Tag: "AM radio"

Monday, April 29, 2019

| April 29, 2019

Beasley Broadcast Group Q1 Net Revenue Up 4.6%.  The 2019 first quarter financial report from Beasley Broadcast Group includes the acquisition of WXTU, Philadelphia and reveals net revenue of $57.7 million – an increase of 4.6% over the $55.2 million figure from the first quarter of 2018.  The company says the increase “reflects growth in the company’s Philadelphia cluster primarily related to the September 2018 acquisition of WXTU-FM, growth in the company’s Tampa cluster primarily related to the 2018 acquisition of an event company, and revenue growth in three of the company’s other radio markets, partially offset by declines in the remaining markets where the company operates.”  Station operating income rose $0.6 million or 6.2% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019 to $10.2 million.  The year-over-year increase reflects the net revenue growth during the period which more than offset a 4.3% year-over-year rise in station operating expenses related to the company’s expanded platform.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “The ongoing execution of our strategies to expand our scale, diversify our revenue mix and leverage the value of our premium local brands and content continued to serve Beasley well in the first quarter of 2019.  The strength of our station clusters in three of our top five largest revenue markets as well as contributions from recent acquisitions and station swaps resulted in a 4.6% revenue increase and more than offset the $0.8 million year-over-year decline in revenue from our prior relationship with United States Traffic Network, which was discontinued in the third quarter of 2018.  As a result, Beasley’s first quarter net income rose to $1.4 million, we generated a 6.2% year-over-year increase in SOI and generated an overall margin improvement.”

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT:  Sports Talk Radio to be Spotlighted at Forthcoming Talkers Convention.  An examination of sports talk radio will be one of the many highlights planned for the forthcoming Talkers 2019: Telling the Story on Friday, June 7 in New York City.  There will be two significantly pertinent sessions addressing spoken-word radio from the sports talk perspective.  The first will be a one-on-one discussion between two leading influencers in the genre.  Mark Chernoff, SVP programming WFAN/Entercom New York and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio will be in direct conversation with Mike Thomas, program director, WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” and brand manager for spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting.  The introducer/facilitator of this conversation will be nationally syndicated talk generalist Kate Delaney, host of “The Kate Delaney Show” (Genesis Communications Network) and weekend contributor to NBC Sports Radio.  The other major sports talk session featured at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will be a special keynote address delivered by nationally syndicated CBS Sports Radio superstar Jim Rome, titled, “Engaging the Already Informed.”  Rome will address the challenges presented in the modern era of heightened, amplified, and sped up communications – not just in sports talk but in all forms of talk radio – in which the audience already has the basic information about what’s happening news-wise within the genre before the conversation even begins.  Don’t miss these sessions!  The conference is rapidly moving toward being an early sellout. To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and registration/hotel information, please click here.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk radio.  Just 28% of news/talk stations saw their weekly 6+ AQH share increase from February to March, while 51% went down.  Comparing year-over-year ratings, half the stations on our panel were up and half were down, with some notable movement from some of the country’s prominent news/talk outlets.  iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati rose 2.6 shares from March 2018 to March 2019 while Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City and iHM’s WISN, Milwaukee both dropped 2.4 shares year-over-year.  Just two news/talk outlets ranked #1 (6+) in their respective markets in March – Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta and Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5.” See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Monday Memo: Promotion, Now More Than Ever. Consultant Holland Cooke writes in this week’s Monday Memo that too many radio stations don’t spend enough capital promoting themselves.  “One of radio’s enduring and painful ironies is that we sell advertising, but many stations DO none…which advertisers notice.  And, conversely, they view stations that do promote as ‘big,’ and they feel that stations’ off-air promotion supports the schedules we’ve sold them.”  Need reasons why you should be promoting your station?  Read Cooke’s column here.

AM Signals Profiled in Politico Piece. Different people have different opinions about the efficacy of AM radio in the 21st century, but a piece published recently in Politico presents a view of six AM broadcasters who connect with their audience in unique ways that belie their humble AM platforms.  The gist of the story is that there are audiences being served in very important ways via a broadcast technology that many – including a fair number in the radio industry – believe is past its prime.  But the cases illustrated in the piece indicate that for some, the value of the radio station is immeasurable.  Read it here.

Salem Media Group Profiled by The Hollywood Reporter. The piece is written by Jeremy Barr and is titled, “How Salem Is Quietly Becoming a Conservative Media Giant.”  The story quotes several Salem Media Group execs – including SVP Phil Boyce – as it lays out the company’s philosophy of presenting consistently conservative radio programming and digital conservative news and opinion sites that target politically aware and conservative Americans. The company also offers Christian talk and music programming.  SVP of spoken word programming Phil Boyce says the Salem Radio Network’s lineup was created purposefully.  “Every weekday, from 6:00 am ET to midnight, Salem broadcasts talk radio programming that fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. There is a linkage between all of the shows and while not all stations take our entire lineup, all of them could and you would not get tired of it.”  Read the whole piece here.

