Tuesday, April 14, 2020

| April 14, 2020

iHeartMedia Details Cost Savings Initiatives; Provides Business Update. In response to the “weak economic environment resulting from the unfolding novel coronavirus pandemic,” iHeartMedia is announcing its proactive initiatives to address the challenges and is providing an update to the status of its business.  The company says it “believes that the major actions announced today – in combination with the company’s highly resilient capital structure – will substantially expand the company’s financial flexibility, provide sufficient liquidity to operate effectively even in an extended period of economic weakness, and position the company for a solid growth trajectory when advertising demand returns to normal levels.”  In the full release that you can see here, iHeartMedia details its initiatives and capital structure support.  It concludes by stating it believes it’s positioned for success for the following reasons: “The company now has diversified products and revenue streams and no longer relies almost exclusively on broadcast radio revenue and it benefits from favorable growth trends in its emerging businesses, such as podcasting, and from a move of ad dollars to audio, including podcasting.  It has the ability to provide digital-like advertising solutions for its broadcast assets using its Smart Audio data and analytics platform, as well as offering its unique programmatic trading platform for broadcast radio.  It has also built out its enhanced marketing solutions capabilities, which provide advertisers with comprehensive campaigns leveraging its multiple platforms and other opportunities beyond the more commoditized and traditional media buying, through the company’s direct relationships with CEOs, CMOs and senior advertising agency executives.”

NRG Media: Our People Are Our Brand. In a public statement, Iowa-based NRG Media underscores its dedication to its staffers.  The statement from CEO Mary Quass reads: “Back in early March, during a weekly market manager call, we discussed the plan to protect our people as we started to face the unprecedented impact COVID-19 would have on our communities, our business and our company.  Our course of action was never in question – NRG Media would stand by its team. We would take care of our people for they are our BRAND – we have their backs!  At NRG Media – Great Local Radio means we want to be a part of the lives of our listeners, our businesses, our communities and our people.  Great Local Radio means we stand shoulder to shoulder with our team, the lifeblood of our stations and our BRAND.  They engage and inform our listeners, shop at their businesses, and support their communities in both good times and bad. The role our people play is now more important than ever.  We stand committed to our people, so they can continue to serve their communities without fear of losing their jobs because of COVID-19.  Our team is doing amazing things to help their neighbors, friends and families make it through this pandemic crisis – For this, we say THANK YOU!!  We are symbiotically tied to our communities.  At NRG Media we REALLY are all in this together. I am proud to work alongside each member of our team.  I am also proud of radio and the individuals who have worked so hard during this crisis, THANK YOU!! Isn’t that what makes Radio the Best!!??”

Entercom Reports Record Monthly Active Users for RADIO.COM in March. Based on data from Quantcast and Triton, Entercom says it has achieved “a new record 40 million monthly active users and substantial year-over-year growth for RADIO.COM.”  The company says RADIO.COM achieved year-over-year growth of 63% across all devices including mobile, smart speakers and desktop, with its web platform more than doubling its visitor base, up 107% year-over-year.  Some of the breakdown data includes: 22% (year-over-year) increase in total listening hours; the eighth straight month of double-digit growth 90% year-over-year spike in listenership on smart speakers, with 27% month-over-month growth; and the recently launched RADIO.COM REWIND feature generated a lift of up to 17% in total listening hours on enabled stations.  Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley comments, “We are so incredibly proud of our team, and grateful to our listeners, readers, and viewers for letting us serve and entertain them during this critical time.  The record audience and engagement numbers we’re reporting today across RADIO.COM and the podcast network, demonstrate the quality and relevance of our content, strong brands, and powerful distribution, and underscores the durability of digital audio’s growth.”

Edison Research: Buying Top 5 Podcast Networks Reaches Half of Weekly U.S. Podcast Listeners. Based on cumulative data from its Podcast Consumer Tracker for the fourth quarter of 2019, Edison Research says that advertisers that buy the top five podcast networks reach 50% of the weekly podcast consumers in the U.S.  Edison Research SVP Tom Webster says, “While in its early days podcasting was not considered a ‘reach’ medium, today with the growing size of the leading podcast networks, efficient buys at scale are now increasingly possible.  We took a look at the cumulative data from Q4 of 2019 (we are just about to deliver Q1 2020 to clients) to get a sense of the unduplicated cumulative reach of the leading podcast networks.  The top network in our tracking study currently reaches 22% of all weekly podcast consumers (which, according to ‘The Infinite Dial 2020,’ is currently 24% of the population ages 12+).  When you add the second leading network into a hypothetical buy, and eliminate the duplicated listeners, leaving only the new, unique listeners of the second-leading network, a media buyer can then reach 31% of weekly podcast consumers.”

