ABC News Radio to Expand Radio Operations with New Programming, New Relationship with Skyview Networks. As the relationship between ABC News Radio and Cumulus Media comes to an end in December, ABC News president James Goldston says the news organization is preparing to “expand its operations to invest in new programming, take control of distributing and marketing our content and deepen our affiliate relationships.” ABC News Radio will, beginning in January, enter into a new relationship with Skyview Networks to help it deliver the content and handle ad sales. Vice president and general manager of ABC News Radio, Steve Jones, tells TALKERS that when the organization became aware the relationship with Cumulus Media was coming to an end, Disney/ABC took the opportunity to really examine its place in the broadcast radio business. As a result, Jones says today’s announcement is about commitment to the radio business. “As we were looking at the landscape we decided we wanted to have a different route to serve our radio stations and we wanted to ensure that we were going to be connected with them at all times, 24/7, and the only way to be able to do that would be to own the last mile of distribution to them.” Jones says ABC is buying receivers for hundreds of affiliate radio stations. He says that by controlling that part of the operation, it will allow ABC to grow the business significantly. Jones says this new relationship and system of operation will allow ABC to capitalize on the entertainment opportunities that are available to it via ABC and parent company Walt Disney, and bring them to broadcast radio. Jones says ABC did more than 20,000 live, one-on-one two-ways with radio stations last year – over and above the scheduled newscasts. He says, “In the course of having those conversations with stations about what it is they want every day from us, we would get more and more feedback about where they felt we could serve them and we weren’t really able to do it as fully as we wanted to and that’s what this new relationship is going to allow us to do. We’re going to be in control of the relationship with the stations and we think we can grow the business and better serve the radio community.” Skyview Networks, says Jones, has incredible technical proficiency, and has a technical solution that will allow ABC to not only manage the programming but also sell radio advertising. The news ad sales relationship will be important says Jones. “It’s going to be a much more integrated relationship. I have the responsibility for the P&L for the business and am very heavily engaged with them on how, strategically, we’re going to be approaching the sales community. We really want to use the power of the ABC brand to let the ad community know that we’re committed to radio and we will be here next year and into the future.” Jones says Skyview will be hiring radio sales people and ABC is adding staffers as well. Beginning today, Heidi Oringer joins the company as director of affiliate solutions; Amy Bolton is named specialist, affiliate solutions; and Mary McCarthy is now manager of affiliate solutions. Not all of the changes will happen in January, ABC News Radio re-launched its new website today (8/7).
Townsquare Media Q2 Net Revenue Up 7.8%. This is the first quarterly report for Townsquare Media as a publicly traded company and although the news is positive – pro forma net revenue for Q2 was $106.3 million – an increase of 7.8%, local advertising pro forma net revenue decreased $0.2 million, or 0.3%. The real upside was digital as the company reports “other media and entertainment pro forma net revenue increased $7.9 million, or 39.3%, to $28.2 million, primarily attributable to growth across our live events, digital marketing services and national digital assets.” Townsquare’s actual net revenue was up 46.6% due to the Cumulus Media and Peak Broadcasting II acquisitions. Chairman and CEO Steven Price says in a statement, “We are pleased to be reporting solid second quarter results, following the successful completion of our initial public offering in July. We delivered a 7.8% increase in pro forma net revenue. Our results continue to demonstrate the strength of our diversified revenue strategy. We enjoyed solid performance in most of our local advertising markets together with strong performance across our live event, digital marketing service and national digital assets. These more than offset advertising revenue softness in certain markets within our local advertising segment.”
Round Three of July PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of July 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was June 19 through July 16. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Stephen A. Smith to SiriusXM Move Confirmed. The rumor that ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith would be leaving his daily show on WEPN-FM, New York for SiriusXM – specifically the Mad Dog Radio channel – is confirmed by ESPN and SiriusXM. But Smith’s new gig is a cooperative effort by the two companies and Smith will still make appearances on WEPN-FM. The Stephen A. Smith show will air on SiriusXM from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and will lead into Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s afternoon drive show. The show will be produced and broadcast from ESPN Audio’s headquarters in Bristol. Smith comments, “Words can’t express how excited I am to be going to SiriusXM. I’ve waited a long time for this. All I’m going to say is September 2 can’t arrive soon enough.” ESPN has not announced whether Smith’s co-host Ryan Ruocco will get a new partner for the WEPN-FM midday show or continue to host solo.
