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Friday, August 14, 2009

Advertisers forced to use 'Urban' radio format or risk license challenge

Format dictates have been standard procedure from radio advertisers for decades. The main concern was "Controversy." No matter how huge a radio show's ratings, clients had become convinced that possible 'controversial environments' were to be avoided completely. No questions, no apologies. (This was my experience in selling local radio time for 20 years. The proscription was more for shows like Rush Limbaugh and Howard Stern, less for Urban formats). There is a wealth of qualitative data on likely customers available to advertisers in spending their scarce ad budgets. Radio Ink: "August 12, 2009: The Minority Media and Telecommunication Council is ramping up its push for a compliance officer to enforce the
  • broadcast nondiscrimination rule that was part of a 2008 FCC report and order on broadcast diversity.

In the letter, MMTC President David Honig asks

  • FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to name a compliance officer "promptly," saying, "MMTC has calculated that minority broadcasters lose at least $200 million a year to NUDs(No Urban Dictates) and NSDs (No Spanish Dictates), compounding the financial difficulties these broadcasters face in the current economic climate.

Minority broadcasters earned these revenues, but they never collect them."

Agency E-Mail

Attached with the MMTC's letter is a copy of an e-mail, dated August 5, apparently from an employee of the agency Palisades Media in Los Angeles. The e-mail requests rates for a Mini Cooper campaign in the Boston; Houston; Washington, DC; and Baltimore markets, asking about 30s in several radio formats and adding, "No combos or urban formats."

  • Honig writes, "The rule requires broadcasters renewing their licenses to certify on Form 303-S that their advertising contracts

Therefore, to remain in compliance with the rule,

Kizart Addresses The Issue

  • Kizart Media Partners' Sherman Kizart obtained the original Palisades Media e-mail, and he has written to agency CEO Roger Schaffner concerning the matter, saying the directive is "crystal clear" and "minimally very disturbing and troubling.""...

Palisades Media declined to comment to Radio Ink on the matter." "MMCC Cites 'No Urban Dictate' from Mini Cooper Agency" 8/12/09

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