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RAB Shop Talk
Monday, September 23, 2013 Volume 2   |   Issue 183
Nielsen takeover of Arbitron – next Monday
NielsenNielsen agrees to share Arbitron's PPM with (some) rivals.

Sure enough, Friday’s Federal Trade Commission decision came down to “emerging competition in the area of cross-platform audience measurement.” Not Arbitron’s hold on radio ratings or Nielsen’s lock on TV ratings. Though recently-seated FTC Commissioner Joshua Wright dissents and says the other two Commissioners who voted on this deal acted on the “novel theory...that the merger will substantially lessen competition in a market that does not today exist.” But to many folks, that market – for cross-platform measurement that encompasses radio, TV and online – is so close they can taste it. And Nielsen’s getting control of a proven tool in the Portable People Meter. You’ve read that comScore and ESPN had talked with the FTC about their year-old “Project Blueprint” cross-platform trial, and they feared that Nielsen might turn out the lights. To win federal approval of its $1.26 billion purchase of Arbitron, Nielsen agrees to “sell and license, for at least eight years,” that technology to any “FTC-approved buyer” of it. Not only that, Nielsen’s obligated to provide technical assistance – and must allow another company to hire “key Arbitron employees.” The two Commissioners who levied the conditions argue that without Nielsen licensing the intellectual assets, “it is unlikely that another company would be able to develop a service to compete with Nielsen’s future service.”

has acquired
assets in
Elmira and Olean, New York
Kalil & Co., Inc.
2960 N. Swan Rd, Ste 134
Tucson, AZ 85712

What does the FTC decision mean to radio?

Mainly, that as of next Monday, September 30, Nielsen’s taking ownership of Arbitron. Reporting from last week’s NAB/RAB Radio Show, this NOW Newsletter told you that it’s highly likely that Nielsen plans to drop the Arbitron name, sooner or later – and probably sooner. It means that for the first time in decades, the radio industry won’t be dealing with Maryland-based Arbitron, but international research conglomerate Nielsen. We'll know more after this morning's analyst call with Nielsen. The multi-billion dollar giant was quietly present at the Orlando Radio Show, taking meetings with its future radio clients. Quick review of the deal – Last December 17, Arbitron’s board agreed to sell the firm to Nielsen for $48 per share in cash. Some top Arbitron execs have potential brightly-hued golden parachutes. And both companies’ stocks were down a bit on Friday, during a soft day on Wall Street. “ARB” stock finished down a fraction of a percent (12 cents) at $47.60. While acquirer Nielsen slipped 3.5%, or $1.31, to $35.87 a share.

Jay GuytherArbitron exec Jay Guyther will monitor Nielsen’s “compliance.”

“PPM GUY” is literally Jay’s Maryland license plate. He spent 25 years at Arbitron and was Senior VP of Ratings Services when he left in March 2009, responsible for the commercialization of the PPM service. He soon joined ROI Media Solutions (where he’s a partner), and he’s consulted Google and serves as EVP/general manager of Mobile Research Labs. Jay’s the guy the Federal Trade Commission is counting on to “oversee Nielsen’s compliance” with last Friday’s decision. The compliance is only for the purpose of licensing Arbitron data and technology for a cross-platform service. Interesting fine print in the FTC statement – “Arbitron has placed encoders with TV broadcasters representing about 70% of the TV content represented by Nielsen’s TV ratings.” It’s not hard to imagine that Nielsen might expand that, one fine day. Nielsen’s required to give monitor Jay Guyther access to “people, facilities and the business to determine compliance.” He’s allowed to hire lawyers and accountants to help him. Nielsen CEO David Calhoun says overall, “this is a highly acceptable outcome for us.” Read the “summary of FTC decision” here.

IPO for Univision?

