The eight page weekly is the only PR newsletter on LEXIS/NEXIS.
Edition, Feb. 22, 2006, Page 1
SARD, VERBINNEN LEAD CSV BUYOUT.
Huntsworth has agreed to sell its Citigate Sard Verbinnen
unit to a management team led by George Sard and Paul Verbinnen
for $20M. The financial PR unit had $16.9M in revenues and
$5.2M in fees for fiscal 05, which ended last February.
acquired CSV as part of a 2005 merger with Incepta. It says
CSV does not fit its goal of achieving strong visibility
of sustainable annual revenues.
Huntsworth unit is expected to start the financial year
with 70 percent of projected fees from annual contracts
or long-term commitments from clients. Financial units Citigate
Dewe Rogerson, Hudson Sandler and Global Consulting are
near that mark, having more than 65 percent of projected
`06 business from retainers.
calls CSV an excellent business in a clear niche in
the U.S. market, but notes that only 35 percent of
its annual business is contracted and those pacts are on
a 30 day notice basis.
firm also made the deal because it believes CSV management
was going to leave the firm with the expiration of their
contracts, a move that would result in the loss of
a very substantial amount of business, and leave Huntsworth
with $17M in lease commitments. Huntsworth says it wanted
to avoid a potential court fight. It also cites strategic
and cultural differences as reasons for the
management agrees to pay Huntsworth $2.5M by Jan. 1 for
a 51 stake in their company with the balance due Dec. 31,
Sard and president Verbinnen (Ogilvy Adams & Rinehart
veterans) founded CSV in `92. The firm has 65 staffers in
New York, Chicago and San Francisco.
CEO Lord Chadlington, the former Peter Gummer, says the
CSV deal completes the integration of Incepta.
METCALFE JOINS WEBER SHANDWICK.
Kim Metcalfe has left
her senior VP-media relations post at Edelman for a spot
in Weber Shandwicks Chicago office.
She handled Edelman/Chicagos
media outreach for five years. Prior to Edelman, Metcalfe
spent 13 years in TV news in Grand Rapids and Minneapolis,
and worked at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville,
Cathy Calhoun, president
of WS in Chicago, praised Metcalfes proven track
record of delivering strategic plans and high-impact media
Metcalfe reports to Bryan
Specht, who heads the corporate affairs team at WS.
UCONN SEEKS FIRM TO BOOST
The University of Connecticuts
School of Business, ranked No. 51 on U.S. News &
World Reports vaunted scale of the top 50 graduate
business schools, sees PR as a way to break into the list.
UConns School of
Business is eying an effort to boost its outreach to the
media and other audiences as part of an overall plan to
hone its brand identity. The institution has
issued an RFP for a PR firm to design and develop the effort.
The school wants a firm
to put together an ongoing campaign to promote its newsworthy
events, people and places to local, regional and national
press, along with a means to measure its success. The push
will also target deans and directors at other accredited
schools, recruiters and students.
A one-year contract is
planned with four option years. A budget figure was not
available as pricing is 10 percent of the evaluation.
A mandatory pre-proposal
conference has been set for Feb. 21 in Storrs, Conn. Karen
White ([email protected])
is the schools purchasing department contact for the
has selected WPP Group units Burson-Marsteller (domestic),
Hill & Knowlton (Europe) and Ogilvy (Asia) in
its long-running PR search. New CEO Paul Otellini, the first
non-engineer to head Intel, has promised to rev up its marketing
JOHNNY ROCKETS TAPS H&K.
The Johnny Rockets Group
has replaced CarryOn Communication with Hill & Knowlton
as its agency of record for PR following a competitive review.
CarryOn, which landed
IHOPs PR account late last year, had the business
for three years.
The Lake Forest, Calif.-based
company features a 1950s-style diner format in its 183 restaurants.
It has restaurants in 29 states and eight countries, including
Mexico, Bahrain and Kuwait.
JRs board of directors,
which has pursued overseas expansion, was a key factor in
making an agency change as it wanted a firm with international
Mimi Somerman, SVP of
marketing, said the company wanted a firm to deliver creative
thinking and buzz-building initiatives to introduce
more consumers to the restaurants. She praised H&Ks
track record in creative lifestyle marketing communications
and media relations.
and Los Angeles offices, under the direction of GM Bonnie
Goodman, service the account.
