Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Erwin's Medicine for the Holidays"

FCC attorney Erwin Krasnow has posted his "medicine for the holidays" collection of Holiday Humor.

Go to:

You can listen to three mp3s, namely, this year's edition (2009 Holiday Humor) and editions from 2008 and 2007.

Media Services Group

Meet the Media Services Group partners: Bill Whitley

From the "Palace in Dallas" comes the one and only Bill Whitley.

When Bill isn't tending cattle at the ranch just outside scenic Seymour, TX, he runs our Dallas MSG office. We worked together back in the Chapman Associates days. When Media Services Group launched twenty years ago, Bill went "independent" for a few years; but he eventually saw the err of his ways and signed on with us eleven years ago.

Bill has been in the broadcast brokerage field for over thirty years. From his Dallas base, he has been active nationally with an emphasis on media properties in the southwest. (None of the rest of us dare do any business in Texas or adjoining states without asking Bill's permission to enter first). Bill has completed over $300,000,000 in broadcasting transactions and personally handled an estimated three hundred and fifty appraisal assignments.

Prior to his brokerage career, Bill worked in television production in Dallas-Fort Worth. In radio, he held sales and management positions in Temple, Dallas, and Little Rock.

Bill has also served as a receiver for broadcast properties in Texas and Louisiana. He has worked with trustees, debtors, creditors and the courts in Chapter 11, Chapter 7, receiverships, and foreclosure proceedings in both a consultant and broker role. He has served as an expert witness in court proceedings relative to broadcast station values in Texas, New Mexico and Arkansas. He has served as a guest lecturer at several universities and has been a panelist on valuation seminars for state broadcast associations.
"Wild Bill" Whitley holds both Bachelor and Master’s Degrees in Radio-Television from his beloved Texas Christian University. "Go Horned Frogs!"


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New poll on radio station pricing added to blog

Let's try a little experiment. I am asked daily about station trading market pricing (after all, that is my day job). Station buyers and sellers want to know what stations are worth. So I thought it might be interesting to poll our readers on the subject. Though not scientific, it might prove interesting, as our readership tends to be station owners, managers, staff and other folks interested in the broadcast trading market.

To participate, find the poll on the upper right-hand-side of the blog and pick your choice (ranging from five times to nine times).

Here is a related post on the subject of station pricing ("What's it worth?"):

Thanks in advance for your participation!

Media Services Group

How far does that radio station reach?

If you've ever wondered about the real service area of an FM radio station, here is a chart which shows the 70 dBu ("City Grade") and 60 dBu contour mileages, assuming various antenna heights:[1].pdf

Thanks to Jeff Brock, consulting engineer at Graham Brock for updating my chart!

Media Services Group

Monday, December 28, 2009

What Citadel could have done

It is easy to be a "Monday Morning Quarterback." And yes, hindsight is 20-20. But there are steps which Citadel could have taken after the ABC deal closed but before the credit market tanked. They could/should have:

  • Sold off the network/syndication business. That would have raised a pile of cash and allowed management to focus on running the radio business.

  • Bundled their tower assets and sold them as a package to a tower consolidator. Towers were trading a significantly higher multiples than radio stations during that time (and still are).

  • Drawn a line at market # 50, and sold all of their smaller markets to entrepreneurs (who were lined up to buy at the time). Not unlike CBS, Citadel's core competencies are best suited to major market operations.

  • Negotiated a debt for equity swap with their lenders, conditioned upon (and priced based upon) all of the above occuring.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

Media Services Group

MediaPost quotes Borrell Associates report: Auto ad spending on the rise

"According to a new report from Borrell Associates monitoring the pulse of local ad spending by U.S. auto dealers, dealer associations, and manufacturers, US auto manufacturers will increase their online local ad spending by 14% in 2010, while new- and used-car dealers will increase their ad spend online by 8.6%. The total effect will result in an 11.4% increase in new-vehicle online ad spending next year.

Overall, Borrell Associates predicts that US ad spend for new cars will rise to a total of $19.2 billion from the low of $18.4 billion in 2009, experiencing a 4% growth rate across all media. These numbers represent declines from 2008 spending, following a precipitous drop in automotive ad spend of 31% in the first half of 2009, during which Chrysler and GM declared bankruptcy and the recession forced a significant decline in new auto sales."