The Spanish media colossus was bought back in March 2007 – exactly the wrong time, price-wise – for $12.7 million. The buyers were private equity groups like Thomas H. Lee Partners, which a year later would team up with Bain Capital to gobble up Clear Channel. It’s been 6-1/2 long years since the Univision purchase, and finally the stock market appears strong enough to think about an IPO, to pull out some money. One favorable omen - Univision’s surging Spanish TV business, and Wall Street’s giddy attitude about TV stocks. (There have been billions of dollars in TV station deals, since 2011.) Reuters says that nothing’s imminent with Univision. But it’s “held discussions with banks about an initial public offering.” That might not come until Fall 2014, but Univision could start laying the groundwork. And with next year being a Congressional election year, and TV stations budgeting for a strong uptick, the numbers at that time would look especially favorable for an IPO. Then there are the ratings, where Univision’s been toppling old-line broadcast networks like NBC. Mexico’s Televisa supplies some of Univision’s strongest programming, and the 2007 purchase was structured to give it a 5% attributable ownership stake that could be converted into as much 30% – if the FCC changes the foreign ownership rules.

The Ticket When is a station sale not a sale? When Cumulus parks a Dallas FM with a broker.

Remember the July 8 story about Cumulus wanting to upgrade its Dallas cluster, so it filed to “place north-suburban KTDK, Sanger (104.1) with Bill Whitley”? Cumulus said the Media Services Group broker would own the station until he could find a buyer, and pending that sale, he’d pay it $100. But the FCC just killed the plan. It says “in reality the transaction is a brokerage agreement in which Whitley is tasked with finding a buyer and is to be compensated for doing so by the payment of a $50,000 flat fee when that transaction closes.” FCC Audio Division Chief Peter Doyle that “all of the economic risk of operating [KTDK] would remain with Cumulus...Whitley will receive his brokerage fee and no more, whether the station is sold for $1 million or $10 million.” So the FCC dismisses the transfer application from Cumulus to Whitley Media – and Cumulus needs to find another solution for a sticky problem. Because after it filed this deal in July, it announced an agreement to LMA Disney-owned all-sports KESN, Allen (“ESPN 103.3”). That’s a competitor to KTDK, and it would give Cumulus the two top sports operations in the Metroplex. Cumulus has been simulcasting its format-leading “Ticket” KTCK (1310) on KTDK, and perhaps that would’ve continued under Whitley Media. (We’ll never know for sure.) Read the FCC letter to Cumulus here. Meanwhile – last week, the Ticket was a worthy winner of the NAB Marconi Award in the sports category.

Compass Media Networks

C100 Contest-rigging alleged in Halifax, Canada – by three people at the phone company.

They’ve been suspended with pay and sent home, says CTV Atlantic and it was apparently some fellow workers at Bell Aliant who played the whistle-blower role. Some of the media in Halifax point out that Bell owns both the phone company and CHR “C100” CIOO (100.1). But that could be complete coincidence. C100 was running a “Beat the bank” call-in contest for cash prizes up to $50,000 (Canadian). The station was looking for the 25th caller, and what’s being investigated is whether the two women and one man at Bell Aliant figured out how to improve their odds. CTV Atlantic says “a post on a Facebook page belonging to one of the employees refers to winning $750 in late August.” The phone company says it “moved very quickly to alert C100 and to put a fix in place to avoid this happening for their contests in the future.” While the station has reviewed its call-in procedures and is “withholding the final winnings of these individuals pending the outcome of the investigation by Bell Aliant.”

Onetime Portland, Oregon pirate FM signs off its Internet stream…

And will be “handing the keys to its southeast Portland studio and all its broadcasting equipment over to fledgling terrestrial station KXRY, or XRAY FM.” That’s from the Willamette Week, which says the “Portland Radio Authority’s” terrestrial signal was shut down following “an untimely article in the [daily] Oregonian,” which alerted the FCC. The volunteer-run and beer-fueled alternative station then went online. But after ten years, it’s forced to sign off because of mounting financial problems. The successor could be a new non-commercial FM signal in the market that would take the PRA name. It’s a Class D FM (less than 10 watts) that’s applied to change from 91.1 to 101.5, and has turned to Kickstarter to raise the rest of the funds needed to get on the air. But Willamette Week says the market will miss the original Portland Radio Authority, which held a farewell fundraising beer party over the weekend. Some of its shows – Corporate Radio Reject (“trashy punk and pop and hip-hop”) and Neon Vernacular (“underappreciated and oddball music”). Check out the PRA site here.

