Tuesday, September 3, 2013 | Edited by Daniel Moores
||2013 Radio Show Super Session to Feature Pro Athletes Turned Pro Talkers
"Jocks on Jocks," a Super Session featuring former professional athletes who are now on-air radio personalities, promises to be one of the highlights of the upcoming Radio Show.
Sponsored by the Radio Advertising Bureau and the National Association of Broadcasters, the Radio Show will be held September 18-20 at the Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Orlando. As one of many lively presentations at this year's event, "Jocks on Jocks" is scheduled for Thursday, September 19, at 11 AM.
CBS Sports Radio Host Jim Rome will moderate the discussion on how these athletes transitioned from sports to radio and why they favor the medium. Panelists include: Bobby Hebert of "SportsTalk with Bobby Hebert and Deke Bellavia" on Entercom's WWL-AM/FM; Tom Tolbert, host, "The Mr. T Show" on Cumulus' KNBR-AM; and Amani Toomer, co-host, "Amani and Eytan" on NBC Sports Radio.
Rome is one of the top voices in sports broadcasting. Over 225 stations carry "The Jim Rome Show," currently the longest-running, stand-alone syndicated sports talk show on the air. He also hosts CBS Sports Network's "Rome," "Jim Rome on Showtime," and contributes to NFL, NCAA basketball and US Open Tennis Championship coverage.
Hebert joined WWL-AM/FM in 2005. "SportsTalk with Bobby Hebert & Deke Bellavia" is consistently the top-rated talk show in its time slot. "The Cajun Cannon" played in the USFL and the NFL from 1983 to 1996, rising to fame as the New Orleans Saints quarterback and making the Pro Bowl in 1994 and 1995 with the Atlanta Falcons. He led the Saints to the franchise's first playoff appearance in 1991 and its second in 1992. In 2010, he founded the "Who Dat Nation" when the Saints made the Super Bowl.
Tolbert has hosted KNBR-AM's top-rated afternoon drive show for 17 years and does weekday commentaries for CBS Sports Radio Network's "CBS Sports Minutes." He is also the radio color analyst for the Golden State Warriors, for whom he played for three years, and has worked as an NBA analyst on ESPN and ABC. Prior to playing in the NBA, he reached the 1988 NCAA Final Four with the University of Arizona Wildcats, averaging over 14 points per game.
Toomer joined NBC Sports Radio in 2012 as co-host of "Amani and Eytan," which broadcasts to 96 affiliates each weekday. Previously, Toomer contributed to NBC's "SportsTalk," SiriusXM NFL Radio and MSG's Varsity's "Friday Night Football." He spent 14 seasons with the New York Giants, including the Super Bowl XLII championship team. He retired as the team's all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards.
About the Radio Show
The 2013 Radio Show brings radio broadcasters and industry colleagues together to share knowledge, discover the latest innovations, network with industry leaders and explore creative business strategies for the digital age. To learn more about the 2013 Radio Show, visit www.radioshowweb.com.
||Platinum Card and Text Alert, Via Pawnshop
Linda Ballard, 61, uses the word "love" to describe her banking relationship, lauding the ease of cashing her bimonthly paycheck, the convenience of text alerts about her balance and the features on the platinum card that she was upgraded to in July.
But she is not getting all this from a bank. She is getting this array of services from a pawnshop -- part of an industry that has long had a reputation of taking advantage of vulnerable customers handing over prized possessions in exchange for cash.
As banks zero in on more affluent customers who promise twice the revenue of their lower-income counterparts, close branches in poor areas and remain stingy with credit, pawnshops are revamping their image and stepping into the void to offer financial services.
"The way the banks have tightened up so much on making small loans and making equity loans, we've kind of evolved into, I like to call it the poor man's bank," said Robbie Whitten, chief executive of Money Mizer Pawn and Jewelry of Columbus, Ga.
There are, however, plenty of potential drawbacks, consumer advocates say.
