Who’s With Mr. Field?


(By Deborah Parenti) With the close of the Entercom/CBS Radio deal last Friday, David Field proved beyond a doubt that he and his executive team truly have “the right stuff” when it comes to executing the “art of the deal.” And what a deal it was.

From smart use of a complex reverse Morris trust arrangement designed to alleviate some tax consequences that had been a huge hurdle in the sale of CBS, to satisfying DOJ concerns about over-concentration in various markets, watching David play this intricate chess game was a lesson in careful maneuvers and steady patience.

It’s easy to imagine the cases of champagne that have been uncorked in celebration. And well deserved. This is a victory and a major milestone for Entercom and David Field. With approximately 235 stations in the top 50 markets, the now No. 2 revenue producer will enjoy even greater clout among advertisers and audiences. That’s good for Entercom.

And it should be good for radio. Because if David Field can deliver on the initiatives he announced Friday, the radio industry stands to benefit.

If it stands with him.

Reducing spot loads and dropping bottom feeders from the advertiser mix will enhance the environment and appeal to audiences. I would add that in the case of the former, it might also be a good idea to run a social media campaign that informs listeners and encourages them to tune in for a new, more appealing audio experience that is free and easy to access on any device.

But even with Entercom’s vastly increased reach, it can’t take on radio’s battle for a bigger slice of the revenue pie alone. It’s going to take the village.

If Entercom’s goal of increasing revenue depends on better pricing and rate integrity, not higher spot loads, it needs the rest of the market to show the same commitment and not deep-dive for share. That can be a tough challenge, especially when ad budgets are small and station sales budgets aren’t being met. It’s easier said than done to display that determination and grit, but long term, this initiative is in everyone’s best interest.

How do you grow your business if you don’t position its value? How can you expect others to appreciate your radio assets if you are too quick to agree to give them away? As one manager I knew was fond of saying, “You can’t soar with eagles if you hunt with flies.”

David Field has put the world on notice that he intends to use his newly minted clout and industry influence to improve radio’s “strong value proposition as America’s No. 1 reach medium.” Let’s hope others will follow his lead and develop their own like-minded initiatives. There could be no better way to go into a New Year.

Congratulations, David and Entercom. And may radio be the ultimate winner!

Radio Ink Publisher Deborah Parenti

Deborah Parenti is The Publisher of Radio Ink Magazine and can be reached at [email protected]


  1. This spot reduction is a “must do” for our industry. But, we’ve built a system of programatic selling that allows business to go the the station willing to be the lowest priced option. Likewise, so much syndicated programming is going the wrong way. Spot loads in the national shows remain at the level they were 20 years ago and the on-air talent now takes three to four minutes to deliver a live :60 . Despite years of knowing better, we still put ourselves at risk from the impatient button pushers who don’t just change stations…now they change media.

  2. Deborah

    Great article and well said. We have entered an era where we have a lot of smart people, good radio people, running most of the leading companies now. With this kind of leadership the industry continues to move in the right direction. There are always going to be business and competitive issues to deal with but the future is looking good, these are truly exciting and historic times in our industry.

  3. A 5% reduction is only a 30 or at best a 60. Considering the CBS FM Stations constantly aired ~2 minutes or more than their format competitors left over from (Programmer?)Dan Mason dictates, it’s a good start, but more is needed. A 30 to 60 second reduction only drops them to the Beasley area.

    • I wanted to be positiveyesterday when I first read this and think “WOW,” great job on the spot reductions but I too did the math and while it looks great in a press release, the number is almost nothing for listeners.

  4. How excited are the other players to get about a 5% reduction in spot loads? If the reply is. “Well, at least it’s something.” The retort would have to be, “No. It’s nuthin’ at all.”
    This is hardly a bold, new initiative.
    It comes from a corporate mindset – the part of the corporate brain that makes pancake batter.

  5. Good for David. But the problem is that dying elephant known as iheart/clear channel. With 23 billion in debt, iheart is desperate to suck up as much cash as possible. So it is not realistic to think that iHeart can do business thinking long term, promoting upward rate integrity and reducing commercial loads. That’s not on Pittman’s or iheart’s radar…rather, their focus from a survival rate is more billing and immediate cash now, regardless of the consequences. So if this was the military, “General Radio” would say that “We have met the enemy, and it is iheart radio!” lol!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here