Larry RosinWrapping up the NAB/RAB Radio Show from Orlando –

Edison says “listening to any sort of radio at work has fallen in the last 16 years.” Larry Rosin of Edison Research presented his latest update on this topic Friday morning at the Radio Show and here are some key points – “when America’s workforce listens to audio on the job, they are listening to broadcast radio more than any other option. But less than half of them listen to any broadcast radio while working, versus a third who say they consume Internet radio.” And then that startling quote about listening to “any sort of radio at work” declining. The Radionomy-sponsored study finds that “of those who do not listen to broadcast radio at work, nearly a quarter say it is because ‘there are too many commercials on AM/FM radio.’ ” Those folks are definitely noticing the lower spotloads of Internet radio. One of the continuing questions is whether (or how much) Internet radio is additive to broadcast. Edison finds “evidence that online radio has indeed expanded the time spent with audio, as 22% of all Internet radio users say their listening is 'new listening.’” Of those who listen to broadcast radio (or its streams) at work, 53% listen over-the air, 41% listen on a computer, and 35% say “smartphone.” Plenty to dissect and learn from, in the Edison “What’s working at work” study here.

“Find your local radio station” on a new high-tech dashboard. That was the challenge to four users of new cars, and the resulting reality-video clips kept the packed Ballroom C laughing – but there was plenty to be anxious about, too. Fred Jacobs (of Jacobs Media and jacAPPS) and Roger Lanctot of Strategy Analytics showed everyday users struggling with various car interfaces. It was nice comedy, but as Brad Hill writes at the RAIN newsletter, “one couldn’t help noticing how divergent were the OEM approaches” by various car makers. Brad says “the car companies seem to be widening the chasm that separates drivers from a standard set of infotainment control features.” Fred and Roger forecast that by 2017, there will be 140 million connected cars on the road. More from RAIN about “Radio and the Connected Car” here.

Ginny MorrisCongratulations to Ginny Morris of Hubbard Radio, this year’s National Radio Award winner. Just as you’d expect from the soft-spoken third-generation broadcast owner/operator, Ginny was a quiet presence all week at the Radio Show. But Friday’s luncheon gave her the opportunity to shine. As you read last Friday, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai wasn’t able to be there in person, because he wanted to be close by his very pregnant wife. After the luncheon – time to fold the tents (the exhibit floor had already packed up Thursday afternoon) and go home. The 2014 NAB/RAB Radio Show is September 10-12 in Indianapolis. So you've never thought of Indy for a convention city? It regularly hosts the huge crowds of the Indy 500, and it further spiffed up its downtown for a recent Super Bowl.

The National Association of Media Brokers has new officers, and the slate’s led by Glenn Serafin of Tampa-based Serafin Brothers. The former AP rep and CEA executive takes the gavel from Jody McCoy of Media Services Group, and will serve a two-year term. Mark Jorgenson, both a broker and former station owner/operator, is the new VP of the Media Brokers group. Roger Rafson of CMS Station Brokerage in Pittsburgh is the new secretary. And Greg Guy, a managing partner in Patrick Communications, is treasurer. What does the NAMB do? One of its outreach efforts is to support the Ward Quaal Pioneer Awards at the Spring NAB Show in Las Vegas – which raises money for the Broadcasters Foundation. The brokers group is a founding underwriter of the Quaal awards.

First Flash

Formats and branding –

If you’re in southwestern Tennessee, you can’t beat an all-Elvis format stunt. That’s what George Flinn’s using at former CHR “100.3 Kiss FM” WYDL. It’s licensed to Middleton, Tennessee, just north of the Tennessee-Mississippi state line near Corinth, and due south of Jackson, Tennessee. Most important, you’re about 80 miles east of Memphis, where Elvis did so much recording.

KWNRThe Spring-book 1.7 was enough “bull” for Clear Channel in Las Vegas, and it re-images country KWNR as “95.5 The Bull.” Clear Channel’s positioning the format as “new country,” in pursuit of Beasley’s “Coyote” KCYE (a 3.6 Arbitron share with age 6+ AQH). The Coyote ranked #11 among the subscribing stations in the August PPMs, while KWNR fell to #22 – below non-commercial urban “Power 88” KCEP. Check the newest execution of the Clear Channel new country “Bull” concept here.