Some loans from pawnshops can come with interest rates as high as 25 percent. And fringe financial operations, the consumer advocates say, can imperil lower-income customers' ability to save for the future. Without a traditional checking or savings account, borrowers often pay more for basic financial transactions like cashing checks, paying bills and wiring money, financial counselors say. And because pawnshops do not seek or report matters affecting credit scores, pawnshop banking makes it hard for customers to build credit history.
"Consumers need to be aware that the products don't always carry the same protections as those you would get from a bank," said Tom Feltner, director of financial services at the Consumer Federation of America.
How fast the pawnshop industry is growing is unclear, but the industry association estimates there were 10,000 pawnshops in early 2012, the latest figures available, compared with about 6,400 in 2007. That expansion is, in part, fed by the rising number of Americans whose tarnished credit effectively bars them from the mainstream financial system. The growth has attracted the attention of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a recently formed regulator that has been scrutinizing pawnshops, along with other nonbank lenders like payday loan operators.
EZCorp, a publicly traded operator of pawnshops, reported that total loan balances swelled 22 percent to $44 million in its most recent quarter.
Another publicly traded lender, Cash America International, told investors in June that the company's fortunes were growing as more "traditional consumer lenders are exiting the market."
As a result, pawnshops are offering services like check cashing, Western Union money transfers, bill payment and prepaid cards to customers who are "getting forgotten in the banking system," said Jerry Whitehead of the Pawnshop Consulting Group.
The services are not, generally, big moneymakers for the shops. The main attraction is that they bring in traffic, and many of those shoppers go on to buy items from the pawnshop or to take out a pawn loan themselves -- and that is where the stores make their money.
The basic business of pawnshops is, of course, a financial service. If a man walks in and hands over, say, a watch, the shop will lend him money based on a percentage of the item's value. The customer has a set period of time to pay that back, usually one to four months. If he pays it back in time, and pays the interest, he gets the item back. If he does not, the pawnshop sells the item.
Pawn loans are so profitable simply because of the high interest rates pawnshops can charge. Interest rates vary by state and range from 2.5 percent to 25 percent a month, the industry group the National Pawnbrokers Association estimates. So a 30-day loan on a $150 item would give a pawnshop a profit of up to $37.50, while a four-month loan could mean a profit of $150. Pawnshops may also charge fees for things like storage and lost tickets.
Yet for many customers who have been denied credit because of checkered financial histories, an instant loan from a pawnshop can feel like something of a miracle -- at least at first -- consumer advocates say.
But the high interest rates can plunge borrowers already on precarious financial footing deeper into debt, consumer advocates say.
Emmett Murphy, a spokesman for the pawnbrokers' association, said about 85 percent of loans were paid off, and pawnbrokers would much rather see a loan repaid than deal with selling a pawned item.
La Familia Pawn and Jewelry, a chain based in Winter Park, Fla., that focuses on Hispanic customers, began offering bill-paying services this summer and will add Western Union and prepaid debit cards soon, mostly because customers wanted convenience, said its chief financial officer, Woody Whitcomb.
"Some customers actually asked if we could be their bank, which we can't, because we're not licensed to take deposits," Mr. Whitcomb said.
La Familia charges $1.50 for each bill paid and uses the standard Western Union rates, but the point is to get customers using its much more profitable pawn loans.
"The pawn business will always be our bread and butter," he said, "but if we can give customers other reasons to come into our stores, that will increase traffic."
David Sanchez, 38, who lives in Hanes City, Fla., says he uses his local La Familia shop as "an interim banking system." For money between paychecks, he regularly pawns a gold chain in return for a $100 loan for 30 days, with a $25 fee at the end -- even though he has a checking account and a credit card. Now, he is paying bills and cashing checks at La Familia. "I really do not go into my bank," Mr. Sanchez said.
