Radio execs: No ad rebound in sight

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New Orleans - Radio group executives don't expect an upturn in the sluggish economy anytime soon and predicted that ad
sales would remain "flat to down" at least through the
end of the year, at a panel at the NAB Radio Show in
New Orleans on Thursday.

"I think there's no imminent turnaround in ad markets," said Lew Dickey, president and CEO of Cumulus Media. "I expect the rest of the year to be flat if not down," said Joan Gerberding, president of Nassau Media Partners. "I think there will be a steady but very slow increase. We're not going to jump back to where we were the last year or

"It's not unconscionable that we would have two bad years in a row," said Alfred Liggins, president of Radio One Inc. "It's happened before."

The executives also backed the FCC's recent decisions
against indecency on the radio, but said the radio
industry needs to be responsible for policing itself.
"I don't necessarily think it's a good business
decision," Dickey said. "Frankly, I thought the FCC
was right in some of the cases."

"We need to be doing that, not the government," said
Randall Mays, executive vice president and chief
financial officer for Clear Channel Communications.
"I'm a proponent of something they call the First

Mays also apologized that his company scheduled a
worldwide general managers' meeting in Atlanta that
directly conflicted with the Radio Show, calling it a
mistake that he didn't expect would happen again.
"We do support the NAB and we think it's important
that all radio stations support it," Mays said. Clear
Channel Chairman Lowry Mays also was at the NAB confab
on Thursday.

Notably absent from the show is Infinity Broadcasting,
whose parent company, Viacom, has dropped out of the
NAB. - Paige Albiniak