Monday, December 20, 2010

2011 Broadcasters' Calendar available from Pillsbury

Here is a good resource for broadcast station owners and managers. The
2011 Broadcasters' Calendar is available from Pillsbury. Click HERE. Thanks to the Nevada Broadcasters for the heads up!

Media Services Group

Friday, December 17, 2010

Lew Dickey removed from Farid's Christmas card list

The news today that Citadel has rejected two offers from Lew's Cumulus Media certainly breaths some new life into what has been a very slow station trading year. It also represents the opening act to what will be a fascinating show.

Lew Dickey has plenty of fans as well as detractors. And I’m squarely in the camp of the former. Yes, he’s been a great customer over the years (he bought over a hundred stations through Media Services Group), but there is more to it than that.

Lew is a broadcaster. He was literally raised in the business. He has seen it from all sides (and is probably one of the best researchers ever to serve the industry -- pre-Cumulus). He knows how to run a radio station and is as comfortable doing so in Atlanta sized markets as he is in Savannah sized markets.

And he’s smart. Not just well educated (B.A. from Stanford and MBA from Harvard), but radio street-smart. If he succeeds in his effort to acquire Citadel, he will know what to do with it and how best to integrate the two very different cultures.

I believe that Lew has had his eye on Citadel for a long time. And now that it has emerged from bankruptcy court with a squeaky clean balance sheet, and station prices are at a decade’s low level, what better time?

Plus, Lew never took my stock in his company to zero.

The drama will be fun to watch. If Lew is successful, look for some new station acquisition opportunities in the new year. For one thing, the deal will likely require some spin-offs (in markets where both companies compete). For another, transactions like this have a way of fostering new, unrelated deals. They establish a pricing comparable. Potential buyers and sellers will pay close attention to the multiple on the deal.

Last but not least, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all! Let’s have a prosperous 2011.

Media Services Group

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Two more transactions announced

Media Services Group has announced a couple of transactions. Though small deals, they provide evidence that the deal market is slowly but surely coming back to life.

1) Fort Wayne, IN Area FM Station Is Sold

Godwin-Starkes Property Management, LLC, an Indiana limited liability company has agreed to purchase the assets of WNUY-FM licensed to Bluffton, IN from Independence Media of Indiana, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and IM IN Licenses, LLC, an Delaware limited liability company. Godwin-Starkes Property Management, LLC through an affiliated company, owns WQSW-LP Fort Wayne, IN.

The purchase price is $350,000.

Bob Heymann of the Chicago office of Media Services Group and Stephan Sloan of
Media Services Group’s Providence office served as the exclusive brokers representing the seller in this transaction.

2) Tennessee Temple University has agreed to purchase the assets of Radio Station WUUS (AM), licensed to Rossville, GA (serving Chattanooga, Tennessee), from 3 Daughters Media, Inc. for $175,000.

Eddie Esserman of Media Services Group’s St. Simons Island, GA, office represented Tennessee Temple University in this transaction.

Both transactions are subject to FCC approval.

Congratulations to Bob, Stephan and Eddie on getting deals done in a tough financing environment!

Media Services Group

Monday, November 29, 2010

Great article in RBR on the FCC assignment and transfer process

Today's RBR ran a great article on the FCC transaction approval process. Erwin Krasnow, preeminent FCC attorney, interviewed the FCC's Taft Snowdon, Supervisory Attorney, Audio Division, Media Bureau. Thanks to my partner Bob Heymann for calling it to my attention.

Click HERE for the link.

Media Services Group

Monday, November 22, 2010

Two more station transactions close

Although the pace of station trading remains slow, Media Services Group closed two more transactions last week.

M&M Broadcasters closed on the purchase of KRHC AM/KBEY FM, Burnet;
KHLE FM, Kempner; and KHHG FM, Hamilton; all Texas, from Munbilla Broadcasting Properties, LTD.

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

Big Toe Communications, LLC completed the acquisition of the assets of radio stations WHPI-FM, Glasford, IL; WPIA-FM, Eureka, IL; WZPN-FM, Farmington, IL and
WWCT-FM, Bartonville, IL, from Independence Media Holdings, LLC.

Stephan Sloan of Media Services Group’s Providence office represented the seller in this transaction.

Well done Bill and Steph!

Media Services Group

Friday, November 19, 2010

New white paper: Financing Broadcast Properties 101

If you are looking for a primer on the basics of financing a radio or television station purchase, please check out our white paper: "Financing Broadcast Properties 101"

You can click here for the free download (email registration required): Financing Broadcast Properties 101

Media Services Group

Monday, November 15, 2010

BBN Closes Tennessee FM

Bible Broadcasting Network, Inc. has closed on its acquisition of WDYN-FM, Chattanooga, TN, from Tennessee Temple University.

Eddie Esserman of Media Services Group represented Tennessee Temple University in this transaction.

Congratulations Eddie!

Media Services Group

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Radio station owners fall into two camps: Pick one!

The last two years in the radio business have not exactly been a walk in the park. Defaults, bankruptcies and receiverships have been rampant. A ton of equity vaporized in a sea of debt. It has not been a good time for station owners, especially those "faint of heart" or with highly leveraged balance sheets.

All of this has precipitated a lot of gloom and doom talk on Wall Street, in the industry trade publications, and in the convention hallways, suites, and bars.