Pawn America, a Minnesota chain, has gone a step further in emulating banks: building financial centers with a separate entry that abut most of its pawnshops. Go in one way, and you can hock your ring. Enter the adjoining room, and you see "nice, private teller windows, and that's our financial center. You're going to be served by somebody wearing a white shirt, a tie, very professional," said Chuck Armstrong, chief legislative officer.
And its services look awfully similar. Under its Payday America operation, customers can get a one-year line of credit of up to $1,000 without putting down an item. And this year, it introduced a platinum version of its prepaid debit card with express-lane checkout, 5 percent cash back on purchases or 5 percent extra on loans, and free check cashing.
Ms. Ballard, of St. Paul, is a Pawn America customer who received the platinum card in July. She said she was initially wary of the industry.
"The first time I went to a pawnshop, I looked around to see who was looking at me go in," she said. Now, though, despite her bank checking account, she cashes her paychecks at Pawn America rather than using direct deposit. And she loves her new platinum card.
She has other financial products, she said, and, "I would give them all up but that one."
(Source: The New York Times, 08/25/13)
||That Craft Beer You’re Drinking Isn’t Craft Beer. Do You Care?
Beer drinkers don't encounter the word "microbrew" much anymore. One reasons why this is so is because in the rapidly expanding craft brewer scene, popular independent beer brands like Samuel Adams, Sierra Nevada, and Fat Tire are too successful to be considered "micro."
The preferred term now is "craft beer." But there's much discussion -- and quite a bit of bitterness -- about which brews are truly deserving of the label.
The Colorado-based Brewers Association, which represents more than 1,700 brewers in the U.S., has three criteria for a business to be defined as an American craft brewer: It must be small, independent, and traditional. More specifically, the brewer must produce no more than 6 million barrels of beer annually, less than one-quarter of the business can be owned or controlled by a company that's not a craft brewer, and the products must be made with traditional ingredients such as malted barley.
It's that second characteristic (the brewer's independence) that has become the most contentious issue among beer makers. Blue Moon and Shock Top are the two highest-profile examples of brews that are not made by independent companies -- their parent companies are MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev, respectively -- yet which market themselves as craft beers. The Brewers Association and others have come to categorize such brews as "crafty" beers because manufacturers and marketers seem to deliberately conceal their true corporate heritage.
This summer, the "craft" question came to the forefront thanks to the August issue of Consumer Reports, which included a story rating craft beers -- and which included Shock Top, Goose Island, Blue Moon, and other beers that are produced by companies that the Brewers Association doesn't consider to be craft brewers.
The editors acknowledged the Brewers Association guidelines before disregarding them, stating, "For the purpose of this report, we included craft beers that market themselves as such as opposed to making selections based solely on barrel production or company ownership percentages."
CR's craft beer report drove beer geeks crazy, especially because Shock Top, which is made by the same people who bring you Budweiser and Busch Light, was rated as one of the best craft ales. The Beer and Whiskey Bros blog wrote that the inclusion of "crafty" beers in the article "makes Consumer Reports look pretty stupid," and that the editors must have been drunk when putting together the study.
While the presence of Shock Top and Blue Moon in the CR report caused many beer lovers to spit out their drinks in surprise and frustration, the article also included brands like Kona Brewing Company. That brand is part of the Craft Brew Alliance. So surely it's OK to call Kona a craft beer, right? Not according to the Brewers Association guidelines. One-third of the Craft Brew Alliance, which calls itself an "independent craft brewing company," is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. So Craft Brew Alliance beers aren't craft brews, per the Brewers Association.
Unsurprisingly, the brewers and businesspeople being accused of producing inauthentic and misleading "faux craft" craft beers aren't simply swallowing the criticism quietly. Tom Long, CEO of MillerCoors, has been the most outspoken defender of "crafty" brands like his company's Blue Moon.
"Blue Moon Brewing Co. has been around long before the vast majority of craft brewers," Long said recently in the interview, quoted by Bloomberg News. "What exactly is crafty about that?"