Edition, Feb. 22, 2006, Page 2
GAO: BUSH ADMIN. PAID $200M
federal departments contracted with 54 PR firms and spent
$200M between Jan. 2003 and mid-2005, according to a General
Accountability Office report released last week.
additional $15M went to contracts with media organizations
and $90K was earmarked for individual members of the media.
coupled with advertising, Uncle Sam racked up a $1.62 billion
tab over that time period, with $1.1B of that for the Defense
report did not name individual PR or ad agencies, but detailed
contract numbers and descriptions, along with budget information,
for campaigns carried out by outside contractors for the
seven departments. The work detailed includes assignments
like promoting new currency for the Treasury, the Armys
role in the Global War on Terrorism, fire safety,
and touting marriage-related research initiatives.
seven departments Commerce, Defense, Health and Human
Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Treasury, and Veterans
Affairs account for nearly all the obligated federal
dollars for PR and advertising, according to the GAO, which
produced the 160-page report after requests by Democratic
Congressmen in the wake of the Ketchum-Armstrong Williams
Federal PR Spending report conducted for House
Democrats in early 2005 found that $250M was spent on PR
between 2001-2004, with about $227M going to Omnicom units
like Matthews Media Group, Fleishman-Hillard, Porter Novelli
U.S. SEEKS FIRM FOR ANTI-POPPY
The U.S. State Dept. is
soliciting proposals from firms to conduct a national social
marketing campaign in Afghanistan to discourage the cultivation
of poppies and support for the international drug trade.
The request for proposals
comes as the heroin trade is soaring in Afghanistan amid
occupation by U.S. and NATO forces. Opium exports accounted
for more than half of the countrys GDP in 05
and Afghan heroin is showing up in the U.S. as its cultivation
boom has made it cheaper than South American produced heroin.
The budget for the anti-poppy
effort is set to top out at $3.8M. The complicated assignment
must be administered in both Dari and Pashto languages and
target Afghan citizens and community stakeholder groups
like teachers and business people.
Technically, the campaign
is to incorporate posters, radio and TV PSAs, educational
comic books, calendars and billboards, among other tactics
and methods. The State Dept. sees the campaign as complementing
alternative livelihood projects and law enforcement
institution building in the country. It will also build
on existing work that has included radio broadcasts, distribution
of stickers, matchbook covers and posters.
The U.S. Embassys
Counter-narcotics Public Information Chief will oversee
the work from Kabul.
Proposals are due March 16 and questions can be sent to
contract specialist Anthony McIntosh ([email protected])
through Feb. 22.
GAP SHELVES REVIEW AMID EXEC
Gap Inc. has shelved a
review to find a main PR firm in the final stages of the
process. The unusual move is apparently the result of the
clothing retailers ongoing struggles and turnover
in its executive ranks.
Gap had narrowed down
its search to Edelman, Hill & Knowlton and Weber Shandwick
last fall, but twice delayed a final decision.
But the last few years
have been tough on the company as Wall Street and the press
have amplified its sales and fashion woes.
In addition, Gaps
PR/marketing department suffered two major departures last
year. Rebecca Weill, a nine-year veteran of Gap PR, left
as director of PR for a senior post at sister company Old
Navy last year. Jeff Jones, executive VP of Gap marketing,
has also departed.
Gap has worked with fashion
PR/marketing firm New York-based KCD Worldwide in recent
Select Resources International handled the aborted PR review.
FT COLUMNIST RAPS PR STONEWALL.
Sathnam Sanghera, who
writes the Inside Business column for the U.K.s
Financial Times, devoted his Feb. 10 column to a complaint
about his failure to gain access to CEOs, putting the blame
for this on their PR executives.
He said that not only
he but other journalists he has talked to have the same
problem. This reticence is widespread, he wrote,
and possibly due to the fact that companies are spending
heavily on PR and no PR consultant dares risk a mistake.
Sanghera said that a couple
of years ago he tried to do a column based on interviews
with CEOs but gave up after a month or two because so
few CEOs were willing to talk.
More recently, CEOs would
not even talk to him about an inconsequential piece
on executive cars. Six of the eight CEOs he called declined
PR Is Widely
in business employs a PR consultant, says Sanghera.
He recently interviewed
David McMurtry, head of Renishaw, a listed engineering company,
and realized that for the first time in eight years as a
business journalist there was no corporate PR person present
to supervise the interview.
McMurtry told him an outside
PR firm was hired when the company went public in 1984 but
the firm never impressed me.
Sanghera says many journalists
feel PR people stand in the way of us getting information
but his own view is that some PR pros are excellent
while others are not.
He said he realizes financial
PR people do more than deal with reporters since they are
involved in analyst relations, investor relations, internal
communications and provide strategic advice to CEOs whose
attitude to the media is generally akin to Osama bin Laden's
attitude to the Central Intelligence Agency.
Edition, Feb. 22, 2006, Page 3
VIACOM PICKS UP GORE FLICK.
Paramount Pictures has agreed to distribute former Vice
President Al Gores documentary on the dangers posed
by global warming.
Inconvenient Truth outlines Gore's efforts to publicize
the links between carbon emissions and climate change. It
will open in the U.S. on May 26. The 95-minute film received
a good reception when it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival
Guggenheim, whose credits also include the HBOs Deadwood,
and public broadcastings The First Year
directed the film. Environmental activist Laurie David,
the wife of Larry David of HBOs Curb Your Enthusiasm
fame is executive producer.