See the MediaPost Research Brief here:

Media Services Group

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to all!

Merry Christmas to you and yours. May this special day be filled with blessings.

George, Loree, Cara, Megan & Shannon

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Five things you can do today to launch a successful 2010

Here are five things you can do today (or Monday after the holiday) to launch the New Year:

1. Place sales recruiting ads on-air, with your EEO sources, and in LinkedIn Jobs (all at no cost) to hire two new salespeople. Budget permitting, put classified ads in the trades.

2. Set up Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts for each of your stations and link them to your websites. Put someone in charge of keeping them relevant (even if it is you!).

3. Schedule face-to-face appointments with your five biggest advertisers to find out about their needs in 2010.

4. Dump "national" PSA's and replace them with PSA's from local organizations.

5. Invest in sales training (available through your state association, consultants, or the RAB).

Media Services Group

Meet the Media Services Group partners: Jody McCoy

Jody McCoy runs MSG's office in Colorado Springs. Early in his broadcast career, Jody was successfully involved in radio and television sales, sales management, and general management of stations. Former employers included Turner Communications, Group W, and Jefferson-Pilot Communications. He has also participated in FM radio station ownership in Kansas, Michigan, and Colorado. He is currently the president of Optima Communications, licensee since 1989 of KRDO 105.5 FM, serving Colorado Springs.

Jody entered the broadcast brokerage business in 1992 and since that time has brokered the sale of hundreds of stations worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He has experience as an expert witness regarding station values and other broadcast issues. He has worked on technical upgrades for radio stations, including having upgraded KRDO from a class A to a C3 to its current status as a C2. Jody has also been an adviser to clients on Local Marketing Agreements and Joint Sales Agreements.

As an operator, owner, and broker, Jody has the experience and knowledge to provide effective guidance to banks, investors, and company management in workouts and restructuring assignments.

His academic background includes a B.A. from the University of Virginia, and a M.A. in Communications Management from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has also completed the courses of the Mass Media Institute at Stanford University, the National Association of Broadcasters Sales Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and the Young Executives Institute at the Kenan Flagler Business School at UNC Chapel Hill.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Eric Rhoads: Bankruptcy: Music To My Ears

Eric's insight into the Citadel bankruptcy:

I agree with him that bankruptcy is pushing the radio "reset" button. "Imagine what we can do if we actually start promoting again and start serving our audiences with deep conviction and localism."

Take a minute and read his post.

Media Services Group

EMF closes two purchases

Media Services Group's Jody McCoy announces two closings with Educational Media Foundation:

KXPC-FM from Portland Broadcasting

Good work, Jody!

New feature: Subscribe via email

We added a new feature to the blog. You can now subscribe via email. Just type in your email address in the "SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL" box on the upper right-hand-side of the page.


We have our work cut out for us

According to MediaPost, a recent survey of small businesses reports the following:

  • 74.1% plan to increase their use of email marketing in 2010
  • 68.3% plan to increase their use of social media
  • 79.6% are not planning to use TV
  • 72.7% will not use radio

See the story here:

Media Services Group

Monday, December 21, 2009

Who Killed Citadel Broadcasting? (New York Times DealBook)

What a shame. Read the story:

Message from David O'Connor about upcoming FCC media ownership workshop

The Media Bureau has announced it will hold its next media ownership workshop on January 12, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. in the Commission Meeting Room as part of the Commission’s 2010 quadrennial review proceeding. The workshop will focus on the current financial and economic conditions and marketplace factors affecting the media industry and how the FCC should take these into account as it conducts its review process.

Specifically, the forum will examine whether:

-- The media ownership rules affect the financial health of broadcasters

-- Lending or investing institutions consider the rules in their funding practices

-- Economic changes affecting the media marketplace are cyclical or permanent

-- There is a need to balance financial conditions in the media industry with other policy goals when conducting the Commission’s ownership review and, if so, how that should be done

The workshop will also explore how new media are affecting broadcasters, the lending and investment practices in traditional media, and how market size affects financial issues related to broadcasting.

The forum will consist of two panels. The first will be comprised of smaller broadcasters, or broadcasters that compete in smaller markets, and representatives of financial institutions that serve them.

The second panel, consisting of larger broadcasters or broadcasters that compete in the larger markets, will also include representatives from financial institutions that serve these broadcasters.

See the links below for additional information.

