Bullish on Emmis, but not the Star

Dateline: Fri 24 Jul 2009

Greg Andrews, columnist at the Indianapolis Business Journal, and a former Star biz editor/reporter, has an interesting take on the woes besetting Emmis Communications, once one of the big bucks in the radio industry. Andrews' column, which was published July 20, is titled, "Beyond the Gloom: Why Emmis Could Bounce Back."

For the record, the picture is bleak: Emmis stock is at 28 cents a share, a fact Emmis chairman Jeff Smulyan did not try to sugarcoat at the recent shareholders' meeting. But Andrews chooses to play the role of the contrarian, and gives Smulyan a platform for forecasting an optimitic future: radio, says Smulyan, is on the verge of a new breakthrough.

What IS  toast is the newspaper industry -- that message comes thru loud and clear both frm Smulyan and Andrews. It was interesting to see how Andrews chose to phrase the dig:

"Smulyan made the case (for Emmis' recovery) well during the meeting, without sounding as much like a cheerleader as he has in the past. He noted that traditional radio in the United States still has 260 million listeners a week, despite competition from the likes of iPods and satellite radio. And he noted that his industry doesn't share the deep-seated woes of daily newspapers or local TV-a sector Emmis was a big player in before selling its stations in recent years.

"For daily newspapers like The Indianapolis Star, a fundamental problem is declining print readership, especially among the young. They've also been buffeted by lost classified advertising, once a wildly lucrative segment, as people with stuff to sell flocked to the free service Craigslist."

But is it really a dig? I think not. It is simply the God's truth.



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