Monday, July 31, 2017

| July 31, 2017

Beasley Pro Forma Net Revenue Dips 3.3%; Pro Forma SOI Rises 17.5%.  The second quarter 2017 financial report for Beasley Broadcast Group isn’t straightforward from a comparison standpoint due to the recent acquisition of the Greater Media stations as well as the divestiture of its Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, North Carolina operations.  The company states, “The $33.2 million, or 119.7%, year-over-year increase in net revenue during the three months ended June 30 reflects the operation of stations in Boston, Philadelphia, Detroit and New Jersey acquired from Greater Media, partially offset by the disposition of the Charlotte and Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville clusters.”  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley adds, “Following our second full quarter of results including the Greater Media markets, we are beginning to realize the benefits from this transaction in terms of scale and opportunity, as reflected by the 119.7% increase in consolidated net revenue and 100% rise in SOI compared to the prior year.  In the second quarter, we continued to actively manage our local radio broadcasting platform while implementing our operating disciplines at the acquired Greater Media stations and extracting valuable synergies from our enhanced scale to drive SOI margin expansion.  The 9.1% reduction in pro-forma second quarter operating expenses, which included $1 million of severance related to the Greater Media markets, was partially offset by the 3.3% decline in pro forma revenue, which was attributable to political spending levels and declines in national revenues, as well as certain specific integration-related issues.  As a result, Beasley generated a 17.5% year-over-year increase in second quarter pro forma SOI with SOI margins reaching 26.6% up from 21.9% in the year-ago period.  With the financing of the Greater Media acquisition, our total outstanding debt as of June 30 was approximately $225 million, compared to $240 million at March 31.  We made voluntary debt repayments of $4 million in the second quarter and applied 100% of the $11 million in net proceeds from our Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville cluster divestiture toward debt reduction, resulting in a total $15 million reduction in debt.”

WBZT, West Palm Beach Flips to Sports as ‘Sports Radio 1230 The Zone.’ Dropping news/talk for sports, iHeartMedia West Palm Beach introduces the new WBZT as “Sports Radio 1230 The Zone.”  The station will feature a local morning drive show – “Defo in the Morning” – hosted by Jeff Deforest, Mike “Lubie” Lubitz and The Greek.  The station will air play-by-play including NFL football, the Miami Marlins, Florida Gators basketball and the 2018 Winter Olympics.  Program director Brian Mudd comments, “We are excited that ‘Sports Radio 1230 The Zone’ will be the Palm Beaches’ new home for all things sports.  Our all-star lineup featuring South Florida’s own ‘Defo in the Morning,’ The Greek and Jim Rome will bring the biggest games, the best sports conversation and sports updates you need to know.”

John Oliver Again Targets Alex Jones on Last Night’s ‘Last Week Tonight’ (7/30).  Satirist John Oliver again targeted controversial InfoWars host Alex Jones on his HBO series “Last Week Tonight,” citing TALKERS magazine’s most-listened-to hosts audience estimates of 5.9 million per week.  To view the scathing commentary please click here.

KOA, Denver’s Steffan Tubbs Arrested on Domestic Violence Charge. The iHeartMedia news/talk station has issued no comment at this time after the local reports of KOA morning personality Steffan Tubbs’ arrest on the charge of domestic violence, disturbance via phone.  FOX 31 Denver reports the 48-year-old Tubbs was arrested on Sunday morning outside the apartment of an unidentified woman who called police.  The story notes that Colorado is a mandatory arrest state, meaning that if police are called and there’s probable cause, an arrest of the accused is made and that person must appear before a judge prior to posting bond.