Lynn Woolley Show Returns to the Air in Central Texas. Longtime, Texas-based radio talk show host Lynn Woolley is going back on the air in Central Texas.  Via a deal with M&M Broadcasters, the Lynn Woolley show will be heard on sports talk outlets KLRK-AM/K257GO, Waco and KTON-AM/K230CH, Killeen-Temple-Belton, beginning on May 6.  Woolley has broadcast from studios in Temple for the past 23 years but the show will re-locate to Waco and will air live from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  He says, “I could not be happier to work with some of the biggest names in Central Texas radio.  David Smoak is a nationally known sportscaster and the voice of the Baylor Bears. John Morris also broadcasts with M&M. I’m a Longhorn by nature, but I can guarantee that at least 10 times each season, I’ll be pulling for the Bears!”

Galaxy Media Appoints Dana Loucks CFO.  Taking over as the chief financial officer for Galaxy Media is Dana Loucks.   Galaxy president and CEO Ed Levine says Loucks will assume the CFO duties on May 14.  “We got to know Dana some years back as he was our banker for a period of time.  His tremendous knowledge of finance combined with a wonderful personality made him my first and only choice to succeed our great CFO Mike Lucarelli who is retiring.”  Loucks says, “I am truly looking forward to working with Ed and the rest of the progressive team at Galaxy Media.  Their longstanding commitment to quality in all areas of the business is a testament to the team’s dedication and work ethic. I am excited for the opportunity to join them and contribute to Galaxy’s continued success.”

TALKERS News Notes. The New York State Broadcasters Association announces the winners of its Excellence in Broadcasting awards for 2019.  In the large market category, WABC, New York’s “Bernie & Sid in the Morning” takes home the Outstanding Morning Show award.   In the medium market category, WHAM, Rochester was honored with the Outstanding Newscast award…..Sun Broadcast Group announces that it is handling syndication of “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis.”  The program has been syndicated by Premiere Networks and it’s unclear from the SBG press release if Premiere is out of the picture and SBG is handling ad sales as well as affiliate sales.  Lewis is quoted saying, “We are so thrilled to partner with Sun Broadcast Group.  This is such a great opportunity for our format to reach new audiences. We have something for everybody no matter what you believe in.  We can’t wait to see what Jason Bailey and his team can do with our show and bring it to the next level. The support and dedication we have received from SBG so far has been incredible.”…..Texas Radio Hall of Famer Roger Emrich died on Saturday (4/27) after suffering a heart attack last week.  The 62-year-old broadcasters was a regular personality on KRLD-AM and the Texas State Network.  Emrich was also the stadium announcer for AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Mueller Report Release Aftermath, 2020 Presidential Politics, Trump’s Wisconsin Rally, California Synagogue Attack, Southern Border Crisis, Game of Thrones, Avengers: Endgame Movie, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The response to the release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and the politics surrounding the election; President Trump’s rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Saturday; the deadly attack at a California synagogue; the state of the migrant influx at the U.S.-Mexico border; Sunday night’s episode of “Game of Thrones”; the new Marvel Comics film Avengers: Endgame; the NBA playoffs; 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Seattle, Jon Manley exits Entercom’s alternative KNDD “107.7 The End” where he’d been serving as APD, music director, and afternoon personality for the past five years…..Producer JP Allen joins Entercom’s country KMLE, Phoenix as producer for the “Maria & Chad” morning drive show. Allen has been with the company’s WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94.1” producing the “Jeff and Jenn” show…..Entercom alternative outlet KROQ, Los Angeles reveals the lineup for this year’s 27th annual “KROQ Weenie Roast.”  As the event moves to Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, California on Saturday, June 8, it will feature: The Lumineers, 311, Silversun Pickups, The Revivalists, Catfish and the Bottlemen, X Ambassadors, Flora Cash, Smith & Thell, and The Regrettes.  Entercom Los Angeles SVP Jeff Federman says, “We’ve always believed ‘Weenie Roast’ belonged on the beach and we are thrilled that after 27 years we are finally able to dig our feet in the sand.  We look forward to entertaining our listeners with this amazing lineup featuring some of their favorite artists that they hear on KROQ.”

AM Radio: Stop the Doomsday Machine!

| June 6, 2017

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
CEO

 

NEW YORK — It is hard to overstate how much I love radio and believe in its future.  This article suggests a necessary, urgent corrective action that must be taken to give AM talk radio a viable future.

