Tag: "Beasley Broadcast Group"

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

| February 18, 2020

Beasley Broadcast Group 2019 Q4 Net Revenue Dips 4.6%; Full Year Net Revenue Up 1.6%.  In reporting 2019 fourth quarter financial results, Beasley Broadcast Group states that “the $3.5 million, or 4.6%, year-over-year decrease in net revenue during the three months ended December 31, 2019 reflects the cyclical impact of strong political advertising revenue recorded in the prior year period, partially offset by fourth quarter 2019 revenue increases in six of the company’s market clusters.”  The decrease in operating income in Q4 reflects “the year-over-year decrease in station operating income, in addition to higher corporate expenses related to digital growth investments and a $12.4 million non-cash impairment charge related to Beasley’s AM stations in Boca Raton and Atlanta and a $1.3 million impairment loss on an investment, partially offset by a $17.1 million gain from land and tower sales during the period.”  Net revenue for all of 2019 was $261.1 million, an increase of 1.6% over 2018.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Fiscal year 2019 was an active and productive period for Beasley as we continued to make significant progress rolling out our digital expansion and transformation initiatives across the company, while advancing our revenue diversification strategies and actively managing our local radio platform to drive long-term SOI growth and margin expansion. Beasley’s fourth quarter net revenue decline of $3.5 million primarily reflects a $2.8 million reduction in political advertising revenue compared to the prior year period. While we were not able to fully offset the cyclical impact of political revenue, the fourth quarter radio advertising environment remained healthy with six of our markets generating year-over-year revenue increases.  By opportunistically divesting several non-core land and tower assets in 2019, Beasley generated a 31% increase in full year free cash flow over the prior year period, which enabled us to complete several strategic growth and diversification investments in our broadcast, digital, technology and esports platforms throughout the year.  Our fourth quarter results highlight the value we have begun extracting from our digital transformation strategy investments.  In the fourth quarter, Beasley generated digital revenue growth of approximately 44% on a year-over-year basis, with digital now accounting for 9.2% of total revenue, compared to 6.1% of total revenue in the prior year period.  With our focus on quality content production and consumer engagement, we are growing audience share across our digital platforms while delivering multi-platform turnkey marketing solutions to advertisers and brands. Overall, we are pleased with the momentum and trajectory of our digital initiatives and look forward to this growth trend continuing in 2020.”

Jim Louth Rises to APD at Boston’s ‘98.5 The Sports Hub.’ Eleven-year station programming staffer Jim Louth is promoted from midday show executive producer to assistant program director at Beasley Media Group’s sports talker WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  During his career, Louth produced New England Patriots broadcasts for 16 seasons, spent six years as a producer at sports talk WSKO-AM, Providence “790 The Score,” and two years at ESPN in Bristol.  The APD position opened after Rick Radzik was promoted to program director following Mike Thomas’ departure for WMVP-AM, Chicago “ESPN 1000.”  Radzik says, “Jim has been with the station since day one.  He’s done a great job, not only producing our midday programming, but also overseeing our New England Patriots game day broadcasts over the past decade.  His institutional knowledge of the Sports Hub’s operation and relationships with the staff make Jim the perfect choice for the APD position.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new report from marketing firm Claritas and sales force Market Enginuity concludes that “podcast advertising campaigns result in an average 10 times lift relative to print, digital, and TV.”  The white paper reports that “new marketing tools are allowing advertisers and marketers to gain deeper insights into the effectiveness of podcast channels.  In November 2018, Claritas acquired the omni-channel attribution platform Barometric and has since collected and reported on campaign results across more than 100 advertisers, which drove a deeper analysis in the channel’s effectiveness as compared to non-podcast channels.  This analysis, across industries such as consumer packaged goods, automotive, direct brands, finance and insurance, shows that while non-podcast channels historically result in a 2.6% lift in conversions – with common channels such as digital display at 1.1% lift, print at 2.4% and linear TV at 3.1% – podcast channels are driving 34% lift on average.”  See more here…..Cadence13 announces an exclusive partnership with The Dolan Twins – brothers Ethan and Grayson Dolan – for the launch of their first-ever podcast, “Deeper with The Dolan Twins.”  The Dolan Twins have a combined following of over fifty million followers across all platforms, have won five Teen Choice Awards in three years, and earned a spot on Time magazine’s list of Most Influential Teens.  The weekly podcast debuts on Tuesday, February 25…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News has once again won the Golden Mike Award from the Southern California Radio Television News Association.  Pictured at right is Los Angeles-based correspondent Jim Roope, who traveled to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.  This is the fifth consecutive year that Westwood One News and Roope have won the Golden Mike award.

Presidential Race, Covid-19 Pandemic/Locust Plague, DOJ Contoversy, Boy Scouts File for Bankruptcy, and U.S. vs Huawei Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/17). The Democrats battling to take on President Trump in November and tomorrow night’s debate in Las Vegas; the coronavirus pandemic and the locust plague that affected East Africa moves to China; the controversy over Attorney General William Barr’s administration of the Justice Department and accusations it’s reducing Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation under pressure from President Trump; under financial pressure from sex abuse lawsuits, the Boy Scouts of America files for bankruptcy; and the U.S.’s battle against China’s Huawei over its 5G platform were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Girls Night Out.  A great conversation between longtime radio pals took place along the waterway in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida as Compass Media Networks senior director of news/talk affiliate sales Susan O’Connell visited TALKERS South during her travels through the Sunshine State.  Pictured (l-r): Former ABC Radio Networks executive Gloria Briggs, O’ Connell, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, and author/professor, Bernadette Duncan.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Detroit’s “Mojo in the Morning” show is celebrating its 20th anniversary at iHeartMedia’s WKQI “Channel 955” with a special broadcast on Friday (2/21). The program, hosted by Mojo and Spike with co-host Shannon, will be broadcast live on WKQI as well as sister stations WSNX, Muskegon, Michigan and WVKS-FM, Toledo “92.5 KISS-FM.”  Also appearing on the special broadcast will be original cast members Sara Fouracre, Chad Mitchell, and Eric Harthen.  iHeartMedia Detroit SVP of programming Tony Travatto says, “‘Mojo in the Morning’ is the Mount Rushmore of Detroit radio.  The talented cast and show are continually striving to do bigger and better things than before and have evolved over the years to connect even more with the Detroit community.  ‘Mojo in the Morning’ is one of the most accessible, cutting-edge, and successful shows in Detroit and we’re honored to have it on our program lineup.”

Friday, November 15, 2019

| November 15, 2019

Phil Zachary Exits DC Market Manager Role with Entercom. A surprise move at Entercom’s Washington, DC station group takes place with Phil Zachary leaving the SVP/market manager role and stepping into a “corporate role” involving “special projects.”  Zachary had been in DC for 20 months.  He moved there from Entercom’s Hartford cluster in May of 2018, five years after joining Entercom Boston from his president/COO post with Curtis Media Group in Raleigh.  Zachary took over for Steve Swenson at Entercom Washington.  The company has not named a successor for the DC market manager position.

