Friday, March 23, 2007

Interesting Comments From A Terrestrial Radio Man

March 23, 2007

The article below is from Radio & Records

By Jeffrey Yorke

NEW YORK -- The way Border Media Partners’ head Tom Castro sees it, the radio industry spends “far too much time looking for the next best thing that is going to save us and not enough time doing what we do best -- calling on clients and finding new ones.”

Castro, who appeared Thursday (March 22) on a panel session about radio values, revenues and finance billed “Recovering Radio’s Momentum” at the Kagan Radio/TV Values and Finance Summit in New York, emphasized to Wall Street analysts and lenders in the audience that “the overwhelming part of our business is making the cash register ring for local businesses.”

For Castro’s fast-growing, Hispanic-focused group of 34 radio stations, formed in 2003, that approach is working. He says revenues grew by 18% or 19% on same-station sales and he expects the same sort of growth this year. “Business is good. We have focused on traditional radio business.”

Saga Communications VP/treasurer and CFO Sam Bush recalled how the company recently held a basic sales training session in its Keene, N.H., cluster focused on better servicing old clients who had fallen away from radio and on finding new business. The deal netted Saga more than $400,000 in new business immediately, Bush said, adding that the successful experiment is being deployed to other Saga markets.

Emmis chairman, president and CEO Jeffrey Smulyan agreed. “We’ve done a marginal job on developing business.” He said the industry ought to consider Google’s plan to make buying larger chunks of radio time across the board simpler. “We need to have an easier way for advertisers to buy mass radio.”

Asked if radio had reached it maturity level considering all of the new audio competition -- satellite radio, iPods, etc -- Castro observed, “Radio is not a mature business, it’s just been around a long time. The newspaper business is a mature business.”

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3/23/2007 09:27:00 AM

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