MEDIA - Bloomberg in a box (radio, that is) - Bloomberg Radio is mostly business most of the time. Though it airs in the New York area, as Claire Atkinson reports, the station’s syndicated packages make it a pitching prospect for pros nationwide

Michael Bloomberg founded his eponymously named company in 1981 with a handful of computer terminals and a good relationship with a former Dow Jones reporter. Today his news and information empire reaps annual revenues of around dollars 2 billion and comprises a global newswire, a television service, magazines and a book publishing division, among other units.

Michael Bloomberg founded his eponymously named company in 1981 with a handful of computer terminals and a good relationship with a former Dow Jones reporter. Today his news and information empire reaps annual revenues of around dollars 2 billion and comprises a global newswire, a television service, magazines and a book publishing division, among other units.

Michael Bloomberg founded his eponymously named company in 1981

with a handful of computer terminals and a good relationship with a

former Dow Jones reporter. Today his news and information empire reaps

annual revenues of around dollars 2 billion and comprises a global

newswire, a television service, magazines and a book publishing

division, among other units.



Bloomberg Radio (WBBR), the company’s seven-year-old, 24-hour news and

information station, is located at its New York headquarters on Park

Avenue and on the dial at 11:30 AM.



The station’s main agenda is to attract a financially aware

listenership.



Bloomberg does that by focusing on the verdant economy - from personal

stock portfolios to Greenspan’s effect on the greenback.



Bloomberg Radio gets cranking at 5 am with a one-hour roundup of what’s

been happening on the London, Tokyo and Hong Kong markets before

switching over to the morning drive show, which runs from 6 am to 11 am.

Once the opening bell is sounded at 9:30 am, a dedicated team of around

40 Bloomberg radio reporters begins filing breathless dispatches about

the movements from the main exchanges. The market bulletins run every 10

minutes. ’If there is a market mover, we are on it,’ says Jaime Cohen,

who oversees the radio station as director of news and programming -

though officially employees don’t have titles.



Cohen joined Bloomberg in 1998. He was previously news director at

WGGB-TV in Springfield, MA. He won an Emmy in 1994 during his time as

assistant news director at WSPA-TV in South Carolina; the team was

awarded for live breaking news coverage of Susan Smith, the woman who

was found guilty of murdering her children. Cohen initially joined

Bloomberg as assignment editor and special projects producer for

Bloomberg Television before moving to radio.



’The AOL-Time Warner merger was a great story for us,’ says Cohen. ’We

look for as many sidebar angles as we can. How does the deal impact on

others? Who’s next? How is the stock doing? We love those stories.’



But not all of Bloomberg’s subject matter has to be as huge as the

giants involved in this story. ’The record company K-Tel was going crazy

and it’s not on the S&P 500,’ Cohen explains. ’We did a series about why

people were jumping on the stock and then there was a story when it

dropped.’ But Cohen advises that the team is looking for recognizable

names. Since the station is based in New York, there is also added

advantage in playing up a local angle.



Sandwiched between the market bulletins are the latest business,

financial and political headlines and feature reports at 36 minutes

after the hour.



The features offer relief from the ups and downs of the bull market and

include restaurant guides, headed by Peter Elliot, and entertainment

coverage, overseen by Annie Bergen. Sports stories also take their place

alongside the news. The radio section of the company’s web site,

Bloomberg.com, has minute-by-minute details of the station’s schedule

and details on who to pitch.



Cohen works with four segment producers and encourages PR pros to direct

their pitches to them. Earl Peterson carries the morning agenda, while

the midday show, which kicks off at 11 am and runs until the closing

bell at 4 pm, is Sam Sayegh’s province. The evening coverage, which

focuses on analyses of the day’s market news, is split between Dick

Hinchliffe and Dan Thomas. The evening news often covers the performance

of US stocks on European markets. If interested, these producers will

get one of the assignment editors - Sam Schnipper, Andy Cinko or Lauren

Gargaro - to call back.



The station’s reach is not huge. According to data from radio

measurement firm Arbitron, its weekly audience is 455,300 (aged

18-plus), while the average quarter hour attracted 31,400 in the summer

period 1999, which was up 27% over the previous year.



But although it’s heard only in the tri-state area (New York, New

Jersey, Connecticut), Bloomberg also has a syndication division, which

is a good reason for non-New York PR pros to pitch it. Karen Toulon is

responsible for packaging Bloomberg Market Minute, Bloomberg Morning

News and Bloomberg Urban Business Report, a segment on minority-owned

businesses.



Toulon, who joined a month ago from Reuters, says, ’We do custom reports

for local stations, looking for companies in their area.’ For example,

she’ll tailor a package for Seattle with a hi-tech installment. She also

has a team doing original reporting and voice-overs. The syndicated

packages run between one and two minutes and focus on the consumer

business market, company stories, business trends and product stories.

she says.



Bloomberg Radio has augmented its coverage of the New York area through

several news alliances, taking local material from TV channel New York

One and business stories from Crain’s New York Business and Advertising

Age.



Cohen, of course, wants to get new voices on the air, but warns that he

is not interested in taping interviews with spokespeople - he wants the

CEO or the CFO. ’We try to mix up our coverage by airing interviews with

neutral analysts,’ he adds.



If you’re looking to compile an audio news release, Cohen says he’s

’open to anything on tape and pre-recorded interviews.’ He is also happy

for public relations executives to fax their material, but warns he

can’t return all calls.



A good time to pitch ideas is during less busy periods. So try

suggesting profiles and features to fill the days when the stock market

is closed.



Cohen explains that the station will put together analysis packages on

the previous day’s news and will also turn to what’s happening

abroad.



Though Bloomberg’s New York audience may be small, it’s syndication

network makes it a viable alternative to AP.



One IR executive comments, ’Radio tends to take care of itself. I don’t

see trader’s listening to radio - they’re watching CNN or CNBC.’ But he

adds that radio is important for firms with a physical presence in small

markets because of the need to address that local audience.



CONTACT LIST

Bloomberg Radio (WBBR)

499 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10022

Tel: (212) 318 2530

Fax: (212) 940 1994

E-mail: firstinitiallastname@bloomberg.net

Web: www.Bloomberg.com

Director of programming: Jaime Cohen

Producer, morning drive: Earl Peterson

Producer, midday show: Sam Sayegh

Producers, evening show: Dick Hinchliffe, Dan Thomas

Entertainment reporter: Annie Bergen

Executive dining guide reporter: Peter Elliot

Manager of syndicated products: Karen Toulon

Assignment editors:

Sam Schnipper, Andy Cinko and Lauren Gargaro



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