30 miles west of Gainesville, Florida, a new urban AC’s being prepared at 97.7. A year ago, Gainesville’s William Johnson paid CP-holder Alex Berger $325,000 for a future Class C3 licensed to Cross City. Berger’s Alex Media made out pretty well – it won the CP in the FCC’s auction #91 for just $15,000, and Berger doesn’t even have to reimburse the Commission for the “unjust enrichment fee.” That’s because William Johnson would’ve qualified for the same bidding credit Berger used. Gainesville.com reports that Johnson’s not hiding his format plans for the future WURB. It will be urban AC, using Premiere’s Steve Harvey. Target date – by December 1.

Carlisle, Pennsylvania’s adult standards “Nice” WHYL (960) is in some jeopardy, per the local CumberLink.com. Trustworthy Radio filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (usually, reorganization) in August 2012, and in July of this year, that was converted to Chapter 7. That usually means a sale of the assets to cover the debts. NOW can report that in July, Chapter 7 trustee Markian Slobodian was appointed by a federal bankruptcy judge in Harrisburg. WHYL was one of the many AM stations licensed after the FCC ended the World War II freeze on new licenses. But it owes the IRS, and appears to have total debts of at least $82,880. Longtime Carlisle-market personality Ben Barber tells Cumberlink that WHYL owes back rent and might be forced out of its studios. Ben’s out along with his co-host Dennis Gerkin, who says much of the staff’s been laid off.  WHYL’s authorized for 5,000 watts daytime, 22 watts at night, with the same directional pattern.

2dayThey’re seeing double around Niagara Falls, CHR CFLZ (101.1) gains a new simulcast partner and new branding, as “2Day FM.” That handle may be a tad controversial down under in Sydney, Australia, but in the section of Ontario, Canada that borders the U.S. market of Buffalo, it’s fresh. Vista Radio’s CFLZ Ft. Erie, Ontario remains CHR after Friday’s re-launch, while sister CJED, Niagara Falls (105.1) drops its two-year-old variety hits “Ed” format to simulcast with CFLZ as 2Day FM. Same as the last time CJED switched formats, it employed a brief all-Christmas stunt to gain attention. Check the website for 2Day FM/Hit Music Now here.

The temp changes from “Kool” to “Hot” in the Tri-Cities market of Washington state. That’s where Townsquare ends classic hits “97.5 Kool FM” KOLW and points the station toward Jim Ingstad’s CHR “Power 99.1” KUJ-FM, Burbank. “Power” was #2 in the Spring Arbitrons (among listed stations) with age 12+ AQH share at a 10.2 share. KOLW did a 3.5 share. KOLW is a Class C1 licensed to Basin City and it’s now doing rhythmic CHR as “Hot 97.5.” The market is Richland-Kennewick-Pasco, and the website for its newest station is here.

On The Block

In Colorado’s northeastern corner, two FMs, an AM, and a translator go for $750,000. Seller is William Arnold’s Arnold Broadcasting, and the properties are two Sterling, Colorado stations, plus one licensed to Yuma, Colorado and a translator just across the state line in Sidney, Nebraska. The Sterling stations are classic hits KSTC, with 1-kw fulltime at 1230, and KNNG, a Class C1 which has been doing country as “King 104.7.” The Yuma, Colorado station is KNEC, a C3 at 100.9. The Sidney translator is K276CX at 103.1. The buyer? Media Logic LLC. Broker – Jody McCoy of Media Services Group, for the seller.

Middle Tennessee’s silent WQSV, Ashland (790) finds a white knight. Corky Albright lost his studios and transmitter site to Community Bank & Trust in a foreclosure sale, where the bank paid $145,000. But Albright held onto his FCC license for WQSV. He previously told the Tennessean (June 6 NOW) that “the merchants of this county are really not supporting the station enough for us to stay on the air.” Now Albright’s Sycamore Valley Broadcasting is selling to Neil and Jo Peterson, who do business as Thunder Broadcasting. They own country/oldies WSGI (1100) and talk WGBL (1590) in neighboring Springfield, and will rescue onetime variety-programmed WQSV from the grave. It’s authorized for 2,000 watts daytime/35 watts at night, and it’s literally the only station in Cheatham County, Tennessee. Price - $100,000.

