google has plans to go after broadcast radio.
  • How Google aims to amass audio content without paying for it and profiting from day one.
  • Why Apple, Amazon, Facebook/Instagram are likely to follow Google’s lead.
  • What these tech giants see in radio while radio is flirting with podcasting and digital.
  • How radio can stop Google in their tracks by changing its business model – here’s one to consider.

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Cumulus Asset Sales

  • Here’s what’s up with Westwood One – plus two buyers who could steal the company.
  • Will Cumulus entertain offers for other WPLJ-type properties now that they’ve all but exited major markets New York & DC?
  • Besides religious broadcaster EMF, who are potential buyers for prime Cumulus assets?
  • The surprising answer to what happens to money made from selling iconic radio stations.
  • The surprising market Cumulus would love to sell off major stations.

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The 9-year span of listeners that could save radio

  • The sweet spot – the next great group of people who are available now to provide great radio audience growth for the next 12 years.
  • How should a station target a super group this narrow?
  • What is the secret to unlocking their passion – it comes down to one word.
  • Does “narrow targeting” involve inventing entirely new formats or making critical adjustments to existing formats?
  • What are some major do’s and don’ts with which to get started.

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Entercom’s Event Business in Question

  • The “new look” live events business shaping up under Entercom
  • Puzzling revenue numbers, revamping of what’s a live event
  • New practices and policies created largely by non-CBS people
  • How even Taylor Swift lays an egg for Entercom live events
  • Walking away from money – Entercom’s new strategy

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The Sale of Westwood One

  • Did Cumulus try to sell Westwood One? Is it still trying?
  • What is Westwood now worth without major New York and DC stations to clear spots?
  • What it is likely to take to buy Westwood One at this point.
  • The best buyer for Westwood.
  • What happens to Westwood One should Cumulus enter a second bankruptcy?

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Cox Radio

  • Now that the TV stations are sold, why selling part or all of Cox’s Radio division could be very complicated.
  • The kind of prices Cox will be seeking?
  • Who might have the greatest interest in Cox Radio?
  • What happens to Kim Guthrie?

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Cumulus Without Major Markets

  • The effect of the Cumulus selloff on competitors
  • Will more stations be sold
  • What could make Cumulus giveaway WPLJ
  • The fate of WABC-AM
  • The selloff side effects on Westwood One 

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The Cumulus Motive for Its $100 Million Selloff

How prophetic was Wednesday’s headline – “Cumulus Starting to Panic”?

Several hours after it was published Cumulus announced a $103.5 million sale of WPLJ-FM, New York, WYAY-FM, Atlanta, WRQX-FM, Washington, KFFG-FM, San Jose, WZAT-FM, Savannah and WXTL-FM, Syracuse – all FM stations for pennies on the dollar to the bottom feeder in radio acquisitions Educational Media Foundation (EMF).

And EMF gets towers or leases that will generate an additional $5-7 million in revenue.

Separately, Cumulus did a swap with Entercom in which Cumulus gets three Indianapolis stations in exchange for Nash-FM in New York (Newark, NJ) and two stations in Springfield, MA.

Cumulus CEO Mary Berner said “These transactions are consistent with our portfolio optimization strategy and both deals are accretive,” as her nose grew.

And Entercom CEO David Field apparently crossed his fingers and toes when he said “We are saddened to part ways with our colleagues in Indianapolis, but know that they will be in great hands.”


Great hands?

Cumulus is so desperate it is selling off pieces for scrap to give long suffering lenders recovery value. 

How would Field like to work on the Titanic.

You don’t need to be reminded of what the decision to sell major markets means to a radio company.

And nowhere in all this is their reference to the many jobs lost, the lies told, careers ruined all by a CEO who made her employees believe that it was the previous regime that was toxic.

Cumulus in effect announcing it is weakening itself, selling majors and running from the radio business is just the beginning of the story, here are 7 key ramifications no one dares to mention. 

Read the full article now.

Cumulus Starting to Panic

An entirely new way to run the company.

A different approach to handling employees.

A warning that as Berner begins to sweat, sudden and unusual actions will be taken to preserve her job.

Unthinkable changes just a year ago are now back on the table.

And there’s Mike McVay. 

Read the full article now.

Lew Dickey’s Altered Plan for Radio

We know Lew Dickey’s first acquisition for his new company.

Akazoo, the emerging markets music streaming service that has been profitable for the last 7 plus years and is uniquely positioned to take advantage of “glocalism”, the complex business of appealing to local musical tastes.

