The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

11 January 2006

Howard Stern, Paul Harvey, Boston, Milwaukee


Stern Speculation, Harvey Loses Boston, Ratings

Citing language in SIRIUS Satellite Radio's most recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing, some radio insiders are wondering out loud if Howard Stern may have a contractual ability to cash out early!

While any mere mortal might have to sit through a long vesting period before exercising share options, Stern's clearly in league of his own. Could he potentially dilute the price with a big share dump? There are slightly differing interpretations of Howard's megadeal, said to be worth $500 million.

On the New York Radio Message Board, primarily restricted to radio and television insiders, the discussion begins here:

Posted by Jim Kingsland on January 11, 2006 at 11:56:01:

Interesting reading in the latest S3 filing by Sirius with the SEC.

“This prospectus relates to 34,375,000 shares of our common stock, par value $0.001 per share, which are held by One Twelve, Inc. and Chipombe LLC (each, a “Selling Stockholder” and collectively, the “Selling Stockholders”).

The shares of common stock may be sold from time to time by and for the account of the Selling Stockholders named in this prospectus. The Selling Stockholders may sell all or a portion of the shares of common stock from time to time in market transactions, in negotiated transactions or otherwise, and at prices and on terms which will be determined by the then prevailing market price for the shares or at negotiated prices directly or through a broker or brokers, who may act as agent or as principal or by a combination of such methods of sale. See “Plan of Distribution” on page 12 for additional information on the methods of sale.”

One Twelve is the company controlled by Stern which holds 31 million shares. Chipombe is an entity controlled by Stern’s agent. While this doesn’t mean they will dump all of the shares tomorrow, it sure does mean the best of times financially for Stern who also has the 5 year, $500 mln pay package. This will surely propel Howard to near the top of the Forbes Top 10 wealthiest celebrities list this year.

UPDATE: a new story from tomorrow's edition of the Hollywood Reporter. Wall Street's nervous about Stern's ability to cash out early, it's hitting the share price already. A late piece from Crain's New York here, as well.

Could changes be
on the way at Greater Media's Boston FM talk station WTKK? Today General Manager Matt Mills announced his retirement. Since new regimes tend to bring in their own people, one wonders if this will prove to have a major impact on the station's future programming.

Today's Boston Herald mentions WBZ's stealth Paul Harvey cancellation, with generous amounts of annoying snark sprinkled on top:

WBZ-AM did not renew Paul Harvey’s contract. Bless their hearts. Apparently, the ol’ coot’s dispatches were rather expensive and his son, Paul Jr., was filing more of the daily reports than Dad. And now you know the rest of the story.

With a weekend host actually quitting over alleged infomercials being added to its lineup, there's a big uproar in Milwaukee over a local talk station's credibility. As they increasingly give up long-term viability (by killing off the audience) for quick upfront cash from typically-sleazy brokered programming, this is fast becoming a hot issue.

A hat tip to Perry Simon for this item, by Tim Cuprisin of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Bob Landaas says he's been planning since November to exit the WTMJ-AM (620) financial show he's hosted for nearly two decades.

But he didn't say anything until he signed off at the end of Saturday morning's "Money Talk."

He says his departure came because of WTMJ's cancellation of Melinda Myers' "Plant Doctor" show and its replacement with "The Mutual Fund Show" out of Kansas City.

"I didn't want to be associated with that," Landaas tells Inside TV & Radio. "I'm the head of a $2 billion investment firm. Trust is what we offer. Once you have ethical issues like that, you have to stand up and draw a line."

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Stern image: NBC News


  • Hey Brian, if AAR is winding down (as you allege in an earlier post), what will it do with its 3.1 rating in conservative San Diego? Or rising ratings in NYC and Chicago?
    Again: Provide some evidence Brian.

    By Blogger Justin, at 11 January, 2006 20:42  

  • A post on the Boston radio-info board, supposedly by a former WBZ employee,
    said that Paul Harvey's son has been
    filling in for his father for several years (vocal cord damage in 2001). Harvey uses a special microphone these days; the man said that "we paid for
    Paul Harvey, not Paul Harvey Jr."
    That could be the reason he's off?

    By Blogger raccoonradio, at 11 January, 2006 23:50  

  • heh - you hesitated to play the "H" card, and now your diversifying to make it your new bread-and-butter, peppered with less-frequent AAR attacks...

    That whole gloria-wise scandal not panning out for you and the bigot malkin?

    Too funny...

    meanwhile, make what you will of this - Mike Webb is continuing his talk show at his web site.

    By Blogger TJ, at 12 January, 2006 00:12  

  • Check out the rating in the Quad Cities market.

    Spring of 2005: 0.5
    Half a year later: 2.6

    Not a large market, obviously, but an impressive increase.

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 12 January, 2006 00:17  

  • Not really, Mr. Kite.

    Quad Cities isn't looked at by the big names.

    Sorry, that's reality for ya.

    By Blogger Sailor Republica, at 12 January, 2006 01:51  

  • For starters, Quad Cities (QC) comes up on Radio-Locator as Moline, IL, but includes three other cities in Iowa and Illinois.

    For example, 1270, WKBF Rock Island, IL, an AAR affiliate is owned by Clear Channel as is 1420 WOC Davenport, IA, the more traditional News/Talker.

    By Blogger The Real Bob Anthony, at 12 January, 2006 07:18  

  • 1. While the NYC growth is noticeable, you're still barely beating out a Spanish-only station and only marginally improved from the previous all-Carribean format. The more important thing of note in NYC (in AAR's favor) is that apparently the signal is now strong enough to register in 3 Connecticutt markets (Bridgeport, Stamford, & Danbury), a claim that previously could not be made.

    2. Ratings in #2 LA? Down 0.2 to 0.7

    3. Chicago's rating of 0.9 is DOWN from it's Fall II trendline of 1.1.

    4. Hurray. ONE success story for AAR in San Diego. Let's just continue to ignore the 0.0s being posted in Dallas, DC, Detroit, and Atlanta, all of which are larger markets than SD.

    A look at the bigger picture doesn't exactly scream "Success story".

    By Blogger BF, at 12 January, 2006 14:38  

  • While #3 is true, the more important fact is that AAR went up in Chicago from Summer05 to Fall05. Also of note is that the same station registered a 1.1 in Rockford, IL. Keep in mind that WCPT is 37.5 miles from Rockford and 46.2 miles from Chicago. So a total 2.0 rating from an average of over 40 miles away is pretty good.

    Thanks for the heads up on the Conn markets. KTLK (the LA station) also registered a 0.5 Oxnard/Ventura. So while KTLK went down 0.2 in LA, it went up 0.5 in Oxnard/Ventura.

    Just released today, Detroit got a 0.5, up from 0.0 in the Summer.

    A look at the bigger picture doesn't exactly scream "Success story".

    Who are you quoting?

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 12 January, 2006 17:55  

  • Who are you quoting

    Al Franken, of course. And every other AAR defender.

    Do you realize that 0.2 in LA is Exponentially more valuable than 0.5 in Oxnard? Just checking...

    By Blogger BF, at 13 January, 2006 08:40  

  • Al Franken, of course. And every other AAR defender.

    When has Al Franken or "every other AAR defender" called AAR current situation a "success story?"

    By Blogger Mr. Kite, at 13 January, 2006 13:16  

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