RAB Reports Q2 Sales Down 3%. It’s not surprising that the quarterly report from the Radio Advertising Bureau indicates pretty much what the Q2 data from the industry’s publicly traded companies showed. Again the culprit was spot sales which dipped 5% while network ad sales were flat. The positive was the digital and off-air categories which were up 9% and 15% respectively. (All comparisons are Q2 2014 vs. Q2 2013). Advertiser categories that saw notable increases during the quarter included: home improvement (+ 4%); charitable/religious/non-profit/government agencies (+11%); specialty retail (+14%); auto parts/service (+14%); and amusement/theme parks/museums (+ 9%). RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Based on pacing and industry insights, we anticipated a relatively flat-to-down Q2. While we don’t forecast, a greater percentage of radio’s total annual revenue historically comes through in the second half, and we’re anticipating that we’ll see better results by the end of this year.” See the whole report here.
Brady: Radio’s Precarious Tipping Point. The somber financial state of radio as an advertising medium is the subject of almost-daily articles both in the consumer media and the media trades. It’s not unusual to read the opinion that radio has an “image problem,” but as Futures & Options, Inc. president and CEO Bill Brady writes, “Fifteen years of post-consolidation chickens are finally coming home to roost. Homogenized programming, time-spent listening declines and the decimation of sales departments are now taking their toll.” Brady also argues against the notion that the current state of things is the “new normal.” A lot is written about what’s wrong with radio programming, but in this piece, read what media management pro Brady says is problematic about the business end of the business. Check it out here.
Michael Harrison Comments on Disney Plans to Sell off 23 of its 24 Stations: Talkers publisher Michael Harrison,when asked his take on the much-discussed Walt Disney Company decision to sell 23 of its 24 Disney Radio outlets, says, “The loss of 200 more industry jobs is, indeed, tragic – an ongoing plague that is nothing short of heart-breaking on the human level of our beloved industry. However, those who are running around like Chicken Little, squawking that this move is indicative of the radio industry’s sky falling, are missing the real implications of this development. Group owners and consolidators such as Disney, who don’t think this medium matches their unbending programming or, worse, believe there is no way to keep old listeners and attract new listeners via creative programing, SHOULD get out and give new, enthusiastic operators the chance to get in at a reasonable investment.” Harrison points out, “That is not to say that all consolidators should exit the business – companies such as Cumulus Media, Emmis, Alpha Media, Saga Communications and others are showing that, although the answers aren’t necessarily coming easily, they intend to find and implement them in the belief that the ‘stick’ still has years of life and the potential for pertinence in it.” Harrison continues, “Disney’s bailing out on the idea that AM radio can no longer attract young listeners indicates it does not have the will nor financial incentive to create programming that will draw listeners of all ages to our medium.” Harrison concludes, “The primary answer to radio’s growing lack of confidence and eroding status is to make massive improvements and reinventions in its on-air attractions.”
Dan McNeil Officially Gone from WSCR. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Dan McNeil is not returning to the air at CBS RADIO’s sports talker WSCR, Chicago “The Score.” He’d been off the air since June when his contract expired and he and the station had been in negotiations, but the two sides apparently could not come together. It’s been widely reported that McNeil wanted to move from middays to afternoon drive and receive a pay hike from a reported $300,000 per year to $500,000. Former partner Matt Spiegel notified listeners of the station’s inability to bring McNeil back and said he’s looking forward to getting a new partner and forging ahead. Read Feder’s column here.
Paul Westcott Exits WTAG, Worcester. Leaving the full-time radio business at Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAG, Worcester for a position in Washington outside of the radio business is morning drive personality Paul Westcott. Today (8/15) is Wescott’s final day hosting the morning show but it will not be the end of his talk show career. Westcott reports that he’s going to stay in the media business posting and podcasting via former “America Now” host Andy Dean‘s new ConnectPal platform. This means there’s a morning drive position open at WTAG, Worcester and interested radio talent can apply by emailing: KEVINJOHNSON@clearchannel.com
Heidi Selexa Show Debuts on CRN Digital Talk. Radio personality and actress Heidi Selexa is bringing her show “Out of the Friend Zone” to CRN Digital Talk Radio where it premieres today at 10:00 pm ET. CRN Digital Talk says, “The one-hour program is a fun yet serious, authentic show examining interpersonal relationships. It unlocks the secrets of what is really going on in other people’s minds – and also serves as an open platform to expose and explain misunderstood signals, signs and messages between the sexes.” CRN Digital Talk Radio president and CEO Michael Horn adds, “’Out of the Friend Zone’ accomplishes something special. Many shows help people with relationship and communication issues – but Heidi accomplishes it in an exceptionally fun way. She talks with listeners – not at them.” In addition to Selexa’s AM/FM radio career, she was a personality on SiriusXM’s “80s on 8” channel.
Odds & Sods. A new hockey season means the return of “Chicago Blackhawks Live” to WGN Radio. Two September editions are already announced as Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw will be featured on September 3 and head coach Joel Quenneville will be featured on September 10. Both broadcasts will be live from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm from the Old Town Pour House in Chicago and will air on sports talk WGWG-LP and replays of the programs on news/talk WGN following the Cubs games…..Talk media pro Jerry Klein will do some substitute work at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte over the coming Labor Day weekend. He’ll fill in for John Hancock on Friday 8/29 and for Keith Larson on Monday 9/1. Klein was a full-time personality on the station back in 1994…..CBS News White House correspondent Peter Maer (pictured here) is said by CBS to be the only network radio news reporter traveling with President Obama on his vacation to Martha’s Vineyard where he anchored coverage of the president’s press statement about the Ferguson, Missouri situation. Maer also did two-ways with affiliate stations about the president’s statements as well as about the Hillary Clinton-President Obama foreign policy rift.
Hartford Courant Shows Connecticut Radio People Some Love. Although a number of America’s great newspapers/local news bureaus employ media writers who cover the radio business as part of their beats, often, local media give radio stations and talent the cold shoulder due to the competitive nature between the two. For this reason, it’s nice to see the Hartford Courant’s recent pictorial on the radio personalities of Connecticut. Check out the piece here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Saying that it’s hit the 500-affiliate mark, Yahoo! Sports Radio announces the addition of WWCS, Pittsburgh; WCAR, Detroit: KTXX, Austin: WCLT, Columbus, and KSGG, Reno to its affiliate roster.
Michael Brown Slaying Aftermath/Militarized Missouri Cops Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 11-15. The death of black teen Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer, the subsequent riots and looting, and the militarized status of the Missouri police tied for the top stories of the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the ISIS threat and the U.S.’s Iraq policy. Following at #3 was the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama foreign policy tussle and at #4 was the suicide of actor and comic Robin Williams. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s chart here.