By Rick Griffin
For 25 years, Gary Beals was “Mr. Finderbinder” in San Diego’s marketing and news media community.
In 1975, one year after opening his own advertising and PR agency, following a six-year stint as a U.S. Air Force officer, Beals began publishing a news media directory he called the Finderbinder. It contained editorial contacts for TV and radio stations, newspapers and magazines in San Diego and Tijuana. An annual subscription was priced at about at $50 per copy.
“It was my lifetime’s best idea ever,” said Beals, 76, a native San Diegan who was in town during the holidays to visit family and grandkids and to close escrow on a Kensington commercial property he has owned since 1978.
Earning a 5 percent royalty fee, Beals franchised the Finderbinder concept to entrepreneurial-minded marketers in about 15 other U.S. markets, including Seattle, Portland, Kansas City and Pittsburgh. For a quarter century, Beals estimates more than $11 million of Finderbinders were sold in the U.S. until the early 2000s, when the Internet began providing essentially the same information for free. Only one Finderbinder is currently published; it covers the state of Arizona.
In 2004, Beals surprised his friends by closing his marketing agency and relocating with wife Maureen to Segovia, Spain, a city founded in the 13th Century. “I’ve redefined myself as a living history specialist,” he said. “Segovia, like Roma, is one of the few cities whose name has not changed in 2,000 years. We produce experiential shows for tourists and host tours featuring our 90-foot high granite Roman aqueduct and buildings constructed in the middle ages.”
Beals was already familiar with Spain because he was stationed there as an Air Force public information officer. After graduating from Mount Miguel High School in Spring Valley and San Diego State University in 1966 with a journalism degree, the Air Force sent Beals to Spain because he could speak Spanish and knew how to write stories for a newspaper published for U.S. military personnel stationed there.
“I love living there. It’s a beautiful city, surrounded by wheat fields and the people are very nice,” Beals said. “Plus, health care is free. I paid nothing for my titanium knee.”
Also while in Spain, Beals’ coin collecting hobby has become a self-published, English- and Spanish-language numismatic dictionary titled “El Numiscadero.” He’s scheduled to speak at a combined meeting of the San Diego Numismatic Club and International Numismatic Society at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at the Marie Callendar’s restaurant at 6950 Alvarado Road. The public is invited to attend.
2 KFMB Radio Stations Sold for $5 Million to Local Media San Diego
The two KFMB radio stations in San Diego, 760-AM and 100.7-FM, have been sold by Tegna to Local Media San Diego for $5 million, according to several radio industry trade publications, including All Access, Radio Insight and Insider Radio.
LMSD currently operates three Mexican-licensed FM radio stations broadcasting to San Diego, including XHRM-FM Magic 92.5, XHTZ-FM Z-90.3 and XTRA-FM 91X.
Tegna had been trying to spin-off the two radio stations that were acquired in late 2017, when it paid Midwest Television $325 million in cash for the four-station KFMB group (two TV, two radio). Founded in 1952, Midwest had operated KFMB CBS 8 and The CW San Diego television properties, as well as talk radio station 760-AM and adult rock station 100.7 FM.
Not included in the radio station sale to LMSD are the rights to the KFMB call letters, according to trade reports. LMSD has 30 days to cease use of the call letters and KFMB branding but may use the call letters with radio media buying agencies and other accounts for up to one year.
Also, the KFMB tower is reportedly not included in the acquisition. LMSD will enter a 10-year lease for $102,000, plus an annual increase with two five year renewal options for the tower usage.
Another trade publication, Radio + Television Business Report, called the price tag “jaw-dropping because of how low the dollar amount is.”
Officials with Tegna, LMSD and KFMB did not respond to requests for comment.
In December 2018, private equity firm Thoma Bravo LLC, which acquired LMSD in December 2009, sold the three LMSD radio stations, plus a digital advertising agency to three LMSD executives, including VP and GM Gregg Wolfson, CFO Norman McKee and director Steve McNelly.
Based in McLean, VA, Tenga was created in 2015 when USA Today publisher Gannett Co. split its local television and newspaper publishing division into two separate companies.
San Diego Press Club Announces 2019-2020 Board of Directors
The San Diego Press Club has announced its 2019-2020 board of directors. Albert Fulcher, editor-in-chief of LGBTQ San Diego County News, will serve as president. Other members of the executive committee include Eileen Gaffen, Steres Gaffen Media, as first VP; Ed Joyce, San Diego County Water Authority, as second VP; Cliff Albert, News Radio KOGO 600-AM, as treasurer; Laura Walcher, retired, as secretary; Karyl Carmignani, San Diego Zoo Global, as immediate past president.
Other board members include Cynthia Dial, travel journalist; Kathi Diamant, freelance writer; Kris Eitland, sandiegostory.com; Maggie Espinosa, freelance travel journalist; Mayte Rodriguez, Traveler Publications; Francisco Ramos-Moreno; CBS News 8; Thom Senzee, freelance journalist; and Nicole Vargas, San Diego City College.
Additional board members recently elected to three-year terms through 2022 include Albert and Carmignani, along with Patrick Bartosch, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute; Kristen Castillo, freelance journalist; Rick Griffin, Rick Griffin Marketing Communications; Denise Scatena, Scatena Daniels Marketing.
The board also includes four former board members with director emeritus status. They include retirees Reid Carroll and Laura Walcher, Gayle Lynn Falkenthal of the Falcon Valley Group, and Barbara Metz of Metz Public Relations.
Direct Marketers Discuss 2020 Trends
SD Direct will host “Surge Into 2020, Key Trends for Marketing and Sales” from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at The Comedy Palace, 8878 Clairemont Mesa Blvd. Speakers will be Fabrice Gould, CEO, Diggen, a marketing agency; Gwen Beren, CEO, Illuminous Marketing; and Chris Foster, VP New Business Development, Modern Postcard. Cost to attend is $30 for members, $45 for guests. Dinner is included, along with two tickets to a future Comedy Palace show. To RSVP, visit www.sddirect.org/events.
Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.
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