Participant Productions unit also produced politically based
films Good Night, and Good Luck and Syriana.
book version of An Inconvenient Truth will be released by
Rodale Books to coincide with the film's debut. It is touted
as a follow-up to Gores 92 bestseller Earth
in the Balance.
CLAUSE SHADOWS K-R'S AUCTION.
Knight-Ridder has revealed
that its corporate charter requires a potential acquirer
to receive approval of a takeover by 80 percent of K-Rs
outstanding shares if an independent panel deems the new
owner is not committed to journalistic excellence.
acceptable buyer would only need the nod from two-third
of K-Rs shares. K-Rs board of directors appoints
members to the review panel.
proposed a dream ending to the K-R saga: a joint takeover
of the newspaper chain by the New York Times Co. and The
The Times would scoop
up K-Rs big city properties in Philadelphia (Inquirer),
San Jose (Mercury News) and Miami (Herald),
while McClatchy would add K-Rs smaller city holdings
under BW's scenario.
DISNEY OFFERS VIDEO ON DEMAND
Walt Disney Co. launched
MovieBeam on Feb. 14, a video-on-demand service delivering
high-definition first-run films in nearly 30 cities including
New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
The Burbank-based company
developed MovieBeam a few years, but the service went nowhere.
Disney revived the venture after receiving cash from Intel,
Cisco Systems and a trio of venture capital firms.
Cisco will sell a MovieBeam
box under its Linksys brand in electronic stores (Best Buy,
CompUSA) for $200.
There is a $30 activation
fee for MovieBeam. First-run movies will rent for $3.99
and high-definition video will go from $4.99.
MovieBeam is aimed at
video stores like Blockbuster, which rent 85 percent of
first-run features in the U.S. The 30 million people who
rent at least four videos a month is MovieBeam's market.
Publishings Blender will post and repurpose
content for AOL Music. The partners will unveil a co-branded
Blender/AOL radio station within a month.
MCGUIRE TO GUIDE PR FOR THE
The CW, the upcoming network
to be formed from the merger of UPN and The WB, has named
a veteran of both networks, Paul McGuire, as senior VP of
McGuire, in addition to
developing overall and day-to-day PR strategy, is charged
with orchestrating the network's fall 06 launch and
building its communications unit. To launch The CW, the
network said McGuire will work closely with president of
entertainment Dawn Ostroff and COO John Maata.
McGuire has directed corporate
and consumer PR campaigns for The WB as a senior VP since
2001 and earlier was senior VP of media relations at UPN.
He earlier promoted NBC's prime-time lineup as a VP.
The CW will feature a
six-night, 13-hour primetime lineup targeting a younger
demographic, in addition to other programming which will
incorporate pieces from both WB and UPN. It plans to broacast
a 30-hour weekly schedule.
Meanwhile, Joanna Massey,
who headed communications for UPN, has moved into a senior
VP/communications role at parent CBS Corp. for the West
TIME WARNER RELIES ON KEKST.
Time Warner relied on
Kekst & Co. to fend off a proxy challenge launched by
corporate raider Carl Icahn, according to Susan Duffy, VP-communications
at TW. Weve always worked with Kekst,
she told ODwyers.
Time Warner Inc and billionaire
Carl Icahn reached a deal last week to end a six-month public
battle over boosting the value of the media giant.
Time Warners board
has agreed to repurchase as much as $20 billion in stock
and would consider electing two new directors with Icahns
input. The company also also agreed to implement $1 billion
in cost savings and continue to review a report by Icahn
and Lazard Ltd, which investigates ways to overhaul companies.
Icahn Partners has agreed
not contest the companys slate of directors.
The U.S. Federal Trade
Commission had given Icahn Partners the green light
to launch its proxy fight.
Icahns group controls about five percent in TW. It
uses Source Communications, the home of former Mayor Giuliani
Press Secretary Ken Frydman, as its PR firm. Icahn said
he wanted to split TW into four separate entities in an
effort to unlock shareholder value. TW has maintained that
it is on the right track with CEO Dick Parsons in charge.
City of Philadelphia has emerged as the lead plaintiff
in a lawsuit by investors filed against Tribune Co. over
the circulation scandals at Newsday and Hoy.
the citys Board of Pensions and Retirement said it
lost $310,600 by purchasing Tribune stock when the companys
execs allegedly failed to detect inflated circulation numbers
for the papers and then allegedly were tardy in disclosing
Shares fell from more
than $47 to less than $40 during the period.
(Media news continued
on next page)
Edition, Feb. 22, 2006, Page 4
is shutting down after three years, following a 60-day period
of trying to find a buyer.
post on the magazines online message board said the
Jan./Feb. double issue is being combined with March and
should be on newsstands in mid-February.
of the title was over 500K.
Communications has been tapped to produce a custom,
quarterly magazine for Wachovia
Wealth Management targeting its most affluent clients.
