Wednesday, May 6, 2009

News Involving Gaylord Entertainment

I am posting this because Gaylord Entertainment is the owner of the Grand Ole Opry and their financial condition is important to the success of the show, especially with Gaylord stock "in play" at this time, in regards to the majority ownership of the company.

Gaylord Entertainment reported Tuesday a $3.4 million profit in its first quarter, despite an increase in room cancellations and groups booking fewer participants than expected. Some analysts pointed to continued challenges ahead for the Nashville based company as corporations and meeting groups-Gaylord's prime customers-continue to closely monitor how money is spent. The company's earnings were helped by cancellation and attrition fees as well as cost-savings initiatives that Gaylord had put in place, including 350 layoffs earlier this year, analysts said.

The company will hold its annual shareholders meeting on Thursday, with shareholders voting on proposals including whether they approve four new board members proposed by major shareholder TRT Holdings Inc. and money manager Gamco Asset Management Inc.
(Courtesy of the Tennessean).

A couple of observations and comments from what I have heard on the streets:
>Nowhere in the press release from Gaylord is there any mention of the Opry or its properties, including WSM. Obviously some of the cost cutting that Gaylord did, involved the Opry, including cuttting the Saturday night 2nd show during parts of the year, and in having fewer artists and band members performing on stage. In addition, the cost cutting did involve WSM radio.
>From what I have heard, TRT is not interested in the entertainment part of Gaylord, but the hotel and convention business. They are the owners of the Omni hotel chain and that is the business they know. They tried to take control of Gaylord earlier this year, but now they are settling for board seats. The Opry is apparently safe as long as Gaylord is the owner of WSM. If WSM is sold, then all bets are off.

As an interested observer in Gaylord and the Opry, we will continue to follow this story and report information as necessary.


  1. Things may never be as secure as they were when National Life and Accident owned everything.

    Money means more than tradition to the people in control now, as evidenced by the canning of Keith Bilbrey.

    It was a close call when several years ago WSM almost went to an all sports format. If that had happened I suppose the Opry would have gone into syndication for a while, which probably would have spelled the end of the Opry as the worlds longest running radio show before a live audience, which is a large part of its charm and tradition. The on line petition against the format switch may have been a factor in them relenting although I would not be naive enough to think that would bring Bilbrey back now.

    As for Gaylord maintaining ownership of WSM, can you imagine how difficult it would be to sell it for what it's really worth in today's climate? Based on its signal alone it has to be one of the most valuable AM stations in the country.

    BTW, any news on what's going on with the TV contract?

  2. I checked with one of my contacts at Gaylord(no names please), and she told me that GAC still has the contract to show Opry live and that they will start to produce new shows either later this summer or early fall. They are in the process of setting up a production schedule. I also talked to a source at GAC, and she told me that Opry live will continue in repeat episodes for at least the next several weeks, with new shows starting to air either in early summer of by fall. So, it would appear that Opry live will be continuing on GAC.