First, my credentials for making this case:  Starting in 1990, I launched a large number of major market FM talk stations such as “New Jersey 101.5,” KLSX-FM in Los Angeles and “Real Radio 104” in Orlando. Simultaneously I consulted WOR, WIOD, WRKO, WISN and many others. For eight years, from pre-launch, I was the on-site consultant that built out all Sirius Satellite radio channels, music and talk.  Prior to that I was the VP/GM of the ABC Radio Networks. EVP in charge of the NBC FM stations where adult contemporary was created and perfected.  History shows that most successful media companies are product-driven.  The wrong product results in failure.

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

| June 6, 2017

Sabo: AM Radio – Stop the Doomsday Machine! Consultant Walter Sabo writes today that he strongly believes in the future of radio.  But, he says, if all you put on your talk radio station is political talk, then you “wallow in a 1 share or are rushing toward a 1 share. Or worse…Admission is the key.  First, admit that it’s not working.  It’s not working.  I am puzzled by companies that would clean house if a music station hit a 1 share, but fail to take action with talk stations that have a 1 share – or worse.”  Read more from Walter Sabo here.

John Williams Says Goodbye to WCCO-AM, Minneapolis. Back in January, WGN, Chicago announced that it was bringing talk show host John Williams back to the station on a full-time basis – hosting the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show – and at the same time, Williams announced he’d be leaving CBS RADIO’s WCCO and relocate from the Twin Cities back to Chicago.  On Friday (6/2), Williams hosted his last program on WCCO.  Since then, he’d been hosting both shows from Minneapolis.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that WCCO is not ready to announce its new PM drive host.  Station operations manager Lindsey Peterson tells the paper that Jordana Green and Mike Max will host on an interim basis but that the station is close to signing a permanent replacement.

New Format Receives Praise at 20th Annual TALKERS Convention in NYC.  The 20th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention took place Friday (6/2) in the Chelsea district of Manhattan and it fulfilled its promise to continue its tradition of being a power-packed, valuable, one-day experience for its attendees.  More than 55 industry leaders from the ranks of ownership, management, programming, sales, technology and talent comprised a roster of speakers addressing the most pertinent issues facing talk professionals in 2017.  These included the complexities of news/talk programming in the era of Trump, capitalizing on podcasting at the local level, opportunities for talent in the current environment, selling radio outside the ratings, achieving an effective multi-platform balance, operating a professional broadcasting career in the perplexing age of increased consolidation against a backdrop of looming bankruptcy, engaging millennials, applying the latest technology and much more.  The major annual TALKERS awards were presented at the event.  (See details in yesterday’s story lower on this page.)  This year’s convention launched a new approach that scrapped the old, long-form panel format in favor of short solo presentations, fireside chat interviews and the new “one-on-one” dialogue approach.  Discussing the new style, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey says, “We created a new, fast-paced approach to the conference and it worked very well – feedback has been extremely positive!”  The entire convention was video recorded and will be featured here on Talkers.com shortly.  Stay tuned for more story and photo coverage in the days ahead.  Meanwhile, below are some more photos from the event.

Norm Pattiz (l) and Dan Mason (r) point to their headshots peeking through the portholes in the theater doors on W. 26th Street at Talkers 2017: A New Era.

Talkers 2017 was attended by a large number of young broadcasters and college radio students.  Hofstra University’s WRHU operations manager John T. Mullen (l) and Hillsdale College’s WRFH general manager Scot Bertram (r) participate in a one-on-one discussion, “Where Does Talk Media Go From Here?”  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

SiriusXM Satellite Radio host and advisor Karen Hunter served as a “one-on-one” session facilitator at Talkers 2017.  Photo by Don Hurley.

iHeartMedia programming executive Grace Blazer (l) and WPHT, Philadelphia host Dom Giordano (r) discuss the nuts and bolts of today’s industry. Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

SiriusXM VP/GM talk programming Dave Gorab addresses convention. Photo by Don Hurley.

Talent agent Heather Cohen (l) and Fox News star Brian Kilmeade (r) tackle the future direction of talk media.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison

WMAL host Larry O’ Connor delivering welcoming remarks.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

David Bernstein (l) and Dr. Asa (r) discussing ratings and revenue.  Photo by Don Hurley.

Jim Bohannon paying tribute to Dr. Joy Browne, Alan Colmes and Tom Marr.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

Talk radio mavericks Tom Leykis (l) and Michael Berry (r) talk about the new digital era.  Photo by Matthew B. Harrison.

More Talkers 2017 coverage and photos coming tomorrow.

