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Fred Jacobs is President of Jacobs Media, a media research and consulting firm. Jacobs Media clients have included CBS Radio, Premiere Radio Networks, Citadel, Greater Media, MTV Networks, Playboy, Amazon, Electronic Arts, NPR, Sylvan Learning Centers, and Taubman Malls. Learn more about the company here.


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August 2011

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Bob Bellin

This is a sales failure, not a PR failure.

"...And now Groupon swoops in and cuts this deal..." says it all. CBS or Clear Channel could have "cut this deal" and offered everything Groupon did along with all of the attributes you outlined - they just didn't.

Was there an honest dialogue between the top radio companies and Live Nation? Apparently not. Does Live Nation care about radio's traditional advantages as much as direct email coupon deals? Apparently not. Did radio know this? Apparently not. Would Live Nation have taken a meeting with CC or CBS or Katz to discuss a program to marry their traditional business with something like the Groupon deal? Probably so. Had the two companies been head to head competitors for this deal, could radio have offered everything Groupon did and a lot that they couldn't? Definitely so.

Radio should be embarrassed - but the solution won't come from trade associations - radio companies have to do the work themselves. They should hire some real business development pros from other media, watch, learn and grow.

This is no country for old men...


Bob, thanks so much for the thoughtful comment. I believe that Irving Azoff and others at Live Nation appreciate how radio has historically made strong contributions to the concert business.

But your points about radio's conversations - or lack thereof - are precisely the questions I'm asking. For too long, the industry has been able to "think inside the bun" as it were - but the days of radio being an industry apart from partnerships are long past.

We truly need to have a broader, collaborative view as an industry. There are partnerships and spots where radio would make a great team mate, but there needs to be proactivity and vision.

Thanks again for reading our blog and commenting.

Jack Isquith


Great post.

I wonder how much the role of data, and Groupon's willingness to share it, played in this deal.

Being able to mine data, and a willingness to share and contextualize it, is a powerful business driver.

Mike Anthony

Fred -

Radio - New business model. No more being the middleman. Stop selling the audience to business. Partner with business to serve the audience.

The business model is significantly different when there is skin in the game.

Many broadcasters continue to allow the Arbitron paradigm to hold this business hostage while billion dollar Internet companies are being built on one thing - customer obsession (our listeners).

To borrow a phrase from Internet start-up entrepreneurs...it's time to "disrupt".


Jack & Mike, great to hear from both of you on this topic.

Jack, I'm sure that the data mining is one of the positives of a Groupon deal. Live Nation "gets" the power of knowing more about its concert-goers and web companies like Groupon play into that.

Mike, you hit the nail on the head. When Live Nation can partner up with Groupon, many of the other media are bypassed. They will still need advertising (for now) to get the word out because not everyone has Groupon and its subscribers lean heavily female. But the essence of the equation is very clear and you pointed it out.

I believe you can serve customers and still compete in Arbitron, but it requires a commitment to listeners in ways that radio has not typically behaved.

Appreciate you both reading our blog and taking the time to comment.

Mike Anthony

Fred -

Thanks for the feedback. I thinks it comes down to this -

When you are obsessed with serving the customer (listener)...Arbitron happens!


Well said!

Pandora Charms UK

So cute! I already like you on FB and also get your posts on Google Reader. :)

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