Thursday, January 10, 2018

| January 10, 2019

iHeartMedia’s New WONK-FM in DC to Deliver ‘Inside-the-Beltway’ News and Talk. The new station will air on WWDC-HD2 (101.1) and W284CQ at 104.7 FM and is branded “WONK-FM, Smart People. News.”  iHeartMedia says the launch of the new station comes after its recent on-air and online celebration of “National WONK Day” – a day created for listeners that have a keen interest in inside-the-Beltway news – and WONK-FM will be “a news and talk station serving thought leaders, influencers, and stakeholders inside the Washington, DC beltway.”  The press release states, “The new station will broadcast renowned anchors Stacy Lyn and Alexandra Lane weekdays from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm and will feature the latest breaking news and headlines from Washington, DC.  In addition, WONK-FM will air instant reactions from opinion leaders and on-air talk personalities originating from iHeartMedia’s 130-plus news and talk stations throughout the United States.” iHeartMedia region president Michael Preacher comments, “WONKs are the behind-the-scenes people in DC who are innovators, experts, and are passionate about their work.  DC’s WONKs are the unsung heroes who solve the world’s most difficult problems and they deserve to have a dedicated platform.”  Programming the new station is current WRKO, Boston programmer Michael Czarnecki, who will work in Washington. He adds, “With the accelerated pace of today’s news cycle, we look forward to providing a contemporary approach to delivering a ‘wonk-centric’ and uniquely DC view of the news.  I’m thrilled to be joining the iHeartMedia team in Washington DC as part of Washington’s WONK-FM.”  You can see a video the company made to promote the station and their targeting of “wonks” here.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2018 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk.  The drop off in cume from end of the 2018 baseball season affected some sports talk outlets negatively as 61% of those stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share diminish from the November to the December surveys.  However, year-over-year, 62% of sports talk stations realized improved 6+ numbers. In the market rank category, RadiOhio’s WBNS-FM, Columbus takes the blue ribbon, ranking #3 in the market with a 7.3 share.  Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia ranked #4 in December with a 6.3 share; and three stations – Beasley’s WBZ-FM, Boston; Entercom’s WFAN-AM/FM (Long Island); and Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh – all ranked #5 in their respective markets.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Emmis Communications Releases Fiscal Q3 Numbers; Pro Forma Revenue Up 5%. The third fiscal quarter for Emmis Communications Corporation ended November 30, 2018.  The company notes that, due to the recent sale of five stations (KPWR, Los Angeles in August 2017 and four radio stations in St. Louis on April 30, 2018), its reported results are not comparable year over year.  Emmis’ radio net revenue for fiscal Q3 was $28.7 million, down from $34 million in the prior year.   However, pro forma for all radio station sales, revenue “was up 5% in markets that were up 2%.”  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments, “With this quarter’s strong performance, Emmis is now outperforming its markets through the first nine months of this fiscal year – quite an achievement.  Political revenues certainly helped, but we also saw growth in our core advertising categories, all of which contributed to Emmis having its strongest quarter in four years.  New York and Indianapolis both outperformed their markets and continue to produce strong ratings, which should help sustain Emmis’ revenue growth.  That certainly appears to be the case in January and February, where both months are pacing up mid-to-high single digits.”

#250 Working on Ways to Overcome Obstacles in Maximizing Direct Response Spot Success.  It is no secret that a significant percentage of talk radio advertising consists of direct response advertising and the results are tallied by the sponsors – making it even more imperative that the spots get measurable action.  Considering the fact that much of the listening is done while driving, it makes it even more of a challenge to get people to make the leap from hearing an 800 phone number and actually placing the call while the thought is top of mind.  The firm #250 – America’s Mobile Speed Dial has been making progress in simplifying this process for talk shows, stations and networks across the nation by creating simple word prompted codes and phrases designed to simplify the act of calling while behind the wheel.  Now they have taken it one step further addressing another problem.  #250 chief marketing officer Dave Robinett tells TALKERS, “Accomplishing the task of making your advertiser’s phone ring is tough enough.  But there are many points of ‘breakage’ after that.  Phone reps can be poorly trained or rude.  Client phone systems or call centers might have technical issues.  Long hold times might encourage abandonment.  The #250 platform recently solved a major-yet-unrealized problem for a Premiere Networks advertiser.  A timeshare exit company’s ad was working well – so well that when the spot ran and calls came pouring in, they exceeded the 15 available call center agents.  The ‘overflow’ callers then got a busy signal.  Since these callers came in via dialing #250, for the first time ever, this advertiser has visibility to how many calls they were blocking.  It was also revealed that only one in 15 of these blocked callers bothered to attempt to call the advertiser later that day or next day.  This was clearly significant lost revenue – that the advertiser never knew they were missing – since they never before had visibility to calls they never received!”  Robinett continues, “But #250 was able to implement a call saver feature to detect the busy signal, take back the call, and prompt the caller to leave their name and number for a callback.  This voice message was set up to be emailed immediately to a designated sales manager back at the advertiser.  The advertiser was extremely pleased with the proactive discovery of a way to increase revenue by the Premiere sales executive, John Buckley.  Loyalty established.  Media spend secured.”  Dave Robinett will be one of 55 industry leaders speaking at the forthcoming convention Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in NYC on Friday, June 7.  He can be reached at 816-559-0620.

