April 13, 2008

Radio One Makes Another Bad Move

Radio recently sold it's Los Angeles station V100 (KRBV) to Bonneville for $137 million. They purchase the station known then as 100.3 The Beat (KKBT) back in 2000 for somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 million. They basically had a fire sale on a station that was under performing. While they continued to try to make a go of it by bringing in many personalities over the years from Steve Harvey, to John Salley, and former 106 & Park host Free. The station was never a ratings winner. CEO Alfred Liggins admitted in 2007 that they needed to sell V100 as soon as possible because it was a financial drain on the company.

This past week Radio One announced that it had acquired the social networking company Community Connect Inc. (CCI) for $38 million. CCI owns and operates a number of social-networking websites that include BlackPlanet.com, MiGente.com, and AsianAve. Liggins, son of founder Cathy Hughes said, "CCI is an innovator and pioneer in social networking, We believe that they are a great complement to our existing radio, TV, and online properties."

He also added, "We will be the clear number one in the African-American online space."

OK, somebody wake me, but isn't this 2008 and not 2002. Did I miss something, but is BlackPlanet.com still hot? Have they check the ratings lately? Hip-Hop ain't exactly the flavor of the month right now. There's a reason Russell Simmons sold Phat Farm and Jay-Z is not associated with RocaWear. I know Radio One sees it as an opportunity to cross promote their radio properties with BlackPlanet.com. But is the average BlackPlanet user really plugged into Hip-Hop/Urban radio? I don't think so.

As I see most people have moved over to Myspace and Facebook. The buzz surrounding BlackPlanet dried up about 5 years ago.

Let look at some numbers. The privately owned Facebook has more than 69 million active users worldwide. The Fox-Newscorp owned Myspace has 110 million users and claims to have 230,000 new registrations per day. CCI claims to have about 20 million users between the three sites-Black Planet, MiGente, and AsianAve. I'm still trying to figure out how they are going to promote the Hispanic and Asian sites with their radio stations.

I really wish Radio One all the best. I think they overpaid for it but who knows. It might be a good move, but it just seems they are once again a little late to the party.

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