Friday, August 3, 2018

| August 3, 2018

Beasley Broadcast Group Q2 Revenue Up 1%; Station Operating Income Up 3.5%. Net revenue for the second quarter of 2018 was $61.6 million for Beasley Broadcast Group – an increase of 1% over the same period in 2017.  For the first six months of 2018, net revenue was $116.8 million – up from $114.8 million in 2017.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “Beasley’s second quarter results reflect our ongoing execution of strategies to drive revenue, productivity and growth across our local radio broadcasting and digital platforms.  The 1% year-over-year increase in second quarter revenues combined with essentially flat station expenses and the operating leverage related to the top-line growth resulted in a 3.5% increase in second quarter SOI.  Overall, our second quarter results again demonstrate the efficiencies we are realizing related to our expanded scale and the operating leverage in our model, which collectively led to a 28.6% increase in earnings per share.  During the second quarter, Beasley remained committed to enhancing shareholder value through capital returns and capital structure improvements.  In this regard, we declared our nineteenth consecutive quarterly cash dividend. In addition, interest expense decreased approximately 20% year-over-year to $3.8 million, reflecting the recent refinancing of our senior debt, which reduced our interest rate by 200 basis points.  We used cash from operations to make voluntary debt repayments of $2 million in the second quarter and ended June 30, 2018 with total outstanding debt of $220 million.”  As previously reported, on May 1, 2017, Beasley completed the sale of six stations in Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, and on December 19, 2017, Beasley completed an asset exchange transaction whereby it exchanged its Boston adult contemporary station WMJX-FM and $12 million for Boston’s sports station WBZ-FM.  The results reflect the operations and results from WBZ-FM in the three and six months ended June 30, 2018 and WMJX-FM in the three and six months ended June 30, 2017.  The results also reflect one month of contribution from the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations in the three-month period, and four months of contribution in the six-month period ended June 30, 2017.  The $0.6 million, or 1.0%, year-over-year increase in net revenue during the three months ended June 30, 2018, reflects the inclusion of WBZ-FM Boston, partially offset by the disposition of WMJX-FM Boston and the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations.

E.W. Scripps Radio Revenue Hit by Write-Down of Stations Value. The sale of its radio stations has been the focus of industry news about E.W. Scripps as it re-aligns to concentrate on its television and OTT businesses.  As a result, it has been reporting its radio segment as “discontinued operations” in recent quarterly reports.  In the second quarter of 2017, the radio segment’s income was $1.7 million.  The second quarter of 2018 has produced a loss of $2.9 million as the result of “non-cash charges of $25.9 million to write down the assets of the radio business to fair value.”  Scripps has agreed to sell its five-station Tulsa cluster to the local Griffin Communications for $12.5 million and its Milwaukee duo to Good Karma Brands for $16 million.  The company has 27 stations in six markets for which it continues to seek buyers.

Report: Cain to End Talk Show on WSB-AM, Atlanta.  As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Rodney Ho, talk show host and former presidential candidate Herman Cain is exiting his daily, 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program on Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM “News 95.5 and AM 750.”  Cain – who assumed the late morning show slot after Neal Boortz’s retirement in 2013 – will continue with the station doing a daily, two-minute commentary leading up to the noon newscast.  To fill the hour, Eric Von Haessler’s program will expand to the entire 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart.

Spotify Pulls Some Alex Jones Podcasts For Violation of ‘Hate Policy.’ Media personality Alex Jones has had a number of his podcast episodes pulled from Spotify’s service after the digital audio platform concluded that the episodes violated its hate content policy.  According to the Associated Press report, the episodes became notorious on social media, forcing the company to act.  It issued the following statement: “We take reports of hate content seriously and review any podcast episode or song that is flagged by our community.  Spotify can confirm it has removed specific episodes of ‘The Alex Jones Show’ podcast for violating our hate content policy.” According to the AP story, Jones said the action is “what I expect. I was born in censorship.  I was born being suppressed.”

Perry Stone Named OM for Mid-West Family Broadcasting in Springfield, Illinois. Programmer and air personality Perry Stone joins Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Springfield, Illinois four-station cluster to serve as operations manager for news/talk WMAY-AM/W234CC and rock WQLZ-FM, effective August 6.  In addition to his OM duties for both stations, Stone will host the afternoon show on WQLZ.  Stone was most recently with Saga Communications in Charlottesville, Virginia as operations manager for news/talk WINA-AM/FM and rock WWWV.  The company says Stone “has worked on-air in markets as large as New York City and San Francisco and as small as Carbondale, Illinois.  So, he not only knows Illinois, but he understands the opportunities and challenges in markets of all sizes.” Mid-West Family Springfield general manager Harvey Wells says, “We conducted a nationwide search for this position and Perry’s experience both in management and on-air made the difference.  I’m looking forward to him joining our off and on-air team.”  Stone remarks, “It’s great to get back to the Midwest.  I spent time in Carbondale and in Milwaukee and have always enjoyed the people and places there.  I’m looking forward to getting to know all that Central Illinois has to offer.  In addition, Mid-West Family Radio is one of the most respected companies in radio. I could not be happier.”

Wilson and Parcell New Midday Hosts on WFNZ, Charlotte ‘The Fan.’ After Chris Kroeger was named the new play-by-play voice of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, Entercom sports talk outlet WFNZ “The Fan” conducted a search for his replacement in middays and announces that Nick Wilson (inset) and Josh Parcell (right) begin as the new midday stars on Monday (8/6).  Wilson was most recently with the company’s WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan” where he hosted the evening program.  Parcell has done fill-in work on WFNZ and has served as a producer for ESPN.