George Noory and Premiere Networks Extend Relationship. The host of Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” signs an exclusive, long-term agreement to continue hosting the overnight radio show.  George Noory assumed hosting duties on the program back in 2003.  He says, “I’m excited to carry the torch for years to come.  I want to thank the incredible team at Premiere and my amazing show staff, who have been with me since this remarkable journey started.”  Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott comments, “I’m continually amazed by the dedication and passion George has for ‘Coast to Coast AM’ and his audience.  George is the driving force behind the show’s continued success and we’re proud to extend our partnership.”

KXTG, Portland Unveils New Late Morning Show with Justin Myers and DeVon Pouncey. A day after announcing the addition of Dino Costa to the lineup as afternoon drive host, Alpha Media Portland unveils its new late morning show co-hosted by former afternoon co-host Justin Myers and former Pacific University basketball star DeVon Pouncey.  Myers – who worked at KIRO-AM, Seattle prior to joining KXTG, Portland – was partnered with Noah “Chop” Homsley for “The Irregular Guys” afternoon show back in February.  With the demise of that show, Homsley stays on as Dino Costa’s executive producer and as APD for the station.  Alpha Media Portland operations manager Bruce Collins says, “Alpha Media has shown once again that it believes in being live and local and is committed to winning across the country.”

Sacramento River Cats Using Skyview’s AdView Software to Manage Game Broadcast Inventory. The San Francisco Giants AAA affiliate Sacramento River Cats are using Skyview Networks’ AdView Inventory Management software for its play-by-play broadcasts.  Under the terms of a multi-year deal, the club will take advantage of the inventory management system’s web-based application.  Skyview says, “The value in AdView lies in the absolute control it provides for scheduling advertisers, which is tailored to manage and monetize the unpredictable game interruptions of play-by-play sports.  With the capability to manage their broadcast, the River Cats benefit from scheduling flexibility and faster affidavit turnaround to sponsors.”  Skyview says its AdView system was developed specifically for sports franchises to make inventory accessible and easier to manage in-house.  Clients have access to advertiser contracts, logs and reports from any internet-enabled device.  Built to manage all forms of inventory, it tracks broadcast, print, signage and digital.  This provides the traffic manager and front office a panoramic view into the inventory sellout and revenue in one consolidated system.  For more information on Skyview Networks and its full package of broadcast solutions, visit skyviewnetworks.com.

Hall Talk 2017.  Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today about his chats in the halls with fellow sales pros at the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era conference in New York City.  Not surprisingly, one of the hot topics was the growth of on-demand talk programs and how to best monetize them.  Read Herskovitz’s column here.

TALKERS News Notes. Thursday, Salem Radio Network’s 24/7 SRN News service is providing live coverage of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee testimony from former FBI Director James Comey.  SRN News says it will provide longform, live, gavel-to-gavel coverage starting at 10:00 am ET, anchored by SRN News Senate correspondent Linda Kenyon.  Additionally, SRN White House correspondent Greg Clugston will provide live updates and perspective from the White House during the hearings…..CRN Digital Talk Radio welcomes former “Magnum, P.I.” star and his wife back to the network to host “The Lounge with Larry and Nancy Manetti.”  The one-hour show premieres today (6/6) on the network’s CRN 1 channel…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington was honored over the weekend with 19 Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards, including for Outstanding News Operation and the award for Best Website for WTOP.com.  WTOP director of news and programming Mike McMearty says, “We were truly humbled this year.  From multimedia, to editorial and sports, to so much more, these awards are a tribute to the hard work of our staff.  We take great pleasure in serving our listeners, our readers, and our community.”…..Sports USA announces the first couple of weeks of NFL Sunday doubleheaders it will be offering to affiliate stations.  It will begin the 2017 season presenting the Bears vs Falcons game on September 10.  SportsUSA says it will announce the season’s games several weeks ahead of each Sunday’s offerings…..When the Los Angeles Chargers kick off their season, Matt “Money” Smith will partner with Nick Hardwick for radio play-by-play duties on the team’s new flagship station, iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles.  Smith replaces Josh Lewin…..SiriusXM is launching the Tracy Anderson show on its Stars channel.  The fitness pioneer and wellness expert will host her limited-run show beginning on June 19.