TALKERS News Notes. The new executive producer of the “Jason and John” show – featuring John Martin and Jason Smith – on Entercom’s WMFS-FM, Memphis “92.9 FM ESPN/680AM” is Bennett Doyle.  He’s been producing programs on the station – filling in on the Geoff Calkins show, the Eric Hasseltine show, and the Gary Parrish show – in addition to working with “Jason and John.”  At the same time, the station announces that Ashley Cahill is named promotion and events manager…..News anchor Frank Settipani retires from CBS Radio News after a 36-year stint with the news organization.  Before joining CBS Radio News in 1981, Settipani had worked at WNEW-AM and WINS-AM in New York, UPI, and Dow Jones…..RTDNA joins with the Society of Professional Journalists and a score of other journalism groups, urging the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee to hold a hearing on the state of media in the United States.  The groups say an informed public is crucial to democracy and they want to work together to ensure the public has an informed opinion of the press and its role. Because the Commerce Committee oversees the Federal Communications Commission, it plays an important role in broadcast media licensing, communications networks and more.  The organizations say an open discussion about journalism will hopefully help to rebuild trust in the profession. See the letter here…..CBS RADIO’s Spanish music outlet KLOL, Houston “Mega 101 FM” will be the new home of the Houston Texans Spanish radio broadcasts on game days…..Salem Radio Network personality Mike Gallagher (pictured at left) takes a selfie in front of the stage at Citi Field in New York where the Doobie Brothers are performing on stage.  The event also featured Steely Dan, Fleetwood Mac and Earth, Wind & Fire. Gallagher says the show was “my soundtrack from high school.”…..CBS Sports Radio host Jim Rome crowned the winner of the 2017 Smack Off, naming Leff in Laguna the eventual winner in what was described as a very crowded field.  Leff takes home $5,000 and eternal bragging rights.  Rome comments, “This was the best Smack Off ever and the toughest one to decide a winner, but Leff in Laguna won it with a great call that somehow included an incredible in-studio reunion of the guys from the 1996 SI photo shoot.  Truly an amazing moment in show history and one that I will remember forever.”

Profile: Walter SaboTALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a profile of radio’s Walter Sabo – currently focusing his efforts on his weekly Sunday night talk show on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia.  Sabo’s weekly show diverges a bit from what some would term formulaic conservative political talk, and Sabo thinks there’s room for that on news/talk radio.  “I strongly believe there is a great opportunity for talk stations today to increase what they offer [however] I am not saying to get rid of political talk shows.  It’s good if a station has a gifted talk show host – but make sure [he or she is] entertaining.  The most response I get from my show is when I talk about trouble with the in-laws – that’s when the phones and emails go crazy.  It is what you talk about with your friends, so why wouldn’t you put it on the air? This is what someone like Elvis Duran [highlights on his morning show originating from iHeartMedia New York City CHR WHTZ ‘Z-100’ and syndicated on Premiere Radio Networks]. Stations that just talk about politics are so afraid to talk about anything else and there is no reason to.”  Read Kinosian’s piece here.

ABC Radio and Skyview Renew. Partners since 2014, ABC Radio and Skyview Networks announce they’ve signed an early extension of their content, ad sales, affiliate sales and audio distribution agreement.  The companies say that “this early renewal through 2026 positions ABC Radio and Skyview Networks to continue their growth in audio syndication and sales, while preparing ABC Radio and Skyview Networks to expand their relationship with news and entertainment brands seeking strategic partnerships that generate strong results.”  Skyview president Ken Thiele comments, “Skyview Networks is proud to extend our partnership with ABC Radio.  This early renewal speaks to the success of our collaboration and allows us to continue our joint initiative to deliver quality content to radio stations and provide the media community impactful advertiser opportunities.  We look forward to deepening our relationship, as we further explore options that will expand the ABC Radio offering.  We feel privileged to have ABC Radio at our side as Skyview Networks continues to experience healthy, sustainable growth.”

Futuri Appoints Three to New Positions.  Three new staffers join media technology firm Futuri Media at the company’s new Cleveland-area headquarters.  Radio pro Chris Huneke is named partner integration specialist.  In this role, the former WNNF, Cincinnati “NASH FM 94.1” program director will be a partner to programmers who use Futuri’s audience engagement products, helping them develop new ways to drive ratings and revenue.  Alison Stubbendieck is named national account manager.  She comes to Futuri after spending the last 11 years with digital marketer NeoFillJames Hunziker also joins as national account manager. He previously served with YP.com and CBS RADIO Cleveland before joining Futuri.

