It's Day Two Of The Radio Show In Dallas
September 20, 2012 at 2:16 PM (PT)
The RAB/NAB RADIO SHOW continues TODAY (9/20) at The HILTON ANATOLE in DALLAS.
Ryvicker Ups Her Grade For Radio
WELLS FARGO SECURITIES Managing Dir. MARCI RYVICKER returned to the RADIO SHOW for another round of analysis of the industry, saying that much has changed since she last gave her highly critical views of radio at the RADIO SHOW, with "exciting" developments including the arrival of BOB PITTMAN at CLEAR CHANNEL, iHEARTRADIO, CBS SPORTS RADIO, and others. She noted that revenue growth has flattened but is relatively stable, a good thing in a weak economy with unemployment above 8% and income and retail sales growth stalled. Advertising as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product has declined to 1.3% but has been stable for several years, and radio's share of advertising has also been relatively stable. She gave radio a revenue score of B-minus, better than the D she would have given the industry a few years ago. She warned that Time Spent Listening has dropped but the number and reach of radio users is increasing and, while there are several competitors for consumers, radio has held its own, leading her to give it an "industry score" of A. RYVICKER gave radio a stock price grade of B, based on radio improving from underperforming its peers. Multiples are off from historical peaks but have been stable at 8.6x; she gave radio a C for valuation. The overall grade she bestowed on the industry was a B.
The Bosses Speak
The annual breakfast session of group heads moderated by WASHINGTON attorney LEW PAPER included CUMULUS' LEW DICKEY, EMMIS' JEFF SMULYAN, CHERRY CREEK RADIO's JOE SCHWARTZ, and UNIVISION RADIO's JOSE VALLE, and the talk immediately went to getting FM chips activated in cell phones. SMULYAN criticized SALEM's PHIL BOYCE (not by name) for BOYCE's comments at a session on TUESDAY that he doesn't need an FM chip in his phone because of streaming, saying that it would cost his company for data charges to stream the stations but could be transitioned to the FM chip. He also said that using the chip allows broadcasters to keep control, as opposed to streaming, which, he says, cedes control to carriers. SMULYAN said the industry needs to mobilize listeners to contact their mobile carriers to get the chips activated and stressed the emergency use and consumer data charges as additional issues. SCHWARTZ agreed, calling the issue a "no-brainer" ("we need to have FM chips in cell phones, period"); DICKEY said that the industry should educate listeners on why they need the chips, and VALLE said that the industry needs to offer a financial incentive to the carriers to encourage them to activate the chips, and SMULYAN said that the industry stands ready to pay fees or give promotional incentives for equipped phones to the carriers to make it happen.
On HD RADIO, SMULYAN said that radio is convinced that it needs to be on the "dashboard of the future" and that the "HD solution" is the answer to carriers metering data usage and charging for it. DICKEY said that the industry has evolved to address both portables and car audio for HD RADIO and while the latter has made progress, the focus needs to be on mobiles. He echoed SMULYAN's concern on data metering, stressing the efficiency and free price of traditional radio broadcasting. SCHWARTZ said he was concerned that the cost of HD RADIO might be too much for smaller markets and could lead to "haves and have nots"; VALLE said his company has done HD in larger markets and while he doesn't know if it does his company any good revenue-wise, UNIVISION feels it has to provide the option to listeners.
SCHWARTZ said that stations need to "go back to basics" in competing with digital companies like PANDORA, asserting that digital competitors "want what we have," including local content; he added, "I think we're killing ourselves" by cutting back on local staff and programming and leaving stations unattended, but said that the industry's troubles can be solved by growing revenue. "Revenue solves everything," he insisted.
DICKEY and SCHWARTZ both noted the need for proper training of salespeople to sell in the current competitive climate and economy ("it's not 2007," SCHWARTZ said, adding on the economy, "it's not even the NEW normal. It's the normal").
DICKEY, noting APPLE's conversion from a computer company to manufacturer of an iconic cell phone, urged the industry to find new ways to add incremental income to its bottom line, admitting that radio was "late to the party" on digital but noting that initiatives like his company's daily deals company SWEETJACK and its partnership with CLEAR CHANNEL in that venture are examples of building new businesses with cooperation between radio competitors.