Trump Travel Ban, London Terror Attacks Aftermath, Looming Comey Testimony/Russian Hacking Investigation, NSA Contractor Arrested, Paris Climate Accord Exit, Bill Cosby Trial, ‘Pink Slime’ Trial, Orlando Workplace Slayings, MLB Action, and NBA-NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/5). President Donald Trump’s tweets about the courts’ and the DOJ’s treatment of his travel ban; Britain’s releases about those responsible for the London terror attacks and speculation about the attack’s effects on Thursday’s general elections; Thursday’s senate testimony from former FBI Director James Comey and the Russian election hacking issue; National Security Administration contractor Reality Leigh Winner is arrested for leaking classified information to the press; President Trump’s decision to take the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Accord; the sexual assault trial of Bill Cosby begins; Beef Products Inc.’s defamation suit against ABC News over its ‘pink slime’ report; the killing of five awning company employees by an ex-staffer in Orlando; MLB action; and NBA and NHL finals action 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. Air personality Jimmy Phillips joins LM Communications’ Lexington, Kentucky hot AC WCDA “Your 106.3” to co-host the “Mandy in the Morning” show with Mandy Williamson.  Phillips will also serve as assistant program director.  Previously, Phillips and Williamson worked together at Magic Broadcasting II’s WILN, Panama City, Florida…..At the iHeartRadio station group in Sioux City, Iowa, general manager and market president Kelli Erickson exits…..SiriusXM is bringing celebrity DJs in to host Friday programs on its new Beatles channel.  Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder will host the first guest DJ session on Friday, June 9 at 5:00 pm ET.  Don Henley will guest on June 23, Ron Howard on July 14, and Billy Joel July 28.

Corpse Blinks: AM Radio Isn’t Dead

| December 8, 2016

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

kinosian-2radioLOS ANGELES — There’s simply nothing groundbreaking about naysayers writing an obituary for AM radio.

This facet of the medium was supposed to be killed years ago by television and FM, or most recently by satellite radio, the internet, or time in general.

Many who claim AM radio has already passed away also choose to believe that all of terrestrial radio is a ghost or soon will be, but that’s another story entirely.

It would be ridiculous to the point of one existing in extreme denial and/or total lunacy to foolishly proclaim AM radio has never been in better shape, but at the same time, despite its plethora of detractors – the AM band is not in the morgue just yet, either.

An AM radio-geared item that appeared in yesterday’s TALKERS (Wednesday, 12/7) struck a nerve.

Quoting from the TALKERS story, “The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council is presenting what it calls 12 imperatives to the Trump Administration that ‘address the persistent challenges in closing the digital divide, and advancing multicultural commercial ownership opportunities to create voices and participation in the telecommunications industry.’ Of those 12 imperatives, #12 is ‘Create a Glide Path for the Short-Term Survival and Long-Term Humane Decommissioning of the AM Band in a Manner that Preserves Minority Ownership.’ It states, in part, that the FCC’s future policies ‘should facilitate the preservation of AM radio’s program services when the AM band disappears.’”

A link was provided that included the 12 imperatives and two lines, in particular, jumped out (just as the last five words above did): “AM listenership is on a steep decline, and AM radio stations are feeling the brunt of it. Realistically, AM may disappear in 30 years or less.”

That could very well be the case, although we might note that roughly 30 years ago, AM Stereo was being called the only salvation for AM operators. There are some rare exceptions (see below) but music on AM radio generally did not make it, whereas spoken-word on that band continues to be viable in many markets as we head into 2017.

As far as the revenue side is concerned, according to BIA/Kelsey, four of radio’s top ten 2015 billing properties were AM stations. They are CBS Radio New York all-news WCBS-AM (#5, $45 million); co-owned, similarly-formatted WBBM-AM, Chicago (#6, $43.8 million); all-news New York sibling WINS (#9, $39.5 million); and iHeartMedia talker KFI, Los Angeles (#10, $37.8 million).

It is true the aforementioned stations are from the top three markets, but at the same time, AM stations do in fact comprise 40% of the top ten list of the country’s highest billers.

Extremely curious to see the true temperature of AM radio, we isolated stations that finished in the top 15 in all 48 Nielsen Audio PPM-markets KFI (November 2016, 6+).

Results appear below and it’s a pretty healthy list, with the lone hard-and-fast rule being only Nielsen Audio subscribers are allowed to be in print.

It should also be noted that some of these AM stations have an FM partner, but in all cases, the primary Nielsen Audio ratings listing is the AM.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

| October 13, 2014

herskovitz_newBones 150TV’s “Bones” Episode Takes Shot at Conservative News/Talk Radio. The cry keeps emanating from the media world and beyond.  “Radio is dying or is already dead!” Particularly AM talk radio. Then a question comes to mind. If the format is dead then why does a prime time, long-running, TV hour crime drama devote the theme of one of its shows to the murder of an AM radio conservative, talk show host? Did any of you watch this past Thursday night’s (10/9) episode of “Bones?” It was titled, “The Purging of the Pundit.”  If you haven’t ever seen the program, the theme of the entire series is simply about a female scientist who appraises the remains of murder victims and partners with her FBI agent husband to solve the crimes. In this particular episode the victim was an AM radio conservative talk show host who was named “Hutch.”  They also portrayed him as overweight and, for a little extra spice and color, a sadomasochist in the thrall of a dominatrix.  In an opinion piece posted today (10/13) in TALKERS, H&H Communications president and radio marketing maven Al Herskovitz writes, “Unless I’m suffering from serious paranoia, most of the elements including the name, with some slight exceptions, minor exaggerations and a few twists, strike me as a barely-veiled description of someone in our business with whom we all are familiar. It’s hard to believe the medium — AM radio — troubles the TV producers to that degree. The only logical conclusion is they object to the talk host’s political positions and find this a way to use their program to get out their message while still keeping it under the umbrella of entertainment. Or perhaps, they are simply trying to appeal to what they assume are the predisposed beliefs of their target viewership and shamelessly illustrating (and amplifying) a nasty caricature based on a stereotype. There are numerous conclusions for us that can be drawn from this. But here’s one really important one.  Don’t sell short your format. Talk radio continues to make major impact on our society.  Obviously it has some TV producers concerned.”  To read Herskovitz’s entire article, please click here.