Don McDonald

Lynn Fitch
resigns her job as station manager at Portland, Oregon not-for-profit KBOO (90.7), with the Portland Tribune using the adjective “embattled” for her situation. The KBOO Foundation recently elected four new board members who opposed Fitch’s plans to change the variety-programmed station. As the Tribune says, when the board advanced Fitch from development director to station manager last year, it “had given her a mandate to change personnel and other policies, but those provoked a backlash” around the hallways. The paid employees voted on May 30 to be repped by the Communications Workers of America Local 7901. KBOO’s latest fundraising efforts are about $100,000 short of the goal for this fiscal year. KBOO, modeled on the Pacifica stations, was launched in 1968

You Can't Make This Up

Bill ConwayOn the money
– Bill Conway says "When I was PD at country WBCS Milwaukee in the late '70s, our GM Terrell Metheny had us running a contest called The Money Man. The Money Man went to houses and workplaces and gave out $50 bills if someone was found listening to the station. If not, he left a card saying 'You would have won $50 if you were listening to WBCS.' I had the idea to start printing this message on a green card that when folded in half looked like the edge of a real $50 bill. We had our own print shop, so it was a simple thing to execute. They were real attention-getters. After I took another job, the contest and fake $50s continued until the Feds showed up one day and confiscated the printing plates and all the cards. Somehow they considered this a violation of counterfeiting laws. I was happy not to be there when the raid occurred. I do still have some of the fake $50s as souvenirs - so don't tell the Treasury Department.” Former KOIT San Francisco programmer Bill Conway's at bconway71@gmail.com. Got your own true radio story, for “You Can’t Make This Up”? Email Tom@RTK-Media.com.

Take 2 – from last Thursday’s NOW, there’s good news at the end of the rainbow for Franklin, Tennessee’s WHEW/1380. It failed to file its license renewal on time and had its call letters deleted, and was fined $7,000. But at the end of the story, the agency says its neglectful conduct didn’t constitute “serious violations” and it’s qualified to be a licensee. So the station is reinstated – though S G Communications does owe that $7,000 fine. Thanks to several NOW readers for noting the happy ending.

“Habit-forming” is what some folks call this NOW daily newsletter. Some readers at the Radio Show said they read it before breakfast. Others had stories to share for “You Can’t Make This Up.” And lots of them like having it first thing in the morning, as early at 4am Eastern time. We at RTK Media appreciate your support, so we can keep doing this every day. You can tell a friend or colleague about it, forward an issue, or use our Classified section, named “Making Connections.” When you’ve got a job vacancy to fill, contact our Kristy Scott – Kristy@RTK-media.com or phone 818-591-6815. Have a good Monday – Tom


L & L Broadcasting has a premiere market manager position available to lead our team in Columbia, South Carolina. Minimum five (5) years experience running a successful group of radio stations with a proven track record. You’ll love living in this charming city, capital of South Carolina and home of five great radio stations, WWDM-FM, WHXT-FM, WMFX-FM, WARQ-FM, WOIC-AM, and the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. We’ve heard from many in the industry wanting to get back to a company that prides itself in...

• The best people who have a passion for radio
• Live & Local approach to all aspects of our operations – truly getting involved and giving back to our local communities
• Mixing in lots of fun as we aggressively improve our market positions
• Providing opportunity and growth for all those on our team

We are an EEO employer and we encourage applications from any and all radio professionals who want to grow with a serious broadcast company and who believe, understand and can lead the successful integration of on-air, on-site, and on-line platforms for the mutual benefit of listeners and advertisers. Applicants must pass a background investigation.

Send resume and three (3) accomplishments you’re most proud of in your career that will blow us away to jobs@landlbroadcasting.com.

Hubbard Radio


RTK Media

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