From my perch, it seems that station owners fall into one of two broad categories:

1) Those who believe that radio's best days are behind it and that the end is near, or

2) Those who believe that the current low station prices present the buying opportunity of a lifetime. The business will recover and even thrive in the new environment.

Let's look a little more closely at each assumption:

1) Radio is dead. Long live Radio!

• Old media is over. New media wins.
• Radio has lost the kids.
• We're too little, too late to the digital party.
• Who needs a transmitter when you can stream?
• There are too many "cooler" new media options.
• Who buys radios when you can buy a smartphone or iPad for your information and entertainment?
• The Internet will soon occupy the dashboard.

2) Shopping at the bargain rack!

• Radio is still a high cash flow business.
• We can and will compete in the digital world.
• Fortunes were made in the last major downturn (think Lowry Mays).
• Regulatory relief may be the catalyst for reigniting the business (think elimination of the subcaps).
• Newspapers have lost their strangle-hold on retail business.
• There is no better megaphone for generating web traffic than radio.
• Radio still drives customers on Main Street.
• HD holds long-term promise.
• In the face of competition, radio has maintained its ubiquitous reach.


Pick a camp. Now.

Yeah, this sounds self-serving (after all, I am a broker). But, it is now time to place your bet. Here's my logic:

If you're in the "Radio is Dead" camp, the best thing you can do is cut your losses. With station values headed south, your station(s) will never be worth more than today's valuation. If you're under water with your bank, hand 'em the keys. Get out now while you can.

If you believe that you can buy good radio businesses from the bargain rack, then step up. You will buy solid businesses at historic lows. The seller's pain will be your gain. Get on board before prices take off. Build great clusters and hire from the incredible talent pool stranded on the beach. There is no better time than now.

It is time to select the scenario you believe will pan out in radio's future. To do otherwise is to leave your personal future to fate. Hold 'em or fold 'em. One school will be right. The other . . .

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

Media Services Group

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Inside Radio ( published a story called "Digital radio advocates spread the gospel to the wider internet world" this morning. They included a link to a report prepared by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). If you're in the streaming audio business, it is an important piece (and may be useful to your sales departments).

Click HERE to get the report.

Media Services Group

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thoughts from the 2010 Radio Show

I'd like to share a few thoughts from last week's Radio Show. Though I have heard that overall attendance was up, there were fewer station owners on hand than usual. However, the FCC lawyers turned out in force, playing with a home court advantage.

The meeting was decidedly more upbeat than the last two years' shows (though that is not saying much considering the gloom and doom we've been through). Station revenues are up year-over-year and it has been a long time since we could make that claim.

On the station trading front, our suite activity was robust. There still aren't a lot of deals getting done, but at least the talking has resumed (after eighteen months of virtual silence). The missing ingredient continues to be bank financing. Despite renewed optimism about the prospects for the radio industry, there was little optimism that the bankers were returning any time soon. Trading will remain lackluster until the banks embrace the industry again.

Let's hope that next year's Radio Show in Chicago is a time for celebration.

Media Services Group

Thursday, September 23, 2010

FM Auction 91 List

Click HERE for the FCC Auction 91 list.

Media Services Group

A climb up the tallest tower

This video doesn't really have much to do with the theme of this blog, but anyone who has been involved with broadcast towers will find it interesting. In my case, with a fear of heights, it was downright terrifying. Thanks to Eddie Esserman for sending it to me.

A guy climbs a 1,768' tower (video):

Media Services Group

Friday, August 27, 2010

Who says radio isn't fun any more?

Who says radio isn't fun an more? Here is WDHA (Morristown, NJ) market manager Nancy McKinley.

Rumor has it that an NTR Revenu line item has been added to her 2011 budget: Crop Dusting

Media Services Group

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

More news-talkers moving to FM

Last week's announcement that heritage, big signal, Atlanta News-Talker WSB-AM (750 kHz) was adding an FM simulcast is yet another benchmark in the growing trend of talkers migrating to the FM band. It follows similar moves by KSL in Salt Lake City and KCBS in San Francisco. While these appear to be smart moves, I believe that they sound a large warning signal for AM station values in the future.

A strong case could be made that the big AM News-Talkers like WSB have kept the AM band alive. News-Talk listeners have been content to seek out their programming on the AM band. If all of the major AMs throw in the towel for the FM band, who will be listening to AM? My guess is that AM will be dominated by niche players in the future: foreign language, religious, and other specialty programming.

Station prices are based on supply and demand. It looks like AM supply will be increasing at the same time that demand is decreasing.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

Media Services Group

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Inc. magazine's business plan presentation

If you are working on a business plan (hopefully for station acquisitions!), Inc. magazine has a good resource: Business Plan Presentation. It is a basic PowerPoint template which may serve you well as a starting point for your presentation. At worst, it would serve as an antidote for writer's block.

Media Services Group

Monday, August 23, 2010

Have your tried mind mapping? (Article from Inc. magazine)

Here is a good article from Inc. magazine on mind mapping. I have found the concept to be very useful for project management; there are a lot of ways for entrepreneurs to put it to effective use.

I use software from Mindjet (MindManager) and can recommend it highly. For project management, ResultsManager is a great add-in.