cassell russWord 106Greenville Remembers Russ Cassell.  Entercom Greenville, South Carolina-owned WYRD “WORD 106.3” 8:00 am – 12:00 noon talk show host Russ Cassell passed away over the weekend. The 60-year-old Cassell reportedly suffered a massive heart attack at his home Saturday morning (10/11) and could not be revived; he had been with WYRD the past 20 years. Entercom Greenville vice president and general manager Steve Sinicropi comments, “The passing of Russ Cassell is a sad day for his family, our Entercom family, and his listeners. His passion was his radio program on ‘WORD 106.3.’ Cassell was a well-respected professional. He was a radio giant and it is difficult to express how much he will be missed.” Operations manager Bob McLain remarks, “There are some radio personalities who are larger than life – that was Cassell. He was passionate about what he believed, and he was dedicated to keeping people informed. He was a brilliant and very talented radio host and a personal friend. His loss will be greatly felt by all of us in the ‘WORD’ family, those who worked with him, and those who listened to him.” Salem Radio Network vice president of news and talk programming Tom Tradup oversees programming on Greenville’s WGTK and states of Cassell, “He was a tough competitor, but beloved throughout the upstate of South Carolina. All of us at ‘Conservative Talk 94.5′ have Russ’ family and Entercom colleagues in our prayers.” One listener comments on the station’s website that, “Russ Cassell was famous for saying ‘Know what you believe and why you believe it.'” Another writes, “His convictions were strong, but his compassion for humanity was stronger.” WFBC AM & FM, Greenville hired Cassell in December 1980 to do afternoons and color analysis for Clemson University football broadcasts. Six months later, he was promoted to morning drive. Cassell eventually became program director, music director, sales manager, and station manager. McLain hosted a WYRD memorial show for Cassell Saturday (10/11) at 6:00 pm. The station will continue paying tribute to Cassell all this week during what was his customary 8:00 am – 12:00 noon air-shift.

Nielsen TV (150)Nielsen Knew of TV Ratings Errors. In a story, which at the very least, is bound to raise some eyebrows in the radio industry, Nielsen last Friday (10/10) acknowledged that it had been reporting inaccurate television ratings for the last seven months. In a Friday conference call with reporters, however, Nielsen executives Pat McDonough and Steve Hasker downplayed viewer discrepancies, saying they fell between .1% – .25% of viewing totals. They repeatedly indicated incorrect ratings fell “well within the tolerance of statistical error.” Nielsen said it discovered a software flaw and traced it back to March. Inaccuracies, of course, could affect billions of advertising dollars based on the research company’s rating stats. WPP‘s GroupM is the world’s largest media buying group. A managing partner in charge of research there, Lyle Schwartz, tells The New York Times, “You look at Nielsen as the gold standard for currency. When you introduce these errors on systems that were working fine in the past, you start looking at the numbers a little bit closer to see if there is anything else occurring that we haven’t identified yet.” Nielsen execs say any changes in numbers or program rankings would be corrected when the company issues new TV ratings today (Monday, 10/13).

ppm (3)kinosianmikePPM Analysis: News.  In several thorough breakouts, TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian scrutinizes Nielsen Audio September PPM data for all-news outlets. Follow each news station’s trends for the last six monthly ratings sweeps and see how the format fares in terms of market share and market rank (6+). In addition, each all-news outlet’s year-to-year, as well as month-to-month performance is tracked. Mike Kinosian’s entire analysis can be viewed by clicking here.

white davidSAG-AFTRA Logo (2)SAG-AFTRA’s White Gains Four-Year Extension. SAG-AFTRA national executive director David White received a four-year contract extension yesterday (Sunday, 10/12). White comments, “This job presents new challenges every day and I am thrilled to continue in my role at SAG-AFTRA. It is an honor to represent SAG-AFTRA members and I look forward to continuing the great work we have accomplished to date.” Along with union president Ken Howard, White was a lead negotiator on the recent primetime television and feature film deal. White was a candidate for a similar position with the National Basketball Association this spring.