And we know he’s rumored to be kicking tires at TuneIn, the struggling radio streaming site that is looking for a buyer. TuneIn would easily eclipse Entercom’s and include podcasting and music streaming at more favorable music rates.

So, what about radio?

Is Lew Dickey over it or does he have a plan to buy radio stations?

A lot of things have altered plans in recent weeks with Dickey having what every other radio group wants – a real digital platform.

Where is he on wanting what theyhave – a radio group?

Read the full article now.

What’s Wrong with the Grammys

Here we go again.

Did you watch the Grammys? Did it suck? 

Are you pissed that Arianna Grande did not participate or was she right to join the artists who are saying no to showcase performances?

Wasn’t Lady Gaga great?

Does it matter.

The Grammys are a lightning rod for what is right and wrong in the music/media space.

And every picture tells a story if you don’t mind me borrowing a phrase from an album of the glory days --- they were the glory days, right?

An industry that no longer needs radio airplay and is being attacked by at least one of the streaming music services that helped it turn in another profitable year seems to thrive on disruption. 

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Connected Cars & Smart Speakers

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  1. The car radio is still very much available in today’s autos – so why is radio losing car time to mobile content.
  2. Streaming music playlists are cutting into on-air listening – how does radio fight thousands of playlists some with as many as 8 million listeners a day?
  3. Consumers keep paying for satellite radio in record numbers but few Millennials will pay for it – where does this leave free radio.
  4. AM is being taken out of cars – what are the ramifications for thousands of AM stations that are increasingly excluded from the connected car.
  5. Radio is losing share to popular in-home smart speakers – how to gain it back.

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The Deloitte Radio Study

There are some pretty amazing assertions in this year’s Deloitte media study.

Deloitte is one of the big four accounting organizations and the largest professional services network in the world so it’s not nothing when they pool information and publish reports.

Audiences will soon prefer radio over TV.

And how radio can survive by just being “there”.

And we’re not making this stuff up even though it seems Deloitte is way out on a limb.

But the most fascinating and perhaps revealing aspect of this Big Four accounting group’s state of the media has to do with where djs rank among the top ten reasons to listen to radio.

That’s worth unpacking because as it turns out, this finding actually tells a lot about the future of radio.

And also, the most popular thing about radio today that most people even in radio don’t know.

Read the full article now.

The Increasing Threat of SiriusXM

I have a contentious but glorious relationship with one of my readers, a portfolio manager who just loves everything SiriusXM does.

So, he takes me to task and I dish it right back.

Example of his prose about my critical SiriusXM comments: “You keep saying that and they keep putting up numbers unlike your radio shit crowd. And unlike radio, they are pivoting hard and are really good at digital, marketing, a wide breadth of content, sports etc. I might be old..but you are radio and old! :)”

I’m not used to being accused of being a radio apologist so you can see why this is so intriguing.

I mention my friend because he serves as a great introduction to today’s piece on the increasing influence of his favorite media company.

One scenario is they totally disrupt radio and leave it permanently injured.  And then there’s the other – that SiriusXM and all the media companies it is acquiring collapses under its own weight. 

God knows the “love letter” I’m going to get after this story.

Read the full article now.

Entercom’s Manager Problem

At the time of the merger, David Field was so anxious to offload CBS salaries higher than he was paying any of his Entercom employees that he pushed CBS to start doing it even before the merger officially closed.


Andre Fernandez and Scott Herman were pressured to keep Field happy and as it turns out tried to talk David out of blowing things up even more interestingly enough acting like the adults in the room.

Field got his way and when he took over, he had no one to stop him.  Nine qualified and highly compensated CBS managers lined up and fired from the get go. 

Field has another big personnel problem but what he’s planning to do now can no longer be blamed on CBS. 

Read the full article now.

The Sale of TuneIn

  1. It appears one or more radio-related companies may be interested in buying TuneIn streaming music service – here are the potential contenders.
  2. The acquisition of TuneIn could instantly turn one of a handful of radio-only companies around on a dime – here’s why.
  3. SiriusXM just now closed on its acquisition of Pandora, a much larger player than TuneIn – now could SiriusXM be a serious bidder for TuneIn?
  4. Entercom took possession of in the CBS merger – are they in for TuneIn?
  5. Doomsday scenario – if this radio buyer winds up with TuneIn it could be lights out for Cumulus’ digital hopes and a total disruption of the radio industry – here’s why that’s a real possibility.

Read the full article now.