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Thread: The Entercom Axe Falls On Chicago

  1. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Wimmmex View Post
    I think it's pretty well established that when company announces staff/expense cuts...the stock rises.
    And yet that never happened at iHeart. And the Chicago cuts didn't really help Entercom stock.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deus Ex Machiato View Post
    I guess I'm at a loss to understand how "do everything that iHeart does, only cheaper and worse" is good for the business.
    I don't think anybody is saying that's what they're going to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deus Ex Machiato View Post
    Well, prior to the sale the radio division was a cash cow for CBS.
    You need to read the quotes from Les Moonves of CBS explaining why he was selling radio. He never used the words "cash cow."

  2. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post

    And yet that never happened at iHeart.
    iHeart is a special animal. ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post

    And the Chicago cuts didn't really help Entercom stock.
    That was one city.....and they're not done yet. ;-)

  3. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Wimmmex View Post
    iHeart is a special animal. ;-)

    That was one city.....and they're not done yet. ;-)
    You're ignoring what Entercom said at the time of the merger: There will be $100 million in synergies. Those synergies never materialized, and so these cuts are clearly part of those projected synergies. But they were all stated publicly before the merger. Were there any objections to the merger filed with the FCC?

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deus Ex Machiato View Post
    I guess I'm at a loss to understand how "do everything that iHeart does, only cheaper and worse" is good for the business.
    It's a changed business. Around 2000 radio was over $20 billion in total revenues, now it is hovering at $13 billion.

    And $13 billion in 2019 is the equivalent of just over $9 billion in 2000. That means that revenue is off by about 55%.

    We can not expect the same business model to apply. Technology has created many ways to save, and the economy forces us to find others.
    www.americanradiohistory.com
    Broadcasting Magazine and Yearbooks, Billboard, Cash Box, R&R, Record World, Music & Media, Audio, Television/Radio Age, R&R, Duncan's American Radio, Popular Electronics, Studio Sound, Broadcast Engineering, db, and more.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEduardo View Post

    We can not expect the same business model to apply. Technology has created many ways to save, and the economy forces us to find others.
    In addition, technology has created new revenue streams, and radio companies are diversifying to place their content on the new platforms.

    It's a different business than it was 30 years ago, just as the business in the 1970s was different from what it was in the 1940s. It's a generational thing. People who grew up with network radio in the 30s and 40s are gone. People who grew up with AM Top 40 are in their 70s. The generation using radio now grew up with GameBoys and iPods. Radio HAS to evolve and change to adapt to the marketplace.

    Entercom is aware of this. They inherited a very good platform with radio.com when they bought CBS. They have bought some podcasting companies. The question they're asking is how can they monetize their broadcast content across multiple platforms. The people who can do that are very valuable.

  6. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    In addition, technology has created new revenue streams, and radio companies are diversifying to place their content on the new platforms.
    Yes, the business has changed rather drastically.

    Yet are companies like Entercom embracing change, investing in these new technologies, and expanding? From my vantage point, the answer is no.

    I recall a conversation I had over dinner with some former co-workers almost a decade ago. We were talking about the future of the business, and I blurted out an idea I had just thought of. "We need a digital program director for the station. Someone who's only job is to curate content, manage the station's digital presence, and promote it. The version of the station that exists online is for all intents and purposes a whole new property, and we need to invest in that."

    The online station is a different animal. Or it should be.

    Yet it seems to me that the digital presence of a station (or a cluster) is not being treated as a separate entity. At my last place of employment, there was exactly one person in the sales pit dedicated to digital sales. For the whole cluster. One person dedicated to web content/digital presence. The "digital program director" was also the APD/Midday talent on one station and was supplementing his income by driving for Uber on the weekends.

    Yes, radio HAS to evolve. But what it is doing in the face of this necessary evolution is not nearly enough. If you're going to drive listeners of the terrestrial station to your digital station, there'd better be something there for them. If you're going to sell that digital version of the station, there'd better be value for the client. You can't accomplish that by handing the whole operation off to one or two people who already have two or three other jobs on the terrestrial side.

    It's a bit like what happened with HD radio. Part of the appeal of HD was that there was going to be 2 or 3 times as many signals. Part of the point was to compete with satellite radio. "Hey, don't spend money on satellite! We've got 3 radio stations now, and they're free!" But there was never any investment in the HD2 and HD3 channels. They were an afterthought. The MD would generate a month's worth of music logs for the HD2 channel on a Friday afternoon and that was the maximum effort expended. Is it any wonder HD didn't take off?

    Therein lies the problem. Radio.com is an opportunity. How much effort is Entercom dedicating to that? If everything is shifting to digital - and it is - then it behooves the business to shift resources into that arena. Perhaps more importantly, to bring MORE resources to the table. Not handing the digital presence of the stations to a couple already overworked people, but hiring staff whose only job is building that digital presence. Hiring content creators. Hiring people to sell it.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Deus Ex Machiato View Post
    Therein lies the problem. Radio.com is an opportunity. How much effort is Entercom dedicating to that? If everything is shifting to digital - and it is - then it behooves the business to shift resources into that arena. Not handing the digital presence of the stations to a couple already overworked people, but hiring staff whose only job is building that digital presence. Hiring content creators. Hiring people to sell it.
    The people are already there. The staffing was left over from the previous owner. They don't need to start over just because it's a new owner. The digital is both a separate entity and a local entity. They have some syndicated content, and some local content. Same with sales. As I said, they've invested in a podcasting platform, and that is fully staffed as well.

    It sounds like you don't know anything about Entercom, but they have been in the radio business for two generations. This isn't a short term investment for them. They have lots of staff to handle the content. But they're over-staffed in back-office areas. Lots of duplication. That's what they're working on.

    BTW have you listened to any of the Entercom HD stations in Chicago? Not at all like what you describe. Give a listen before forming your opinion.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deus Ex Machiato View Post
    The online station is a different animal. Or it should be.
    My view is quite contrarian. A station is its content, not its platform.

    People don't buy radios any more. Smartphones have replaced portables and boom boxes. Smart speaker have replaced clock radios and kitchen radios.

    But people still want to be entertained.

    It's not about the distribution channel. It is about content. And people want content on-demand, so podcasts become the equivalent of a DVR in the video world. Still content, but at the user's convenience.

    Instead of dividing efforts between OTA radio and streaming radio, companies should be working to improve content and making it available however a listener wants it.
    www.americanradiohistory.com
    Broadcasting Magazine and Yearbooks, Billboard, Cash Box, R&R, Record World, Music & Media, Audio, Television/Radio Age, R&R, Duncan's American Radio, Popular Electronics, Studio Sound, Broadcast Engineering, db, and more.

  9. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBigA View Post
    It sounds like you don't know anything about Entercom
    I was only an employee.

  10. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Deus Ex Machiato View Post
    I was only an employee.
    In Chicago? How long ago? Because it doesn't sound like you know anything about the place now. Maybe you should compare their level of staffing with other major stations in town. That entire post #26 was filled with generalizations about radio, and nothing to do with Entercom Chicago. Try to be a little specific in your criticisms.

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