Urban One Board Member Supports ‘ZoneCasting’


On July 21, a group of independent broadcasters wrote to the Chairman/CEO of NAB Curtis Le Geyt. They had one goal in mind: to convince Inside The Beltway, the broadcast media industry’s biggest lobbyist, to change its position on a notice of proposed rulemaking that would allow the voluntary use of “ZoneCasting” by GeoBroadcast Services offers across the United States

In a statement, the NAB said it, along with state broadcaster associations across the United States “and an overwhelming number of broadcasters large and small in a wide range of markets” had “serious concerns” regarding ZoneCasting technology. Among the big and small broadcasters NAB talks about are An urban.

Now, one of the company’s board members has written to the FCC in support of ZoneCasting. Naturally, the company seeking to get the Commission to approve regulations allowing ZoneCasting to perform says it’s a sign that Urban One’s board doesn’t fully agree on the question – even if the statement does not come from Urban One itself.

The FCC received on Wednesday (08/24) a letter of support from MB 20-401, the notice of proposed rulemaking that would allow the creation of a program from an FM Booster, from the founding member of the board of directors of Urban One Brian McNeill.

To be clear, McNeill’s submission reflects his position as founder and managing partner of Alta Communications.

Nowhere in the letter Urban One is mentioned. However, Geocasting Solutions, which distributed the letter to the trade press on Wednesday, says the letter of support “demonstrates that Urban One’s board of directors does not fully agree” with the company’s stated position against ZoneCasting.

The battle for ZoneCasting is controversial. For GBS, it’s all about business, with perhaps the whole future of the company founded by the CEO Chris Devin straddling this one regulatory proposal.

This likely helps explain why a GBS spokesperson jumped at the chance to share McNeill’s letter. He has been a member of the Urban One Board of Directors since 1995.

McNeill’s one-page letter is short but succinct. And, it is revealing.

First, McNeill shares, “I don’t know the specifics of Zonecasting.” Nonetheless, McNeill adds, “I’m very excited about the ability for radio stations to broadcast distinct content simultaneously. He continues, “Radio is and always has been a local medium, and Zonecasting fills a huge need that currently exists for local advertisers. After deregulation, many local advertisers seem to have been excluded from buying radio advertising. If a
retailer can now purchase advertisements that specifically target the regions that their customers are coming from, the likelihood of their advertising campaigns being successful would be significantly increased. »

McNeill went on to note that he had been a banker and private equity investor in the broadcasting industry for over 30 years. Alta was established in 1996 and is now based in Boston.

“My companies have owned radio stations and television stations and public/outdoor businesses around the world,” he concludes in the letter. “I’ve seen the ups and downs of the industry during this time and I’m acutely aware of the symbiotic relationship between advertisers and media. Radio stations and this new product, Zonecasting, are a perfect marriage. which is long overdue with the local customers they serve.”

However, without knowing the specifics from Zonecasting, that stance could change – just like with NAB, as ongoing testing has yielded results of serious concern to the industry advocacy group and members, including Urban One.

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