Beasley Acquires Houston Outlaws Esports Franchise. The financial details of this deal were not released but Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. says this acquisition of the Overwatch League’s Houston Outlaws esports team enhances the company’s growing esports platform.  Previously, Beasley invested in Team Renegades – an esports organization consisting of five teams, based in Detroit, Michigan – and acquired CheckpointXP, a weekly syndicated esports lifestyle show. Beasley says that the Overwatch League is the first major global professional esports league with city-based teams across Asia, Europe, and North America.  Overwatch was created by globally acclaimed publisher Blizzard Entertainment “whose iconic franchises have helped lay the foundations and push the boundaries of professional esports over the last 15 years.”  The Overwatch League will begin its third season in February of 2020, with each of the league’s teams hosting matches in their home markets.  The Outlaws will remain officially based in Houston, Texas and will continue to represent the Houston, Austin, and San Antonio markets.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “The acquisition of the Houston Outlaws significantly expands our growing esports platform.  The Houston Outlaws represent a rare investment opportunity, as there are only 20 Overwatch League teams in the world, and the transaction partners Beasley with Blizzard Entertainment and its parent company, Activision Blizzard, a leading global developer and publisher of interactive entertainment content and services…The acquisition of the Houston Outlaws furthers our revenue and cash flow diversification strategies. We believe the power of our media footprint, including 65 highly-rated radio stations in large- and mid-sized markets, combined with our 24/7 coverage of esports news, will allow us to build the value of the Outlaws franchise through a range of revenue sources, including ticket sales, advertising, sponsorship, licensing, e-commerce, and other partnerships.”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (11/15).  The new episode titled “The Show Biz Capitol of America!” looks back at this past week of November 11-15, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSWayne Allyn Root, talk show host, USA Radio Network/Newsmax TVDr. Daliah Wachs, medical doctor/talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkLisa Wexler, probate judge, Connecticut/talk show host, WICC, Bridgeport; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood One;  Dr. Dana Cheng, senior China news reporter, The Epoch TimesVictoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Bali Samra, human resources consultant/commentator, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA.   This acclaimed news/talk radio show first airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm; followed by WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA. It also appears on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.’

Impeachment Hearings/Ukraine Allegations Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 11-15. The start of impeachment hearings against President Trump and the allegations of misconduct with Ukraine military aid was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race, the Trump tax returns court ruling, and the trial of former Trump adviser Roger Stone.  Coming in at #3 was stock market activity and the economy, followed by universal health care proposals 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 this week’s entire chart here.

Rose Anderson, VP/Executive Director of the New York Festivals Radio Awards Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. New York Festivals, the prestigious, long-running international awards organization spotlighting quality in the fields of advertising, TV & film, and radio opens its acceptance of entries for the 2020 Radio Awards competition and announces information about its exciting new presentation in April. The organization’s vice president and executive director, Rose Anderson, guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Anderson, who brings years of experience as a network TV producer to her role at NYF, joins Harrison in a fascinating conversation about the renaissance of storytelling in the radio field as well as other exciting changes the industry is experiencing in the rapidly evolving digital era. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

9th Annual KFI, Los Angeles ‘PastaThon’ Scheduled for December 6. For this year’s 9th KFI PastaThon on December 6, iHeartMedia has teamed with Smart & Final stores and Barilla Pasta to raise money as well as donations of pasta and sauce to help feed local children in need.  Funds raised from the event will benefit Caterina’s Club, a charitable organization that helps feed, house and educate children in need in Orange County.  Now through December 6, Smart & Final is offering an opportunity for shoppers to donate to this event by purchasing $10 KFI PastaThon kits, generously donated by Barilla, that include the brand’s pasta and sauce as well as Smart & Final’s signature First Street line of plates, utensils and napkins. Each kit provides 24 meals and those purchasing the kit receive a chance to win a 13-day trip to Italy for two, courtesy of guided vacation company Trafalgar.  On December 6, all KFI AM 640’s on-air personalities – Bill Handel, Jennifer Jones Lee, Gary Hoffmann, Shannon Farren, John Kobylt, Ken Chiampou, and Tim Conway Jr. – will participate in a live, 17-hour broadcast on site at the Christ Cathedral in Garden Grove encouraging listeners to donate money, packaged pasta and jars of pasta sauce.  Last year’s event raised a record $517,000 and 50,000 pounds of pasta and sauce.  Since 2010, KFI listeners have helped raise over $2.3 million and 391,000 pounds of pasta and sauce for Caterina’s Club.  KFI program director Robin Bertolucci says, “This is a whole station and community effort. Everyone supports this wonderful cause from the on-air hosts to the news team, sales, digital, I.T, engineering and promotions. Everyone from every corner of the station is a part of this wonderful cause.  Not only is the KFI PastaThon about feeding children in need, it’s also about ending the cycle of poverty and we are grateful to our incredible listeners who so generously support the good work of [Caterina’s Club founder] Chef Bruno.”

TALKERS News Notes. Four new podcasts are released by PodcastOne.  Viral phenomenon Trisha Paytas expands her brand beyond YouTube with the podcast, “The Dish with Trish”; actress Daniella Monet teams up with her fiancé, Andrew Gardner, to discuss their journey into “adulting” on “Adulting Like A Mother Father”; the Ladygang Network on PodcastOne adds a fashion-forward podcast called “Brad Behavior with Brad Goreski”; and PodcastOne continues to expand its lineup of dramatic and true-crime programming with Reelz’ “Copycat Killers,” based on of the television series detailing murders that imitate Hollywood’s hit blockbuster films…..ESPN Audio says its podcasts set a new record in October (as per Podtrac) with a verified unique audience of 8.1 million.  ESPN says that figure represents an increase of 27% over October 2018.  ESPN vice president, digital strategy and marketing within ESPN Audio Tom Ricks says, “ESPN’s podcast business has certainly been building great momentum which we expect to continue with the recent launch of ‘ESPN Daily.’  We remain very bullish on the podcast space and that ESPN is best suited to capitalize on the format in the sports genre.”.…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WSCR, Chicago producer Tony Gill is leaving the Entercom sports talk station  to join NBC Sports Chicago in the role of podcast producer.  At WSCR, he’s been producing the Laurence Holmes midday show as well as a number of the station’s podcasts…..Premiere Networks nationally syndicated evening radio host Delilah spoke with actress and Broadway superstar Kristin Chenoweth for her podcast, “Love Someone with Delilah.”  On the podcast the two talk about Chenoweth’s new album, For The Girls, a tribute to the passionate women of music as well as about her passions for creating, singing, and giving back through Kristin Chenoweth Broadway Bootcamps, and her new endeavor – building a creative arts center in her hometown of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

WTOP, Washington Seeks Director of News and Programming. Washington, DC all-news WTOP-FM is seeking a director of news and programming. Hubbard Radio says this person, “leads WTOP, an effective organization of over 100 people consisting of news directors, writers, anchors, reporters, editors, and staff to provide the best available local, national and international news, traffic, weather, sports and money news across all media platforms, including radio, internet and social media while serving as brand manager to maintain the imaging, marketing and overall sound.” Essential job functions for this position include: Overall responsibility for WTOP news gathering, production, news programming and presentation across multiple platforms with the utmost in quality control; provides effective leadership to a diverse workforce covered by a collective bargaining agreement that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; establishes short and long term program format objectives, strategies and plans to achieve maximum listenership of a quality product across multiple platforms; ensures that all programming is in compliance with state and federal laws and FCC Rules and Regulations; liason between company management and union. For more information and to apply, click here.

