Last week, Emmis Chairman/CEO Jeff Smulyan told FMQB in an exclusive Q&A, "If the American public wants satellite radio, I think that's great. The key is, at the end of the day, we're still going to reach hundreds of millions of people every week. The best case scenario for satellite is twenty million people."
One week later, Smulyan has expanded on the satellite radio subject, stating he feels a bigger threat than the satcasters is going to be Apple's iPod. In a Q&A posted on the company's Web site, Smulyan said, "Despite the buzz surrounding satellite radio, I believe iPods are a bigger threat, because you have a larger number of people with an alternative source of music. That said, I can remember when people were predicting the death of radio after 8-tracks came out. Despite continually evolving technologies, nothing has replaced the local information and local personalities we give our audiences. We know our communities, and we respond to their needs. Over the holiday season alone, Emmis radio stations raised $500,000 for charitable causes in their local communities - I don’t see how satellite radio can match that reach. Sirius and XM may or may not be viable businesses, but the reality is that two of Emmis’ stations reach more people then the entire satellite industry, and those satellite subscribers still spend much of their listening time with terrestrial radio."
Smulyan also added that Emmis' digital radio conversion commitment was not a response to satellite radio. "We’ve talked about high definition radio for years," he said. "This is absolutely not a response to the satellite newcomers. It’s taken a long time to get HD radio through the pipeline and to get government approval, but this is something broadcasters have been working on for quite a while."
Smulyan touched upon Emmis being named one of Fortune magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For [#74]. "The Fortune recognition demonstrates that our employees are engaged and committed, and such committed employees create value for shareholders," he said. "Not only are we one of only 100, we are one of the very few media companies ever to receive this honor. In an industry where manpower is the most important power, we have a decided advantage. This honor shows investors that Emmis is a company with a future."