Media Services Group

Friday, August 20, 2010

MSG transactions for the first six months of 2010

The bad news is that is was a very slow first half of station trading. The good news is 1) it was a lot more active than a year ago, and 2) things are shaping up nicely for the second half. Here are the transactions announced by Media Services Group for the first six months (Note: we used BIA estimates of revenue):

Sale Announced: 01/10
Calls: WMNE-AM (now WHTY-AM)
Buyer: Travis Media
Seller: Radio Disney
Market: West Palm Beach-Boca Raton
Market Rank: 47
Price: $500,000
Gross Revenue (BIA): $150,000

Sale Announced: 3/10
Calls: FM CP
Buyer: Chadrad Communications Inc.
Seller: Big Cat Broadcasting, LLC
Market Rank: Unrated
Price: $85,000
Gross Revenue (BIA): N/A

Sale Announced: 2/10
Buyer: Moreland Properties, LLC
Seller: NCR Broadcasting Inc.
Market: Denver-Boulder
Market Rank: 20
Price: $5,000,000
Gross Revenue(BIA) : $800,000

Sale Announced: 3/10
Calls: KDJQ-AM
Buyer: Iglesia Misionera Pentecotes, Inc.
Seller: KDJQ, LLC
Market: Boise, ID
Market Rank: 100
Price: $325,000
Gross Revenue (BIA): N/A

Sale Announced: 4/10
Calls: WCKZ-FM, FMW204BF
Buyer: Star Educational Media Network
Seller: Northeast Indiana Public Radio
Market: Orland, IN
Market Rank: Unrated
Price: $225,000
Gross Revenue (BIA) : N/A

Sale Announced: 5/10
Calls: AM CP
Buyer: Acme Broadcasting III
Seller: Pamplin Broadcasting Inc.
Market: Reno, NV
Market Rank: 121
Price: $20,000
Gross Revenue: N/A

Sale Announced: 7/10
Buyer: Big Toe Communications, LLC
Seller: Independence Media Holding, LLC
Market: Peoria
Market Rank: 150
Price: TBA
Gross Revenue: $1,350,000

Media Services Group

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A number of broadcasters support the AM/FM Subcaps

A number of broadcasters teamed up to file reply comments with the FCC seeking repeal of the AM/FM subcaps on July 26. The coalition represents some 668 stations in markets of all sizes. My two broadcasting companies (Monticello Media and MSG Radio) as well as our brokerage firm signed onto the comments.

If the subcaps are repealed, it will result in new capital coming into our capital starved industry. I predict that a number of broadcasting companies may be saved from bankruptcy if the subcaps are removed on a timely basis.

The subcaps are no longer (if ever) justified. You can read the details in the Reply Comments. Essentially, if you operate in a market where ownership of four FMs and two AMs is allowed (or four AMs and two FMs), the removal of the subcaps would allow you to own six stations, regardless of flavor. If they are repealed, unprofitable clusters can swap/trade/buy/sell and improve their strategic and financial positions.

Repealing the subcaps will awaken a stagnant industry, introduce fresh capital, and open doors for new minority ownership. Let's hope that the FCC sees the wisdom of eliminating an antiquated burden on broadcasters.

Click here for the filing: Reply Comments

That is my opinion. What is yours?

Media Services Group

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Syd Small of Acccess.1 passed away last weekend

Our condolences go out to the family, friends, and colleagues of Syd Small, who passed away last weekend. Syd was President and CEO at Access.1, where he ran radio stations and networks. He may be best known for operating WWRL in New York, which he ran for almost 30 years.

Here is the story from

Syd was a good guy. He will be missed.


Radio industry second quarter revenue results

Here is a look at second quarter revenue from around the radio industry:


Media Services Group

Dave Martin's post on "Eating your own dog food" (station website)

David Martin has a good post about station websites on his N=1 blog. Click on:

"Eating your own dog food"

Media Services Group

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time to set appointments for the Radio Show in Washington

The Radio Show comes to Washington, DC, September 29 through October 1. This year's show is a joint undertaking between the NAB and RAB. Media Services Group will be located at the headquarters hotel, the Grand Hyatt Washington.

If you would like to set up an appointment to meet, please drop me a line at:

I hope to see you in DC!

Media Services Group

Monday, July 12, 2010

Radio stations for sale with seller financing

Station trading activity continued to be slow in the first half of 2010, though vastly ahead of last year’s anemic pace. The lack of bank debt continues to stifle transactions, though there are some seller financed opportunities popping up.

We have three such opportunities, any one of which might fit a first time buyer profile. Cash down payment requirements vary, beginning around $250,000 for a qualified buyer. The stations are located in NC, VA, and WV. Two of the opportunities are in rated markets. Contact me if you would like to look more closely.

We also have a two-FM cluster with some cash flow in a rated Midwest market.

If you belong to LinkedIn and haven’t already joined our group “Radio/TV Station Buyers,” you can click here to do so: Radio/TV Station Buyers

Media Servces Group

Thursday, June 24, 2010

RAB and NAB Looking to Cancel Dickstein Shapiro Conference at Radio Show: BIG MISTAKE!

The Dickstein Shapiro conference has been a fixture for those of us in the business of buying, selling, and financing radio stations for something like twenty years, most of that time as the lead-off event at the Radio Show. It is the only event of the year where all 400 industry participants are in the same room at the same time.

The NAB wants to cancel it this year and fold the sessions into the regular show format. I am told that the RAB's Jeff Haley is leading the charge. Big mistake.

For many, the conference is the one NAB event that is relevant. A number of the participants fly in specifically for the event in the morning, take a few meetings in the afternoon, then fly home. The NAB will lose them as Radio Show attendees if the current plans hold.