The publication has not
yet been named, but is slated for a May 2006 debut at the
Wachovia Championship professional golf event in Charlotte,
N.C. It will be sent to 50,000 Wachovia clients and prospects
with a minimum of $2M in investable assets.
External ads are capped
at eight pages for the 52-page glossy pub.
Media, the publisher of cultural titles like Art
& Auction, Modern Painters and Gallery
Guides, is planning a new magazine, Culture &
Travel, for a September launch.
The new publication will
cover travel from an arts perspective, according to LTB,
which expects to publish two issues this year and six in
Michael Boodro, formerly
an editor at Elle Décor, New York Times
Magazine, and Garden Design, has signed on as
Wood, the construction and home building media company
owned by JP Morgan Chase, has signed a multi-year deal worth
$30M for R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. to produce HWs
22 business-to-business magazines. The titles include Coastal
Contractor, Masonry Construction and Upscale
A group of investors has
purchased Campaigns &
Elections magazine and its political training seminars
from Votenet Solutions. The 26-year-old mag is billed as
the only non-partisan publication for the political campaign
and public affairs sectors.
The investors, under the
name Political World Communications, LLC, said C&Es
staff will remain in place under current managing editor
Morgan Felchner. The all-cash deal also includes the Campaign
Insider weekly newsletter, Political Pages directory
of consultants and CampaignLine.com.
a service which provides company PR information and materials
to travel journalists, has opened a U.S. headquarters in
Boston after five years covering the U.K., Australia and
The company, which says
it is eyeing expansion to Germany and Japan in 2006, claims
4,000 reporters access its news feeds, which include press
releases, photos and e-mail alerts.
Mark O'Toole, a founding
member of New England Cable News, is VP of sales and marketing
for TravMedia USA. Mark Sheehan, former int'l sales and
marketing director for the Travel Corporation & Destination
America, is VP of business development in the U.S.
The premiere issue of
magazine has been published targeting the 400K Hispanic
girls that turn 15 each year and plan events for their emergence
The inaugural edition
coverage includes traditions of the quinceanera, beauty
tips, personal recollections, as well as features on gowns,
dresses and budgeting.
The magazine is published
by Quince Media and operates the website quincegirl.com.
Former CBS News medical
Torman is hosting and serving as managing editor
of a TV news segment being distributed via cablecast and
syndicated placement by broadcast PR company Mediahitman,
HealthBreak with Dr. Howard Torman, is aimed
to generate consumer awareness of advances in health and
medicine. The distributor said the program is produced in
a familiar news style, featuring the rapid script-to-screen
turnaround time, the look, feel and projected authority
of a network newscast. Torman calls it the synthesis
of news, consumer education and DTC health marketing.
Prior to a four and a
half-year stint on CBS This Morning, Torman
was a health reporter and editor in California for nine
years, and earlier, a full-time faculty member at Harvard
Medical School. He was a cardiovascular staff physician
at the Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston.
Shiner was promoted to editor of Air & Space/Smithsonian
magazine. She has been with the Washington, D.C.-based publication
for 19 years.
Journal, a bi-monthly magazine which targets
youth ministers in North America and is published by Christian
media company Salem Communications Corp., has named a new
editorial team. Chap Clark, chairman of the Youth, Family
and Culture department at Fuller Theological Seminary in
Pasadena, Calif., and Steve Rabey, a journalist and author,
will oversee content, which includes features and reviews
relevant to youth ministers.
Professional golfer Annika
Sorenstam has inked a long-term deal to serve as
playing editor for Golf
Digest and Golf
for Women magazines. Sorenstam contributes bylined
instruction and feature articles, under the deal. She joins
a slate of playing editors like Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus
and Tom Watson.
Clinton is the latest to sign on for an online/TV
course called Issues in Media & Public Policy
put together by C-SPAN, the University of Denver, and Cable
Center of Denver. USA Today editor-in-chief Ken Paulson,
Bill Press and Newt Gingrich are among participants in the
course, which will be available for students at the Univ.
of Denver, George Mason Univ., Purdue Univ., and Pace Univ.
Edition, Feb. 22,
2006, Page 5
OF PR FIRMS
MOBLEY, RUBEL JOIN EDELMAN.
has hired PR veteran Marilynn Mobley as senior VP-emerging
media, a new position at the No. 1 independent firm.
is a 15-year veteran of IBM, and the founder of 10-year
old Acorn PR Consulting.
is author of The Scoop on Media Interviews: How to
be a Respected Resource Reporters and Producers Love,
and writes the Remain Relevant blog.
Mobley will help Edelman's corporate and consumer accounts
add blogging, webcasting and podcasting to their outreach
also has added noted blogger Steve Rubel, of MicroPersuasian
fame, to its New York office. He had been blogging at CooperKatz,
which has renamed its MicroPersuasion practice Cogence under
the direction of GM Anne Green. Edelman and CK reached a
deal for Rubel to retain the MicroPersuasion name.