MEDIA BUREAU ANNOUNCES MEDIA OWNERSHIP WORKSHOP ON FINANCIAL ISSUES.News Release. (Dkt No 09-182 ). News Media Contact: Mania Baghdadi or Amy Brett at (202) 418-2330 MB . Contact Janice Wise at (202) 418-8165

David A. O'Connor
Wilkinson Barker Knauer, LLP
2300 N Street, NW
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20037
Direct: 202-383-3429
Main: 202-783-4141
Fax: 202-783-5851

And the hits just keep on coming: NextMedia

NextMedia files for bankruptcy. Story at Radio-Info:

10 in '10 (my predictions for the broadcasting industry in 2010)

‘Tis the season for crystal ball gazing. Here’s what mine (albeit a littly foggy) suggests for 2010:

1. More bankruptcies and bank workouts

I predict a couple of major bankruptcies, likely pre-arranged, and more than a couple from smaller broadcasting companies. (Note: I wrote this post last week before the Citadel news broke yesterday). Banks will continue to try to work with good company management groups, but will move to take over companies perceived to be burdened with weak management.

2. Prices will hover in the 6x to 8x BCF range (with occasional outliers both above and below).

3. Seller financing will return to small market deals. Banks will remain on the sidelines relative to new lending.

4. Social media will become more crucial to station marketing

5. Big radio companies will become smaller, focusing on top 50 markets and spinning off their smaller markets.

6. The entrepreneur will return (buying those markets spun off by the big boys).

7. Interactive revenue will post double-digit growth.

8. Broadcast groups will attempt to clean up and “right size” their portfolios (as opposed to point # 5, this relates to groups peeling off non-performing stations in markets where they will continue to operate).

9. FM sticks will trade at $3 to $6 per pop (based on the 60 dBu contour).

10. AM sticks will trade at less than $1 per pop (based on the 2.0 mVm contour)

RBR recently ran an article on 2010 which in addition to a few of my thoughts, included those of others in the industry. Check it out here:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Citadel files Chapter 11

According to Inside Radio, Citadel has filed a "prearranged" Chapter 11 reorganization plan with a New York bankruptcy court. Their full story is here:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Congratulations to Tribune and Randy Michaels

As most of the broadcasting industry knows, Randy Michaels was named chief executive at Tribune a couple of weeks ago, succeeding Sam Zell who stays on as chairman. Randy also got a seat on the Board. He has been with the company since it went private in 2007, and COO since May, 2008.
If anyone can steer Tribune out of chapter 11 and back into prosperity, Randy can. He has a platform which includes WGN radio, 23 TV stations, and more than 50 web sites. I hope that the Board and the banks turn him loose to do his thing. If so, don't bet against him.
Media Services Group

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Broadcast industry news

We have assembled a web page of RSS feeds from the broadcasting industry. It is a great way to get your morning news "fix" quickly. Click here and add us to your bookmarks:

Media Services Group

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Meet the Media Services Group partners: Bob Heymann

Bob Heymann is a hard core Tar Heel fan. He is also a darn good broker.
Highlighting my partners on the occasion of MSG's 20th anniversary, I would like to focus on Bob, who runs our Chicago office. Prior to opening that office, Bob spent 24 years brokering radio and TV stations from coast to coast with a total aggregate value in excess of $500,000,000.

A few of his record setting transactions include:
•Sale of WNIB-FM (now WDRV) Chicago for $165,000,000
•Sale of WPNT-FM (now WILV) Chicago for $75,000,000
•Sale of KOMA AM&FM Oklahoma City for $54,000,000
Among his other business enterprises, Bob was co-founder and chairman of the nation’s first broadband cable system and chairman of the largest telecom information company partnered with Pacific Bell (now AT&T).
Prior to beginning his brokerage practice, Bob managed KQAK San Francisco and previous to that, he held management positions and consulting relationships with some of the largest broadcasters in America including NBC, CBS, and Evergreen Media.
Bob got into broadcasting early (becoming interested at 14 years old!) and was one of the youngest people ever to receive a First Class Radio Telephone Operator License from the FCC.