Cool Talk Radio Sales Opportunity. In New York City, Salem Media Group is seeking an account executive for radio and digital sales. Here’s the ad: Salem Media Group is looking for a dynamic individual to join the sales team for “AM970 The Answer” and the legendary WMCA “AM570/102.3FM The Mission, New York’s Christian Talk.” Compensation is commensurate with degree of experience and skills. This is a fabulous career opportunity for the right individual with one of the finest broadcasting companies in America. Ideal candidate has a proven track record of success with radio and digital sales. Interested candidates should apply online and email cover letter and resumes to Jerry Crowley’s attention.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Atlanta country outlet WKHX rebrands as “Atlanta’s New Country 101.FIVE,” “an innovative radio outlet celebrating the great songs and sounds of Georgia’s homegrown artists.  These stars feed souls and fill hearts, stadiums and concert halls around the world.”  Cumulus Media made the change yesterday (11/14) at 3:00 pm playing “Dirt We Were Raised On” by Macon, Georgia’s Jason Aldean, followed by songs from The Zac Brown Band, Luke Bryan, Kane Brown, Brantley Gilbert, Thomas Rhett, Sugarland, and Trisha Yearwood.  The station had been branded “Kicks 101.5” since 1981.  “Kincaid and Dallas” are holding down the morning shift and Lucas Phelan hosts afternoon drive…..Programming pro Brian Roberts exits adult contemporary WPEZ, Macon, Georgia “Lite Rock Z93.7” where he was morning host and PD…..After eight years in Kansas City, Brady Goodman is out at Entercom’s cluster there where he was handling imaging and on-air roles at hot AC KZPT “99-7 The Point.”

Monday, August 5, 2019

| August 5, 2019

Radio HOF Announces “Class of 2019.” The nine newest members of the Radio Hall of Fame who will be inducted at a November 8 ceremony in New York City’s Gotham Hall are: Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton; Harry Harrison; Kevin Ryder & Gene “Bean” Baxter (“Kevin & Bean”); Joe Madison; Jim Rome; Ryan Seacrest; John Tesh; and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Radio HOF chair Kraig Kitchin remarks, “I am especially proud to welcome these individuals into the Radio Hall of Fame. Their on-air performances and audience relationships are especially remarkable. Each of our 2019 nominees [is] worthy of induction. I’m appreciative of all those who participated in our process of selecting our Class of 2019, who will join the 238 Radio Hall of Fame inductees already recognized for their great work.” Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton does afternoon drive on iHeartMedia New York rhythmic CHR WKTU “103.5 KTU” and his “Weekly Top 30 Countdown” is syndicated by Premiere Networks. Harry Harrison (“Longstanding Local/Regional, 20+ years”) was a mainstay New York City morning talent on WMCA, WABC, and WCBS-FM. Kevin and Bean (“Active Local/Regional, 10+ years”) have been overseeing mornings on Entercom Los Angeles alternative KROQ. Joe Madison – “The Black Eagle” – is heard on SiriusXM’s “Urban View” channel. Jim Rome (“Longstanding Network/Syndication, 20+ years”), whose show was called a “freaking jungle” by a listener – and the term stuck – airs on CBS Sports Radio. Ryan Seacrest’s multi-platforms include mornings on iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” and Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” and “American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest.” John Tesh (“Active Network/Syndication, 10+ years”) hosts Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Intelligence For Your Life.” Meanwhile, “The Dr. Ruth Show” was heard on NBC Radio and she hosted “Sexually Speaking” on New York City’s WYNY. Four inductees were determined by a voting participant panel comprised of nearly 1,000 industry professionals. Another four were voted on by the Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee, two with input from the public. The outcome of the listener vote for a music format and spoken-word format on-air personality counted as one vote among the committee votes. The Radio HOF voting process was administered by Votem and overseen by the certified public accounting firm Miller Kaplan Arase LLP.

Monday Memo: “Hollywood,” Co-starring AM Radio. The Los Angeles Times calls “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” “the year’s first surefire Oscar Best Picture nominee.”  And the soundtrack — assembled after writer/director Quentin Tarantino listened to 14 hours of 1969 KHJ airchecks — may also grab a statuette.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke’s panel explains what made radio so “sticky” then, and what it would take to reclaim the foreground on today’s crowded audio landscape. Read his column here.

Karem’s Press Pass Suspended. The White House Correspondents Association is “closely monitoring” the White House press secretary’s decision to suspend for 30 days the pass of CNN political analyst Brian Karem. Association president Jonathan Karl states, “We sincerely hope this White House does not again make the mistake of revoking a reporter’s hard pass. The WHCA has stood up to violations of due process rights before and we stand ready to safeguard those rights for all reporters who work to hold our government accountable.” CNN’s Brian Stelter reports the suspension letter Karem received specifically cited the confrontation he got into with former Trump aide/Salem Radio Networks talk host Sebastian Gorka at the White House social media summit a few weeks ago. Via Twitter, Gorka writes, “From this day forth the punk @BrianKarem will be called Brian Karma.” Meanwhile, on that same social media platform, Karem notes that he intends to appeal the White House’s decision. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison spoke with Gorka moments after that summit wrapped. That conversation is archived here on the TALKERS website (Friday, July 12, 2019).

Beasley Broadcast Group Q2 Net Revenue Increases 6.5%. The $4 million (6.5%) year-over-year gain (to $65.7 million) during the three months ended June 30 reflects increased revenue in Beasley Broadcast Group’s Philadelphia cluster, primarily due to the September 2018 acquisition of country WXTU, and increased revenue from its Boston stations. Net revenue for the three months ended June 30 was comparable to net revenue for the same period in 2018 at the company’s other clusters. Chief executive officer Caroline Beasley comments, “The strategic and financial benefits of our initiatives to further expand and diversify Beasley’s broadcast and digital platform are evident in our second-quarter financial results and further highlights the progress we are making to reinforce and grow Beasley’s leadership position across all audio platforms in our markets. Record second-quarter net revenue of $65.7 million was driven by the strength of our station clusters in three of our top five largest revenue markets, as well as contributions from recent acquisitions and more than offset approximately $1 million in combined political and United States Traffic Network (USTN) revenue recorded in the comparable 2018 period, which was non-recurring in 2019.” In June, Beasley Broadcast Group entered into a definitive agreement with Urban One to acquire Detroit’s WDMK and three translators used to broadcast WDMK’s HD2 signal for $13.5 million. Caroline Beasley notes, “This transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to Beasley’s free cash flow, excluding one-time transaction costs. The acquisition of WDMK-FM and the WDMK-HD2 translators represent a strategically and financially compelling growth opportunity for our shareholders and further enhances our revenue and competitive position in Detroit with a strong cluster of four FM stations in the country’s thirteenth largest market.”

iHM Hikes Hyland to Region President/Washington & Baltimore. Most recently region senior vice president of sales and market president for iHeartMedia Washington D.C./Baltimore, Aaron Hyland is elevated to region president of those two markets. He succeeds Mike Preacher, who becomes president for government initiatives and partnerships for iHeartMedia Markets Group. Preacher will report to iHeartMedia Markets Group president Greg Ashlock, while Hyland will report to iHeartMedia west division president Kevin LeGrett. According to Ashlock, “With Aaron, we are fortunate to have someone so talented, experienced and knowledgeable of the area to make the natural progression to the role of region president. With Mike, we are grateful for the amazing job he has done leading our D.C./Baltimore region and excited about the incredible wealth of experience and success he brings to the table in managing our government initiatives and partnership division. This is a win-win.” Hyland, who began his radio career as local sales manager for iHeartMedia Albany (New York), comments, “The iHeartMedia Washington D.C. region has a strong presence in both Washington and Baltimore with advertisers throughout the community. I’m excited to build on our success here, giving our advertisers efficient and effective marketing solutions as well as providing our listeners the best programming and content.” Preacher notes, “I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in the Washington D.C. region. Aaron has been instrumental to our growth and I am highly confident that he and the team will enjoy continued success. Regarding my role moving forward, we have very high growth expectations for our government initiatives and partnerships division. I am looking forward to resourcing and spearheading the team’s efforts.” The iHM DC cluster consists of news/talk WONK, adult contemporary WASH, country WMZQ, CHR WIHT “Hot 99.5,” alternative WWDC “DC-101,” and WBIG “Big 100 – Washington’s Classic Rock,” while its Baltimore owned-and-operated stations are CHR WZFT “Z-104.3,” adult hits WQSR “102.7 Jack-FM,” WPOC “93.1 Baltimore’s Country Station,” and gospel WCAO “Heaven 600.”