On performance royalties, SMULYAN said that the industry has been willing to make a deal and he supports attempts to cut deals on performance and streaming royalties to allow the business to move forward (although he voiced skepticism, due to royalties and bandwidth costs, that streaming "is a business").
DICKEY said that deal flow is being restricted by a lack of capital but that as the business improves and cash flow grows, investors will come back. SCHWARTZ, shaking his head, responded that investors are looking for "more robust growth" than the industry has shown and that more consistent growth will be needed. VALLE discussed foreign investment and the frustration of competing against companies which, because they don't hold FCC licenses, have more foreign investors; SMULYAN said that fears that a foreign investor will buy a station and suddenly air "news from IRAN" do not conform to reality.
Closing with the question of whether comments that "radio is dead" are premature, SCHWARTZ called them "absurd" and advised stations to concentrate on their own business; he called the business "strong" and "robust." SMULYAN reiterated his cell phone argument, VALLE said "as long as we play the right music and invite the right people to the party ... we're good."
Dave Ramsey's Five Principles For Success In This Economy
Syndicated financial talker DAVE RAMSEY told a Super Session audience about his career and offered advice on succeeding in the current economy. The host mixed entertaining anecdotes about his start in radio and other scenes from his life with advice on how to win in a bad economy,
"People matter," RAMSEY said as the first of five principles he offered. "Every person you come in contact with has a story, and when you look at that customer as a person, it changes how you interact with him."
A second principle he offered was the need for "an incredible team" working in a "culture of excellence." Talent, he said, is not enough; relational abilities create a stronger team, he said, than talented but "crazy" people. He also advised managers to be "loyal to your team," noting that one can't expect loyalty if one doesn't show loyalty in return.
Third on the list was "slow and steady matters." He warned that "short-term thinkers make stupid and fearful decisions," and told of a successful man who advised him to read "The Tortoise and the Hare" for business advice, saying that rich people think 10-15 years out and poor people worry about FRIDAY.
"Financial principles matter" was fourth on the list, including his warnings about debt and the danger of losing control of a business to the lenders. "The more debt," RAMSEY said, "the higher likelihood of failure." He said that he is buying "all the real estate I can" right now and professed faith in the free enterprise system, noting the sharp comeback of the stock market and wishing he'd had an extra million dollars to invest when the market bottomed out.
And his final principle was "a higher calling matters." The point gave RAMSEY a chance to expound on the spiritual portion of his message, advising that "there has to be something more, there has to be a reason for us to be here doing this stuff."
Also in the early session slot, consultant VALERIE GELLER brought her "Creating Powerful Content" forum to the RADIO SHOW, with a panel of op producers on hand.
Music And Radio Panel Discusses Big Machine Deals
Another Super Session carried the title "The Relationship Between Music and Radio ... We Need Each Other," and EMMIS' RICK CUMMINGS wasted no time in asking BIG MACHINE's SCOTT BORCHETTA about his label's deal with CLEAR CHANNEL and the newly-announced deal with ENTERCOM. BORCHETTA called the amount received in the opening period from CLEAR CHANNEL "significant"; Country star JOHN RICH of BIG AND RICH imagined, however, that the amount of money reaching artists will be like parceling out "a hoagie on a hobo train." Nevertheless, he voiced approval of the parties trying to seek a "happy medium" on the issue. CUMMINGS brought up the comment of CBS' LES MOONVES calling performance royalties "absurd," and CBS RADIO's DAN MASON, who later invited label heads to contact him to talk, said that the comment is indeed the company's position, but he applauded CLEAR CHANNEL and BIG MACHINE for arriving at a private deal in the open marketplace.
CLEAR CHANNEL's TOM POLEMAN said that the deal arose from the viewpoint that "the system we have now is broken." Noting that consumers want the programming in whatever form they desire, from broadcast to online to mobile, "We need a model that allows for that growth. The per-play model we have now is unsustainable." BORCHETTA warned radio not to take the same position the music industry did with NAPSTER, killing it off when they didn't know whether it was "a flower or a weed;" he said that artists who do not write their own songs need to be paid. CUMMINGS asked why one of the biggest labels hasn't moved to make a deal like BIG MACHINE's with radio, and POLEMAN indicated that talks have occurred with bigger companies.