A number of brokers are so incensed about the NAB's actions that they are considering running their own conference down the street from the NAB's (and would probably invite Dickstein's Lew Paper to run it as he has for the last two decades). At a time when the NAB and RAB are working hard to maintain the Radio Show's relevance, how can they get this one so wrong? If you agree, make your thoughts known to Jeff Haley and your NAB contact.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

Media Services Group

Friday, April 16, 2010

Observations from this year's NAB Show

Following a day of recovery time, I would like to share some observations from this year's NAB in Las Vegas. Many of us switched venues this year. Brokers and bankers were torn between the familiar Bellagio and the new (and NAB endorsed) Encore. Most (including Media Services Group) opted for the Encore. It turned out to be a great spot . . . good restaurants, pleasant surroundings, and generally good service. Our suite was in the Tower Suites and it proved to be a comfortable meeting locale. I heard several comments that the "bump factor" (running into colleagues in the lobby, bar, and hallways) was not as good as previously at the Bellagio.

On a side note, the Encore is hosting Garth Brooks in its showroom. Loree and I saw his show Sunday night and it was fabulous. He does over two hours just with an acoustic guitar. No band. No fire, smoke or flashing lights. If you get a chance, see the show.

The official NAB attendance numbers were up over last year and our experience bore that out. Unlike last year when there were few bankers, buyers or sellers in our suite, this year consisted of wall to wall meetings. I think that is a good leading indicator of the health of the station trading business. The difference between this year and last was striking.

The same can be said about attitudes. A year ago, most of us had the feeling of staring into the abyss. Fast forward twelve months and you get the sense of a new optimism about the broadcasting industry (though fear abounds about the economy). There is a strong sense that the "bottom" is in the rear view mirror. I concur. In fact, I think that the New York Times sale of WQXR last year was the bottom. Things have steadily improved since.

As for station pricing, my partners and I went into the convention with the sense that buyers were offering up 6x BCF and sellers were asking 8x (with some deals likely to get done in the sevens). Our meetings with prospective buyers and sellers supported our thesis. I believe that 6x to 8x range to be an accurate assessment of today's trading market.

Inventory is still tight. I know that ours is and conversations with other brokers and buyers suggest that we are not alone. We expect a far greater supply of inventory by the fall Radio Show.

I also found it noteworthy that we had some bankers in our suite (and they were not all there to talk about workouts). Some lenders appear to actually be gearing up to make media loans again. That too is significant.

There was a lot of chatter (and a few conspiracy theories) about the $500 million equity investment with Lew Dickey. As I mentioned before, we view it as a sea-change event for the industry.

As always, regulatory matters were front and center in Las Vegas. One conversation raised an interesting point regarding the FCC's attempted TV spectrum grab. If the current FCC commissioners think that broadcasting is no longer relevant (as seems to be the case), how can they then take the position that multiple ownership rules make any sense? We're either relevant or we're not. They can't have it both ways.

The NAB Show proved that the deal market is back, at least compared to last year. There is much healing still required. And things won't materially improve until the lenders re-enter the marketplace. But finally, we appear to be moving in the right direction.

That's how I saw the convention. What about you?

Media Services Group

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The bottom is in

The Crestview Partners $500 million investment in Lew Dickey announced today marks the turnaround for the radio industry. With leverage, it represents new liquidity for the radio business in excess of $1 Billion. I believe that we saw the real pricing bottom mid-year 2009 with the purchase and sale of WQXR in New York.

This deal brings renewed life to station trading. We have weathered the storm. Congratulations Lew!

Media Services Group

Saturday, April 3, 2010

iPad sales in 2010 are predicted to top 7.1 million units. 2011, 14.4 million. 2012, 20.1 million. Article

Fellow radio broadcasters: don't you wish the iPad included an FM tuner, especially one capable of receiving HD? How did we miss this?

Media Services Group

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Stations for sale: new opportunities

Media Services Group is exclusively marketing some new radio and TV station opportunities:

• 4 station cluster (2 AM / 2 FM) in a Mid-Atlantic college market. $700k revenue
• 4 FM station cluster in rated Southeastern market. Turnaround priced to sell. Seller financing.
• Small market ABC affiliate TV station
• 4 FM station cluster in rated North Carolina market. Seller financing.
• AM/FM in North Carolina resort market. Seller financing.
• 2 FMs in Southwest rated market.
• 2 FMs in Midwest rated market. Positive cash flow.

If you are interested, please contact me for an NDA (

Media Services Group

Let's get together at the NAB

The NAB is just around the corner. The Media Services Group suite will be at the Encore this year. If you would like to discuss the station and tower trading marketplace, please get in touch for an appointment. We are available Sunday night through Tuesday.

I hope to see you there!

Media Services Group

Monday, March 22, 2010

Good FCC information website for broadcasters

Here is a website from Cavell Mertz & Associates which makes researching FCC station information a breeze (for AM/FM/TV). You can also search Antenna Structure Registration and nearby airports. Very handy. And thanks to Don Curtis for the tip. Click here:

Media Services Group

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Are Broadcasters About to Spend Another 24 Months in a Flaming PR Dungeon?

When XM and Sirius hit the marketplace, the companies’ PR machines (and their Wall Street supporting cast) waged war on traditional broadcasters. And for the most part, they won, at least until the truth overcame the hype.

We spent a couple of years reading and hearing about the destruction of free over-the-air broadcasting. Satellite radio was Radio’s Death Star. It would own car radios. Broadcasting was obsolete.