Bob has a B.S. degree from the Kenan-Flagler School of Business at his beloved University of North Carolina. He regularly makes the trek to Chapel Hill to attend ballgames. Go Heels!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

5-step program to a better Public Inspection file (courtesy of Graham Brock)

This is from Graham Brock's website:

"Public Inspection Files have been a sore spot with broadcasters for a long time because no one seems to know what is really supposed to be in it, nor does anyone bother to keep it updated. If you have ever looked at the Rules and tried to determine what is supposed to be in the Public Inspection File, you'll understand why this is such a sore subject. In almost all of the Due Diligence Inspections we do, we find inadequate Public Inspection Files. The most common excuse is, 'Well, I didn't know what went in there.'

So, with that said, we have attempted to compile a "user friendly" Public Inspection File List and have created a 5-Step Program To A Better Public Inspection File. This list has been complied from the FCC's Rules & Regulations, the FCC's Web Site and the FCC's Self-Inspection Checklist. We have tried to be as thorough and as accurate as possible, however, it is your responsibility to contact your Communications Attorney to ensure compliance with the Commission's Rules."

If you're charged with maintaining your station's Public Inspection file, check it out. Call Stu or Jeff with any questions (912) 638-8028.

Media Services Group

Monday, December 14, 2009

Stations for sale: "And now a word from our sponsor. . ."

In my media brokerage practice, with an occasional exception, I generally represent sellers. Many of our station listings are kept very quiet; stations owners are ultra-sensitive to word leaking about their stations being on the block.

But we have a little more latitude with some opportunities; still confidential, but we're able to talk about them publicly on a "blind" basis. If any of these situations fit what you're looking for, please send an email (

  • New York DMA big population coverage AM stations
  • North Carolina FM cluster (possible seller financing)
  • Virginia FM cluster (possible seller financing)
  • West Virginia AM/FM cluster (possible seller financing)
  • Midwest top 100 market two-FM cluster
  • Florida video production studio
  • AM/FM in southeastern resort market
  • AM move-in to Montgomery (possible institutional financing)

Finally, I would like to invite you to regularly check our "Classifieds" section of the Media Services Group website:

Media Services Group
(904) 285-3239

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How to follow this (or any other) blog

If you would like to keep track of this blog (or most others), you generally have several options:

1. You can subscribe to the RSS feeds. Click on "Subscribe To" (right column) and you'll be given a choice to "Add to Google," "My Yahoo," etc. You can subcribe to the posts and/or the comments. This is probably how most people track their blogs.

2. You can "Follow." See the "Followers" section below right. Click on "Follow." You will then be prompted to select Google, Twitter, or Yahoo. I prefer to use the Google Reader. Don't have a Google account? Click "Create a Google account." It just takes a few seconds and is a pretty handy tool.

3. Finally, and my preference, you can use Google Reader. Just click "Add a subscription" in the upper left hand side of your screen, and past in the URL (

Of course, you can alway just bookmark your favorite blog pages directly into your browser.

Media Services Group

Friday, December 11, 2009

Looking for radio station coverage maps?

If you're looking for free and quick radio station coverage maps, check out radio-locator

Of course, Media Services Group clients can just call and request them (we use both V-Soft and the BIA databases).


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Radio on Twitter

If you're new to Twitter and interested in following the radio industry, here is quick-start. Twitter recently added a "Lists" feature which allows users to group micro-bloggers into category specific lists. So now you can follow an entire list by simply clicking on it from your Twitter account.

You can follow me at:

I have a list of FCC attorneys:

Other radio/media related lists which might be of interest:

There are plenty more where these came from, but you have to start somewhere!

If you're brand new to Twitter, you might find this earlier article helpful:


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Meet the Media Services Group partners: Eddie Esserman

Media Services Group just celebrated our 20th birthday. During that time, we have helped our clients buy and sell a lot of radio and TV stations, with transaction volume in the billions of dollars. It all started two decades ago when several brokers with Chapman Associates, myself included, decided to set out on our own and form MSG with a laser focus on client service. Several credit crunches and recessions later (along with a boom or two), we're still at it.
Over the course of the next few months, I want to highlight in these pages the guys I work with at MSG. We have a great team, and I am proud of my association with each and every one of them.
What better partner to start with than the one I've known the longest? Eddie Esserman and I met in Atlanta over 30 years ago; back then, we were kids (and competitors) in Atlanta radio. He was still relatively fresh out of Georgia Tech and a stint in the record business (get him to tell you his Willy Nelson story some time).
Like many of us, Eddie began his broadcast career in high school as an announcer. With a keen interest in engineering. he holds a General Radio Telephone license, having earned a First Class Radio Telephone license as a teen (and is still a practicing "ham").

