The Prodigal CEO: Dan Mason of CBS Radio Speaks Out

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Mason_interview

One year ago, Dan Mason returned to CBS Radio as the new President and CEO. When he assumed the position, growth rates were slow, as were individual station ratings. Since his return, he has been a champion of fresh technologies and formats. Two notable examples are HD Radio and Internet streaming.

Recently, Mason spoke with Hollywood Reporter‘s business editor and New York bureau chief Georg Szalai. The topics included CBS Radio’s digital initiatives and business outlook, a possible recession, and the proposed satellite radio merger.

The first point addressed was the recent announcement that CBS Radio and AOL have decided to partner on their Internet streaming efforts, creating a common platform that dwarfs anything similar currently in existence. Citing substantial revenue increases attributed to their digital offerings, Mason sees the partnership as a valuable augmentation of the company’s traditional radio efforts.

After discussing his excitement about new means of measurement such as the Personal People Meter (PPM) and the ability to monitor streaming audio traffic through AOL, Mason turns his attention to the oft-invoked question, “What about analyst predictions of a downturn in radio advertising this year?”

“It probably rides along with other media. I don’t see a big difference right now between radio, television, even newspapers. Outdoor seems to be growing faster right now. It’s not a situation where radio as one medium is down. I am not saying we’re having an ad recession. But advertising is down and probably is trailing the GDP, which is a fact and has been a fact. And we, along with other media, suffer from that. However, the online pot of advertising is very deep and is becoming more significant. That puts us in a position to overcome any type of recession that might be down the road, because we’re absolutely fishing in a new pond.”

It’s a nice little interview. Szalai and Mason discuss a number of point that should be of interest to readers of this blog, including:

  • Political advertising as an area of growth in revenue.
  • Larger markets as a defense against possible recession.
  • The current state of HD Radio
  • The issue of consolidation amongst broadcast radio stations

I’d like to close with one of my personal favorite exchanges from the interview:

THR: What is the biggest competition to radio these days? Satellite radio, iPods?
Mason: I think an iPod is an appliance. And as far as satellite radio — when you only reach 5% of the population, that’s just not even to a level that’s mass yet.

Go check out the full interview!

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2 Responses to “The Prodigal CEO: Dan Mason of CBS Radio Speaks Out”

  1. randy Says:

    tell dan to contact me,thanks

  2. George Williams Says:

    Unfortunately I cannot as I do not have any direct line to him. I would advise contacting him through the CBS Radio Offices.

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