2019 New York Festivals Radio Awards Issues Call for Entries. The 37th New York Festivals Radio Awards is open for entries.  Established in 1982, New York Festivals Radio Awards is an international audio awards competition in which entries are judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. New York Festivals enlists jurists from around the world to become members of their world-class Radio Awards Grand Jury.  Jurors include some of the world’s most recognizable voices and captivating content producers in the radio industry.  Building on last year’s category reorganization, the competition once again added new categories with respect to today’s robust radio industry. New categories for 2019 include: Best Audio Book – Children’s, Best Digital Esports, and Human Rights Documentary.  NYF expanded its Podcast categories to include Serialized Podcast, Companion Podcast, and Narrative/ Documentary Podcast.  NYF Radio Awards VP and executive director Rose Anderson states, “Listeners everywhere are embracing the expanded audio universe and they are clamoring for authentic storytelling experiences from direct-to-digital podcasts and documentaries, to audiobooks and esports coverage.  Our advisory board and industry leaders have been a great help as we continue to recognize innovation and excellence.”  The deadline to enter the 2019 Radio Awards competition is March 15, 2019 and you can do that here.  Winners will be honored at the annual gala in New York taking place on June 24.

TALKERS News Notes.  On Tuesday (1/8), iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman appeared on Bloomberg TV’s “Bloomberg Markets” program with Vonnie Quinn and addressed a number of radio business topics, including: iHeart’s exit from Chapter 11, the company being open to partnerships with other media companies, iHeart being ‘under-monetized’ compared to its reach, TSL and return on investment, and more.  Watch the segment here…..CRN Digital Talk Radio adds “The Dr. Mitch Show” to its network roster.  Dr. Mitchell Ghen hosts an interactive health talk show relying on his 38 years of experience in anti-aging, holistic, and integrative medicine to answer listeners’ health-related questions…..“Amazing Race” winner, “Big Brother” contestant, and reality star Jessica Graf launches a new podcast called, “Now What?” via PodcastOne.  Graf says, “Having a podcast for me is like having a very public diary!  And I’m really excited about that!  Up until now, I’ve really focused on staying active on Instagram, but there’s so much that goes on in life that I feel like Instagram doesn’t always provide the opportunity to share.  So now I have this brand-new podcast platform to be brutally honest on!”…..Reality TV stars Brandi Redmond and Stephanie Hollman of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Dallas” are jumping into the podcast world via YEA Networks.  The program, “Weekly Dose of B.S.,” is an “anything-goes, unedited, uncensored weekly podcast.”…..Cadence13 partners with “Comments by Celebs” founders Emma Diamond and Julie Kramer to produce a podcast of the same name.  The friends and recent Syracuse University grads took advantage of Instagram’s 2017 algorithm changes that make it easier to see comments by verified accounts across the platform to create the @CommentsbyCelebs account that captures the “cheeky and witty comments” celebrities post on one another’s posts. Since its inception, @CommentsbyCelebs has amassed a following of almost one million people and worldwide recognition, with media and celebrity followers including: Gwyneth Paltrow, Katie Couric, John Mayer, Kelly Ripa, and Chrissy Teigen.…..WBUR, Boston announces the public media stations selected to participate in BizLab’s initiative to design and conduct revenue experiments for public radio in the digital age.  The project is funded with $750,000 from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and $250,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.  Each participating station will work with WBUR’s BizLab for six months, “using lean, user-centered design methodologies to identify and test new sources of revenue for that station.  By engaging audiences and quickly testing concepts in-market, each station will generate quantitative results to inform their near-term strategic investments. Collaborating stations will share results and best practices with each other and the broader public radio system.”  The selected stations are: WAMU, Washington D.C.; Louisville Public Media (WFPL, WFPK, WUOL); Capital Public Radio, Sacramento; WLRN-FM, Miami; Vermont Public Radio; and WDET-FM, Detroit…..Yesterday (1/9), Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs celebrated her 10th anniversary as a talk radio show host…..Appearing on Lou Simon’s “The Diner” program on SiriusXM’s “Volume” channel (talk programming dedicated to music and the music business) recently were legendary radio personalities John Records Landecker, Shotgun Tom Kelly, and Joey Reynolds, as well as “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo.  The three jocks were together for the Radio Dream Lunch in Los Angeles and, according to Vuolo, the show was so much fun that Simon is adding guests to his program. He’s already interviewed Paul Peterson of “Donna Reed Show” fame and singer/songwriter Jackie DeShannon.  You can see video of the show here.  Pictured below are Landecker (left) and Kelly (right) in the studio.

