Trouble in Grant’s Pass, Oregon

Today began with an Email telling me that WTNT has dropped America’s Morning News. This is significant because WTNT was the “flagship” station for the show affiliated with the Washington Times and syndicated by Talk Radio Network. TRN is located in Grants Pass and operated by the son of the colorful Roy Masters, who sells meditation courses under the Foundation for Human Understanding.

Then the bombshell – a radio network full of So Called Conservative hosts that oppose big government interference in the free market has filed a lawsuit against Dial Global, asserting Dial Global is a monopoly and in violation of antitrust laws – accusations of being a monopoly and demanding a government intervention is one of the pillars of the progressive movement.

Dial Global now owns Westwood One which bought NBC radio when GE bought NBC and saw no future in Radio (with me still?)

Dial Global had been syndicating CNN Radio News which was trailing far behind Fox News, ABC Radio and CBS. When the struggling CNN announced it was pulling out of radio, Dial Global revived the NBC brand and created a replacement for top of the hour news produced by NBC TV, now owned by Comcast (and GE). At the same time, TRN launched a brand new competing Top of the Hour news service based on the Washington Times back America’s News Network.

If you look at the What’s on Now page, you’ll see my ongoing count of which news stations are carrying (music stations don’t generally carry news). Just ballparking the numbers, NBC has about 5% of the stations, TRN has 1%. Neither is an important player in this niche.

The essence of the claim is that apparently Dial Globsl also “reps” TRN, which I didn’t know until today. TRN doesn’t send its own people to stations to take the manager to lunch. TRN is claiming that Dial Global is pushing stations to take NBC News instead of TRN news because they want to silence TRN and help Obama win.

The real issue has nothing to do with Dial Global. Since Cumulus bought Citadel, over the past few months, Cumulus has been dumping non-Cumulus programs like crazy. Clear Channel has also been focusing more on its own lineup. This has hit TRN hard.

My guess is this means TRN has lost probably half of its audience (and revenue). Michael Savage is still clearly unhappy and the cost of his contract may be becoming a problem. Without CBS, Clear Channel and Cumulus, TRN is relegated to single station owners who are difficult to sell to. TRN has not been replacing affiliates as fast as they lost them.

For whatever reason, TRN felt it necessary to ascribe Dial Global’s motives as being tied to the election. That’s not the kind of argument a good lawyer would want to push in front of a judge. It’s pretty much impossible to prove.

Because Dial Global sells TRN’s programs, this kills that relationship. This looks to me like an action motivated by fear, not good business practices. Time for some meditation tapes to calm the inner voices.

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2 Responses to Trouble in Grant’s Pass, Oregon

  1. Art Stone says:

    Don’t kick your salesmen on the knees. I’m noticing a large shift away from TRN, being replaced by Dial Global’s non-libersl talk programs (Dennis Miller, Todd Schnitt, Phil Valentine). I don’t know which happened first, but the wake of the Cumulus/Citadel merger runs deep

  2. Art Stone says:

    The net is cast much wider – the actual target is Oaktree Capital, who own Dial Global – it also own Townsquare, Triton Media (StreamTheWorld), and has dabbled with owning parts of other radio groups.

    TRN owns no radio stations, only the syndication business. I’m betting Oaktree Capital has better lawyers. Time will tell.

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