Jim Bohannon Delivers University of North Georgia Commencement.  Pictured here at the podium is Westwood One nationally syndicated radio talk host Jim Bohannon delivering a speech at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega, Georgia on Saturday (7/29).

The MBA Radio Talent Institute Begins Today.  This edition of the Missouri Broadcasters Association Radio Talent Institute begins today at Northwest Missouri State University.  The 10-day institute is made possible with financial commitments from the school and the MBA, plus broadcast companies including: Hubbard Radio-St Louis; Eagle Communications-St. Joseph; Emmis Communications-St. Louis; Zimmer Radio and Marketing Group of Mid Missouri-Columbia, Jefferson City; iHeartMedia-St. Louis, Springfield, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport; Cumulus Media-Kansas City, Columbia, Jefferson City; and Mid-West Family Broadcasting-Springfield.  Students will travel to the Kansas City Chiefs training camp in St. Joseph for a session on sports broadcasting from Chiefs play-by-play announcer Mitch Holthus. The field trip will continue in Kansas City with a play-by-play session from the Royals’ Denny Matthews.  On Friday morning, Kansas City’s “Taylor and Brady Morning Show,” from KZPT “99.7 The Point” will broadcast live from the institute.

Trump Ousts Reince Priebus/Cabinet Changes, Future of ObamaCare, Putin Orders U.S. to Cut Diplomatic Staff, North Korea Nuclear Threats, Venezuela Elections, Sunday’s GoT Episode, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The ouster of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly named his replacement, plus the arrival of White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci; the GOP’s efforts to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a plan crafted by Republicans; in retaliation for the Congress-approved sanctions against Russia, Vladimir Putin orders U.S. to remove 755 diplomats from Russia; the ongoing threats against the U.S. by North Korea; the weekend elections in Venezuela that Nicolas Maduro says give him complete control of the nation’s government and military and other nations’ refusal to accept the elections as legitimate; the current season of “Game of Thrones” and anticipation of Sunday night’s episode; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/31) with Memorial Tribute To Dr. Joy Browne by Jim Bohannon.  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day.  Already posted are:

–          The “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein).

–          The special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon).

–          The “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor  Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo).

–          The special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard).

–          The special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell).

–          The first, second and third in a series of three consecutive “one-on-one” sessions discussing the topic “Maximizing Talk Radio’s Multi-Platform Potential for Reach and Revenue” featuring conversations between WABC, New York, PD Craig Schwalb and KGO, San Francisco host Ethan BearmanBold Gold Media Group president/CEO Vince Benedetto and DGital Media managing partner Ron Hartenbaum, and nationally syndicated host Dr. Asa Andrew and TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein.  All three sessions are facilitated by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio host Karen Hunter.

–          A “one-on-one” dialogue titled “Radio That Makes a Difference” featuring the SiriusXM Satellite Radio husband/wife team of host Joe Madison and executive producer Sharon Madison (introduced by Sirius/XM Satellite Radio VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring former CBS Radio president/CEO and Broadcasters Foundation of America chairman Dan Mason being interviewed by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley (with introduction by BOB-FM, London morning host Graham Mack).

–          A “Fireside Chat” featuring Emmis Communications CEO/chairman Jeff Smulyan being interviewed by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey (with an introduction by Bentley University professor/TALKERS legal editor Steve Weisman).

–          The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues titled “The Challenges of Doing Talk Radio in 2017.”  They feature a conversation between WYD Media syndicated host Thom Hartmann and Cumulus Media corporate PD/WMAL, Washington PD Bill Hess(introduced by Moceri Media president Greg Moceri), a conversation between morning co-host of WAQY-FM (Rock102), Springfield, MA  Mike “Bax” Baxendale and morning host of WOLB, Baltimore Larry Young, and a conversation between Cumulus Media EVP programming and content Mike McVay and Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott (facilitated by ABC News Radio VP/GM Steve Jones).