WCCO to Hold Gubernatorial Debate. This evening (8/7), CBS RADIO news/talker WCCO, Minneapolis is hosting a live GOP primary election debate at its WCCO Radio Cambria Gallery in downtown Minneapolis. The program takes place from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm and will be broadcast on the station in addition to being open to the public and to the press. The station says the debate will be hosted by talk personality John Williams and political commentator Blois Olson. Participants include leading GOP candidates Scott Honour, Marty Seifert, and Kurt Zellers. Topics will include medicinal marijuana, Sunday liquor sales, taxes, and other hot-button issues.
Premiere Networks to Unveil Online Platform for ‘Dr. Dave’s Ultimate Prep.’ On the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the relationship between Premiere Networks and Dr. Dave Creative Entertainment, Premiere announces it will launch an “innovative, user-developed online platform for Dr. Dave’s Ultimate Prep. The latest in an exciting group of new services to be launched, Ultimate Prep provides on-air and online content, viral videos, ‘thought starters’ for text and audio, and the hottest lifestyle prep. Beginning this fall, users will be provided with a sophisticated, interactive online experience allowing them to easily navigate and customize their prep.” Dr. Dave Creative Entertainment provides a suite of multimedia morning show prep, comedy and production services for radio, television and digital platforms. EVP/chief content officer David “Dr. Dave” Kolin says, “The opportunities at Premiere Networks and Clear Channel are truly limitless – it’s been a dream come true. The group we have assembled is composed of talent I’ve worked with for 20-plus years in radio and television. Combined with Dan Brassem in affiliate relations, Premiere’s Julie Talbott and Jennifer Leimgruber, and many others throughout the company, we are a formidable, winning team. I look forward to a path of continued genuine innovation.”
Jason Lewis Promoting Galt.io Venture. The news of Minneapolis-based talk show host Jason Lewis quitting his nationally syndicated talk show in dramatic fashion last week and announcing his intent to pursue a digital venture called galt.io is now followed by Lewis’ fully promoting this next step in his career. Lewis calls Galt.io an online social platform that’s based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand. He says his new venture is designed to cater to Americans “going Galt.” In a press release, Lewis cites examples of this movement, including: The “tax inversion” merger craze, where American corporations such as Medtronic are relocating overseas to avoid punitive federal and state corporate income taxes, even though the initial costs of large mergers can be quite expensive; expatriate Americans renouncing their citizenship in order to avoid US taxes has reached record proportions, due in part to the bizarre notion that the U.S. government taxes citizens abroad on their foreign income; trillions of dollars sitting idly in corporate coffers, as well as excess reserves at the Federal Reserve now totals a whopping $2.5 trillion. These trillions of dollars could be put to work if only federal policies rewarded risk and profit instead of penalizing them; and an economy, which despite a strong second quarter in 2014, has grown at an anemic 2.1% annual rate since the recession ended in 2009 and a labor participation rate stuck at record lows.
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media’s news/talk WBT and hot AC WLNK in Charlotte seek a promotions and events coordinator. The company is looking for a fun, outgoing, hands-on and dedicated individual with entry-level event planning experience for a full-time position in our marketing and promotions department. This position works to ensure the timely and successful execution of promotional events through teamwork and coordination with other departments and staff. This position reports directly to the marketing director. Responsibilities include daily event planning from inception to completion and working the station sponsored events. Other responsibilities include meetings with clients and community partners, maintaining event equipment, upkeep of station calendars, and working with the promotions team to plan and execute station promotions. Excellent organization, communication and time management skills required. Knowledge of Microsoft Office and other promotional based software a plus. This position requires an individual who exhibits great interpersonal communication skills, is an enthusiastic and dynamic team player, is interested in demanding projects and enjoys working in a fast paced environment. Availability to work weekends, evenings and holidays is a must. Please send your cover letter and resume to: Greater Media Charlotte Operations Director Matt DuBois at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Greater Media Charlotte, WBT/WLNK Human Resources, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208. No phone calls please. Greater Media Charlotte is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Potential Ebola Crisis, Low Obama Approval Ratings, Congressional ObamaCare Report, Gaza Violence, Immigration Policy/Southwest Border Crisis, Russia vs West, and Obama Executive Actions Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6). Concern and debate over the Ebola outbreak in Africa and a possible treatment; newly released approval ratings for President Obama the lowest of his presidency; the Congressional ObamaCare report highlighting millions of exemptions from the federal law; the violence between Israel and Gaza-based Hamas; the state of the U.S. immigration policy and the border crisis in the Southwest; Russia’s response to the West’s sanctions over its aggression in Ukraine; and the ongoing controversy over President Obama’s use of executive actions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.