Wednesday, June 5, 2013

| June 5, 2013

cumulusCumulus Names New Market Manager, Sales Chief for San Francisco.  Cumulus Media announces Steve Sklenar has been appointed market manager for the company’s San Francisco stations and Kevin Crespo has simultaneously been installed as national and regional sales manager for the cluster.  Sklenar comes to Cumulus Media from his most recent post as assistant vice president and director of sales at Lincoln Financial Media’s San Diego stations.  Sklenar says in a statement, “To be tapped as the leader of Cumulus San Francisco is both exciting and humbling.  This is without question one of the most coveted positions in all of broadcasting, not just radio.  The history and prestige of these stations in the San Francisco community comes with great responsibility.  We will not take that lightly.”  Sklenar is in charge of talk KSFO, news/talk KGO, sports talk KNBR and KTCT, triple A KFOG and KFFG and classic rock KSAN “The Bone.”  Cumulus EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch says, “Steve and Kevin are well-suited to take leadership and sales development roles at this legendary cluster of stations.  They will round out a solid team that’s contributing significantly to our growth in San Francisco.  After meeting with numerous qualified candidates, John Dickey and I are confident that these two gentlemen will have immediate positive impact on our business moving forward.”

moodys logoMoody’s Cumulus’ Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating to SGL — 2 from SGL – 3.  Moody’s Investors Service announces it has upped Cumulus Media’s Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating from SGL – 2 to SGL – 3 “reflecting improved access to the senior secured revolver due to the recent amendment of the 1st lien credit agreement. The amendment reduces the revolver commitment to $150 million from $300 million, but replaces the total net leverage test with a 1st lien net leverage requirement enabling full access to the cumulusrevolver.”  Moody’s says the B2 Corporate Family Rating remains unchanged and explains why: “Leverage remains elevated due to revenue and EBITDA falling below expected levels for the six months ended March 31, 2013 which prompted the downgrade in the corporate family rating earlier this year. Management indicated that pro forma revenues decreased $5.6 million or 2.5% in 1Q2013 compared to 1Q2012 reflecting lower political revenue, the winding down of unfavorable legacy Citadel barter transactions, and challenges related to its syndicated talk segment.”  However, Moody’s cites the turnarounds of a number of Cumulus’ “10 underperforming stations” for the upgrade and goes on to state, “Looking forward, revenue growth is expected to be flat in 2013 due in part to the absence of significant political advertising.  Moody’s expects Cumulus to generate roughly $175 million of annual free cash flow versus our prior estimate of $200 million to reflect management’s comments that it expects to invest roughly $25 million annually in CBS Sports Radio, Nash FM and related country format branding, its Traffic network, as well as SweetJack.”

steinhauercharlesCharles Steinhauer Ascends to Chief Operations Officer at Dial Global.  Moving up from his most recent position as president of operations with Dial Global, Charles Steinhauer is promoted to chief operations officer.  The company states that in this new position, Steinhauer will be responsible for overseeing the management of the company’s day-to-day operations — including technology, distribution, research, compliance, and strategy.  He will continue to be located in New York City and will report directly to CEO Paul Caine.  In his previous post, he managed all sales support divisions for Dial Global.  The company also notes that Steinhauer “is one of the leads on an industry-wide research initiative working to improve how radio is incorporated into Marketing Mix Models, which are widely used by advertisers to evaluate how product sales are influenced by advertising.”  About his promotion, Steinhauer says, “I’m very excited to be working with Paul Caine and to continue to move the company forward with all of the Dial Global family.  I look forward to working even more closely with our staff and our outstanding content and distribution partners to create optimum value for our audiences and advertisers.  I couldn’t be more fortunate.”

nms2013logoTora Fisher to Perform at Talkers New York 2013.  At the tender age of 23, she is both a rising pop star and a humanitarian.  Tora Fisher of the Fisher family that spearheads Fisher House Foundation – the charitable organization that provides housing around the country for the visiting families of hospitalized American servicemen and women wounded in battle – will be appearing at Talkers New York 2013 tomorrowtora (6/6).  The young singer/songwriter, whose heartfelt song “Finally Free” currently sits at number 29 and number 21 on the RadioInfo pop songs and rock songs charts respectively, will open the event’s Freedom of Speech Award Ceremony with an a cappela performance of the Lee Greenwood anthem “Proud to Be an American.”  Ms. Fisher, who is a spokesperson for Fisher House, will be backed up in the performance by two female cadets from West Point, Mary Kay Messenger and Alexis Cole.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Even though this annual event is geared to talk radio, we have a tradition of presenting some of the world’s greatest up-and-coming singers performing inspirational music at key moments in the proceedings.  Having Tora Fisher perform this powerful song at Talkers New York 2013 is extremely meaningful and certainly in keeping with this tradition.  Not only is this beautiful young woman one of the most talented female singer/songwriters I have heard since the golden days of the great ones like Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro – she has a powerful personal story of courage and will that is both touching and compelling.  As a child of 13, she survived a terrible plane crash that took the life of her father and set her on the road to becoming mature beyond her years and a powerful artist of both words and music.  Add to that her dedication to the families of America’s brave young service people and…well, you have a very, very special young lady indeed.  Everyone who sees her perform at this event will be touched and certainly remember where they first heard and saw Tora!”