2020 Local Political Advertising to Top $6.5 Billion. That’s the estimate from BIA Advisory Services, which forecasts over-the-air television will earn the majority of the spending (47% or $3.08 billion). That compares to just over $312 million (4.8%) for radio. Meanwhile, online/digital outlets will receive $1.37 billion (21%), while multichannel video programming distributors are expected to rake in $919 million (14%). The balance will go to other media. BIA Advisory Services chief economist/senior vice president Mark Fratrik opines, “It is going to be a very interesting political year. Some very large markets will not see much in political advertising while some small markets will see an extraordinary amount of advertising due to competitive gubernatorial, senate and house races along with the presidential election. Campaigns will continue to rely on television as a dominant platform for advertising while supplementing with digital advertising across mobile and desktop. In some smaller markets, one thing to keep an eye on is how the huge volume of political advertising could crowd out other local advertisers during primary and general election seasons. That may have an impact on advertisers and media companies. We will certainly factor that into our forecasting as we go through the fall.” It is believed that the three top local political revenue generating markets will be Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Philadelphia. In each market, TV OTA will receive more than $130 million in advertising with online/digital ad spend getting over 25% of the total spend.

Hart Heads to Albuquerque. Former six-year Entercom Philadelphia news/talk WPHT program director Jared Hart relocates to Albuquerque to become AM operations manager for Cumulus Media’s news/talk KKOB-AM (which he will program), sports talk KNML “The Sports Animal,” and business talk KTBL. Cumulus Media Albuquerque vice president/market manager Jeff Berry comments, “Jared brings the experience, skill, and vision to lead our three AM stations – including the legendary KKOB-AM – back to a position of market dominance. We are so excited for him to join our team and help guide our cluster to new heights.” Hart adds, “I’m excited by the opportunity to join the passionate and forward-thinking team at Cumulus Albuquerque. It’s hard to overstate the power and impact of KKOB-AM and ‘The Sports Animal’ across New Mexico and the potential for KTBL. I’m honored to help drive the future success of these great stations and can’t wait to jump in.” Prior to his tenure at WPHT, Hart was assistant program director for Cumulus Media San Francisco news/talk siblings KGO and KSFO.

Four Staffers Added to Westwood One Podcast Network. Joining Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One Podcast Network are senior producer, core content Madena Parwana; senior producer, development Lou Pellegrino; audio mixing engineer/studio technician Rebekah Wineman; and associate producer Sarah McCrory. All four will report to executive editor John Wordock, who comments, “This latest round of hiring further demonstrates Westwood One’s commitment to quality and scale as we grow our podcast business and serve our extraordinary partners and content providers. Madena, Lou, Rebekah, and Sarah have diverse and distinctive skillsets that will greatly contribute to the success and evolution of podcasting at Westwood One.” Parwana will help manage and produce podcasts that cover news, lifestyle and entertainment, sports, and business/money. She previously was a producer in the global radio division of Bloomberg LP, where she produced Bloomberg’s “Masters in Business” and “The Business of Sports” podcasts. Parwana was also senior podcast producer and co-host of “Unique Radio with Will Castro.” Pellegrino will manage and assess in-bound podcast pitches as well as help to develop pilots and shows. He formerly was executive producer of podcasts for Cadence 13 where he produced “The Woj Pod” and was involved with “Pod Save America.” In addition, Pellegrino was a producer for NBC Sports Radio and worked as a freelance producer for “The Dan Patrick Show” and MSG Networks. Wineman will support post-production, sound quality, field engineering, and studio maintenance. She previously worked as an audio engineer for The Wall Street Journal, where she mixed the “What’s News” podcast. Wineman served as a mixing and mastering engineer for NPR’s “Latino USA” and “In the Thick.” McCrory will support hosts, help edit and produce shows, and book guests. Before joining Westwood One, she worked as a production coordinator and podcast coordinator for Fox News Channel in New York City and Washington, DC, working on the podcasts “Livin’ the Bream” and “The Fox News Rundown.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Sports reporter/anchor Carol Maloney joins Cumulus Media Washington DC’s WSBN-AM “ESPN 630” for 10:00 am – 12:00 noon duty. Cumulus Washington, DC program director Bill Hess states, “I’ve admired Carol’s energy, passion, and journalism since we first worked together a dozen years ago. Her relationships with the players, coaches, reporters, and sports fans in our town are unmatched.” Maloney notes, “I couldn’t be more thrilled and thankful for this opportunity. I’ve spent most of my career in the nation’s capital passionately following and covering the sports teams in town. Luckily, I’ve made a lot of friends and contacts along the way and will be calling on all of them.” Maloney has worked for Comcast SportsNet and NBC Sports Washington. She continues as a field reporter/show host for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) on Washington Nationals telecasts. “The Carol Maloney Show” debuts tomorrow (Tuesday, 8/6) ….. Miami’s WQAM “Sports Radio 560” rebrands as “560 The Joe.” While the Entercom sports talk outlet is the flagship of the Miami Dolphins, Florida Panthers, and University of Miami Hurricanes, its weekday lineup is taking more of a national lean: SportsCenter All Night (1:00 am – 5:00 am); First & Last with Jason Fitz (5:00 am – 6:00 am); The Joe Rose Show with Zach Krantz (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Dan Le Batard with Stugotz (10:00 am – 1:00 pm); Stephen A. Smith (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); Hoch & Crowder (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); “Best of ‘560 The Joe’” (6:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Spain & Company (7:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and Freddie & Fitzsimmons (9:00 pm – 1:00 am). Co-owned/similarly-formatted WAXY “AM 790 The Ticket” is the key station of the NBA’s Miami Heat. Its on-air roster includes: Amy Lawrence (2:00 am – 6:00 am); Tobin, Leroy, & The Beast (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Zaslow & Amber (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); Hoch & Crowder (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Zack Duarte (6:00 pm – 10:00 pm); and Scott Ferrall (10:00 pm – 2:00 am).