Paul Totella and his mother 250Will You Wear My Pin?  One of the most dynamic broadcasters association presidents in America, New Jersey Broadcasters Association (NJBA) president Paul Rotella appoints noted presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin an honorary NJBA member. Seen here Rotella is pinning the coveted NJBA membership pin on Goodwin during a reception following her recent lecture at the New Jersey City University in Jersey City, and Paul’s mom, Jean Rotella, looks on along with NJ Chamber’s Ray Zardetto.  The lecture series is a part of New Jersey’s year-long 350th birthday celebration.

WSOY Community Food DriveDecatur’s WSOY Sets Benchmark Accomplishment. Although the stated goal of WSOY, Decatur, Illinois’ 12-hour “Community Food Drive” was 825,000 pounds of food,the Neuhoff Media talker looked to have the 13th annual event reach an even loftier, unanticipated objective of one million pounds. The event’s host – and one of its co-creators – Brian Byers admits, “I worry each year if we can make our set goal. Each year, I am grateful that we can reach what we set, but once I heard that we had a shot to hit one million [pounds], I knew we had to get there. It would not have sat well with me all year knowing we got so close [without reaching] it. We set high goals for ourselves. It is not the size of the community that should dictate what we can or cannot do – it is the generosity of the people. What we have in Decatur is unmatched anywhere.” The Salvation Army is one of the drive’s largest beneficiaries and three-year captain Wes Dalberg comments, “We see an increase in traffic through the Salvation Army each year, yet somehow, this community comes together and raises more and more donations – it really is amazing.” The WSOY food drive wrapped up last Friday (10/10) at 6:30 pm with 1,039,593 pounds of food as the final (record-setting) total. Monetary donations matched nearly one-third of what was collected during the combined sum of the station’s previous 12 food drives.

PeterKingIthacaRadio_1014 A Visit to Historic Ithaca. Well-known CBS Radio news correspondent Peter King (not to be confused with the sports guy) recently visited Cayuga Radio Group Ithaca, New York affiliate WHCU AM & FM. The station is included in “Ithaca Radio,” King’s just-published book he co-authored with his brother Rick Sommers. “Ithaca Radio” (Arcadia Publishing) contains many historical photographs from four legendary stations, including a 1940’s-era shot of legendary CBS News correspondent Edward R. Murrow at a WHCU microphone. Left to right are WHCU news director Greg Fry, co-author Rick Sommers, King, and WHCU morning host Lee Rayburn.

Giants Of BroadcastingTen “Giants of Broadcasting” Honorees Announced. The Library of American Broadcasting‘s 12th annual “Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts” event will be held this Thursday (10/16). Honorees include Spanish Broadcasting System founder and chairman Pablo Raul Alarcon Sr.; SBS president Raul Alarcon Jr.; television producer/director David Barrett; “PBS NewsHour” co-anchor and co-managing director Gwen Ifill; talk show icon Regis Philbin; longtime New York City television anchor Chuck Scarborough; noted television programmer Fred Silverman; Greater Media chairman and chief executive officer Peter Smyth; a special tribute to Sylvester L. “Pat” Weaver; and “PBS NewsHour” co-anchor and co-managing director Judy Woodruff. Hubbard Radio president Virginia Hubbard Morris chairs the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation, which created the Library of American Broadcasting – located at the University of Maryland. Donald West chairs the Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts awards program.

Man and MeatVenison for Dinner.  During the week, Lars Larson is a mild-mannered conservative talk show host on the air six hours a day on two shows.  One is heard regionally in the Northwest on a network of 17 affiliates emanating from Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL, Portland; the other is nationally syndicated across the country on more than 100 affiliates by Compass Media Networks.  On the weekends, Larson morphs into a rugged outdoorsman, taking on the untamed forests and natural wilderness of Eastern Oregon, braving encounters with wild beasts, and hunting for food to feed his family.  This photo was taken this Saturday morning (10/11) as the proud champion of the Second Amendment displays his latest conquest felled at 450 yards with a Nosler rifle and .270 wsm shell.

FCCIndefinite Extension Proposed to LPTV Digital Deadline. The FCC last Friday (10/10) released a Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on the issue of analog low power and translator TV stations. The Commission suggests extending indefinitely the present September 1, 2015 deadline for those stations to switch to digital transmission. Broadening the cut-off date would give new life for Channel 6 analog television stations that basically function as FMs, given that channel 6 audio is receivable on FM (at 87.75). The docket – open for comment 30 days after publication in the Federal Register – proposes LPTV and translator channel-sharing in the manner being proposed for full-power digital stations; creation of a new digital-to-digital replacement translator service; and elimination of the analog tuner requirement.

