Cumulus’ Lew Dickey Offers Update on ‘NASH’ Brand Expansion

lew dickey1

Lew Dickey

Cumulus Media’s CEO and Chairman Lew Dickey offered an update on Cumulus Media’s ‘Nash’ brand roll-out during a conference call this week regarding second quarter earnings. The update included their plans for television, digital, print, and more. Revenue for the quarter rose 21.4 percent to $328.2 million. The company’s EBITDA of $159.3 million has allowed them to pay down 56.1 million of senior debt this year.

Dickey offered insight into the recent and future expansions in Cumulus’ NASH brand.

On Radio:

“We have now branded — or re-branded 35 of our 68 owned and operated country format stations as NASH. The rest of our stations are currently using their legacy brands, with the NASH brand woven in throughout the day. For example, K100 powered by NASH, which is repeated several times an hour. While we are currently focused on our owned and operated platform, we expect to begin offering NASH affiliations through WestwoodOne early in 2015, with a strategy similar to the network television model. Our affiliate sales team has had significant inbound traffic from broadcasters looking to re-brand existing country stations or who want to attack an entrenched competitor, employing the strength of the NASH brand and our content offering.

In addition to the brand IP, we are also offering affiliates NASH programming in specific dayparts, beginning with America’s Morning Show and then, as a bookend, NASH NIGHTS, along with Kix Brooks’ American Country Countdown. In addition to that, we’ll be offering NASH news and interviews with live performances, and also, major contests and promotions will be key components of the NASH affiliate package that we’ll be rolling out in 2015.”

On television:

“We’ve recently announced our first network television special, which we are co-producing with dick clark productions. It will air on the Fox network in mid-December and showcase NASH talent, both on air as well as signed to our new record label, which I’ll talk about in a minute. This joint venture structure provides an opportunity for national NASH exposure and revenue upside for extremely low economic risk. In addition, we expect to have more announcement about incremental aspects of our television strategy later in the year.”

On Digital:

“We’ve made an investment — a significant investment in content creation, both in studios and personnel, specifically for premium digital video, all of this based at our NASH Campus in — headquartered in Nashville. We expect to launch the NASH app and website in early 2015 and offering the NASH — which will offer the NASH community of fans unparalleled access to their favorite artists, including breaking news, new releases for music and behind-the-scenes looks and the important trends in the country music lifestyle, which include food and travel. From a digital audio standpoint, beginning next year, we will also have a full NASH integration with Rdio, beginning with a streaming station, on-demand content, and including exclusive interviews and specific artist integrations for new releases as well as personal playlists by the artists.”

On Print:

“NASH Magazine is currently a 16-page insert in Country Weekly magazine, which is the nation’s largest and longest-running country music publication. The NASH Magazine insert is expected to grow into its own publication by the end of next year.”

Events:

“Now on events, we will have a growing slate of events beginning in 2015 and ramping into 2016 and beyond. These all have a long planning cycle, and they’ll range from small pop-up NASH live concerts to large NASH Bash festivals featuring country’s top artists and bands, incorporating food and other country music lifestyle elements. These live events will offer an important NASH-branded touch point that connects NASH sponsors with country music fans as they are entertained by their favorite artists. We also expect there to be significant opportunities for licensing partnerships with existing events that could benefit from the NASH brand and reach.”

On Nash ICON:

“Now on recorded music, we recently announced a joint venture with Big Machine Group, one of Nashville’s most successful labels and home of Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line and Tim McGraw. Our new venture is called NASH ICON, and it is now up and running. We expect to announce a slate of signed artists before the holidays, and we’ll be working with our artists to monetize their work through recorded music, touring, merchandise and other related ventures. Following a start-up period in 2014, NASH ICON is expected to be profitable beginning next year.”

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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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