ROMAN/PESHOFF LEADS WINE PR
PR beat six competitors to guide a $450K branding
blitz highlighting Ohios grape and wine industries.
The Buckeye State's Dept.
of Agriculture wants to boost wine tourism among consumers
in the state, which is a top 10 winemaker in the U.S. and
produces 500K gallons each year. It issued an RFP in December
to hear from firms for the assignment.
Holland, Ohio-based R/P
will guide multimedia work, publicity, and advertising for
the effort through the end of the year. Partner Stan Massey
heads the account.
Fahlgren Mortine, Hybrid
Marketing and Salvato Coe + Gabor Assocs. were among competitors.
The Lee County (Florida)
Port Authority is requesting letters of qualifications
from PR firms or individuals to handle PR. Letters are to
be submitted by March 15 to the Purchasing Office, Lee County
Port Authority, 11000 Terminal Access Road, Suite 8671,
Fort Myers, Florida 33913. Contact Info: Sandra Kennedy:
the online auction house, has hired John Ashcroft's The
Ashcroft Group to help on patent reform issues. The
account is the responsibility of Juleanna Glover Weiss,
Washington power hostess, Dick Cheney's ex-press secretary,
and media handler for Rudy Giuliani during his aborted run
for the New York Senate. Also, the former Attorney General
has personally registered as a lobbyist for Oracle for antitrust
issues. He is joined on that account by Weiss and David
Ayres, who was Ashcroft's chief of staff at the Justice
Dept. ...Al Golin,
founder of GolinHarris, shares words of wisdom
in a video called After 50 Years You'd Think I Learned
Something that is posted on the firms website,
and available as a free podcast on iTunes. The video is
part of the Chicago-based firms celebration of a half
century in business. ...The New Republic dubbed Mark
Penn, Burson-Marsteller's new CEO, the messaging
mastermind of Hillaryland, the political organization
that may guide Hillary Clintons bid for the White
Brod PR, New York/Victorias Secret Pink, lingerie
for young women, as AOR for PR, the brands first AOR
following its 2002 test launch in 50 VS stores. The brand
has been added to 900 stores.
New York/Dyson, vacuum cleaner maker, as AOR for PR in the
U.S. SVP Mark Malinowoski heads the account.
Worldwide, New York/Real Torino, Italian food importer/retailer,
Hamilton Group, New York/Ladies Professional Golf
Assn., or LPGA, as its principal PR firm. Hamilton has worked
with the LPGA on a project basis since February 2004.
Lee Communications, New York/Francis Abecassis
ABK6 Cognacs, for a year-long campaign to launch the line
of spirits in the U.S market; The Jolly Hotel Madison Towers,
for PR, and The French Culinary Institute, for Italian media
relations and promotions as the Institute adds an Italian
PR, New York/Valerie Smaldone, radio personality,
PR, New York/actor and musicians Ice Cube and Nick
Cannon; The Chopra Center for Well Being, and LearnFOREX,
online currency trading institute.
PR, Melville, N.Y./Roadmaster USA Corp., home and
car audio products, as AOR for PR.
Layne & Co., Farmington Hills, Mich./Compac Corp.,
a top manufacturer of flame retardant, reinforced insulation
vapor facings and insulation tape products, as AOR for PR.
PR, Bridgewater, N.J./United Bank Card, payment/transaction
processing, as AOR for PR.
Group, Cary, N.C./Avineon, IT services, as AOR to
build awareness in federal and commercial sectors.
Ideas, Miami/Activate Beauty, Hispanic hair care
products, for advertising, marketing and PR.
Communications, Chicago/Body Endeavors Pilates Studio,
for media relations, publicity and positioning.
and Seismicom, a sales promotion agency, San Francisco/The
Mushroom Council, for a seven-figure PR/marketing account
following a competitive review to boost the profile and
sales of fresh mushrooms. The Council made the selection
in January. Edelmans Chicago office will assist.
& Gerlich Communications, Montecito, Calif./San
Ysidro Ranch, luxury resort, for PR.
Gardiner, San Diego/Plaza del Pasado, restaurant
and shopping area in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park,
for mktg., PR, advertising and events.
Road Communications, Vancouver, B.C./NGRAIN Canada
Corp., 3-D training services for the defense sector, for
PR in the U.S. and Canada.
Ink, Vancouver, B.C./Abigails Hotel, Victoria
Island boutique hotel, for PR.
Edition, Feb. 22, 2006, Page 6
EARNS AD COUNCIL NOD.
the Scene Productions and clients Spectrum Science Communications
and the Lung Cancer Alliance have won the endorsement of
the Ad Council for a high-definition PSA produced and distributed
Alliance wanted to educate the public and lawmakers that
lung cancer is the No. 1 cancer killer in the U.S. and that
the disease kills more people than breast, prostate, colon,
liver and kidney cancers combined. The group is alarmed
because it says that the federal government did not devote
any funds to lung cancer research in 2005.
