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Radio One CEO "Industry Has Hit Bottom."

2-7-2012

He's not a regular at the industry conventions. He doesn't appear on too many "group head" panels. And, you don't often see him doing interviews. However, Alfred Liggins is one of the Most Powerful people in radio and certainly in African American media, he's right at the top. Liggins is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business Executive MBA Program.

He's been CEO of Radio One since 1997 and President since 1989. Liggins joined Radio One in 1985 as a salesperson for WOL-AM. In 1987, he was promoted to GSM and in 1988 to GM overseeing Radio One’s Washington, DC operations. After becoming President, Mr. Liggins engineered Radio One’s expansion into new markets. Today, the company includes Television properties, an interactive division, 53 radio stations in 15 markets and a 53.5% stake in Reach Media, which operates the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Alfred Liggins is on the cover of the February 27th issue of Radio Ink magazine and here's a sneak preview of what he had to say.

Radio One, like all other radio companies, had a tough 2011. Liggins acknowledges that fact in our coover interview. He also discussed what Radio One has done to address those tough times and why he's very positive about 2012. "The last three or four years have been very challenging for traditional media businesses. Radio is certainly as traditional as traditional media gets. They have been very tough years. However, we think that the industry has hit bottom."

Looking ahead to 2012, Liggins says getting a better handle on inventory management was a key. "We were caught flat-footed when a number of the big groups started to be very aggressive in their pricing. It is widely known that Clear Channel moved to sort of a best rate centralized inventory management system, which essentially allows them to lower prices faster than anybody else. Given their size and scope that impacts you in some markets. By the second half of the year, we were able to figure out a strategy to combat that. We made a number of significant format changes, including changing on of our inspirational stations in Houston to all-news, which was a big foray for us and a departure from what we've done in the past. We feel very good about the need for a 24 hour all-news radio station in the Houston, TX market. Most news-talk stations these days are more talk than news. We switched around some of our clusters in the Ohio market, where we reduced our urban footprint and launched general market stations in Cincinnati and Columbus. That ultimately freed up our urban stations to have better ratings in a PPM world."

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