The Big Questions for Radio Broadcasters

| September 23, 2014

Perhaps we should focus what we are good at and that the public still wants and needs

By Bill McMahon
The Authentic Personality
CEO

mcmahonbillEAGLE, Idaho — What business are you in? Does your business have a future? These seem like fundamental questions radio broadcasters should be asking themselves right now.

Time spent listening to your AM and FM radio stations is declining precipitously each year. This is particularly true among young people. They’ve grown up in a world of visual stimuli and conditioning addicted to “screens.” They love music, but have minimal attraction to or experience with AM and FM radio. Advertising revenue for AM and FM radio is flat to declining.

There are shiny new high-tech competitors everywhere. Mobile phones and the internet are sucking up massive amounts of consumer time and attention. Pandora, Spotify, YouTube, and other services and apps offer continuous music customized to listeners moods and tastes as well as individual songs on demand. This competition is becoming widely available and easily accessible in cars where the majority of AM and FM radio is consumed.

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Solutions to AM Radio’s Problems: Here’s How the Industry Can Revive AM and Make it a Viable Force Again

| September 3, 2014

By Bill Brady
Futures & Options, Inc.
President/CEO


bradybill
JUPITER, FL — There is nothing fundamentally wrong with AM radio.

AM stations that offer quality programming that effectively serve listener’s needs are doing just fine.  There is no problem at WLW, WTMJ, KNBR, the CBS all news stations and many other well-programmed AM stations.

There is a problem at the many stations which have “run up the white flag” and surrendered to paid programming, wall-to-wall syndication, religion, or my personal favorite…drumroll please…the irresistible opportunity to become the fifth sports station in their market.

The two biggest issues for AM radio today are the commitment level of corporate owners, and the congealed nature of the syndication marketplace.

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AM Radio is the Future of Radio!

| August 28, 2014

By Susan Nilon
WSRQ, Sarasota
Owner/General Manager

 

nilon susanSARASOTA — Time and time again, the question is asked, “What does the future hold for AM radio?”  Articles are written with predictions of AM’s demise due to the lack of interest of the “Millennials,” or how the internet and satellite radio will make it almost impossible for AM to compete in such a fickle industry.  While these predictions seem to make sense to the untrained ear, it reminds me of a time several decades earlier when experts attributed the demise of movie theaters due to the advent of the video cassette recorder.  Or the slow death of vinyl records, due to the portability and popularity of the compact disc.  Well, here we are 30 years later, and the US and Canada box office revenue in 2013 was $10.9 billion with 68% of the population in attendance and “vinyl sales hit their highest level since at least 1991, with six million units sold” according to industry data.  While it’s fun and sometimes smart to try to predict the future, if these “predictions” impact the decision makers of this industry by encouraging them to enter into a self-fulfilling prophecy of AM radio, then they are not only short-sighted, but are foolish as well.

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AM Radio — What Do We Do About It?

| August 20, 2014

By Bill Brady
Futures & Options, Inc.
President/CEO

 

bradybillJUPITER, FL — No entity has suffered more from the disastrous effects of radio consolidation than AM radio.  No format has suffered more than news/talk.  The fates of both are intertwined.

News/talk isn’t just a different format, it’s a different business.  News/talk stations used to be stand-alone operations managed by broadcasters who nurtured and cared for them.  They were sold by dedicated sales teams who knew well the format’s ability to bring customers through their client’s doors.

With the dawn of consolidation, news/talk stations suddenly found themselves in big station clusters with managers who were preoccupied with their other stations.  Often, these were music station GMs without news/talk backgrounds — and they weren’t at all prepared for the cranky, petulant, expense-laden news/talk AMs they were suddenly forced to deal with.

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To Beat the Devil

| September 23, 2013

By Al Herskovitz
H&H Communications
President

 

BRADENTON, Fla — With cries of woe, beating of breasts and the rending of garments, radio sales reps are responding to the mournful tune being sung by predictors of the medium’s imminent demise.  It is the same song we heard many, many years ago with the emergence of television.  “It’s all over for radio,” they wailed.  “Nobody’s going to listen to the radio anymore when they can watch TV.”  But sharp management, innovative programmers, and clever promotion beat that notion into the ground.

We heard that tune again with the FM explosion.  “Nobody’s going to listen to AM radio anymore when they have FM.”  Then talk radio expanded across the AM band to such a degree that national leaders, columnists and commentators, public figures go bonkers when a program host says something that they deem controversial or are against something they said or did.  Only today as I write this I read a column in a major metropolitan daily that railed against Rush Limbaugh.  If nobody is listening, what are they worried about?  After all he’s just a talk show host on AM radio.

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