Guess what. XM and Sirius merged and morphed into the niche business it was always destined to become.

Here we go again. Pandora will likely go public in the near future. The hype, much like that with satellite radio, will become deafening as the Wall Street banks line up to rake in big fees from the IPO and run-up of the stock.

Are broadcasters going to again sit idly by and suffer another two years in the PR dungeon?
Pandora is a cool application. It probably has “legs” in the marketplace. But it is another niche product. It cannot beat “local.” It will not beat us at what we do best.

Broadcasters need to unite to tell their story of free, over-the-air radio. We do not need to spend the next two years listening to “Pandora’s Radio Death Star” story. We have incredible reach in every community in the country. Pandora does not now, and I predict, will not ever have it. Let’s tell the world what Pandora really is… a “cool” niche product.

Those are my thoughts. What are yours?

Media Services Group

Monday, March 1, 2010

Regent Communications Announces Consensual Restructuring Agreement With Senior Lenders

Regent announced a restructuring this morning which includes a prearranged Chapter 11 filing. Oaktree Capital Management L.P. will assume control. If that name sounds familiar, Oaktree backs the GAP companies and Triton Digital. The press release is HERE.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Spring Thaw Has Started Early

The frozen station trading market is starting to thaw. Media Services Group has actually announced some sales and some closings in recent weeks (including Jody McCoy's Denver sale) after months of dormancy. With our size and scope, we're a good barometer for the state of the marketplace. And pressure is rising.

The credit markets remain a problem, but I take Salem's recent debt placement and Clear Channel's recent upgrade as positive steps. Some sellers in the small markets are now considering seller financed transactions.

Reports from the station operators around the country are generally upbeat about QI business (albeit against easy comps). It appears that national business has turned the corner. The spring thaw has begun a little early this year.

Media Services Group

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

See you in a week

Loree and I are leaving today for a week long visit to Cuba. This is our second trip. We are traveling (legally!) on behalf of Methodists United in Prayer, a relationship between the Florida and Cuba Methodist Churches.

As we will not have access to the web, cell phones, or email, these pages will be silent for a week. We'll chat again after we return on February 11.

Media Services Group

Meet the Media Services Group partners: Greg Merrill

This post completes my series of highlights of my partners at Media Services Group. We are proud of the twenty years of service to the broadcast industry. We wrap up with another of our co-founders, Greg Merrill.

Greg anchors our Salt Lake City office from Logan, Utah. Over 26 years as a broker/consultant, and with a thorough knowledge of the broadcasting industry, he as prepared hundreds of appraisals and station analyses. In addition, he has 13 years of owner/operator experience.

Greg has served as a Court Appointed Receiver for District Court Boise (KDJQ-AM) and has been involved in Bankruptcy cases and/or served as expert witness in:

•Boise, Idaho Federal Bankruptcy Court
•Salt Lake City Federal Bankruptcy Court
•Expert witness in Phoenix, Arizona; Eugene Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Bakersfield, California

Greg has sold over 150 stations in Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Oregon and California. He holds a B.S. Business Administration degree and a Master’s Degree in Communications from Utah State University.
I am honored to work with this group of professionals. Collectively, we bring hundreds of years of service to broadcasters, lenders and investors. All of my partners put integrity first. Maybe that's why we're still around and successful after twenty years.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Meet the Media Services Group partners: Providence office

Our Providence office is staffed by veterans Bob Maccini, Stephan Sloan, and Ted Clark (with Diana Todd really running things). In addition to an active station brokerage practice, our Providence office anchors our broadcast valuation practice, which in my humble opinion, is the best in the industry.

Bob Maccini commenced his broadcasting involvement at Old Stone Bank, Providence, RI where he managed the bank's Communications Lending Group for five years. Subsequently, he founded and managed Chapman Financial Services, a subsidiary of Chapman Associates which provided investment banking services to the broadcasting industry.

Bob was one of our co-founders when Media Services Group was launched twenty years ago. Since, he has worked with numerous financial institutions in broadcasting related workout transactions and has been appointed as a receiver and examiner by various courts to oversee and sell radio and cable television companies.

Bob serves on the Boards of Saga Communications and GAP Broadcasting, and is President/CEO of Ando Media. He holds a B.A. degree in Economics from Holy Cross College and an M.B.A. degree in Finance from Babson College.

Stephan Sloan assists clients in a variety of investment banking, brokerage, appraisal, portfolio management, and expert testimony tasks. Stephan has helped clients obtain more than $40 million in senior debt and helped broker radio stations with an aggregate value of more than $200 million. He has appraised or assisted in the appraisal of radio, television, and cable television systems valued in excess of $500 million for clients that include the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC).

Working closely with Bob in Media Services' Broadcast Portfolio Group, Stephan has helped financial institutions with problems in their broadcast and cable loan portfolios and in court-appointed receivership assignments. He has also been accepted in state court as an expert witness on radio station valuation, finance, and receivership matters. Steph attended Salve Regina University.

Ted Clark is an analyst in Providence. He joined the firm in 1997 and since that time has performed valuations of radio, television and cable television systems totaling in excess of $560 million. Prior to joining Media Services Group, Ted (or as we call him, "Dr. Clark") worked as a research scientist and software developer in the biotechnology industry. He received his B.S. degree from the University of Rhode Island and performed his graduate studies at Dartmouth College.

