News of Beasley Broadcasting’s plans to acquire Greater Media broke last week. Radio World spoke with interim CEO Caroline Beasley to learn more about the company’s plans and her perspective on the radio industry.
On corporate culture, she noted similarities between BBG and Greater Media she said, “Both companies have a love and passion for radio.” Additionally, she said, “We believe in our employees. We care about our employees and believe that they are our biggest asset.”
But ultimately “we’re family-run companies who have been in the business for many, many years,” Beasley said. “I think that is very important to note.” Greater Media was started 60 years ago by its founder Peter Bordes, and Beasley Broadcasting was founded 55 years ago by George Beasley.
However, “probably the biggest difference between the two companies is that Greater Media has remained a privately-held company throughout the years, and in 2000 we took our company public. So we have different reporting requirements, just different requirements, financial responsibilities, financial reporting responsibilities versus Greater Media. They’re not accustomed to living in a world where their parent company is publicly traded.”
“Specific, strong station brands will absolutely remain … but ‘Greater Media’ will be under the Beasley umbrella.”
Ms. Beasley was unequivocal and unwavering in her support for future of the radio business: “We’re very bullish on that.”
“Obviously, we believe in the industry. Otherwise we would not be doubling the size of our company and taking on the added debt.”
Nonetheless, she acknowledged, “there are a lot more competitors out there in the business, and it’s not just radio competitors. You’re competing for the share of ear, and so it’s requiring us to be better at what we do and to change; and that’s the key. We have to change, we have to adapt to the times, and we want to be there for our listeners anywhere, any time. Not only are we over the air, we’re online, we’re mobile, so we want to be connected, to have our listeners have to opportunity to be connected with us anywhere, wherever they are.”
To that end, Beasley believes in the NextRadio app/FM chip initiative promoted by Emmis Communications; as well as HD Radio, of which she says, “We think that is a good technology. We are very thrilled that DTS has purchased this company and we believe that their plans for the future are very exciting for broadcasters. We feel very positive with where that is going. I think the technology itself can improve and they are focused on that, and once we get some of the [reception problems resolved] — and they will get resolved, I assure you because they are working on that now — then the HD technology will even be better.”
When it comes to advertising, the company’s former chief financial officer also preaches adaption in order to capitalize on revenue opportunities. “Today we’re trying to train and teach our sellers they’re not just spot sellers; they’re marketing solution providers. We are trying to provide solutions to our advertisers that will grow their revenue.” She also emphasized that they don’t just offer radio spots anymore, a move supported in part because “there are studies that have been done that indicate if you have a radio-digital mix, then that improves the return on investment to advertisers.”
She declined at this time to answer questions about the future of the technical staff who might be affected by the merger. She also chose not to comment about the status of her father’s health and whether he has plans to return to a leadership role in the company; a recent Philly.com story reports that George Beasley is recovering from a kidney transplant.