It appears that reports of classical music's commercial death in Los Angeles have been greatly exaggerated.


Radio station KUSC's latest membership drive has proven there's still money in it, too. The 10-day campaign harvested $1.1 million and 4,782 new members, which account for about 60 percent of the station's total membership base.


In February, commercial station KMZT-FM (105.1) shifted its format to country music, leaving KUSC-FM (91.5) as the biggest FM player in classical space. KMZT, which still broadcasts on AM and high definition, couldn't entice enough advertisers to buy time, given classical music's generally elderly audience and the numerous competing media options to reach that demographic group.


In the same way that two gas stations can't survive in some towns but one can prosper, the KUSC experience shows that the L.A. radio market has a place for one classical FM station as long as it's on a non-advertising business model.


"We knew that there would be a change in listenership with KUSC becoming the largest classical music FM station in the area," said KUSC President Brenda Barnes. "This response tells us that the audience recognizes and appreciates our commitment to serving Southern California."


KUSC Development Director Janet McIntyre said the recent drive drew 4,782 new members, many of whom had never contributed to a public radio station before. Besides Southern California, the support came from 34 states and from as far away as Australia, where viewers listen via the Internet.


"We had an overwhelming number of callers relating that as new listeners they wanted to contribute to KUSC's quality programming," said McIntyre.


KUSC is licensed by USC. "The university considers KUSC and its full-time classical music format to be an intrinsic part of its organization," said Barnes. "With this show of support there is no question that the tradition will continue to grow."


Univision to N.Y.

Univision Communications Inc. is
moving its corporate headquarters from Los Angeles to New York.


A company spokeswoman confirmed the shift last week after Chief Executive Joe Uva announced the move at a meeting for advertisers in New York.
That Uva was speaking at all is news. The previous regime, headed by longtime Chairman Jerrold Perenchio, was notoriously tight-lipped. Univision went private on March 28 after its acquisition by an investment consortium led by Haim Saban.


The confirmation cleared up some confusion created by what was likely the firm's final filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission on May 10.


In connection with its new ownership, the company filed new management employment agreements. Uva's stated that the "executive shall work in either the New York, Los Angeles or Miami metropolitan areas, as determined by the board in consultation with executive. The initial establishment of the executive in the New York metropolitan area (including New Jersey) shall not be treated as a relocation or as a decision to locate the executive offices of the company in New York, and the board, in consultation with executive, may shift (but only once) the executive offices to one of the other two metropolitan areas (meaning Miami or New York) during the first two years."


The agreement with Chief Financial Officer Andrew Hobson offers a little more certainty. "Executive has been requested by the company to relocate to the New York City metropolitan area," the filing states, adding that Univision will buy Hobson's L.A. home at a price no higher than $9.6 million. Meanwhile, it appears Ray Rodriguez, the chief operating officer and main programmer for the network, will remain in his Miami offices. The filings indicate that Univision can't fire Rodriguez for refusing to move to another city.
Bid4Spots Goes Brit


Bid4Spots Inc., a company that manages reverse auctions for radio time, has announced it will open its first foreign operation with the launch of Bid4Spots UK later this year.


In a reverse auction, buyers post descriptions of their need and sellers bid to supply that need. In the case of Bid4Spots, the sellers are radio stations with last-minute air time that, if not purchased soon, would produce zero revenue. The buyers are ad agencies looking for a quick impact in the market for their clients.


As the reverse auction progresses, the price goes down, allowing advertisers to buy available time on the cheap, provided they can deliver the ad to the broadcaster on time. The time sells in units based on cost per thousands listeners. In the U.S., more than 2,300 radio stations, 1,300 advertisers and 260 ad agencies have used Bid4Spots.


Agencies & Accounts

Athletic footwear maker Puma has formed a partnership with Meteor Worldwide LLC to handle product placements in movies. L.A.-based Meteor will work with both studio and independent productions. DavidandGoliath advertising agency has launched a Hispanic division that will concentrate on unified brand messages between Hispanic and general market campaigns. Universal Studios Hollywood will serve as the founding client for the division, headed by former McDonald's marketing exec Adela Romero.


Staff reporter Joel Russell can be reached at jrussell@labusinessjournal.com , or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 237. Staff reporter Anne Riley-Katz contributed to this column.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.