After college, he returned to broadcasting in the programming department for the Pacific and Southern group of stations, migrating to the sales side and managing sales departments for two Atlanta stations. He became the Vice President and General Manager for Shamrock Broadcasting’s Atlanta outlet, WFOX.
In the mid 1990’s Eddie managed one of the country’s first large market duopolies (in San Francisco) for Shamrock. He pursued ownership after leaving Shamrock in 1995 and owned and operated in Macon and Savannah (I was proud to be his exclusive broker on those deals). After selling those stations, I talked him into joining us at MSG.
In addition to managing our office on beautiful St. Simons Island, GA, Eddie owns stations in nearby Brunswick, GA and not-so-nearby south Texas. Together, we are partners in a tower company (USAntenna, Inc.) with towers in the Southeast.

Eddie is a frequent faculty member of the NAB’s Education Foundation Broadcast Leadership Training Program. He has testified as an expert witness in bankruptcy matters and been a court appointed broker. And he is a great guy.

Catch Eddie's blog ("Esserblog") here:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Peter Smyth: "Always Looking Forward"

Greater Media's Peter Smyth talks about "Always Looking Forward" in his "From the Corner Office" commentary this month (

". . . 2010 promises to be another step into the reality that I refer to as the 'new normal'. . ." Peter sees the following emerging trends worth noting:

  • Better business people
  • Even more focus on our local communities
  • Interactive revenues will increase
  • Better marketers
  • Ratings will become less important than results
  • There is more to selling than simply dropping price
  • Technology continues to advance
  • Need to expand the boundaries of our industry workforce
Read Peter's complete thoughts:

Media Services Group

Monday, December 7, 2009

Group Head to You Tube hit

Tom Taylor ran a story in Friday's "Taylor on Radio-Info" about John Chaffee. John used to run Malrite (and I still hit him up once in a while to get back into the radio business). Since John left the radio business, he has apparently returned to his song writer roots and now has a You Tube hit ("Play By the Rules"). And it is starting to cross over onto mainstream country stations!

Check it out:

Media Services Group

Media Services Group announces the sale of KAKS-FM, Fayetteville, AR

Carroll County Broadcasters has reached an agreement to purchase KAKS FM serving Fayetteville, Arkansas from Davidson Media Arkansas Stations LLC. Carroll County Broadcasters is headed by Jay Bunyard who owns 16 Arkansas radio stations. Davidson Media is headed by Felix Perez ,CEO and owns 37 radio stations. The sale is pending FCC approval.The purchase price is $1,110,000.

Bill Whitley of the Dallas office of Media Services Group served as the exclusive broker for this transaction.

Radio/TV Station Buyers group on LinkedIn adds new Subgroups

We have added new Subgroups to our LinkedIn group "Radio/TV Station Buyers"

  • Stations for Sale

  • Debt financing

  • Equity investors

  • Non-commercial

  • Transaction services providers

If you are a member, please join and participate in whichever Subgroups are appropriate. If you're not a member (and interested in buying and running radio or TV stations), please join us!


Friday, December 4, 2009

Kellar Radio Talent Institute launches new website

I have discussed the Kellar Radio Talent Institute (formerly knows as the Kellar Radio Farm System Institute) at Appalachian State University before. Run by world-class consultant Dan Vallie, the Institute is a fabulous training ground for radio talent, including radio sales talent. It is the first program of its kind in the world.

I spoke to the group last summer ( and was impressed by the dedicated kids in the room and the program which Dan assembled.
Station operators are forever complaining about the difficulty in recruiting sales talent; here is a resource. Check it out:


Media Services Group

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Eric Rhoads: Liberating This Chained Industry The Good and Bad News About Radio and the Coming Renaissance

Eric dishes out the good news and the bad news for the radio industry in his latest blog post. He says that it will be a wild ride in the future, but worth the effort.

"When things appear their darkest and coming storms create further disruption, we must stay focused on the idea that with storms comes a cleansing and dramatic change."

"One thing is for sure: Returning to the past won't work. Though elements of the past that have been ignored will become critical to continued survival and success."

"My gut tells me that radio is about to experience a renaissance."

Read Eric's blog post here: