2014 – Thoughts on the Year Ahead by Entercom President and CEO David Field

David J. Field

Happy New Year! 

As we begin this first full week of 2014, I’d like to share a few thoughts on how we are doing and why I am so optimistic about the year ahead. 

2013 was a year of significant development and innovation at Entercom as we continued to make major investments in new positions, content and capabilities to accelerate our growth and make ourselves a stronger and more effective organization.    We have improved ourselves in so many ways.  We launched exciting new brands and added great new local shows in a number of our markets, and our ratings are up in five of the past six quarters. We bolstered our capabilities in a wide range of areas including digital, marketing, inventory management, and information systems.  And we added new tools and resources to provide additional support to our teams to enhance performance. 

2013 was also a good year for the radio industry.   We joined with our peers in a landmark partnership with Sprint to broaden our distribution with direct FM access on smartphones.  And research continued to show that broadcast radio listenership is massive and growing.  A few headlines:

  • Broadcast Radio’s audience grew to an all-time record high of 242 million people 12+ (Nielsen)
  • Broadcast Radio is the #1 medium in the US between 5AM and 5PM daily, surpassing television, internet and all others.  (Nielsen)
  • Broadcast Radio is the only remaining real-time, mass reach medium in the country.  Think about that for a moment.  With DVR usage and delayed TV viewership surging, a huge percentage of TV ads are now consumed many days after broadcast (if they are viewed at all).  Consider all of the advertisers whose message requires immediacy (live events, sale dates, specific limited offers, movie openings, etc.).  Radio is now the ONLY viable way to reach a mass audience with real-time advertising.

These are hugely powerful headlines and they speak volumes on radio’s continuing importance in today’s media landscape.  They also stand in direct contrast to newspapers, television, magazines, direct mail, yellow pages and many other competitive media which are facing significant challenges.  The opportunity for radio to grab a bigger share of ad spending is enormous.  More than ever, radio is a superior choice for any customer looking for enormous real-time reach, local activation, and strong audience engagement at an attractive price. 

We are blessed to work in an industry that matters so much in the lives of the American people.  We serve a vital role during emergencies like the Boston marathon bombings or Hurricane Sandy to help save lives and help communities cope and heal.  In more normal times, we play an important role in American’s daily lives, serving, entertaining, informing, and engaging the public.  We are the primary way Americans discover new music.  We are virtual family to tens of millions of Americans, providing comfort, companionship and local connection.  We play a key role in our democracy by providing news and talk programming to inform and educate the public.  And we are deeply connected with our communities through our local personalities, our events and concerts, and our public service and fundraisers.  And we do it all for free. 

But perhaps the significance of our work is best expressed by one of the artists who personally benefits from the magic of radio:

“It’s true what they say, it’s all about the song.  But….before people can learn the words, and before they’ll buy the album;  Before anyone will buy a single ticket; Before I perform it on stage, the Tonight Show, or make an acceptance speech; Before it can make someone a fan, a living, or a difference…

It is played on the radio.  You gave me this life.

Thank you for everything.”                

–Brad Paisley

Make no mistake about it; radio makes an enormous impact on our nation.  We should all be immensely proud to be part of all of the good that comes from what we do. 

And so we begin 2014 on a high note.  Entercom is entering 2014 in a stronger position than ever.  All of the pieces are in place for us to have a truly outstanding year.  Our stations reach huge audiences and have all of the tools and local marketing capabilities to enable great results for our customers.  And each of our markets has its own unique and exciting opportunities for growth and improvement in 2014.   Several markets, in particular, have large, untapped share growth potential.  And 2014 should also benefit from an accelerating economy and political spending. 

Tomorrow, each of us will head to work to begin this first full week of 2014.  We all begin the year with a clean slate.  An opportunity to experience the great sense of pride and fulfillment that comes from achieving our goals and of knowing we have performed at our very best.   I wish each of you great success in your efforts to achieve your goals in 2014.  I also want to express how grateful and proud I am to work with and serve you. 

May 2014 be a year of great personal accomplishment, health and happiness for you and your families. 

All best,