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End to Traditional Radio? Get Sirius

In Tuesday’s edition of The Daily News, I wrote a piece on Memphis-based MLS Broadcasting, which is launching Memphis’ first conservative radio show, The Point, on 87.7 FM and 1210 AM.

It has been suggested that terrestrial radio is becoming obsolete due to the advent of Sirius/XM satellite and internet-based radio. Here are some interesting stats, per Arbitron Inc., the national radio ratings company:

  • More than 90 percent of Americans ages 12 or older listen to radio each week, a higher saturation than television, magazines, newspapers or the Internet.
  • Sirius/XM hold a 15 percent market share while internet radio currently has a 5 percent share.
  • Terrestrial radio still holds an 80 percent share of all radio broadcasting.
  • Through more than 1,700 stations across the nation, the combined news/talk format is estimated to reach more than 50 million listeners each week.

Financial News Roundup (Cadence Bank, Allen Stanford, John Paulson)

The parent company of Cadence Bank announced today the Federal Reserve has approved Cadence’s acquisition by a private equity company.

That deal will take Cadence private and infuse it with a lot of new, sorely needed capital.

Meanwhile, disgraced financial titan and former Stanford Financial namesake Allen Stanford is being moved to the same jail where Bernie Madoff lives.

And hedge fund king John Paulson has upped his stake in the parent company of First Tennessee, buying more than 136,000 shares of the company in the recent quarterly period.

Project 21

Project 21 was the code name for the big business announcement in Memphis Monday – that Mitsubishi Electric Power Products is building a 350,000-square-foot plant here to manufacture electric transformers – but it could also serve as a fitting metaphor for the city itself.

Mitsubishi chose Project 21 as the name for its $200 million investment in Memphis for a simple reason. The products that will come off the line here represent new technology for the 21st century.

The burst of major economic development news of late in Memphis – the Mitsubishi announcement, the announcement that Swedish appliance maker Electrolux is building a 700,000-square-foot plant here, among other corporate developments soon to be announced – also is pointing toward a bright start to the 21st century for Memphis.

Memphis is landing repeatedly on the radar of large multinational employers that are comfortable enough with what the city offers to invest millions of dollars putting down roots here in the form of plants and other physical infrastructure staffed with employees either hired here or brought here.

Much of that is due to the city’s intrinsic assets. But you can’t win when you fail to compete, and Memphis’ economic development team is competing mightily. It includes a strong partnership between city and county leaders, state government and the Greater Memphis Chamber.

Memphis Mayor AC Wharton and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell are one piece of that partnership, and they’re a big one. That city-county mayoral duo is one the city has had to do without in the recent past, in a time of different political leadership. Today, though, Wharton and Luttrell have no problem keeping their bags packed, keeping their schedules fluid enought to fly off to meet with corporate prospects and adding salesman-in-chief to their already long list of duties.

Fittingly, when they were called to the stage at the Peabody hotel for the Mitsubishi announcement Monday, both men rose together and walked in almost perfect unison.

Memphis Grill in About.com

Just in time for the upcoming Memphis in May’s Barbecue Fest, Memphis-based Carson Rotisseries Inc. has been selected as a Top 5 finalist in the 2011 About.com Readers’ Choice Awards for favorite charcoal grill.

Founder Blake Carson is an insurance specialist turned entrepreneur. Pretty neat to see a local Brazilian barbecue start-up already competing with the likes of Big Green Egg and Weber.

Learn more at carsonrotisseries.com (great recipes, too) and cast your vote here.

Borders Chain Headed for Bankruptcy

The Wall Street Journal is reporting the Borders book store chain is preparing to file for bankruptcy and close at least 200 of its 674 stores, leading to thousands of job losses.

Borders operates one store in the Memphis area – at 6685 Poplar Ave., in Germantown.

Memphis has definitely felt the ripple effects of the change tides of the book industry. The past year has seen the closure of Barnes and Noble and Bookstar stores, as well as the bankruptcy filing of the parent company of Davis-Kidd Booksellers.

An interesting factoid: the owner of Davis-Kidd parent Joseph Beth, Neil Van Uum, used to be married to Mary Beth Borders, a sibling of the Borders founders.

Davis-Kidd, though, is still going strong in Memphis. The company closed its Nashville store but has rallied around its strongest performing locations, including the one in Memphis.

Michael Oher, the central character in the Hollywood blockbuster “The Blind Side” will be at Davis-Kidd Wed. Feb. 16 to sign copies of his memoir “I Beat the Odds.”

Dansette

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