Farid Einstein: Half is More

No, the CEO of Citadel is not talking about his company's stock price -- that's much lower than half.

At about $1.50 a share, what's half -- 75 cents?

Farid Suleman, the bean counter loosely disguised as a wannabe Jack Welsh, is considering cutting his sales staff.


And you wonder why this hapless radio industry can't get it turned around.

He believes as much as half of revenues would come in with or without a salesperson. That's right. Open mouth, put foot in. Suleman as quoted in Inside Radio added "why are we paying commissions for that revenue?"

Note that he did not say why Citadel is paying him $11 million (including his tax bill) for driving the company into the penny stock arena.

Here is the genius idea he is kicking around: employ a salaried staff (imagine that pay grade) who would handle "service or fulfillment" of the ads he thinks in his delirium would come to Citadel by magic without salespeople.

Then the Mad Man Ad Man would pay higher commissions to those poor suckers who would be left to attract and develop new business. I presume that includes free Nexium for heartburn and tranquilizers for the pressure their boss would put on them since obviously the problem with Citadel is everyone other than the boss.

Farid has already waved his magic wand to consolidate one national sales manager per cluster -- after all, he isn't going to lose his job -- only everybody else.

Someone stop this guy.

He actually believes -- and look at the quotation marks here -- "We have to re-evaluate how we do business. You can't continue to invest in programming and sales if you can't get revenue for that?"


He's investing in programming and sales? Who knew.

I now officially apologize to Clear Channel Radio President John Hogan. I used to think he was the biggest empty suit in the business but now it just has to be Farid. Hogan is not dumb enough to think up Farid's cockamamie nuclear option. And I mean that.

Farid has been slicing, dicing and damaging his company because he just doesn't know how to run a radio company. He is poised to lose Sean Hannity on Citadel-owned ABC because as Einstein puts it, "the era of doing stupid deals is over".

Well, Farid better hope it's not. Because his board of directors pays his $11 million a year for him to drive their share price down and everyone including Teddy Forstmann has swallowed their tongues. Executive compensation oversight? Not at Citadel. Talk about stupid deals.

And he's promising more cutbacks: "Every programming decision has to be evaluated in the light of the daypart and to make sure that it is profitable".


Hey all you great programmers out there -- is that how you do it? Create programming by daypart so it is profitable or do you program by daypart to gain the maximum available audience and then your sales professionals go out and sell it.

Oh, sorry -- I forgot. Under Suleman half the business gets called in and the other half gets developed by underpaid people who get a slightly higher commission.

Alright. Enough of Suleman's logic. Let's help him out. I know he has never really worked on the air or in programming. I don't think he ever sold anything. He was Mel Karmazin's bookkeeper -- that was his ticket.

Remember that this article you are now reading on Inside Music Media -- is blocked from corporate distribution so Citadel employees can't access it at work. So I will have to rely on my network of elves to send the following antidote to Farid's self destructive plan to jam the spam.

Ready, Farid?

Forget reinventing the wheel.

Just dial 610-667-8400.

That's WBEB radio in Philadelphia. Ask for Jerry Lee, the owner. He has your future all tested and ready to give away for free. I'm serious -- call him, he wants radio to get bigger and is willing to help anyone who will understand that you spend money to make money.

Yahoo cuts budget and loses money.

Google spends and makes.

Dell cuts.

Apple spends.

You get the idea.

Jerry Lee will tell you to cut your inventory, raise your rates, spend on promotion (lots of TV), test your music and your ads as a service to your advertisers. Let your sales manager get rich a la Blaise Howard, his capable sales genius. Let your salespeople make more money not less -- the best salespeople want commission-only not salary and commission. You don't see any of WBEB's salespeople going anywhere.

WBEB outperforms a bad economy, a dying industry, incompetent management at other stations in the market and does nothing but make money.

Let me repeat that -- make money.

So, assuming this message didn't self destruct before it got to Farid's corporate email -- let's make it real simple.

1. You don't cut people. You add them.

2. Sales will not come to you on their own -- this isn't fantasy land.

3. Salespeople need to get rich -- and when they do, you get rich.

4. Programmers are not salespeople -- they don't program by profitable dayparts. Anyone who asks them to doesn't know what radio is.

5. If you can't stop the brain drain from Citadel, make sure you're the next one to go. Betcha someone else in the executive suite could do better. How could they do worse than $1.50 a share?

6. Call -- no drive down the Jersey Turnpike to Philly -- to see Jerry Lee. Kiss his -- well, ring. Ask him to forgive you for making a mockery of a great industry. Your penance is to say two Our Fathers, and two Hail Marys and hire someone who can run a major radio group. You can still fly private. Just don't touch anything or make decisions.

I wish this was all made up -- that I could say never mind -- and it would all go away. But it won't because Farid Einstein is actually proposing these changes in public -- another dumb move.

Farid is a danger to himself, his company and his once proud industry and he should be replaced by -- anybody.

There is a reason Citadel is a worthless stock -- look to its leader -- the one who comes up with worthless ideas like the ones I am sharing with you today.

The speed of the leader determines the speed of the team -- and until Suleman is gone Citadel is stuck with a CEO who keeps proving he is not ready for prime time even though his employees are.

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