Garrett, executive healthcare producer for Los Angeles-based
OTSP, produced the spot as a collaboration between Spectrum
Science and the Alliance.
on the spot, which features an original score and pyrotechnics,
is at adcouncil.com and lungcanceralliance.org.
AAPRC HONORED FOR EFFORTS.
The African American PR
Collective received a proclamation from New York City Council
Member Yvette Clarke last week to honor the group's contributions
to New York.
The five-year-old group,
founded by Gwendolyn Quinn of New York-based GQ Media &
PR, was honored by Clarke (D-Brooklyn) for professional
support and development for their peers in the communications
industry as part of Black History Month.
AAPRC publishes the monthly
Global Communicator, which covers African American
journalists, PR and communications professionals.
Quinn was formerly VP
of publicity for Capitol Records and held a senior PR post
at Artista Records. She currently represents Aretha Franklin
and Kirk Franklin.
has partnered with Internet bookmarking and tagging site
Del.icio.us to allow users of PRNs public site to
tag press releases and post them in their personal favorites
on Del.icio.us. ...News
Generation, a Bethesda, Md.-based radio PR company,
has added audio podcasting production to its services. NG
repurposes audio content like a radio media tour or audio
news release into an MP3 format. The company has also added
an RSS feed to its content website targeting radio reporters
and producers, radionewssource.com.
... Judith Cushman,
a veteran executive search and consulting professional who
is president of her own firm, has unveiled a blog for senior
PR, IR and communications pros. She said the site is an
attempt to fill the need for a confidential, no holds
barred forum to discuss employment issues in the industry.
has published a 44-page, spiral-bound book on techniques
for media tours. From Broadcast to Broadband
includes six chapters on creating, planning, budgeting and
executing media tours for TV, radio, the Internet (webcasting
and podcasting) and Spanish-language outlets. Case studies
and statistics are also included, along with a glossary
of media tour terminology. Info: medialink.com.
Sturtz, COO of Publicis Rowland Communications
Worldwide, has moved on to Euro RSCG Magnet, part of Havas,
in the new post of executive VP/chief creative officer in
New York. She reports to executive director John Margaritis
and heads creative development, marketing and business development.
She is also charged with designing a professional development
program for staff. Sturtz previously worked with Margaritis
at Ogilvy PR Worldwide from 1989 to 1996, when Margaritis
was CEO of the firm. Her career has included stints at Hill
Holliday, Cosmopulos, Hill & Knowlton and Burson-Marsteller.
Mensch, who ran his own sports marketing and PR shop
for 16 years, to Steinreich Communications, Hackensack,
N.J., as account director for its consumer products and
Cabot, director of strategic planning for the Environmental
Protection Agency, New England, to Rasky Baerlein Strategic
Communications, Boston, as a SVP to manage the firms
energy and environment practice. Cabot was with the EPA
for 12 years.
Nibley, freelance copy editor for CNN/Money online,
to B&Y Communications, Montclair, N.J., as media relations
director. Joanne Bloomstein,
independent consultant, joins as director of client services,
and Laura Epstein,
joins as business manager, a new post, after holding similar
roles at small local businesses.
Stelter, who developed PR campaigns for Minnesota
Public Radio, to LaBreche Murray, Minneapolis, as a senior
Stares has left Hill & Knowlton to serve as division
manager for Miami-based Tara, Ink.s hospitality &
entertainment, corporate and real estate unit.
Breglio to senior account manager for integrated
marketing at Coventures, Boston. Also, Lauren
Proshan and Katelyn
Connolly to A/Es.
James McCusker to
VP, Integrated Corporate Relations, Wesport, Conn.
Janki to VP of corporate investor communications
for GE, based in Fairfield, Conn. and effective March 1.
He succeeds William
Cary, who was promoted to president/CEO of GE Consumer
FinanceEurope. Janki has been with GE since 1992.
McGinn and Arlyn
Davich to senior A/Es, The Rosen Group, New York.
McGinn was formerly press secretary for Sen. Christopher
Dodd (D-Conn.) before joining the firm in 2005.
Sallet to partner, Glover Park Group, Washington,
D.C. Sallet focuses on technology policy and antitrust issues.
Battcher to VP-corporate communications, BellSouth
Corp., Atlanta. He replaces Denny
Betz, who retired Feb. 17. Also, Necole
Merritt takes over as senior director-corporate communications
with the retirement of Missy
Fossenier to VP, investor relations, CNF Inc., San
Edition, Feb. 22, 2006, Page 7
FOUNDER IS 85.
