Urban One on the Brink of a Merger/Sale

Late last week, one of their biggest shareholders dumped all their Urban One stock.

Then yesterday, the Urban One stock went through the roof.  Go figure.

The company is choking on debt.

They’re the only black-owned radio company with the word “urban” that even the Grammys and iHeart are rebuking as racist and outdated euphemism for genres such as hip-hop and R&B.

Someone knows something that is making the public markets this optimistic about a black-owned urban radio and TV company.

One speculated buyer has been identified and if this is to be the new owner, all the Urban One optimism could be worth it.

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Sobering Look at Racism in Radio & Records

The entertainment business doesn’t need the trouble it is about to have from systemic  racism that has become more prominent with the Black Lives Matter movement and disturbing current events.

The radio industry is the protector of racist policies and at the very least a bad example in doing what’s right.

The music industry has better optics because it produces hip-hop music and spreads the word but unfortunately it does not spread the power and the money.

Radio is about to get whacked for being late to the issue of systemic racism and it will present itself in ways that were unthinkable just a month ago – the music business will be forced to go even further.

Years of denial and neglect are coming due and it looks like more disruption at a time when the media business is already under the gun.

As the racism issue explodes, we are beginning to get a sobering look at the disruption ahead for radio & records.

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Radio Groups Looking to Shut Local Operations

You’ve heard me say that the coronavirus was a gift handed to radio owners.

Under the cover of a worldwide pandemic, COVID gave failing radio groups a way to quickly paralyze employee costs through furloughs, firings and layoffs.

These cutbacks will be permanent.

It’s the survivors who now have a lot to worry about.

At least one radio group is dead serious about shutting down most of their studios and offices and operating off a model so new that radio stations have never seen the likes of such a plan.

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Nielsen Disavows COVID Ratings (Clients Paid For)

Turns out the People Meter is a God-awful way to measure radio listening while audiences self-isolate – now we have the evidence.

Along with just about everything else living outside the norm these days, so it is with the Nielsen’s– but not necessarily the way programmers and their bosses/owners had expected.

PPM has many disadvantages that have been exposed over the years – now as the post COVID ratings are being analyzed, there are more. 

Carrying a People Meter is an issue itself along with drive-by listening attributing audience to phantom people – add to that new placement issues, compensation and sticking to a PPM routine while lockdowns have eviscerated routines and is having a major impact.

Now we’re seeing “reported” audience changes that are substantial – the question is – are they to be believed?

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Townsquare’s Survival Odds

Their new bean counters revealed $108 million in restatements for 2017 through 2019.

In other words, the past three years were financial fiction.

Among the changes:  huge write downs of sticks and goodwill and they overpaid for a live events company and got burned.

Investor lawsuits are being pursued already – only one day after the restatement.

But Townsquare stock rebounded in trading yesterday while the Dow was down and it has been well up from a couple of weeks ago.

For the first time, the industry gets a real honest look at Townsquare and its future.

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