Media Services Group

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Radio Disney Group sells WMNE (AM) serving West Palm Beach

Radio Disney Group, LLC has agreed to sell WMNE (AM) (Riviera Beach, FL) serving West Palm Beach to Travis Media L.L.C. (pending FCC approval).

Eddie Esserman and Bill Whitley of Media Services Group were the exclusive brokers.

Congratulations Eddie and Bill (again!).

Media Services Group

Monday, January 25, 2010

KAKS-FM sale closes

Carroll County Broadcasting has completed the acquisition of the assets of radio station KAKS-FM, serving Fayetteville, Arkansas from Davidson Media Arkansas Stations LLC. Felix Perez is the CEO of the Seller, and Jay Bunyard is the President of the Buyer. Both Buyer and Seller have multiple other broadcast properties. The purchase price is $1,110,000.

Bill Whitley of Media Services Group’s Dallas office served as the exclusive broker for this transaction and represented the seller.

Congratulations Bill!

Media Services Group

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Meet the Media Services Group partners: Tom McKinley

Tom McKinley joined Media Services Group in 1996, opening our West Coast office. He has been involved in the sale of over 100 radio stations across the country. In addition he has done numerous appraisals and has also acted as a consultant to broadcast groups and stations.

Prior to joining MSG, Tom had 25 years of broadcast experience, first in sales management and then as VP/GM of stations in New Haven, Kansas City, Seattle, and San Diego/Los Angeles where he ran a regional Southern California station. He was also Executive VP/GM of All News WTOP-AM and WASH-FM, two of the Washington, DC market’s leading stations. In addition he was Senior VP Corporate for Noble Broadcast Group, which at the time was one of the largest broadcast groups in the country.

Tom's additional experience includes National Sales Management at Major Market Radio, Manager West Coast, and Executive VP Stations, New York, as well as President, Group W Radio Sales. Tom opened the Media Services Group office in Metro New York in 2006, and maintains a West Coast office in Northern California.
Tom's been known to frequent an Irish bar or two. He is also MSG's designated story-teller. If you know him, you know what I'm talking about!


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Call Report

The news last week was not particularly good. Regent missed a payment. GE and Black Crow squared off in court.

But there are glimmers. Most broadcasters I have spoken with are reporting good first quarter pacings. Yes, the comps are easier, but it is a start. I met with a fund last week who has recently taken a position in the industry. I believe them to be "smart money." And I met with a broadcaster who believes that radio stations are attractive at the current pricing level. I continue to believe that things are looking up for 2010.

Media Services Group

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Meet the Media Services Group partners: Jerry Johnson

Jerry manages Media Services Group’s Minneapolis office. His fourteen-year association with WCCO, coupled with twenty-five years as a station broker, has provided him with a keen knowledge of the media industry and the "deal process" of buying and selling properties.

Jerry has been involved with transactions for more than 160 media properties covering nine states. Additionally, he has appraised more than 60 broadcast properties in the Midwest and surrounding areas. Jerry is a member of the National Association of Media Brokers and a member of five broadcasting organizations. He has authored articles for the Minnesota Broadcasting Association newsletter and contributes to many national trade publications.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2009 Non Commercial FM Sales ($1 million or higher)

After taking a look at significant 2009 sales of commercial FM stations, I thought it might be interesting to look at the non commercial FM deals. I queried our BIA database for all 2009 transactions of non commercial FM stations with a sale price equal to or greater than $1 million. Here's what turned up:

1. Market: Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX
Market Rank: 5
Sale Announced: 06/09
Calls: KKXT
Buyer: North Texas Public Broadcasting Inc.
Seller: Covenant Educational Media Inc.
Price: $18,000,000
Pop Count (60 dBu): 4,974,764
Cost per Pop: $3.62

2. Market: Pittsburgh, PA
Market Rank: 25
Sale Announced: 05/09
Calls: WAOB-FM
Buyer: Saint Joseph Missions
Seller: Sheridan Broadcasting Corp.
Price: $8,900,000
Pop Count: 2,132,539
Cost per Pop: $4.17 (this assumes no value for the AM properties)
Comments: Sale includes two AM properties, WAMO and WPGR

3. Market: Cape Charles (Norfolk), VA
Market Rank: 43 (Norfolk)
Sale Announced: 09/09
Calls: WAZP
Buyer: Educational Media Foundation
Seller: Delmarva Educational Association
Price: $4,000,000
Pop Count: 440,842
Cost per Pop: $9.07

4. Market: Toledo, OH
Market Rank: 92
Sale Announced: 01/09
Calls: WNKL
Buyer: Educational Media Foundation
Seller: Cornerstone Church Inc.
Price: $2,825,000
Pop Count: 354,869
Cost per Pop: $7.96 (This assumes no value for the AM property)
Comments: Sale includes WNWT-AM

5. Market: Rockford, IL
Market Rank: 149
Sale Announced: 05/09
Buyer: Educational Media Foundation
Seller: First Assembly of God Church
Price: $2,000,000
Pop Count (WGSL): 408,712
Pop Count (WQFL): 368,686
Cost per Pop: $2.57

6. Market: Oxnard-Ventura, CA
Market Rank: 118
Sale Announced: 01/09
Calls: KLFH
Buyer: Logos Broadcasting Corp.
Seller: Shepherd Communications Inc.
Price: $1,350,000
Pop Count: 346,992
Cost per Pop: $3.89

7. Market: Raleigh-Durham, NC
Market Rank: 42
Sale Announced: 10/09
Calls: WAJC-FM/WGPS-FM/WJIJ-FM/WPGT-FM and W214BJ (translator)
Buyer: Liberty University Inc.
Seller: Calvary Chapel of Cost Mesa
Price: $1,250,000
Pop Count (WAJC): 45,043
Pop Count (WGPS): 103,995
Pop Count (WJIJ): 16,566
Pop Count (WPGT): 37,330
Cost per Pop: $6.16
Comments: I ignored the translator for purposes of determining the Cost per Pop.

