Metzger Unveils DNC-themed Blog

Metzger Associates has launched DNC After Dark, a blog intended to help “visitors maneuver and take full advantage of Denver – whether it’s dinner reservations, recommendations for the coolest music venues or event planning for intimate groups – during the DNC weekend (Aug. 25-28).” The blog coincides with the launch of Metzger’s new strategic events planning practice.

Bloomberg: Denver Post Publisher May Default

Bloomberg has identified Denver-based MediaNews Group as one of the newspaper companies at risk of going into default due to the continued advertising slump. MediaNews owns the Denver Post and approximately 60 other newspapers. According to the article:

Newspapers are selling today for about six times earnings, said Sammy Papert, chairman of Belden Associates, a newspaper consulting firm in Dallas. This is below the 11.5 times earnings that MediaNews and Hearst Corp. paid in a $1 billion deal for the Mercury News and three other newspapers in 2006.

Since then, Denver-based MediaNews, the second-largest closely held U.S. newspaper company by circulation, had its credit rating slashed four levels by S&P to B-, or six levels above default. Debt rated B is likely to become impaired in adverse business, financial or economic conditions, S&P notes.

Singleton expects the company, with average weekday circulation of 2.6 million in fiscal 2007, to remain in compliance with debt covenants, the chief executive officer said in a June 12 telephone interview.

On June 30, if MediaNews has the debt-to-cash flow ratio of 6.53 times it reported on Dec. 31, 2007, it would be in violation of its loans, according to S&P.

Quote of the Day

“There’s no difference. They’re all, for the most part, the same.”

– KMGH/Channel 7 anchor and reporter Jim Hooley, in a moment of candor, responding to a question about how broadcast channels 4, 7, 9 and 31 cover news. Hooley’s remark was made at a BusinessWire media breakfast this week.

GBSM Client Wins

GBSM has been awarded management consulting and strategic communications assignments from new and existing clients, including AARP, the National Endowment for Financial Education, Colorado Council of the Arts, the Colorado chapter of the National Association for Industrial and Office Properties, Regional Transportation District, Boulder Scientific and New Mexico State University.

Colorado Ski Country USA Cuts One-Third of its Staff

Colorado Ski Country USA is reeling from Vail Resorts’ decision last week to withdraw from the trade association because it didn’t focus enough on public policy issues and lobbying efforts. The move by Vail Resorts effectively cut CSCUSA’s annual budget from $3.5 million to $1.7 million, and the trade organization has responded by eliminating a third of its staff and dropping almost all of its domestic marketing efforts.

Milwaukee + Golden = Dallas?

When Molson and Coors joined to form Molson Coors, you knew they had put the lawyers in charge of the names. And when Molson Coors created a joint venture with Miller and named it MillerCoors, well, you knew the lawyers were still in charge of the names, but that some clerical hiccup along the way made them realize having no space between the names was better. Probably some 8-K filing issue. 

Anyway, Leo Kiely finally tossed his last dart at the board to pick the joint venture’s leadership staff. Expect the joint venture to be based in Dallas or Chicago, the two cities that always end up with companies that Denver wants desperately to land (see United, Boeing, etc.).

Crocs: Our Financial Statements Are as Flexible as Our Shoes

It has been a bad year for Crocs. If you believe the company’s naysayers, the company’s shoes are a fad that has passed and are inherently unsafe. And Crocs’ share price has plummeted from more than $74 to less than $10 over the past eight months. And now the company is having to spend time assuring Wall Street that just because it makes a few mistakes in its quarterly filings, it really isn’t a big deal.

Economy Forces Some Denver Agencies to Slim Down

The general economic malaise that has affected other cities’ PR agencies is beginning to affect some of Denver’s consumer-focused agencies. Several agencies have seen their staffs dwindle by as much as 50 percent, and word today is that Schenkein let six staffers go this week, which represents approximately 30 percent of its employee base.

Said Schenkein’s Leanna Clark, “We had some client losses late last year, and while we’ve brought in several new pieces of business in 08, they’ve not offset those losses. This, combined with the current economic outlook, has led us to reduce staff accordingly in order to realign our expectations and goals for the year.”

We expect that you will see a number of other Denver agencies shrink over the coming months, whether through formal layoffs or simply attrition.  We give credit to Schenkein for being generous with its severance packages, though. Clark noted that “our top priority in this was to ensure we were treating all our staff, both those we’ve had to let go as well those who continue with us, with the utmost honesty, respect and dignity.”

You’d Think PRSA Would be Better at PR

Catfight alert: Denver’s own Andrew Cohen vs. PRSA. And it is hard to figure out who to root for. Cohen loses points for saying on the CBS Morning Show, “Show me a PR person who is ‘accurate’ and ‘truthful,’ and I’ll show you a PR person who is unemployed” and for making us wait an extra 10 minutes to watch the segment about the Filipino guy Journey hired to replace Steve Perry after the band saw him on YouTube.

But PRSA started it all by linking Scott McClellan to public relations in the first place. McClellan was an administration spokesman, and nobody outside the industry even thought of him as a PR guy until PRSA injected itself into the debate. 

As for the fallout, we think everybody should lighten up. Cohen’s a lawyer, for God’s sake. After all the lawyer jokes he’s endured, of course he’s going to take a shot when he gets the chance. And given that politicians, used car salesmen, journalists and pedophiles are about the only groups that people trust less than lawyers, we think everyone can cut him a little slack.

Salazar’s Communications Director Joins GBSM

GBSM has hired U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar’s communications director Cody Wertz as a senior associate. Wertz will lead the firm’s public involvement and outreach efforts related to water and transportation issues. The firm also added Christine Alducin as an associate. She formerly was director of Marketing and Film for Sonora Entertainment Group.