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At a time when high-profile stations such as WPLJ, New York; WRQX, Washington, DC; and WYAY, Atlanta (among others) are flipping to contemporary Christian, Tucson is losing a religious-geared outlet. Specifically, Tucson Radio LLC officially closes on its $650,000 purchase of KFLT “AM 830” & K269FV Oro Valley (Arizona) from Family Life Broadcasting and transitions it to “The Drive” (pending calls KDRI), an “original format” of music and local, live personalities. The ownership team of Arizona-based Tucson Radio, which has no other broadcast interests, is longtime Tucson businessman and community activist Fletcher McCusker (board chair); Bobby Rich (president); and Jim Arnold (general manager). McCusker is the only one without extensive radio or broadcast background. According to Arnold, who has nearly 40 years of  experience in Tucson radio and TV stations, “The Drive” will debut commercial-free as he begins hiring a sales staff this week. Today’s 6:00 am launch (Monday, 8/5) follows stunting as “The Worm,” a mix of novelty songs. With a catalogue of over 2,000 songs, “The Drive” is designed to appeal to baby boomers and originates 24/7 broadcasting from downtown Tucson. Its FM signal is heard throughout the Tucson valley, while the 830 AM signal carries from the Mexican border to Phoenix. Rich tells RadioInfo/TALKERS, “This has been developing for more than eight months; I recently realized I’ve never done a total build from scratch. I have gone back-and-forth from high anxiety to beyond thrilled of building something new, from concept to call-letters to months sorting song lists to finding talent before I could tell them what it was or what it would sound like. We didn’t buy studios or broadcast equipment – just a pair of transmitters and a tower rental agreement. Everything was kept confidential, which was extremely difficult. Some of the staff just learned the branding and what titles are in the library. We’re in empty offices working from a temporary studio while the real studios are being built across the hall. It is crazy, fun stuff.  I’m more than a little overwhelmed but so happy. It’s a dream come true for all of us – a chance to select our own music and manage content that matters to Tucson and have incredible fun while making great radio. It’s crazy to start a new radio station, but we are just crazy enough and have the passion-to make it work.” Immediately prior to his 25-year tenure as program director/morning drive host at Tucson adult contemporary KMXZ “Mix 94,” Rich was vice president/general manager/morning show talent for Seattle’s KMGI. His voluminous resume also includes programming stops in New York City (WXLO “99-X”); Los Angeles (KHTZ “K-Hits 97”); Philadelphia (WWSH); San Diego (KFMB-FM “B-100,” where he famously formulated the “Rich Brothers”); and director/programming consultation for Drake-Chenault. Rich worked on-air in Los Angeles at KHJ and KFI, as well as WMYQ, Miami. The on-air lineup for “The Drive” is comprised of Rich and Hill Bailey (morning drive); former program director of cross-town CHR KRQQ Ken Carr (mid-days); Mike Esparza (afternoon drive); and onetime Bobby Rich intern Tyler Russell (nights). Evan Carlson-headed, Arizona not-for-profit corporation Family Life owns stations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. Kalil & Co. brokered the transaction ….. While retaining its “Que Buena 92.7” identity, Univision Radio New York’s WQBU transitions from regional Mexican to Spanish AC. Core artists will include Chayanne, Juan Gabriel, Juan Luis Guerra, Enrique Iglesias, Jose Jose, Ricky Martin, Luis Miguel, Laura Pausini, and Shakira. Univision Radio New York president and general manager Roberto Yanez comments, “We are excited to launch a format that reflects distinct tastes of the Latino community in the Tri-State area. By reformatting our audio portfolio to include the only Spanish AC station in the region, we are able to give our audience more of the music they love, whether they’re listening at home, at work, or during their commute.” Its adjusted on-air lineup now includes: Mildre Aquino (6:00 am – 10:00 am); El Bueno, La Mala y El Feo (10:00 am – 2:00 pm); Jose Luis Arcos (2:00 pm – 7:00 pm); Cesar Lozano (7:00 pm – 8:00 pm); and El Free-Guey with La Bronca (8:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 New York City report, WQBU ranks #34 (.3); it is #37 in Long Island (.2, 6+, June 2019) ….. One-year KVIL, Dallas “Alt 103.7” morning talent Jenn Marino exits the Entercom alternative outlet. Marino formerly co-hosted Premiere Networks’ Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx. Her other on-air credits include Baltimore outlets WHFS “Alternative 99.1”; WWMX, “Mix 106.5”; and WIYY “98 Rock,” as well as KRXO, Oklahoma City …. Launched in 2018, YEA Networks’Tino Cochino Radio” debuts next Monday morning (8/12, 6:00 am – 10:00 am) on Kemp Broadcasting Las Vegas CHR KVGQ “Q-106.9.” Hosted by Tino Cochino, Raquel, and DJ Nicasio, the show is now heard in more than 40 markets. KVGQ program director Gabriela “Lady g.” Loredon comments, “I’m excited to welcome Tino and the TCR team to our ‘Q-106.9’ family. TCR is the perfect fit for mornings here in Vegas and can’t wait to win” ….. American Idol winner Maddie Poppe and Whitney Woerz are among those scheduled to appear at the third annual “Survive Live” concert presented by Entercom Madison hot AC WMHX “Mix 105.1.” The October 3rd event will raise money for breast cancer awareness ….. “I’m Roger Carroll and I play records.” For 20 years (1959 – 1979), listeners of Los Angeles’ once powerhouse KMPC heard Kolman Carroll Rutkin begin his “R.C. Get Together” that way; the 90-year-Carroll died last week in Long Beach, California. Andrew Rutkin notes that his father “lived an amazing life; was surrounded by family; and his passing was peaceful.” The son of Eastern Europe immigrants, Roger Carroll was born in Baltimore in 1928 and moved away at 15 to work as an announcer at Frederick, Maryland’s WFMD. After World War ll, he relocated to Los Angeles, and at age 18, became the youngest announcer ever on the ABC Radio Network. Carroll, who worked at Los Angeles’ KABC from 1946 – 1959, became executive producer of the “Lawrence Welk Radio Show” in 1981 and owned KWIP, Salem (Oregon), a station he sold in 1991. For many years, he was the off-camera voice for such TV shows as “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” “Bonanza,” “The Danny Thomas Show,” and “Tony Orlando and Dawn.” In 2017, he started a streaming internet station, Roger Carroll’s Best Sounds in Town.” Commenting about his father, Andrew Rutkin states, “We will all miss him terribly. I’ll especially miss his wealth of stories and his amazing talent for mucking up his computer.”

Charlamagne Tha Guest. A number of the 2020 presidential candidates have made Premiere Networks’ “The Breakfast Club” a must-stop on their campaign trail. Last week, the show’s Charlamagne Tha God made the media rounds himself, appearing on NBC’s “Late Night with Seth Meyers” (the two are shown here) and CNN’s “OutFront” with Erin Burnett. Among other things, he talked about how the Democrats performed in the recent debates; who his favorite candidate is so far; and how he approaches interviews. Originating from iHeartMedia New York urban contemporary WWPR “Power 105.1,” the 4.5-hour “Breakfast Club” features Charlamagne Tha God, DJ Envy, and Angela Yee.

Monday, May 6, 2019

| May 6, 2019

Cumulus Media Names Brian Philips EVP of Content and Audience; Mike McVay to Return to Consulting. Effective today, radio and television executive Brian Philips is being appointed executive vice president, content and audience for Cumulus Media, taking over for Michael McVay, who is returning to full-time consulting, with Cumulus as his first client.  Philips previously served as president of Viacom/MTV Network’s CMT channel.  The press release notes that there, Philips led “the music network’s successful forays into long-form script series, tentpole awards shows, concert specials, and feature films.  He also developed CMT’s successful national radio network.”  Prior to working in TV and film, Philips worked in radio programming with such stations as Cumulus’ WNNX-FM and WWWQ-FM in Atlanta, and KPLX-FM, Dallas.  Cumulus Media CEO Mary Berner says, “We are excited that Brian is joining our leadership team.  A highly accomplished executive, leader, and innovator with substantial experience across today’s media landscape, he comes to us with an impressive and successful track record of growing ratings and expanding audiences.  We look forward to benefiting from the skills and expertise he brings to his new role. I would also like to thank Mike for his significant contributions to Cumulus and for being such a great partner to me.”  McVay underscores that the decision to leave Cumulus and return to consulting was entirely his.  In praising McVay, Berner adds, “Mike’s accomplishments since his appointment as EVP, content and programming in 2015 are too numerous to count.  To name just a few, under Mike’s leadership of the office of programming, we reversed four years of ratings share declines, and saw years of ratings share growth.  We are currently posting the best ratings since 2011 on some of our biggest and most important stations.  Mike has helped to expand Westwood One’s programming, participating in the launch of several new shows, including the very successful ‘The Ben Shapiro Show.’  Mike has also led us in increasing our reach beyond over the air listening to include smart speakers and all online listening.”