"Whatever style beer you might prefer, all we ask is that you judge us by the quality of the beer in the glass," Long wrote in an opinion piece at CNN.
Goose Island, a Chicago-based brewer that was purchased by Anheuser-Busch in 2011, continues to think of itself as a craft brewer to this day. "Goose Island is a craft beer, period," Goose Island founder John Hall said in a statement when asked for comment. "The so-called definition of craft beer has evolved over the years. Both the brewery size and ingredients have been changed. I believe the beer drinkers are the ones who truly decide what is a craft beer or isn't."
And what do beer drinkers think? Last week, Beer Advocate readers began weighing in on the topic via an online poll asking how they define "craft." Though there haven't been a ton of votes yet, and the sampling is not random or statistically accurate, the most popular answer has been that the term "relates to the quality of the beer." Only 14% said that the word relates to the Brewers Association guidelines; an equal percentage agreed with the statement that "craft" does not have any meaning.
Julia Herz, the Brewers Association's craft beer program director, said via e-mail, "The Brewers Association does not define what craft beer is. That is up to the individual beer lover to discern." Nonetheless, Herz defended the association's particular usage of the "craft" label. “Craft brewer is not a marketing term,” she explained. "It is a description of a brewer who is different from the global brewing giants."
Even more importantly, the Brewers Association sees the battle as one for truth in advertising. "If the lines continue to get blurred and 'craft' becomes commoditized, small and independent brewers will have a harder and harder time selling their products, getting shelf space, tap handles and placement on restaurant menus," said Herz. "When a beer lover cares about transparency in brands that has nothing to do with being snobby. Beer lovers have a right to know when they are purchasing a product from a small and independent craft brewer or from a large globally owned brewery."
Representing the beer geeks, Jim Galligan of Beer and Whiskey Bros said that while he mostly agrees with the Brewers Association's guidelines regarding the "craft" label, "I also think a lot depends on if a brewer's heart is in the right place."
"The size of the brewery and who owns the brand isn't the main issue," he explained. "It's really about a brewer trying to make the best product they can imagine, putting quality and flavor ahead of dollars and sense." And Galligan and many others feel that "for mega brewers like A-B InBev and MillerCoors, and their 'crafty' brands like Shock Top, Batch 19 and Landshark Lager might look the part, but they really don't taste the part."
Though some may view the whole "craft beer" labeling debate as annoying and pretentious, Galligan sees the discussion as important for beer lovers everywhere. "People demanding an honestly good product is a good thing," he said. "It's not remotely snobby or silly that people care enough about good beer to want to protect the scene from corporate brewers who are simply looking to cash in without making meaningful contributions to craft beer culture."
Ultimately, it all comes back to producing the best product possible, Galligan said. "I think most people just want delicious and interesting beers to drink, and the size of the brewery that makes them matters far less than the quality of what's in their glass."
(Source: Time, 08/13/13)
Daily Sales Tip: Rescuing Wounded Deals
Top closers are able to rescue wounded deals. It begins with planning.
They anticipate what near-fatal objections or obstacles could come up before the close, and make response and recovery plans.
They are rarely caught off-guard, even by an unexpected turn of events. The essential factors in snatching victory from the jaws of defeat are:
Early warning. You can't know too soon that something has started has started to go sour.
Intuition. You need finely honed instincts to tell you when something is not quite right with the "perfect" deal.
Indicators that your intuition should activate include a prospect who doesn't return your calls or one who doesn't ask the detailed questions that should be asked.
Persistence. Never say die. You're only defeated when you admit you're defeated.
If you refuse to give up on the deal, your prospect will see your determination and your confidence in your product or service. Don't accept defeat.
Swift response time. Quickly respond to a failed close by addressing each issue raised.
Try to include a nugget of new information that is relevant to the prospect. The point is to bring in new ammunition.
Source: Adapted from The Art of Closing the Sale, by Brian Tracy