8. Market: San Luis Obispo, CA
Market Rank: 170
Sale Announced: 02/09
Calls: KESC
Buyer: University of Southern California
Seller: Lazer Broadcasting Corp.
Price: $1,200,000
Pop Count: 181,645
Cost per Pop: $6.61

9. Market: Ft. Wayne, IN
Market Rank: 108
Sale Announced: 07/09
Calls: WLAB
Buyer: Star Educational Media Network Inc.
Seller: Indiana District - Lutheran Church MS
Price: $1,000,000
Pop Count: 349,388
Cost per Pop: $2.86 (ignores coverage of translators)
Comments: Includes two translators.

10. Market: Wilkes Barre-Scranton, PA
Market Rank: 70
Sale Announced: 06/09
Calls: WCIG
Buyer: Family Life Ministries
Seller: GEOS Communications
Price: $1,000,000 (plus Buyer assigns two translators to Seller)
Pop Count: 431,812
Cost per Pop: $2.42


Media Services Group

Monday, January 11, 2010

Top 50 TV Markets ranked by 2009 revenue (BIA)

Here is the estimated 2009 television market revenue from BIA for the top fifty markets ($000):

1. Los Angeles, CA (1,193,900)
2. New York, NY (1,059,900)
3. Chicago, IL (635,600)
4. Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX (484,000)
5. Philadelphia, PA (435,300)
6. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA (412,300)
7. Washington, DC (401,700)
8. Houston, TX (387,500)
9. Atlanta, GA (367,000)
10. Miami - Ft. Lauderdale, FL (365,700)
11. Boston, MA (340,100)
12. Phoenix, AZ (292,500)
13. Denver, CO (260,700)
14. Tampa-St Petersburg-Sarasota, FL (253,400)
15. Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne (243,100)
16. Detroit, MI (242,300)
17. Seattle-Tacoma, WA (231,000)
18. Minneapolis - St. Paul, MN (211,900)
19. San Diego, CA (178,300)
20. Cleveland-Akron, OH (173,600)
21. Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA (172,400)
22. Pittsburgh, PA (158,400)
23. San Antonio, TX (154,300)
24. Charlotte, NC (152,400)
25. St. Louis, MO (151,000)
26. San Juan, PR (150,900)
27. Baltimore, MD (149,900)
28. Indianapolis, IN (147,300)
29. Hartford-New Haven, CT (136,400)
30. Las Vegas, NV (135,500)
31. Columbus, OH (131,100)
32. Raleigh-Durham, NC (128,000)
33. Portland, OR (122,700)
34. Salt Lake City, UT (121,600)
35. Kansas City, KS-MO (120,800)
36. Nashville, TN (113,800)
37. Cincinnati, OH (113,600)
38. Milwaukee, WI (110,600)
39. Oklahoma City, OK (96,600)
40. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA (92,700)
41. West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL (92,700)
42. Greenville-Spartanburg, SC-Asheville, NC (86,900)
43. Jacksonville, FL (86,400)
44. Louisville, KY (84,900)
45. New Orleans, LA (82,600)
46. Austin, TX (80,700)
47. Birmingham, AL (78,800)
48. Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM (78,600)
49. Memphis, TN (78,000)
50. Richmond-Petersburg, VA (75,500)

Media Services Group

Friday, January 8, 2010

Top 50 Radio Markets ranked by 2009 revenue (BIA)

With 2009 behind us (which many of us are thankful for), I thought it might be interesting to look at the top 50 radio markets ranked by estimated radio revenue. I used the BIA numbers for the estimates. Here is how they shake out ($000):

1. Los Angeles, CA (698,000)
2. New York, NY (560,200)
3. Chicago, IL (441,100)
4. Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX (303,500)
5. San Francisco, CA (274,000)
6. Houston-Galveston, TX (267,800)
7. Atlanta, GA (267,500)
8. Washington, DC (245,000)
9. Boston, MA (225,200)
10. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, FL (223,400)
11. Philadelphia, PA (217,400)
12. Phoenix, AZ (190,900)
13. Seattle-Tacoma, WA (174,800)
14. Detroit, MI (159,500)
15. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (140,300)
16. Denver-Boulder, CO (137,800)
17. San Diego, CA (136,900)
18. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL (110,000)
19. Baltimore, MD (103,600)
20. St. Louis, MO (99,200)
21. Orlando, FL (98,800)
22. San Antonio, TX (98,600)
23. Sacramento, CA (98,400)
24. Portland, OR (95,400)
25. Cincinnati, OH (83,700)
26. Pittsburgh, PA (81,600)
27. Puerto Rico (80,900)
28. Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC (80,700)
29. Salt Lake City-Ogden-Provo, UT (80,400)
30. Cleveland, OH (77,600)
31. Kansas City, MO-KS (76,600)
32. Austin, TX (74,600)
33. Las Vegas, NV (73,100)
34. Milwaukee-Racine, WI (73,100)
35. Columbus, OH (67,800)
36. Indianapolis, IN (65,900)
37. Raleigh-Durham, NC (64,600)
38. Hartford-New Britain-Middletown, CT (58,800)
39. Nashville, TN (58,000)
40. Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, VA (53,600)
41. Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY (52,700)
42. New Orleans, LA (50,400)
43. Jacksonville, FL (50,100)
44. West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, FL (48,300)
45. Oklahoma City, OK (44,500)
46. Richmond, VA (43,300)
47. Birmingham, AL (41,900)
48. Louisville, KY (41,800)
49. Nassau-Suffolk, NY (41,000)
50. Providence-Warwick-Pawtucket, RI (41,000)

