Talkers Magazine Debuts Frontier Fifty 2013 Today. It is simply described as “A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters.” The annual TALKERS feature, which debuted in 2009 as an alphabetical list to spotlight some of the talk talent making a difference on the burgeoning frontier of internet talk, took a year hiatus (2012) as the editorial board researched the increasingly complex scene and refined the procedures and considerations that are applied to determining the list. The new incarnation includes a numerical ranking of names replacing the alphabetical format, as well as the inclusion of “executives” as a category for inclusion beyond it being exclusively “talent.” Some of the designees will carry the title “executive/talent” indicating that the person is a talent on a platform that they have launched and developed entrepreneurially. If their platform is also being used as a stage for other talent, that is a consideration for inclusion and higher ranking as well. In announcing the debut of this long-awaited installment of the Frontier Fifty, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Although we make every attempt to objectively quantify the achievements, progress, contributions and successes of the people involved by looking at such factors as numbers, dollars, profiles, creativity, longevity and impact in determining the rankings — this is a still a highly subjective overview of people making a difference in the growth of online talk media. We determined that it is only fair that it reflects executives as well as talent because of the vital importance played by ‘platform’ during this ‘wild west’ period of internet talk radio/TV growth. Just broadcasting on the internet is no longer enough. Prestigious, well-organized and clearly-defined platforms with stationality and cache are a vital component of bringing this exciting new level of communications to its seemingly limitless potential.” TALKERS readers can look for a number of special reports and features on some of the individuals listed in the Frontier Fifty 2013 in the coming weeks. Broadcasters General Store is the exclusive sponsor of this year’s Frontier Fifty. Click here to see the complete list.
Saga’s Net Q2 Operating Revenue Increased 2.6%. According to information released yesterday (8/6), Saga Communications’ second quarter station operating expense was $23.5 million, compared to $22 million for the same period last year. Operating income decreased 8% to $8.4 million, versus $9.1 million a year ago. Net income for the quarter decreased 6.4% to $4.8 million ($0.84 per fully diluted share) compared to net income of $5.1 million ($0.91 per fully diluted share) for the same period last year. “We experienced nice growth in both national and local this quarter,” comments Saga senior vice president-chief financial officer-treasurer Sam Bush. “Our gross local revenue increased 4.4%, or almost $1.2 million, over the second quarter last year. National increased 7.6%, or $342,000, over the same period last year. National accounted for approximately 13.1% of gross revenue for the quarter compared to 12.5% for the same period last year.” Expecting “a bit” of a revenue challenge in the third quarter, Bush remarks, “We had almost $1.5 million in political for the quarter. That said, July started the quarter off nicely, being up low single-digits. August and September are both pacing down low single-digits, but in reality, it’s too early to tell how they will finish.” Net Q2 operating revenue increased .8% for the six-month period ending June 30. Station operating expense increased 2.9% to $45.6 million. Operating income decreased 5.8% to $13.3 million, compared to $14.1 million for the same period last year. Net income for the six-month period decreased 1.1% to $7.8 million ($1.35 per fully diluted share compared to $1.38 per fully diluted share for the same period last year).
More Speakers Named to Agenda – Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Is Set for Thursday, October 10. The third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention has been set for Thursday, October 10 and its outstanding agenda is shaping up to be a blockbuster. The gathering is already closing in on being an advance sellout some two-months before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now. It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are very enthusiastic about the growth and positive impact of this Southern California gathering. It started out three years ago as an experimental LA regional get-together and blossomed into an exciting companion to our big New York convention.” The event - open only to members of the working media – will feature a power-packed day of panel discussions, keynote addresses, special presentations, technology and services exhibits, tremendous networking opportunities and abundant food and refreshments (lunch is sponsored by Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity who will address the attendees from New York). Speakers already set now include (in alphabetical order): David Bernstein, GM, TalkersRadio; Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI, Los Angeles; Phil Boyce, VP spoken word format, Salem Communications; Bill Carroll, host, KFI, Los Angeles; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Holland Cooke, radio consultant; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Erica Farber,CEO/president, RAB; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD/WYM Media; Phil Hendrie, WYD Media; Rusty Humphries, host, Talk Radio Network; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Leslie Marshall, WYM Management; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media and Entertainment; Kevin McCullough, CEO, XtreMedia; Mike McVay, senior VP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP, CBS Radio News; Norm Pattiz, CEO, Courtside Entertainment/Podcast One; Chris Pendl, creative director, Bonneville Seattle; Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media; Eric Stanger, VP of operations and affiliate marketing, The Sean Hannity Show/Premiere Networks; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles; Paul Vandenburgh, president/GM/host, WGDJ, Albany; and Michael Zwerling, owner, KSCO, Santa Cruz with many more to be announced in the coming days. The latest broadcasting equipment and remote gear will be on display as presented by Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corporation. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone and, AGAIN the event is approaching a very early sellout. So don’t wait – avoid being shut out. For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.
