Tuesday, August 21, 2018

| August 21, 2018

Cumulus Media Q2 Net Revenue Down 1.8%. The 2018 second quarter financial report from Cumulus Media Inc. comes a bit late – the company had let the SEC know its first post-bankruptcy report would be tardy.  Net revenue for Cumulus (reflecting the combined results of the Successor and Predecessor Companies in connection with the emergence from Chapter 11) for the second quarter was $285.2 million, down 1.8% from the same period a year ago.  For the six months ended June 30, 2018, Cumulus reported net revenue of $548.9 million, down 1.0% from the first six months of 2017.  Cumulus reports in two segments: the Cumulus Radio Station Group and Westwood One.  The radio station group reported net revenue of $203 million – down 2.5% from a year ago, and Westwood One’s net revenue was $81.2 million – up 0.1%. President and CEO Mary Berner comments, “In the second quarter, we emerged from Chapter 11 with new and supportive ownership, a billion dollars less debt and results that demonstrate our operational and financial momentum, despite industry challenges and the distractions posed by our Chapter 11 proceedings.  Normalizing those results for $4.8 million of write-offs related to United States Traffic Network’s well-publicized financial problems, our Adjusted EBITDA grew in the quarter by 5.5%.  Looking forward, we are excited about the potential of our digital products, improved pricing, and inventory management across the entire platform and our young but fast-growing podcasting business to supplement the performance of our core business.  These growth drivers, combined with our continued focus on operating fundamentals, our reduced debt load, our ability to generate significant free cash flow, and our renewed focus on optimization of our portfolio of assets, position us well to build substantial shareholder value in the quarters and years to come.”

Cumulus Signs Traffic Deal with TTWN. On the same day it announces its second quarter financials and references the $4.8 million write-off related to its deal with United States Traffic NetworkCumulus announces its new deal with iHeartMedia-owned Total Traffic & Weather Network to be the exclusive provider of traffic content.  This is an addition to the existing deal for TTWN to provide weather content.  TTWN will provide real-time traffic reports and data to Cumulus’ 441 radio stations nationwide.  Additionally, TTWN’s 24/7 News division will provide news support, including anchored news and reporting services.

Quinn & Rose Back on Pittsburgh Airwaves. The Pittsburgh radio duo “Quinn & Rose” – Jim Quinn and Rose Somma-Tennant – is returning to the air in the Steel City, this time on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WBGG-AM/W292DH “ESPN Pittsburgh” on September 24.  The two enjoyed a long stint on the company’s former Pittsburgh FM news/talk WPGB (now country music) but exited the station in 2013.  The two have worked separately since then on various platforms.  Their show on WBGG will air from 8:00 am to 10:00 am daily.

New Boston Operations Center for iHeartMedia.  The photos above are of the new studios and offices of iHeartMedia in Boston.  At left is a lounge area outside an on-air studio and at right is a portion of the all-news WBZ-AM newsroom.  It’s a 43,000-plus square foot state-of-the-art facility that also includes news/talk WRKO-AM, talk WXKS-AM, and seven music outlets.  iHeartMedia says the “innovative space is designed to invoke collaboration and to embody the iHeartMedia brand.  In addition to cutting-edge design elements, the studios will feature digitally advanced technology and resources for talent and programmers that will help them connect even faster and easier with listeners delivering even more great content to the Boston community.”  The facility was designed by Michael Beneville.

PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an analysis of the performances of stations serving as flagships for Major League Baseball teams. As the 2018 season unfolds, see how the 6+ weekly AQH shares of flagship stations are affected. Among some of the comparisons presented are flagship stations ratings fluctuations from June 2018 to July 2018 as well as from July 2017 to July 2018.  Based on July 2018 PPM data, flagships with the largest market shares (6+) are: WLW, Cincinnati (Reds); WTMJ, Milwaukee (Brewers); and KMOX, St. Louis (Cardinals). See the entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, radio icon Mike North is the subject of a new film being developed by Chicagoans Jeremy Morrison and Adam Rifkin.  The biopic of the hot dog vendor-turned sports talk radio giant is set for production in 2019…..It may seem elementary to industry insiders but the how and why of the appeal of sports talk radio to male consumers is the focus of a recent piece in The New York Times.  Writer Jason Notte speaks with representatives of ESPN Audio and Entercom, as well as marketers who’ve had success advertising on sports talk radio.  That includes a law firm specializing in divorce that’s been a regular advertiser on Portland, Oregon’s three sports talk stations.  Read the piece here…..Washington, DC all-news WTOP-FM is moving into new studios in Chevy Chase, Maryland in December or January.  According to a piece in Bethesda Magazine, the new location at 5425 Wisconsin Ave. on Wisconsin Circle is just over the Washington, DC line in Maryland.  The Hubbard Radio all-news station has been at its current Idaho Ave. location since 1989.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Security Clearance Strategy, Church Sexual Abuse Scandal, Manafort Trial/Expected Cohen Charges, Asia Argento Sexual Assault Payoff, MTV VMA Awards/Aretha Franklin Tributes, Western Wildfires/Air Quality, NFL Pre-season and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; President Trump’s removal of security clearances from his critics; the Pennsylvania Catholic Church sexual assault scandal; the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the likelihood of charges being filed against Michael Cohen; Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento’s reported payoff to a young man for alleged sexual assault; the MTV VMA awards show and the related Aretha Franklin tributes; the wildfires in the U.S. West and the region’s poor air quality; NFL pre-season action and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Charese Fruge is joining Radio One to serve as the format captain for CHR for the company and to program hit radio stations WNOW-FM, Indianapolis “Radio Now 100.9” and KROI, Houston “Radio Now 92.1.”  Her most recent radio gig was with CBS RADIO as PD for then-CHR KKHH, Houston and sister hot AC KHMX.  Fruge will be based in Indianapolis…..On-air pro Jenny D is the new morning drive personality on Bonneville’s adult contemporary KOSI, Denver, effective September 4.  She joins current morning star Sean Henry on the wake-up show.  Bonneville Denver vice president and general manager Bob Call says, “We have had our eye on Jenny ever since she interned with KYGO a decade ago. Listeners adore her as she brings the real-life experiences of being a wife and a mom to the radio every morning.  Denver is home for Jenny and we are excited she is making the jump up the dial to KOSI.”…..Air personality Nikki Preston returns to her radio roots as the midday personality on Inland Empire Broadcasting’s rock KCAL-FM, Riverside.  She launched her career as a morning show producer at the company’s classic hits outlet KOLA-FM.  She says, “I am super amped to be back rockin’ the Inland Empire and getting the opportunity to work with such an incredibly talented group of people.”  At the same time, the station promotes promotion director and part-time air personality Brandon “4orty” Kessel to co-host of the “Tons of Rock in the Morning” show with host Patrick Tish.  Kessel is also adding music director duties and will assist with other programming responsibilities…..In Akron, Ken Steel is promoted to program director for Rubber City Radio’s country WQMX.  Steel is also afternoon drive personality and he assumes the PD role from Sue Wilson who exited at the end of June…..Midwest Communications brings Aaron Santini aboard as operations manager for its Evansville, Indiana cluster that includes country WLFW, rock WABX, adult contemporary WIKY, and CHR WSTO. He was most recently serving with CHR WKHQ.  He says, “I cannot overstate how excited I am to be joining the Midwest Communications family.  I want to thank VP/MM Tim Huelsing and VP programming Jeff McCarthy for allowing me the privilege of stepping into the OM role at such an amazing cluster.  I’m looking forward to working with the incredible team already in place in Evansville.”…..The Premiere Networks-syndicated CHR program “The Kane Show” announces the launch of three new podcasts. They are: “The Kane Show’s Last Resort” in which the cast expands upon what went down during the show.  It’s where everyone shares a little bit more into their personal lives and gives a final say on what they talk about; “The Kane Show Remix” is everything that happened in the past week smashed into one; and “The Kane Show Presents: Ghosted” in which the cast helps listeners figure out why they got “ghosted” in their relationship by reuniting couples and letting them share their side of the story to set the record straight, once and for all.

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Category: Front Page News, Industry News