Monday Memo: Show Me Your Show. On smart talk stations, weekends are appointment listening and might be the two most profitable days of the week, “NOT incompatible goals” according to consultant Holland Cooke.  “Yet,” he notes, “programming Saturdays and Sundays can be high-maintenance for stations, and getting airtime is challenging for talent.” In this week’s Monday Memo, HC recommends a win-win road map to weekend airtime.  Read it here.

Simonson Named Director of Sales at Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach. Radio sales pro Gregory Simonson is appointed director of sales for Hubbard Radio’s recently acquired West Palm Beach station group that includes news/talk WFTL, Fort Lauderdale and sports talk WMEN, Royal Palm Beach “640 The Hurricane,” and four music-formatted stations.  Simonson was most recently general sales manager with Beasley Media Group’s Fayetteville, North Carolina cluster.  Hubbard Radio SVP and market manager Elizabeth Hamma states, “I’m very happy to welcome Gregory to the Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach family.  His extensive track record of success in traditional and digital media as well as his passion for helping sales people succeed make Gregory a perfect choice to lead our sales team to new heights.”  Last fall, Hubbard agreed to acquire the cluster from Alpha Media for $88 million.

‘Our American Stories’ Passes 180-Affiliate Mark. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” program from American Private Radio announces the addition of eight new affiliate stations to the program’s roster, putting over the 180-station mark. APR president and show host Lee Habeeb says, “Stations told us they wanted a radio program that wasn’t always about politics, to give listeners a break from the news cycle.  More importantly, they love the topics we share every night, and we take great pride in putting stories together that touch our listeners’ hearts and minds.  People walk away feeling better when they listen to ‘Our American Stories.’”  New stations include Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis-St. Paul.

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast is being launched starring iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman, titled, “Math & Magic: Stories From the Frontiers of Marketing,” on the iHeartPodcast Network beginning on May 14.  The program will feature interviews with “visionary executives from the media and entertainment industries.”  In the first two episodes. Pittman talks with Maurice Levy, who, during his tenure as CEO of Publicis Groupe, increased the value of the company by 100 times and expanded a French agency into a true global advertising and communications leader; and Scooter Braun, renowned talent entrepreneur, investor and entertainment executive who boosted the careers of international superstars such as Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, and many others…..Boston Herald-based nationally syndicated columnist and Boston Herald Radio show host Adriana Cohen recently hosted President Trump on her weekly program. Cohen tells TALKERS that the almost-20-minute interview went viral after being picked up by Politico, Boston Globe, Newsweek, Fox News, The Blaze, The Hill, and others…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that staffers at Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM are getting some backing from fellow union members as they negotiate with the company for raises for the newsroom’s eight assistant producers.  The Writers Guild of America will rally outside the WBBM studios in the Prudential Building today (5/6)…..Washington University in St. Louis is awarding seven people with honorary degrees at a ceremony during the school’s 2019 commencement on May 17 and one of those is SiriusXM Urban View talk host Joe Madison.  The commencement address will be delivered by Michael Bloomberg.  Madison graduated from Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in 1971…..WTMJ, Milwaukee cleaned up at the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Awards Gala in Madison over the weekend.  The Good Karma Brands news/talk station won first place in 21 categories, including: News/Talk Large Market Station of the Year, Radio News Operation of the Year (Large Market); Social and Digital Operation of the Year (Large market); Best Newscast: Wisconsin’s Afternoon News; and more. Pictured below with the station’s awards are WTMJ staffers (from l-r): Nick Van Wagenen, Erik Bilstad, Jordan Gasiorowski, Steve Wexler, Steve Scaffidi, Jane Matenaer, Jay SorgiBrad Lane, Doug Russell, Melissa Barclay, and Mike Spaulding.

Mueller Report/Trump on Mueller Testimony, 2020 Presidential Politics, China Trade War Escalation, U.S.-Iran Tensions, North Korea Missile Test, Israel-Gaza Violence, ‘Game of Thrones,’ Avengers: Endgame, Kentucky Derby Disqualification, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the release of the Mueller Report and President Trump’s tweets saying Robert Mueller should not testify before congress; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; markets react as Trump threatens to ramp up U.S.-China trade war; U.S. carrier group heads to Iran in response to reports of Iranian threats to U.S. interests in the region; reaction to North Korea’s latest missile test; the rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza; Sunday’s episode of “Game of Thrones”; the Avengers: Endgame movie sets new record; the Kentucky Derby winner is disqualified; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

George Beasley Inducted into PA Radio Hall of Fame. Pictured above is Beasley Broadcast Group founder and chairman George Beasley at center with his wife Ann and surrounded by their family at the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters’ 2019 Gold Medal Awards Dinner yesterday (5/5) in Hershey where he was inducted into the PAB’s Hall of Fame.  Beasley was inducted with fellow honorees: comic and actor/director Bob Saget, Pittsburgh Steelers great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis, and C-SPAN correspondent Steve Scully.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Los Angeles alternative rocker KROQ announces the debut of the afternoon drive “Stryker and Klein” program featuring Ted Stryker (left) and Kevin Klein (right).  Entercom Los Angeles SVP and market manager Jeff Federman says, “Pairing Stryker and Klein is something we could never have imagined just a few years ago.  Individually, they’ve both had tremendous success throughout their careers.  Adding great content to our afternoon programming is something that we’re very committed to and these guys do a fantastic job connecting the music to fun and interesting conversations.”  Stryker has been with the station since 1999.  Klein hosted mornings on the company’s KITS-FM, San Francisco “Live 105.” He was slated to be the morning host at sports talk KWFN, San Diego but the infamous Coronado Bridge social media post bit derailed his gig on that station…..The search is on for the new morning show at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago “US99” after Doug Stylz and Justin Roman exited the station on Friday (5/3).  The duo previously hosted the morning show at sister CHR WBBM-FM, “B96” before taking on the morning show role at “US99.”…..Premiere Networks-syndicated evening personality Delilah recently hosted the “Our Town, Our Heroes Celebration,” a local event recognizing listeners for their outstanding work in the Wilmington, Delaware area, produced by Beasley-owned affiliate WJBR, Wilmington “Mix 99.5.”  In addition to helping honor local citizen’s Delilah was surprised by WJBR as the station honored her for her philanthropic efforts with her non-profit foundation, Point Hope, that serves as a voice for forgotten children in the U.S. foster care system and in West Africa.

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.”