What’s Up with MSNBC These Days? The election year of 2012, which highlighted the reelection of President Barack Obama, probably seems like eons ago to management of progressive-leaning MSNBC. Just one year ago, MSNBC was ahead of CNN and it often times proved to be a worthy competitor to conservative Fox News Channel, cable’s perpetual leader. Primetime erosion at MSNBC however is pegged as high as -16%. It would seem that an outlet whose positioning statements have included “The Place For Politics” and “Lean Forward” would be thriving with a Democrat in the White House for a second term (although sometimes these things work in reverse), but the numbers don’t seem to be there – at least not when indexed against 2012. Naturally, MSNBC’s detractors are quick to cite recent ratings woes, although the news cycle in recent months has included a wide mix of stories ranging from the aftermath of April’s Boston bombings, the George Zimmerman trial, and rather extensive coverage of a “royal birth” in London. “Why would folks tune in if they can simply watch a White House press conference and readily predict what MSNBC’s talking heads are going to say for the rest of the day?” ponders Justin Danhof, director of the National Center for Public Policy Research‘s Free Enterprise Project. Read the whole story – including ratings figures and comparisons between MSNBC ratings and the numbers of people listening to a sampling of major news and news/talk radio stations in America – in a new TALKERS analysis piece written by managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian by clicking here.
WFAN’s All-Star Game Coverage a Home Run. Here’s some positive news for anyone who questions whether there is an audience for MLB‘s All-Star game on radio. The programming staff at CBS Radio all-sports (and New York Mets flagship) WFAN, New York sifted through PPM numbers for when the game was played (Tuesday, 7/16, 7:30 pm – 11:30 pm) and found that, among men 25-54, it was the night’s most-listened-to program. WFAN’s coverage registered a 10.5, three full shares ahead of that of the runner-up. There was a local angle, as the game – won by the American League stars 3-0 – was played at Citi Field, the home of the Mets.
Jay Leno Talks About Playing to Diversity. After President Obama joined Jay Leno in a high-profile, widely covered appearance on NBC-TV’s “Tonight Show” last evening, one of them crossed the hall to talk about political talk with MSNBC‘s Lawrence O’Donnell and their chat is instructive (or at least contains points that should be of interest) to radio and TV news/talkers who mix politics and humor into their presentations. Leno makes a case for playing to a diverse audience (something we don’t see much anymore in commercial news/talk media) and “putting the joke first” before letting your ego get in the way. He suggests not letting your self-importance cause you to find yourself in politics and out of show business. To see the conversation, click here.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated Cox radio host Clark Howard broadcasts his radio show live today (8/7) from the Waterford Lakes Goodwill store in Orlando (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET). During the event, attendees can listen to the live broadcast and will have the opportunity to meet-and-greet with Howard when the show concludes. The show airs in Central Florida on News 96.5 FM….. Boston based talker Jeff Katz fills in today (8/7) for Todd Schnitt on the Compass Networks syndicated “Schnitt Show” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm ET). Katz has worked at Boston’s WRKO and WXKS-AM, and he now does 6:00 am – 9:00 am ET duty on the ambitious, newly launched “Boston Herald Radio.”…..Nationally syndicated Cumulus Media talk show host Mark Levin is about to have his new book titled “The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic” (Threshold Editions/Simon & Shuster) published (release date – 8/13). Levin’s two most-recent books – which also deal with legal principles of the U.S. Constitution – were (and continue to be) enormous successes as number one bestsellers. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Talk show hosts interested in adding the title ‘author’ to their resume should pay careful attention to Mark Levin. When it comes to writing scholarly, well-done books about his take on current issues and then marketing them in significant numbers to an anxious fan base, he is, indeed, the real deal. Everyone in the business might not agree with his political positions, but there is no doubt he knows what he is doing and he does it very well when it comes to integrating and generating synergy between his roles as a talk show host, an attorney, and a published author of books.”