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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Published on .

Defending radio mergers

I don't get it. The telecommunications legislation passed earlier this year clearly eliminated the cap on the number of stations owned nationally and loosened limits in local markets as well. As a result, the two most aggressive and strongest radio groups-Westinghouse (CBS) and Infinity-are very legitimately playing by the new rules, and will be strengthening themselves by combining when the Federal Communications Commission approves the deal.

The real issue is whether the concentration of ownership in fewer "mega groups" will drive up radio pricing. Here, no one owns a crystal ball.

So why is multiple station ownership in a single market perceived to be bad? Because the fear is it will lead to more aggressive radio advertising rates. But experience tells us "combo rates" are, in fact, lower, not higher. We support and look forward to the ultimate approval of the Westinghouse/Infinity deal and we look forward to being the first agency in the U.S. to negotiate favorable combination rates for our clients across the spectrum of their stations.

The American Association of Advertising Agencies, of which we are active members, which we respect, and in which I personally have a very active role, in opposing this merger does not, however, speak for every agency. On this issue, they certainly don't speak for RBT/Strum.

Radio, as a medium, is only 8% of the industry advertising dollars. Westinghouse-Infinity would still only be 8% of the radio pie, or just 0.64% of the total national ad dollars. If, indeed, they try to be too aggressive with rates (which we don't believe will happen), "Just say no" and spend your clients' dollars across the other 99.36% of media options.

Lonny Strum

CEO, RBT/Strum

Cherry Hill, N.J.

Disputes `RMN' award

Come, come now-since when is a show of weakness and failure to succeed in a competitive marketplace reason for an award?

Your article, "Rocky Mountain News climbs to NAA/AA award" (AA, July 22), verges on the preposterous.

The cut of their circulation from 63 to only 13 counties has left many fuming and has created much discussion around these parts of just one more nail in their coffin as they unsuccessfully battle The Denver Post.

Vail and Aspen, to name only two of our resort towns, sit with empty RMN newspaper dispensers. It's easy for the RMN to claim that 70% of the population of Colorado live in 13 counties along the front range. They fail to understand what percentage more than frequently head for the mountains for days at a time and wonder where their paper is. They have totally turned their backs on the denizens of 50 Colorado counties, geography referred to in a quote in your article as "the hinterlands." Nice! Is everything done for the advertiser-nothing for the reader? Wrong philosophy.

No, the RMN is no longer the paper of the Rocky Mountains-it's now the Foothills News and should probably be renamed such. The Denver Post, on the other hand, clearly reigns victorious as the paper of these parts.

Incidentally, both of the Denver papers are delivered to our home every morning. I read both, like both and am in no way connected with either.

Cleworth Associates

Denver

Klein not appaling

I was quite surprised to read James Brady's column quote, the "appaling Mr. Klein." I can't think why;he just wrote a brillant book and the appaling thing about the whole matter is for the editors of Newsweek to ask Klein to apologize.

It was quite normal for Mr. Klein to decline his identity in view of his close contacts with the White House. It is James Brady who is appaling, and obviously jealous of Mr. Klein's huge success.

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