Radio stations will need to lead with digital like never before when they make a pitch to Ford Motor Company local dealers in the coming months. That’s because starting in July, Ford will require its 3,200 dealers to spend half of their co-op dollars in digital. That’s up from the 25% requirement the automaker has already dictated.
After several months of what Clear Channel says has been a “flattening” of its senior management structure to reduce overlap, the company is now restructuring its local market sales teams. “We are aligning our sales organizations to this new structure and to give more resources, authority and accountability to the most productive members of our team so we can operate as effectively and efficiently as possible,” a spokeswoman says. The changes have led to a number of layoffs in sales offices nationwide. But Clear Channel hasn’t disclosed any specific numbers.
The pending sale of Simmons Media to Broadway Media has led to several staff changes for the Salt Lake City operations. Broadway promotes 35-year Simmons vet Stephen Johnson to oversee the six-station cluster. It’s a position he’s previously held, although most recently Johnson served as VP of sales and marketing. Broadway Media also names John Kimball as GM/CEO of Real Media, its division focused on digital, events, and outdoor businesses. MORE
It took a long, difficult period to transform Emmis Communications from a seller to a buyer. Today the company symbolically rang in a new era, marked by its pending acquisition of New York urban AC WBLS (107.5) and gospel WLIB (1190), by ringing the closing bell at the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square. “We’re coming back,” CEO Jeff Smulyan said when reminded Emmis stock has more doubled in value during the past year. MORE
The addition of a morning drive news block is part of a new direction at Journal Broadcast Group talker KQTH, Tucson. In a shift to news/talk, the station is abandoning its “104.1 The Truth” moniker and “right talk for Tucson” slogan in favor of a new identity as “104.1 KQTH, Tucson’s News and Talk,” according to Tucson Weekly. MORE
There’s a good reason why Ford and other automakers are shifting large portions of their ad budgets to digital media. When thinking about buying a new set of wheels, more consumers say automotive advertising is helpful on websites than on any other media platform.
Clocking in at 236 pages, the 2014 quadrennial ownership review is now in black and white. There was little doubt the FCC would stick to its decision to keep the current radio ownership limits in place, and the agency lives up to expectations saying the current rules are “necessary to promote competition.” FCC does seek to fine-tune a rule governing market definition changes. MORE
It looks like the NextRadio booth was a must-see for the FCC at last week’s NAB Show. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn says like chairman Tom Wheeler and commissioner Michael O’Rielly, she too had a chance to see firsthand the radio industry’s FM entry onto Sprint phones. Clyburn says she was “impressed” by NextRadio, calling it “fascinating” and “consumer friendly” and deeming it one of the “innovative developments” in broadcast technology today. MORE
Citing health reasons, Bob Shannon has resigned as executive director of the Conclave. A replacement has not been named. A veteran broadcaster, Shannon became the non-profit’s second-ever executive director, succeeding co-founder Tom Kay who announced his retirement in September 2012. MORE
The news came later than expected, but it was positive nevertheless. Spanish Broadcasting System’s radio revenue grew 2% during the fourth quarter to $32.9 million. For the year, SBS says radio revenue jumped 10%. So did company revenue overall, hitting $153.8 million with its Mega TV division also posting double-digit increases last year. MORE
The rolling of Arbitron into Nielsen will bring more than twice as much cost savings as originally announced in December. Nielsen now says it expects to slice $45 million out of radio operations compared to the $20 million in “productivity gains” it previously told shareholders to expect. MORE
More than half of drivers say they first experience new technology in a rental car – it’s why iBiquity has struck deals to get HD Radio onto rental lots. A new survey done by the parent company of Alamo, National and Enterprise Rent-A-Car finds drivers are more interested in brains (new tech features) than brawn (sports cars, convertibles) when they rent a car. The survey shows satellite radio appeals to men more than women, 17% versus 11%, but having a Bluetooth dashboard connection and navigation system are more than three times as desirable. MORE
Drivers accustomed to using Apple’s Siri voice control to launch a range of actions on their smartphone will be able to do the same activities via voice commands in the car this summer. With a firmware update, users of five Pioneer 2014 NEX in-dash, after-market multimedia receivers will have Apple CarPlay compatibility. Consumers with iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone 5 will be able to use Siri in the car to make and receive calls, compose and respond to text messages, use Apple Maps for navigation and listen to their music, podcasts and iTunes Radio.
The number of students who maintain a profile on a social networking site like Facebook has decreased by nearly 40% in the last five years, according to a new report from Project Tomorrow, an education data organization. This year only 30% of middle school students (grades 6-8) and 39% of high school students (grades 9-10) told researchers they were actively using a site. Instead, social media apps such as Instagram, Snapchat and Vine are becoming more popular.