CUMMINGS asked RICH if he'd ever refused to call radio stations for interviews because he isn't getting paid, and RICH, to laughter, responded that he "never said that," pointing out that he recently made several appearances on radio and TV and POLEMAN adding that the purpose of the interviews is less to benefit the stations and more to reach consumers. POLEMAN also described how CLEAR CHANNEL uses promotions and events in artist development.
On MASON's comments a year-and-a-half ago calling for more front-selling and back-announcing of songs, MASON decried how radio has lost spontaneity ("we lost a step"); he said that he is not trying to change the industry but just wants his stations to sell music product, RICH said that not front-selling or back-announcing songs means listeners "never connect the dots," while telling listeners the artists' names and song titles has a "direct impact" on sales.
WRKO Rings The Silver Bell
KIMBERLY-CLARK VP JOE MALVEZZI prevented the AD COUNCIL's Silver Bell Award to ENTERCOM Talk WRKO-A/BOSTON for its support for the Hunger Prevention Campaign. ENTERCOM's KEN BECK accepted the award on behalf of the company.
Talk, And Selling Talk
An early afternoon session on talk radio and how to sell it was split into two parts, one a "great debate" among syndicated hosts and the other on selling advertising in the format. The former panel included FOX NEWS RADIO's ALAN COLMES, PREMIERE NETWORKS' ANDY DEAN, CUMULUS MEDIA NETWORKS' GERALDO RIVERA, and DIAL GLOBAL "JILL ON MONEY" host JILL SCHLESSINGER in a discussion moderated by AL PETERSON that included talk about the economy (SCHLESSINGER said that it doesn't matter who's in the WHITE HOUSE and that "we still have a long way to go" towards recovery), the mood of the electorate (RIVERA discussed his show's staging of job fairs and his view that the economy isn't the main issue of the election but likability and ideology will be more important), whether Republicans can accept an OBAMA victory (COLMES said the extreme right "can't accept an OBAMA presidency"; DEAN projected the Republicans to take CAPITOL HILL and OBAMA to win the WHITE HOUSE, with the result being a stalemate), the bailout and stimulus (SCHLESSINGER said while the TARP bailout and stimulus were done poorly, they were essential to stave off a "multi-year depression"), taxes and spending, and other topics.
The second part of the session, moderated by the RAB's ERICA FARBER, brought SOUND MIND LLC President and Founder KRAIG KITCHIN, GREATER MEDIA/BOSTON Market Manager ROB WILLIAMS, and COX MEDIA GROUP ATLANTA VP of Sales ROB BABIN together to talk about selling the format. WILLIAMS said that a salesperson needs to be "all in" to be successful selling talk radio; the salesperson needs to love controversy, he said; he also discussed the impact of the RUSH LIMBAUGH controversy on sales, saying that it led to deep conversation with clients. BABIN said that local sales were not affected, but national and agency business was affected and led to probing what "controversial" is; he said that he was able to switch two national clients who initially issued a "no controversial talk" edict by talking to their local contacts. KITCHIN said that he vehemently objects to tacking the label "controversial" on talk hosts, preferring to call them "highly-rated, highly-cleared." He said that the LIMBAUGH controversy "knocked the hell" out of sales, and he understood the impulse of clients to "make it stop," but counseled advertisers not to stop advertising because it disengages brands from their customers.
Parr, Kidd, Bert On Talent Panel
On-air talent -- in the person of CUMULUS Top 40 WWWQ (Q100)/ATLANTA's BERT WEISS, YEA NETWORK syndicated host KIDD KRADDICK, and AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS' RUSS PARR -- was on display in an afternoon session at the RADIO SHOW. RADIO ONE HOUSTON OM TERRI THOMAS moderated the discussion, which included talk about adjusting for the PPM, connecting with listeners through social media (and with other morning show's fans, in the case of KRADDICK buying Facebook ads appearing on competitors' pages), dealing with Internet critics (the Internet, WEISS said, it "the coward's canvas"), and more.
Also meeting in the 3:30p slot were panels on major radio policy issues, agency decision-making processes, an ROI case study for SIX FLAGS, hiring,, and engineering management.
Thursday night's schedule:
4:30-6p: Happy Hour and a Half
6p: NAB Marconi Radio Awards Reception, Dinner & Show
Get more info at www.radioshowweb.com.
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