Monday, February 11, 2019

| February 11, 2019

Legendary Talk Show Host Bruce Williams Dead at 86.  “Welcome my friends, welcome to my world.” It was with those words radio talk show host legend Bruce Williams began his nationally syndicated show for more than 29 years. Williams died on Saturday (2/9), at his home near Tampa, FL after a brief illness.  Spanning a career that lasted more than three decades, Bruce Williams created a loyal listenership of hundreds of thousands of people strong with his informative and entertaining program, delivered in his signature deep, warm, welcoming voice.  But, one of the most unusual and remarkable facts surrounding Williams’ National Radio Hall of Fame career is that it did not begin until he was well into his 40s.  Born February 18, 1932, Williams grew up in East Orange, NJ.  Blessed with an innate sense of business, at age 11, he devised a way to address one of the many shortages common at the end of World War II by melting down lead pipes and casting them into toy soldiers. Eyes wide open, he was off and running, pursuing every avenue where he believed a profit could be made.  After serving in the US Air Force during the Korean conflict and graduating from Newark State College (now Kean University), he opened a pre-school named after his children. He spent time driving an ice cream truck in New York City. He was also a taxi driver and drove a beer truck. For 70 years of his life, he spent the holiday season selling Christmas trees in New Jersey.  On the white-collar side, Williams sold insurance, owned a flower shop, a car rental agency, a barber shop and he owned and operated several nightclubs.  There was even a whirlwind tour into the world of politics where the Honorable Bruce H. Williams was elected to the Franklin, NJ Township Council, as well as serving terms as Deputy Mayor and Mayor between 1967 and 1975.  It was the weight and wealth of these life experiences that Williams relied on throughout his accomplished radio career and gave depth to his on-air persona.  His outstanding career began in 1975 at WCTC 1450 Talk Radio, The Voice of Central New Jersey, where Williams hosted a show called “At Your Service.”  After some time, his success took him to WMCA, New York where his momentum and audience continued to build. Williams’ growing popularity brought him to the attention of radio executives at NBC who were searching for a host of a national nightly advice-oriented talk show. After a long selection process, Williams was chosen and his program launched in November of 1981. It was from this platform, his reputation as a broadcaster blossomed.  That blossom was almost nipped a year later, when a plane he was piloting crashed into some trees during an aborted landing attempt. Critically injured and nearly dead when he arrived at the Medical Center of Princeton, Williams rallied and was back on the air broadcasting again from his hospital room, just four weeks after the accident. Over the next three decades, Williams’ voice was heard coast-to-coast as he became one of the most listened to talk show hosts in radio history.  The industry recognized Williams’ accomplishments in 1999 when he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. TALKERS magazine also honored Williams in 2002 by including him at Number Six in its list of the Greatest Radio Talk Show Hosts of all Time.  He authored six financial and real estate advice books as well as a syndicated advice column called Smart Money.  Bruce Williams was 81 years old when he hung up his head phones for the final time in 2013, signing off as he always did by saying, “Keep in touch.”  Upon learning of Williams’ death, TALKERS founder Michael Harrison stated, “He was one of a kind and represented a breed of radio talk show host that made the genre truly special among all formats – a seemingly ‘regular guy’ who simply knew the answer to just about every problem that people face in day-to-day life and was happy to share it in completely understandable terms when asked for advice.”  Radio consultant Valerie Geller shared the following thoughts about Williams with TALKERS, “Bruce influenced my career. In the early days he kindly and generously spent time encouraging me.  This man was the original radio late night ‘companion, personality and  expert…’ helping thousands of listeners with personal advice, business advice and more importantly, being a ‘friend in the night.’ A powerful storyteller and powerful communicator, we have lost  a true talent.”

More on the Great Bruce WilliamsTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the profile piece he did on Bruce Williams years ago while writing for Inside Radio.  In the piece, Williams is very frank about the success he achieved in the talk radio business and talks openly about the ups and downs he experienced in radio.  Williams told Kinosian at the time, “I don’t know many people who’ve been successful who haven’t also failed.  We’re blessed to be in a society where failure isn’t a condemnation.” Read this insightful piece here.

Monday Memo: PPM Myths Debunked. Consultant Holland Cooke presents this week’s Monday Memo in which he offers some advice on station identification and keeping listeners in order to maximize ratings.  In some circles, post-PPM thought was that the meter diminished – or even eliminated! – the need to say the calls/frequency because now the meter registered “true” listening.  Cooke says there are still very good reasons to ID the station.  Read his memo on this matter here.

WLS-AM, Chicago Program Director Peter Bolger to Retire. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, five-year WLS-AM operations manager and program director Peter Bolger announces he’s retiring from the station and the radio business, effective March 15.  There is no predestined successor to Bolger.  Cumulus Media Chicago vice president and market manager Marv Nyren says, “I cannot begin to tell you how appreciative I am for all that Peter has done for this station over the years and the recent rebuild of the on-air lineup.  I can only thank him for all he’s done and wish him the best as he enjoys life.  With many years in radio…he has been a proponent of our medium and we will miss his calm personality and talent in the hallways.” As Feder notes, the last five years have seen a lot of change at the venerable AM signal and there’s nowhere else to go but up for struggling news/talker.  Read Feder’s thoughts on the matter here

Raj Sharan Rises to Program Bonneville’s Denver Sports Talk Duo. Assistant program director and executive producer Raj Sharan is promoted to program director for Bonneville’s Denver sports talk stations KKFN-FM “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” and KEPN-AM “ESPN Denver 1600,” effective immediately.  The PD position opened after Armen Williams joined Entercom’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston.  Bonneville Denver VP/market manager Bob Call states, “I couldn’t be happier to give Raj the opportunity to program Denver’s biggest sports brand, ‘104.3 The Fan.’  Raj has a natural leadership quality that is apparent the moment you meet him.  His creativity, superb coaching skills, and knowledge of winning sports content makes him the perfect choice to lead ‘104.3 The Fan’ into the future.”

Chris Ganoudis to Lead Curtis Media’s Raleigh News/Talk and Oldies Duo. Moving from JVC Broadcasting’s Orlando operations to Curtis Media Group’s Raleigh offices is radio sales and management pro Chris Ganoudis.  He assumes the general manager position for the company’s news/talk WPTF, oldies WPTK-AM/W284CP “Just Right Radio,” and Triangle Traffic Network.  Curtis Media Group president/COO, Trip Savery comments, “I am very pleased to welcome Chris to North Carolina and Curtis Media Group.  Chris brings a proven track record of success and is a great addition to our Raleigh management team.  I am confident he will lead these brands to even greater success.”

Entercom Launches Digital Sports Platform ‘Radio.com Sports.’ A new digital sports platform is being unveiled by Entercom called RADIO.COM Sports.  Entercom says this will serve “to magnify the company’s unmatched local business to a more prominent national scale in order to better serve its listeners and advertisers.  RADIO.COM Sports will sit atop Entercom’s deep roster of leading local sports stations and will also be fully integrated into RADIO.COM.” Entercom president of sports Mike Dee adds, “RADIO.COM Sports is a strategic initiative to further elevate our existing portfolio of local brands and personalities and provide a more robust and unified experience for fans coast to coast.  The platform also offers our advertisers an efficient way to tap into Entercom’s scale and multiplatform content.”  As part of the launch, RADIO.COM Sports will kick off its RADIO.COM Sports Insiders program, a network of experts across all major sports who will make appearances on Entercom sports stations nationwide to provide insight and commentary.  This premium content will also be available on demand.  Sports Insiders will include Joe Girardi, former Major League Baseball player, manager and current analyst for the MLB Network; Ross Tucker, former National Football League offensive lineman and current national sports broadcaster; Bob Nightengale, USA Today MLB columnist; Jason La Canfora, CBSSports.com NFL columnist; Armando Salguero, Miami Herald sports columnist; as well as others who will soon be added.  Dee says, “We are going to be aggressive to expand our depth chart of new talent as well as use our existing stars in new ways on multiple distribution channels outside of their home market, and in many cases, on our expanding digital and editorial platforms.”  Entercom inks Mercedes-Benz as its launch partner.