trn logoTRN Sues Former Attorney in Anti-Trust Case.  Talk Radio Network has filed suit in Oregon against California attorney Joseph Alioto alleging that he did not move with the speed promised and in a time frame that would prevent TRN from suffering further damages in its anti-trust suit against numerous sales rep firms and radio programming syndicators.  TRN is seeking more than $10 million in damages and relief.  In the claim, TRN alleges that after making a $125,000 retainer payment, Alioto repeatedly failed to file the complaint in a timely fashion and when Alioto decided to withdraw from the matter, he caused TRN further losses due to the time that had passed.  TRN claims Alioto did not have good cause to withdraw from the matter.  Allegations include fraud and legal malpractice.

whitebillProgrammer Bill White Exits WGN, Chicago.  One of the first moves on the part of WGN, Chicago’s new president and general manager Jimmy de Castro is to make a change in program directors for the heritage news/talk station.  Talk programming pro Bill White leaves the station after two years in the director of programming and news position.  White states, “Having the opportunity to work with such a tremendous team at one of America’s legendary radio stations has been a privilege and an honor.  I wish the staff and WGN Radio much success in the future.”  Bill White can be reached at wwhite989@aol.com.  In a memo to staffers, de Castro wrote, “Sometimes managers have to make difficult decisions on behalf of a few to build a brighter future for many.  Today, we are losing the services of a friend and delightful professional, Bill White.  Please join me in wishing him the best in his future endeavors.”  There’s no word who will replace White but industry watchers believe de Castro will go with someone who either currently works in the Chicago market or is very familiar with it.

newsmax logoNewsmax Reports #1 Online Reading Status.  Conservative media firm Newsmax announces that according to digital measurement firm comScore, during April, of the 65 million Americans using all digital platforms, Newsmax sites led all other sites in web traffic with over 14 million monthly unique visitors.  comScore notes that Newsmax exceeded such competitors as HuffPost Politics and Fox News Politics with these recent April numbers.  Newsmax also was #1 in the same category for personal computer users who read News/Politics online.  According to comScore, Newsmax received 14.4 million monthly unique visitors in April — up from 13.3 million the previous month.  HuffPost received 14 million monthly unique visitors from the News/Politics category and Fox News received 10.9 million monthly unique visitors in April, respectively.  comScore’s top 10 breaks down this way:  Newsmax Sites – 14.4 million monthly unique visitors; Huffington Post Politics – 14 million; Fox News – 10. 9 million; CNN Politics — 9 million; NBC News.com Politics — 7.5 million; Politico.com — 6.5 million; Current TV — 6.3 million; The Economist Group — 3.7 million; The Hill.com — 3.2 million; and Mother Jones.com — 2.9 million monthly unique visitors.  Speaking about Newsmax’s achievement, CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “We are once again honored to be the number one digital political news site for the second month in a row.  It is a testament to quality of our digital content that consumers online, on smartphones and on tablets continue to look to Newsmax for the latest political news.”

fccnewFCC Has New Acting Chief of Enforcement Bureau.  The Federal Communications Commission announces that FCC acting chairwoman Mignon L. Clyburn has appointed Robert H. Ratcliffe to the position of acting chief of the commission’s enforcement bureau.  Currently, Ratcliffe is the deputy chief of the media bureau.  The position opens as P. Michele Ellison moves to the chief of staff post.  Ratcliffe is a longtime staffer at the FCC having spent more than 35 years at the agency including as acting chief of the media bureau and as deputy chief of the enforcement bureau.  In a statement, Clyburn says, “I am pleased that Mr. Ratcliffe has agreed to serve in this critical role.  Bob is a top-flight lawyer who will bring his vast experience, sound legal judgment, and overall sense of fairness to this effort.”

Sexual Assaults in U.S. Military, Looming MLB PEDs Suspensions, Lung Transplant Controversy, Susan Rice National Security Adviser Nomination, and IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4).  Testimony of military chiefs addressing the high rate of sexual assaults in the U.S. military and Senator Saxby Chambliss’ associated comments; the reports of numerous suspensions coming from Major League Baseball for PED violations; the controversy over a 10-year-old girl’s need for a lung transplant and the government’s transplant program; Susan Rice’s nomination for national security adviser; and the IRS’ targeting of conservative non-profit groups were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

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Category: Front Page News, Industry News