Trump’s Border Wall Address, Government Shutdown, Trump-Russia Investigation, 2020 Presidential Race, Ed Buck Case, Bezos Divorce, Showtime’s Roger Ailes Series, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/9). Tuesday night’s presidential address on the U.S.-Mexico border wall issue and President Trump’s battle against Democrats on the matter; the ongoing government shutdown; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; possible 2020 presidential candidates including Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama, and Kamala Harris; the case of Democratic donor Ed Buck and the recent deaths of men at his California home; Amazon chief Jeff Bezos and wife divorce amidst speculation about infidelity; the legal battles surrounding the Showtime series about late FOX News Channel chief Roger Ailes; and the NFL playoffs 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. The nominees for the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards presented by iHeartMedia and Fox Broadcasting Company on Thursday, March 14 live from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles have been announced.  This is the sixth year of the iHeartRadio Music Awards and the 2019 telecast will feature live performances from today’s star performers, artist collaborations, celebrity guest appearances, and live award presentations in multiple categories.  iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes says, “It’s no secret why this year’s iHeartRadio Music Awards nominees are a Who’s Who of music.  These are the artists and the songs iHeartRadio listeners couldn’t get enough of this past year.  It’s going to be an unforgettable show.”  See the whole list here…..San Diego radio personality Chris Cantore is officially named morning drive host on Tegna Inc’s adult hits KFMB-FM “100.7 San Diego.” Cantore – who’s served with KPRI, KBZT, and XTRA-FM in the market – has been filling in hosting the morning show for several months.  KFMB-FM program director Mike V. Vasquez says, “Cantore has that cool, laid-back vibe that is so easy to connect with. He’s not only entertaining, but he’s an authentic guy who cares about our community.  He epitomizes all things San Diego and is an ideal ambassador for our station.  I’m thrilled to have him joining our ‘100.7 San Diego’ family!”…..iHeartMedia Sacramento announces that Paul Robins is the new afternoon drive host on KBEB “92.5 The Breeze, Sacramento’s #1 For Relaxing Favorites at Work,” effective Friday, February 1.  Robins also heads up William Jessup University’s Digital Communication and Design Bachelor of Arts degree program.  He’ll host his show from the university’s studio while giving his students the opportunity to earn hands-on training with broadcast and digital content for the station.  During his career, Robins has worked in Detroit, Dallas and Sacramento, including for 20 years as half of “The Paul and Phil Show” on KGBY “Y92.”…..Cumulus Media’s urban contemporary WLXC, Columbia, South Carolina “KISS 10-3.1” adds the Westwood One-syndicated “Rick and Sasha” program for morning drive. WWO just the launched the program starring Rick Party and Sasha the Diva into national syndication…..TALKERS magazine sends condolences to the family and friends of programmer pro Harve Alan, who passed away on January 6.  During his career he’s served with CBS RADIO, iHeartMedia, ABC Radio Networks, NextMedia, and Metro Networks.  He also operated his own consulting firm.

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Category: Front Page News, Industry News