Monday, July 7, 2008
Radio: Okay, Rehr. Where’s the beer?
David “Fumbles” Rehr, chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, this is your life so far this year:
You demanded that the FCC compel DirecTV to provide local TV service in every market by the end of 2008 as a provision on the transfer of News Corp.’s 40 percent investment in the satellite TV provider to Liberty Media.
You demanded that DirecTV and Dish Network "provide empirical evidence to support their claims that they lack capacity to offer local-into-local service in high definition.”
You demanded that the FTC deny the XM-Sirius satellite radio merger.
You demanded that the FCC deny the XM-Sirius satellite radio merger.
Didn’t happen yet.
Now, you claim that even with your supposed connections in the beer industry as the former president of the National Beer Wholesalers Association –you had no advance knowledge of Anheuser-Busch’s plans to pull their advertising off radio?
Where was your head? Never mind. We already know and the visual isn’t pretty.
Does the phrase “a day late and a dollar short” come to mind?
Fumbles, don’t even think of blaming this move on the attempted hostile takeover of Anheuser-Busch by Belgian brewer InBev.
A-B isn’t cutting back on ad spending – they’re just taking radio out of the equation and distributing their $800 million ad dollars elsewhere.
This is the news rock and sports formats didn’t need to hear. Bye bye, Bud; Nice knowin’ ya, Mich; we won’t be seein’ you at Sea World.
That’s what – almost 60,000 spots – that radio lost?
Fumbles, beer is your old stomping ground and there wasn’t a brewer you were closer to than A-B.
You bragged about hanging out with August III and August IV.
You were “the beer guy,” remember?
But where are your brewski connections when radio really needs them?
Were you to the beer industry what you are now to radio? A big nothing?
Sure, we still have Coors, Corona, and Miller – but, if anything, A-B’s move will most likely influence their future ad buys.
Fumbles, when you were first introduced as the new NAB head, your initial meet-and-greet was billed as “NAB a beer with Rehr.” Remember? We do. Apparently, the beer industry doesn’t.
You must've had some expensive A-list publicists covering your ass when you were peddling the hops.
Do you recall, Fumbles, addressing the 2005 National Beer Wholesalers Association convention in Vegas?
You channeled Senator Joe McCarthy’s fight against Communism when you said, “There are foes poised to destroy us. We need to fight for beer’s rightful place in American culture (and) regain what is rightfully ours."
Even microbrews and imports were on your enemies’ list.
You assailed the American Medical Association (AMA), for trying to get the NCAA to ban beer spots from college sports programming: “There were more than 120,000 accidental deaths caused by physicians last year. You would think that might be a little more pressing than beer advertising."
You proudly stated, “I am Satan to them,” to Modern Brewery Age magazine in September, 2002, in reference to your on-going feud with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
What happened? When did you turn into a dead fish?
How about your political connections? You were a “Bush Pioneer,” raising over $100,000 in individual contributions for the Bush-Cheney re-election drive.
That had to buy you an in with the GOP.
Fumbles, it’s an election year - just in case you’ve forgotten.
And your presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, is one part horny old goat and one part smooth operator.
He did what any red-blooded American gigolo would do. He married into money. But he also married into beer.
That's your cue, Fumbles.
His second wife, the former Cindy Hensley, who he married a month after divorcing his first, is an heiress to her father’s Anheuser-Busch distributorship in Arizona – and worth over $100 million.
Fumbles, you have something in common with Cindy McCain. You both love political action committees. When you were heading the NBWA, you routinely wrote checks totaling over $3 million on your PAC.
Anheuser-Busch's PAC was one of McCain's first donors. McCain’s father in-law and other Hensley beer distributor executives funneled so much money to McCain that the Federal Election Commission stepped in and ordered McCain to give some of it back.
And how large is Cindy McCain’s A-B distributorship?
Try third largest in the U.S. Last year it moved over 23 million cases of brew.
Fumbles, that means she carries some weight and could put in a good word about putting some dollars back on radio – but you have to start working her now.
The election is only three months away and a gigolo has never been elected President of the United States.
Just ask John Kerry.