What’s the Forecast?

November 3, 2015

What’s The Forecast?

On November 17th, I am honored to be co-chairing Radio Ink’s Forecast 2016, along with Drew Marcus, Managing Partner of Sugarloaf Rock Capital and longtime investor in radio. It is always informative and stimulating to gather members of the investment, advertising andPeter Smyth media communities to exchange opinions about where we are and what to expect in the coming year.

Each year, Forecast covers a lot of ground in a short amount of time; this year will be no different. Erica Farber will moderate a panel on advertising expenditures for the coming year.  Her panel of Mark Fratrik, Mark Gray, Jack Meyers and Marci Ryvicker will share their best estimates about where the dollars will come from in the coming year and what advertisers will be looking for as return on their investment.

Drew Marcus will lead a discussion about radio as an investment, with Jerry Sargent from Citizens Bank, Brian McNeill of Alta Communications and George Reed from Media Services Group.

Any election year presents an opportunity for political revenues and this year radio is better equipped than in the past. The Nielsen voter analysis tool will show political advertisers which way our listeners lean politically in a more specific way than ever before. And the outspoken Dick Morris, political consultant, will give us his take on the candidates and their chances for ultimate success in November.   Later in the day, Gordon Smith of NAB will moderate a panel that will dive deep into how the political dollars flow and how to maximize radio’s political opportunities. He will be talking with Laura Clark of Radio One, Patrick McGee from the Katz Radio Group, and my fellow Bostonian Tom O’Neill, founder of O’Neill and Associates.

Beth Neuhoff will lead a panel of independent operators including Steve Newberry of Commonwealth Broadcasting, Joe Schwartz of Cherry Creek Radio, Jeff Shapiro from Great Eastern Radio and Gary Shorman of Eagle Communications.

I am particularly looking forward to an afternoon panel called “How Disruptive Innovations Are Challenging Radio’s Growth Opportunities”, moderated by Amy Young of Macquarie Securities and featuring Brian Benedik from Spotify, Carter Brokaw from iHeart Media, Doug Sterne from Pandora and our friend Bob Struble from iBiquity.  They will discuss how to compete in the new expanded audio landscape and isolate which new areas need support and investment to flourish and contribute to our long term success.

Pierre Bouvard from Westwood One will head a panel that promises to identify six specific things we can do to secure a greater share of advertising dollars in 2016.  That will be followed by a session in which radio executives will respond to the six suggestions from advertisers. I will be joined on this panel by Ginny Morris of Hubbard Broadcasting, Albert Rodriguez from Spanish Broadcasting and Jeff Smulyan from Emmis Communications.

We will also have a luncheon presentation with Dan Mason, honoring him for his Lifetime Leadership as CEO of CBS Radio, and conclude with a reception for the Radio Ink 40 Most Powerful.   That is a jam-packed day of both information and opinion reflecting the vibrancy of our medium, our clients and our investors.

I hope to see many of you there as we prepare for another challenging and exciting year in the ongoing transformation of our business.