Click here for a list of all Arbitron rated markets:

Media Services Group

Thursday, January 7, 2010

If you're looking to acquire radio or TV stations, make sure we know about you!

I believe that 2010 will bring a number of new and returning broadcast station owners into the marketplace. Clearly some of the "roll-ups" of the past will be all or partially unrolled. As a station broker, it is critical for me to identify these new, potential buyers. If you fit that description, please get in touch. Let's talk about what you might want to buy and how you intend to pay for it.

A good way to begin is by completing a simple Buyer Profile form and faxing or emailing a copy to me. Click here for the form:

You can email a pdf of the completed form to me at: My partners and I can then do a better job of identifying potential acquisition targets for you. Obviously, we keep all of the information confidential.

My fax is: (904) 285-5618

Let's do some business in 2010!

Media Services Group

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Meet the Media Services Group partners: Bill and Mike Lytle

Continuing in the New Year to introduce you to my partners at Media Services Group, please meet Bill and Mike Lytle in Kansas City. Bill was with us at Chapman Associates and was one of the co-founders of MSG twenty years ago.

Bill is our "senior statesman." In his 50 plus years in both radio and television, Bill has been involved in announcing, sales and management. He served as the General Manager at KXTR-FM and the Sales Manager at both KMBZ-AM and KNBC-AM, all in Kansas City.
Bill received his B.A. degree from Northwestern University and performed his graduate studies at the University of Kansas, where he spent 15 years as a guest lecturer in Strategic Sales (and where he remains a die-hard sports fan). Bill is an experienced specialist in station management consulting and sales consulting.

Like father, like son. Bill's son Mike also works in our Kansas City office. Mike received his degree in Psychology from the University of Kansas in 1978. After spending a large portion of his professional career in the computer consulting industry, he moved into the broadcasting arena. Prior to station brokerage, he was involved in radio sales, broadcasting and production work in the Kansas City market.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Broadcast engineering formulas and information

I tend to leave broadcast engineering to the engineers (and recommend that practice highly). But if your expertise runs a little deeper, you might be interested in the "Engineering Formulas & Information" section on Graham Brock's website:

Here is the list they provide:

  • Ohms Law
  • Simple Conversions
  • T & H Pad Calculator
  • Property Requirements for Standard Guyed Towers
  • Property Requirements for an AM Ground System
  • Ballast Formula for Non-Penetrating Roof Mounts
  • Audio Terms used to descripe Audio Sound

Good luck with that!

Media Services Group

Monday, January 4, 2010

Will our listeners go GaGa for LaLa?

Apple's recently announced acquisition of LaLa didn't seem to prompt much radio industry discussion (though Mark Ramsey and Jerry Del Colliano both wrote about it). And frankly, I didn't think much about it until our Media Services Group online/new media guru Stephan Sloan explained to me the potential fallout on the radio operators. Turns out, it is a REALLY big deal to broadcasters. As Mark Ramsey put it, "And what do you call your favorite songs that you don't own but you have permanent access to? You call it 'radio,' folks. Except in radio's case it's the advertiser paying the 10 cents."

LaLa is a "pay" service where customers pay a dime to be able to permanently stream a song wherever and whenever they want. The company's growth was held back a a little known startup. Who wants their music library investment tied to a little known, probably under-funded start-up? But Apple is a different story. I'd trust them with my music and you probably would too.

Apple's iTunes arguably already controls the music business. They have the content. And with their myriad of cool appliances (iPhones, Nanos, iPods, Macs, etc.), they have the distribution platform. Plus, the technology provides a cache of the tunes . . . you can still listen when you're away from the Internet.

There is an appealing "anytime/anywhere" component to Apple/LaLa (sound familiar?). And this puts Apple into the streaming business, big time. Short term, that might bode well for our streaming businesses. Long term, different story.

Apple innovates. Consumers know it. And we (the broadcasters) have been a little short on innovation lately. It will be tough to "out music" Apple. They have a coolness cachet that we can't match, especially with their appliances. By the way, have you bought a radio lately? Drop by Target or WalMart and see what you think of your choices. But, I digress.

LaLa is developing an iPhone app. A subscription service is probably just around the corner. Pandora and XM/Sirius are likely the most immediate casualties, but we might be next.

So why didn't a broadcaster buy LaLa? Maybe because none of us have any cash at the moment. But even if we did, would we, as (mostly) a bunch of 50+ (mostly) guys, have had the vision?

How do we compete? We can't beat them with just music offerings on our interactive platforms. We have to provide more. We have to "go where they ain't." And I suspect that talented local personalities are part of that solution. Think "entertainment."

Those are my thoughts. What are yours? Your comments are encouraged (click "Comments" below).

Media Services Group