Burson, who founded Burson-Marsteller with Bill Marsteller
in 1953, does not agree with Financial Times columnist
Sathnam Sanghera that PR people are somehow blocking press
interviews with CEOs.
a fulltime PR staff or supporting PR firm, media would have
less rather than more access to corporate information and
corporate executives, he told ODwyers.
todays business environment, marked by Sarbanes-Oxley,
threats of frivolous lawsuits based on honestly-flawed forecasts,
and other onerous inhibitions, CEOs are increasingly gun
shy when it comes to making public statements or speaking
for the record, he said.
claimed in a column Feb. 10 that there is widespread
reticence among business executives to speak to the
press. He put some of this blame on PR people.
said that because of the hazards that face CEOs when making
public statements, PR professionals today are journalists
greatest hope for gaining access to the executive suite.
Role for CEO
Burson also feels there
is nothing wrong with a PR person sitting in
on an interview with the CEO.
He said he has done this
hundreds of times and cannot remember ever interrupting
the discussion although I have frequently been asked by
a CEO to confirm a date or provide other information.
Is Better Paying
Asked why so few PR people
these days have news backgrounds, when the opposite used
to be true, Burson said pay at many media today is higher
than the pay at PR firms.
In previous times, he
said, it was easy for a PR firm or corporation to pay a
newsperson 25% or more than he or she was making.
Another element, he said,
is that some newspeople feel they would be soiling
their hands to go into advertising or PR. He called
this attitude a lot of baloney.
Asked about the preponderance
of women in PR today, he said one reason is that there are
more women than men in college today partly because the
women score better on tests.
During the 16-20 age period,
women are a couple of years more mature than men of the
same age and this helps them in gaining college admission,
There are more women than
men in PR these days, he said, partly because women
present themselves better. He hopes for an increase
in male PR students and males in the PR profession.
Recruitment Is Difficult
Burson said B-M has long
had a policy of employing African-Americans and Hispanics
but has found it difficult to hold onto them for long because
they are often recruited away at much higher salaries.
Another shortage that
concerns Burson is good writers.
Some PR pros he has encountered
cant write a simple sentencethey cant
string words together in a meaningful way. He still
feels the best preparation for PR is working on a small
or mid-sized newspaper.
PR Has Increased
PR has evolved from merely
disseminating messages to influencing corporate policy and
helping to solve communications problems, he said.
He recalled advice he
gave to his alma mater, the University of Mississippi, some
years ago. He advised the football coach to take down the
rebel flags that were flying at the football stadium, pointing
out that this was discouraging many good athletes from attending
the school. Burson said this was done and the caliber of
recruits showed an improvement.
OMC STOCK DIPS ON NEWS, DOWNGRADE.
Omnicom stock dipped last
week following negative aspects of its 2005 finances and
prospects for 2006.
S&P on Feb. 16 knocked
the stock from buy to hold on its
STARS (Stock Appreciation Rating System).
CEO John Wren sold $17.2
million of stock in January (200,000 shares) for which he
had paid $3.9 million and exercised options at $19.72/each
to sell another 200,000 shares.
year called OMC a beleaguered stock and put
part of the blame on insider selling.
Wren had previously sold
OMC in much smaller amounts. He sold 41,171 shares on Jan.
27, 2005 at $84.36 per share for a total of $3.4M. He sold
shares worth $3.2M in 2004. Insider sales that year totaled
Wren was highly upbeat
about the performance of OMC and its units on an analysts
conference call Feb. 14. As usual, he had effusive praise
for the creative work of OMCs more than 1,500 advertising
and PR units and forecast a bright financial future for
PR revenues were up 1.3%
for the quarter and 2.1% for the year. How much of this
gain was due to acquisitions is not known.
Cost in 2006: $100M
CFO Randall Weisenburger
told the call that OMC expects to pay $100M in interest
in 2006 on what were formerly zero-interest bonds.
OMC investors said this
amount could be higher if the stock continues to drop since
the bondholders would demand more sweeteners.
OMC bought nine million
of its own shares on the open market in 2005 at a net cost
of $643M, Weisenburger told the teleconference, reducing
the float to 181 million shares. Investors said this helps
to prop up the stock price temporarily but not
over the long term. Weisenburger also said that OMC has
switched from paying executives via options to a cash-based
One analyst on the call
asked if OMC shouldn't be paying more in dividends to investors
since the dividend rate is now about one percent.
Chairman Bruce Crawford
sold $2.8M of stock in December 2005.
OMC last year said its
Sarbanes-Oxley costs are running at about $60M yearly.
Edition, Feb. 22,
2006, Page 8
Omnicom, biggest owner of
PR firms (about $1 billion in PR fees),
had its usual rosy earnings report Feb. 14 but the stock
dipped (page one).