–          The series of four “one-on-one” dialogues collectively titled, “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here?” featuring a conversation between WRHU, Hofstra University OM John T. Mullen and WRFH, Hillsdale College GM Scot Bertram; a conversation between The New Normal CEO/founder/host Tom Leykis and syndicated host Michael Berry; a conversation between The Weiss AgencyEVP Heather Cohen and Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel host Brian Kilmeade; and a conversation between WPHT, Philadelphia host Dom Giordano and GCN syndicated host Dr. Daliah Wachs  (facilitated by WOR, New York APD Scott Lakefield). At the conclusion, Dr. Wachs is presented the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” award by Michael Harrison.

–          TODAY (7/31) we posted the third of a series of three memorial tributes by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon dedicated to major talk show personalities and longtime TALKERS Convention participants who passed away this past year:  Tom MarrDr. Joy Browne and Alan Colmes.  Today’s posted tribute is for Dr. Joy Browne.  (Introduction by Stephan Multimedia CEO/host, Doug Stephan.)

Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.  The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone NetworksBroadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

 

 

Westwood One Realigns 24/7 Formats Organization.  President of programming Kirk Stirland says the streamlining of Westwood One’s 24/7 formats organizational structure “includes the promotion of many talented team members, and we are committed to continually optimizing our systems and station support as we advance our technology and content delivery solutions.”  The company says the structure gives every affiliate a single point of contact with a senior programming executive supported by a dedicated team of experts including a program operations manager, music and promotion director, and system operator.  “The new organization supporting VPs of programming George King/country, Cheri Marquart/contemporary, and David Felker/gold formats can respond to the more than 1,800 affiliates swiftly and conclusively with the singular goal of providing a top-notch product and white-glove service.”  Effective immediately, Dave Carey and Melody Morgan are promoted to program operations managers.  Al Vertucci and Gerry Dixon are promoted to music and promotion directors, for gold and contemporary formats respectively, and Bill Thorpe is promoted to system operator.  In a related move, Heather Martinez, a 13-year veteran of Westwood One’s 24-Hour Formats, is promoted to promotion manager.

Travis Moon to Program ‘K-Bull 93’ in Salt Lake City.  Country radio pro Travis Moon is joining Cumulus Media to serve as the program director for KUBL, Salt Lake City “K-Bull 93.”  Moon was most recently with iHeartMedia as director of country operations at KAJA, San Antonio and KASE and KVET in Austin.  Joining KUBL is a return to the station for Moon.  Earlier in his career, he was afternoon drive personality and APD.  Cumulus Media Salt Lake City Pat Reedy says, “To have someone of Travis’ experience, knowledge and track record of programming winning country radio stations is very exciting.  Can’t wait to get him in the ‘K-Bull’ stable and let him work his magic.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer Kenny J is named program director at Cumulus Media’s urban AC KMJK “Magic 107.3.”  He comes to Kansas City from Kennelwood Radio’s hip hop KWBT, Waco, Texas “94.5 The Beat.”  At KMJK, Kenny J will also host the midday show.  Cumulus Kansas City operations manager Lance Tidwell states, “We are excited to have Kenny at the helm of ‘Magic 107.3’ in Kansas City.  The station is poised for significant growth and will benefit from Kenny’s leadership and deep knowledge of the urban AC format.”…..Cumulus Media launches a new CHR station, flipping from sports talk on WNMQ-FM, Columbus-Starkville, Mississippi.   The station takes on the brand “Q103.1 FM The Golden Triangle’s Hit Music.”  In morning drive, the station will use the syndicated “The Bert Show.”…..iHeartMedia Phoenix names Vinnie Del Rosso the new executive producer and on-air talent on adult contemporary KESZ’s “Beth and Friends” morning show. Area SVP of programming Paul Kelley says, “I’m excited to add Vinnie’s personality and perspective to the ‘Beth and Friends’ morning show. Vinnie and Beth have a great rapport and he will bring tremendous energy to the show.”

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