Bob Romanik Off the Air in St. Louis.  After a long game of cat-and-mouse with the FCC, the St. Louis area radio network that aired Bob Romanik’s talk radio show based at KQQZ-AM, DeSoto, Missouri is off the air.  Romanik did his last show on Friday (4/10).  Earlier this year, an administrative law judge ruled that Entertainment Media Trust – the company operating KFTK-AM, East St. Louis; WQQW, Highland, Illinois; KZQZ, St. Louis; and KQQZ, DeSoto, Missouri – was operated by Romanik, making him de facto owner of the stations in violation of FCC rules preventing convicted felons of owning radio stations. She also ruled that after numerous requests to the Trust’s attorney for documents and information that never materialized for one reason or another, the applications for license renewals would not be granted.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published an op-ed piece in support of Romanik’s exit from the airwaves.

McCurdy Retires from Beasley Media Group. Broadcasting executive Bob McCurdy is retiring from his position as vice president of corporate sales for Beasley Media Group.  McCurdy, who has been battling a serious medical issue for the past two years, says, “After 45 glorious, exciting, and rewarding years in this amazing business, I am retiring to focus on my health.  Bruce [Beasley], Brian [Beasley] and Caroline [Beasley] have been amazing throughout this entire ordeal and I will be forever grateful.  Beasley is a great company.  I have loved working with everyone and want you to know that you have made the past five years of my career extremely rewarding and satisfying.  Good luck, be the best and continue to hustle!”  After beginning his career selling local radio in Virginia, McCurdy eventually joined Katz Radio, where he held sales and management positions in Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York.  He joined Beasley Media Group in 2016.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk personality Eytan Shander adds another show on the SB Nation Radio network.  In addition to his weekend evening program, Shander is also hosting the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm show…..Public radio personality Lee Hale is leaving his role as host of the “Preach” podcast produced by University of Utah’s KUER-FM, Salt Lake City to join NPR as an editor and producer for “All Things Considered.”…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington and Feed the Fight announce a community-based partnership designed to recognize and support essential personnel working on the frontlines in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  WTOP’s “Frontline Heroes” campaign will select two nominees per day through April 20 and award them with $100 each.  In addition, for every hero selected WTOP will donate $100 to Feed the Fight, the Washington, D.C. based nonprofit supporting local restaurants, health care workers and first responders…..Estrella Media, Inc. launches a special, one-hour Covid-19 news program, called “El Informativo,” on its national “Don Cheto Al Aire” radio show.  Estrella Media EVP, radio programming Eddie Leon states, “This program was developed as part of Estrella Media’s ongoing efforts to continue being a hub of reliable information for our Latino audience.  It is meant to keep our community informed of what is happening with regard to this pandemic, which has had an adverse impact on the communities we serve.  The show is comprised of several detailed segments aimed at informing and conveying trust, hope and optimism, without generating or causing unnecessary panic among our radio listeners.”…..Entercom sports talker KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” partners with the San Diego Padres to broadcast “Padres Social Hour.”  The show, produced by the San Diego Padres for their social media platforms, will air at 7:00 pm Monday through Thursday on KWFN-FM and the RADIO.COM app.  Entercom San Diego SVP and market manager Karyn Cerulli says, “As the flagship home of the San Diego Padres, we’re excited to partner with the team to bring premium baseball content to loyal fans.  ‘Padres Social Hour’ will keep listeners abreast of their favorite team and keep them close to the off-the-field action as we eagerly await their return to the field.”  The show is hosted by Padres radio voice Jesse Agler and will feature special guests and co-hosts such as former major league pitcher Randy Jones, Padres television broadcaster Don Orsillo, former major league pitcher Mark Grant, former major league pitcher Bob Scanlan, San Diego Union-Tribune videographer Annie Heilbrunn, “97.3 The Fan” Padres insider A.J. Cassavell and more.

Covid-19 Statistics and Projections, Trump’s Monday Press Conference, Governors Form Coalitions, Trump vs Fauci, WHO Criticism, China Restricts Coronavirus Research, Sanders Endorses Biden, and Celebrities with Covid-19 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/13). The tally of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the U.S. and the experts’ projections for peak infections; President Trump’s battle with the press at Monday’s daily briefing; governors from coastal states form regional coalitions to battle the coronavirus pandemic; speculation that President Trump and Dr. Tony Fauci are falling out over Fauci’s concluding the U.S. should have acted earlier to fight Covid-19; allegations the World Health Organization is politically deferential to China; the Chinese Communist Party restricts research into the origins of the coronavirus; Bernie Sanders endorses Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination; and the status of celebrities with Covid-19 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. In San Diego, Local Media San Diego’s adult hits KFMB-FM re-brands the station as “100.7 BIG FM” and, after kicking off the change following the playing of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” added the slogan,” We Play Anything.”…..The YEA Networks-syndicated “Tino Cochino Radio” show adds new Urban One affiliate stations CHR WNOW, Indianapolis “Radio Now 100.9” and CHR KROI, Houston “92.1 Radio Now” for afternoon drive.  Radio One Indianapolis VP and general manager Deon Livingston comments, “We think the vibe of this new show will really resonate in Indianapolis and Houston.”

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Category: Front Page News, Industry News

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