PR revenues (Fleishman-Hillard, Ketchum, Porter Novelli,
Brodeur) were said to be up 2.1% for the year, which is
no great gain. How much of the revenues came from acquisitions
is not known.
the fourth straight year, OMC wont let its PR units
provide any fee or staff totals. This tell em-little-or-nothing
attitude typifies OMCs financial reporting and is
one of the reasons the stock dipped.
blockbuster news is that CEO John Wren in January unloaded
200,000 shares worth $17.2M and has exercised options to
unload another $17M.
is the same John Wren who, to show his faith in OMC, purchased
20,000 shares worth $1M on June 13, 2002, the day after
a Wall Street Journal expose of OMC accounting practices
halved its stock.
investors are now wondering if his huge sales is a signal
he is getting ready to bail out.
remember that OMC, once a 32% owner of Razorfish,
sold four million shares at $35 on March 14, 2000, a month
before the dot-com crash.
Bad news had hit RAZF
Feb. 15, 2000 when CFO Laurence Begley resigned. He had
been with i-Cube, another dot-com with sales of $57M that
was purchased by RAZF for $547M in stock. There was a culture
clash between RAZF and i-Cube, said a stockholder lawsuit
against RAZF, whose execs were charged with failing to divulge
key information. RAZF, once $41, later sank to 43 cents.
In getting out early,
OMC pocketed a $110M pre-tax gain ($63M after-taxes). We
wonder who bought this stock since the bad news broke in
February. OMC off-loaded RAZF and other dot-coms, wrongly
avoiding an $89M hit on earnings, critics told a Wall Street
Journal blast on OMC Feb. 8.Wren was his usual ecstatic
self about OMC Feb. 14.
A disgruntled stockholder
put the entire transcript on Yahoo!Finance so investors
could see the unresponsive answers of OMC execs and Wrens
unbridled enthusiasm about OMC.
course, no analyst on the call would dare bring up the huge
stock sales nor any other subject that might annoy
Wren or CFO Randy Weisenburger.
The latter noted that
interest costs, formerly a pittance, would be $100M in 2006.
Investors say they will be higher if OMC stock keeps dropping.
Holders of these zero bonds can demand their
money back. Weisenburger also said OMC is switching to cash-
based pay for execs rather than stock options. Investors
complained that, as usual, no details were given. What good
are options when OMC stock is about 25 points below its
high of $107 in 1999?
OMC paid a net of $643M
for its own stock in 2005 but reducing the float did not
help the stock price.
Theres just too
much disbelief in OMC because of its sketchy financial reporting,
investors say. Theyre alarmed that no media, except
the WSJ (every three years or so), will take on OMC. Theyre
disappointed in Advertising Age, AdWeek, Financial
Times and New York Times. OMC ducks the New York
press by taking its annual meeting to distant cities such
as L.A., Atlanta and Dallas where attendance is scant.
big need in PR today, according to Harold Burson (page 7)
and many others, is for good writers. He notes this
requires lots of reading.
PR once recruited reporters
but many of them feel PR and advertising are lesser callings
(baloney! says Burson) and besides, editorial
now pays better.
A proposal has again been
made to promote PR careers to students at the 3,700 colleges
that dont have any PR courses (or at least not the
five required by PRSA). The 2002 proposal (for at-large
student members of PRSA) has irked professors and students
at the 270 colleges with PRSSA chapters. Encouraging competition
for PR jobs from non-PR students at the other colleges did
not exactly make their day.
We urge them to set aside
their anti-competitive instincts and do what would be good
for the industry. An influx of English Literature and bright
liberal arts majors would be good for PR, which must face
the fact it has to recruit and train its own writers and
cant rely on media any more as farm clubs. Counselors
and corporate execs, who once dominated PRSA, must wrest
control back from the Educators Academy and PRSSA, which
are blocking at-large memberships. This issue should not
have to wait until the Assembly Nov. 11. PRSSA members who
want auxiliary or second-class memberships
for those at non-PRSA colleges are not living up to the
pledge of fairness they take.
result of opening the student membership doors would be
increasing the diversity of PR recruits, who are
now almost entirely white women.
We have brought the at-large
issue to the attention of Rochelle
Ford of Howard University, national faculty advisor
to PRSSA; Bob Pritchard
of Ball State University, chair of the Educators Academy;
Sue Bohle, PRSA
director who is liaison to PRSSA; Rick
Fischer of Memphis University who won PRSAs
Outstanding Educator award in 2005; Mary
Beth West, Maryville, Tenn., counselor who is professional
advisor to PRSSA; Vincent
Hazleton, professor at Radford University who just
joined the PRSA board; Rhoda
Weiss, president- elect and an instructor at UCLA
who backed the at-large proposal in 2002; Sarah
Yeaney, 2003-04 PRSSA president who now works a few
blocks from us at Articulate Comms. and sends us releases
but doesnt talk to us, and Scott
Iwata, 2005-06 president whose one e-mail to us said
he was too busy to talk to us. ...the
current stock excuse of PR people who want to duck
the press is that media is just one of their many duties
and theyre too busy. We think all these
other duties PR pros have taken on is just a convenient
excuse for ducking the press.