Smith Promoted to VP of Engineering for Beasley Media Group. Moving up from his regional engineering director & corporate project manager position with Beasley Media Group to vice president of engineering is Lamar Smith.  He’s been with the company for the past seven years and he’ll continue to be based in Charlotte where he’ll manage large corporate projects throughout the country as well as assist in overseeing the company’s engineering staff.  Smith also currently serves as vice president of the Emergency Broadcast Association.

Mickey Moore Appointed VP of Sales at iHeartMedia Minneapolis. Media sales and marketing pro Michelle “Mickey” Moore is the new vice president of sales at iHeartMedia’s Minneapolis station group that includes news/talk KTLK and sports talk KFXN “The Fan.”  iHM Minneapolis also has franchise partnerships with the Minnesota Vikings, the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, and the University of Minnesota.  Moore joins iHeartMedia Minneapolis from Franklin Covey, where she served as a client partner.  She previously worked at iHeartMedia as the general sales manager for KDWB-FM from 1994 to 2001.  Moore’s sales background also includes American Public Media/Minnesota Public Radio, where her positions included managing director of inclusion and community impact, senior director of organization development and senior director of underwriting sales.  Region vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Western Great Lakes Region Greg Alexander says, “We are pleased to have such a respected, seasoned leader like Mickey join iHeartMedia Minneapolis. Her wealth of industry experience and her ability to blend creativity and sales strategy will benefit both our sales team and our clients.”

TALKERS News Notes.  It was a frightening experience for WWJ-AM, Detroit reporter Mike Campbell as an apparently disturbed man smashed the window of his station vehicle while he was filing a live report on a fatal car crash in the city.  He was unhurt in the incident and was able to successfully file his report. Numerous reporters form various outlets were on the scene when the suspect (who was subsequently tasered and subdued by police) used a metal baton to smash the windows of two station vehicles while shouting obscenities and racial slurs…..Former NFL tight-end Martellus Bennett debuts his new podcast, “Revenge of the Jocks,” on PodcastOne Sportsnet.  The company says the weekly program “goes beyond Martellus, the athlete, as the Super Bowl champion explores the infinite world of creativity.  Speaking firsthand, as an entrepreneur, musician, animator, sketch artist, children’s author and app creator himself, Bennett will be joined by fascinating friends to discuss a broad spectrum of topics, including what it means to be a creative, activist, and overall culture-shaping world-changer.”…..Entercom sports talk WIP-FM, Philadelphia relaunches the “Go Birds” podcast hosted by station personalities John Barchard and James Seltzer.  The radio show will continue to air on Saturdays from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on “SportsRadio 94WIP.” The podcast will be available on Radio.com.  Entercom Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff states, “Both the podcast and radio show have been Eagles fan favorites and we are excited to continue the tradition.  The name of the show might be changing, but fans can expect the same insight into their favorite football team.”…..VSiN – the network dedicated to sports gambling information – announces a partnership with sports talk KNBR, San Francisco that taps VSiN to deliver daily Bay Area-focused updates for the station. Starting Monday (8/6), KNBR will run “VSiN Action Updates” covering how the sports betting markets are reacting to Bay Area sports teams. VSiN will supply one report in the 9:00 am hour and another in the 5:00 pm hour each weekday from its Las Vegas studio at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa.   KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe says, “We are excited to partner with VSiN in bringing top-notch gaming updates to the KNBR airwaves.  VSiN continues to be an industry leader in this space and VSiN founder Brent Musburger has had his finger on the pulse of sports gambling for decades.”…..SAG-AFTRA and New York Public Radio announced that they have reached a Voluntary Recognition Agreement that will add per diem and temporary employees working in SAG-AFTRA covered titles to the union’s longstanding contract that currently covers more than 100 full-time workers at NYPR.  The Agreement adds more than 30 people to a larger group that has been represented by SAG-AFTRA since 2000…..Longtime Purdue University sports broadcaster Larry Clisby is fighting stage 4 lung cancer and metastic brain cancer.  The problem is Medicare doesn’t cover all of his medical bills.  Family have started a GoFundMe page to which people can donate.  Clisby became the radio voice of Purdue men’s basketball in 1984.  He also called Boilermakers football for 10 seasons.

Trump-Russia Investigation Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 30 – August 3.  The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Donald Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on financial fraud charges.  Coming in at #3 was the Trump administration’s immigration policy tied with the related story of the Portland mayor’s battle with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, followed by the midterm races and the reports of continuing Russian election interference at #4.  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 magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See the entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A GoFundMe page has been set up for former triple A KINK, Portland program director and air personality Sean Demery.  He is battling to recover from a brain stem stroke suffered in January of this year and his insurance has run out, causing financial struggles for him and his family. You can donate here.…..An ill-advised Facebook post has cost classic rock WKLR, Richmond morning personality his job.  Brady DeAngelo posted a picture of the back of a woman sitting at a bar and a caption that contained coarse language. You can see WTVR-TV, Richmond’s coverage, including a screen capture of the post here.  DeAngelo commented, “I made a joke that some thought was inappropriate on my personal Facebook page and it became more of an issue than I believe it should have become.”.….KLAL, Little Rock “Alice 107.7” morning show personalities Heather (left) and Poolboy (right) were honored with the Best Radio Personality award from The Arkansas Times.  This marks the fourth consecutive win in the Best Radio Personality category for the duo.  CHR KLAL was named Runner-Up Best Radio Station for 2018, a category it has won or received runner-up in each year since 2010…..iHeartMedia announces it has partnered with Super Hi-Fi to introduce “new AI capabilities” that will make the iHeartRadio digital platform sound more like a live radio show.  iHeartMedia says, “The new integration brings the best of live broadcast radio to digital streaming music by delivering flawless song transitions, including precise crossfades, volume leveling and truly gapless playback to iHeartRadio’s listeners.”

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Category: Front Page News, Industry News