Beasley Reveals Q4 2018 and Full-Year Financial Data; Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 9.9%. The fourth quarter and 2018 full-year financial report for Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc indicates net revenue for Q4 was $75.6 million, an increase of 29.1%.  For all of 2018, net revenue was $257.5 million, an increase of 10.3% over 2017.  These numbers reflect the sale of Beasley’s six-station Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville cluster, the exchange of WMJX-FM and $12 million for sports talk WBZ-FM in Boston, and the acquisition of country WXTU-FM, Philadelphia from Entercom.  The company’s pro forma net revenue cited here reflects the operations and results from WBZ-FM in the three and 12 months ended December 31, 2018 and WMJX-FM in the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2017, prior to its divestiture. The results also reflect a full quarter’s contribution from WXTU-FM in the three months ended December 31, 2018 and approximately five months of contribution from WXTU-FM in the 12 months ended December 31, 2018 and four months of contribution from the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations in the 12-month period ended December 31, 2017.  Beasley’s pro forma net revenue for Q4 was up 9.4%.  For the full year of 2018, pro forma net revenue was $263.5 million, an increase of 4.7% over 2017.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Our record 2018 fourth quarter and full-year revenue and strong operating results, despite the benefit of non-cash transaction related and tax items in the 2017 period, highlight the value being created as we execute strategies to expand our scale, diversify our revenue mix, and leverage the value of our local brands in our core and ancillary verticals.  Actual fourth quarter revenue rose by 29.1% on a year-over-year basis driven by net revenue increases at 10 of our clusters, recent acquisitions and station swaps and approximately $3.9 million of fourth quarter gross political revenue.  While we remain focused on diversifying our operating base, our fourth quarter pro-forma revenue rose an impressive 9.9%.  Fourth quarter net income declined from 2017 levels solely because of gains and tax benefits in the year-ago period that did not recur in the 2018 fourth quarter.”

Jeff Foxworthy Visits Old Pal Jim Villanucci on ‘101.7 The Team’ in Albuquerque. Pictured above is comic Jeff Foxworthy with afternoon drive talk show host Jim Villanucci at Team Broadcasting’s sports talk KQTM-FM, “101.7 The Team” studios. Foxworthy is an old friend of Villanucci’s from the stand-up circuit and stopped by to chat on Villanucci’s radio show while appearing in the Albuquerque area.  Pictured above are (from l-r): Villanucci, Foxworthy, show special correspondent Sam Hauser, and show producer Robert Maler.  Hauser is new to Villanucci’s show, officially joining today as special correspondent from his most recent gig with Alpha Media’s Austin, Minnesota station group where he managed the sports department at its news/talk outlet for three years.

Border Wall Battle, New Government Shutdown, Warren in Iowa/2020 Presidential Hopefuls, Ilhan Omar Anti-Israel Statements, Virginia Political Chaos, Venezuela Unrest, Grammy Awards, Alliance of American Football Debut, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The political battle over President Trump’s plan for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; the threat of another federal government shutdown; Senator Elizabeth Warren announces presidential campaign and the related story of the Democratic field of contenders; the flap over Muslim U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s accusation AIPAC buys off U.S. politicians to support Israel; the political chaos in Virginia over the blackface scandals involving Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring and the sexual assault accusation against Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax; the unstable political situation in Venezuela; Sunday night’s Grammy Awards show; the debut of the Alliance of American Football league; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SEAN HANNITY TO KEYNOTE: 2019 Talkers Convention Set for NYC. The 22nd annual installment of the longest-running, most-important national talk media convention has been set for Friday, June 7, 2019 in New York City. Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the colorful Chelsea district of Manhattan.  It has just been confirmed that Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will reprise his long-standing role as the morning breakfast host and kickoff speaker for this convention.  Hannity will be joined by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison in the event’s annual one-on-one opening keynote conversation.  The rest of the stellar agenda of speakers and sessions will begin to be announced next week.  The conference will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, one-on-one conversations and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. Like its predecessors, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story will also provide its attendees with unparalleled networking opportunities and social mixers including breakfast, lunch, and a closing cocktail reception — all in a single, power-packed day! Full agenda details, speaker roster and hotel information will be posted in TALKERS during the days and weeks ahead. As is customary with TALKERS conventions, Talkers 2019: Telling the Story is only open to members of the professional media industry and communications students. Because seating is limited and the event has been an early sellout every year since the 1990s, in order to maintain this policy, non-refundable registrations can only be purchased via telephone with a credit card. Full registration, including all functions, meals, and refreshments, costs $329 per person. To register or obtain sponsorship information, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413. To take advantage of the hotel discount available to TALKERS convention attendees, contact the Hilton Fashion District Hotel located directly across the street from the venue at 152 W. 26th St, New York, NY 10001 by clicking here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new rock outlet debuts in Columbus as iHeartMedia flips WXZX-FM from sports talk to classic rock as “105.7 The Brew, The New Generation of Classic Rock.”  iHeartMedia Columbus VP of programming Michael McCoy says the station’s playlist will focus on rock from the 80s into the 2000s, including songs from core artists such as AC/DCFoo Fighters, Tom Petty, Soundgarden, Van Halen, Metallica, Mötley Crüe, and Guns N’ Roses.  The station is bringing Columbus radio personalities Mark Blazor and DaveMan aboard.  McCoy says, “We are excited to offer a unique station for Columbus’ rock listeners.  The Brew’s mission is to provide one great rock song after another and that’s why we call it the new generation of Classic Rock.”…..Programmer Randy Hawke is promoted to vice president of programming at Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Madison, Wisconsin cluster.  He’s been serving as PD for rock WJJO and OM for the cluster that includes rhythmic CHR WJQM “93.1 Jamz,” alternative WRIS “106.7 The Resistance,” and sports talk WOZN. In this new role, he’ll serve as PD for adult contemporary WMGM “Magic 98,” country WWQM “Q106,” and classic country WHIT “Hank.”  At the same time, the company ups APD/MD Jennifer “Ski” Crowell to program director for WJJO…..On-air pro Bill Mitchell adds to his morning gig on Magnum Media’s country WMBZ, West Bend, Wisconsin by also handling the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at the company’s country WVTY, Racine, Wisconsin.   Magnum Media owner Dave Magnum says, “Factoring in market-wide remote broadcasts and promotions, we wanted some personality cross pollination between ‘Buzz Country’ and ‘VTY Country.’  With [morning host] Mitch Morgan and Bill Mitchell on both stations, we’ve achieved that objective.”…..A number of staff changes take place at Griffin Communications’ Tulsa cluster.  First, Dave “Wavy Davy” Michaels joins the company as PD and afternoon personality at classic hits KBEZ “92.9 The Drive.”  Wavy Davy comes from Cox Media Group’s crosstown classic rock KJSR “103.3 The Eagle.” Second, Tanner Messer is promoted to host of the afternoon drive shift at classic country KXBL “Big Country 99.5” and the evening jock at country KVOO.  Finally, Nikki Reid is now host of afternoons on KVOO and night jock at CHR KHTT “K-HITS 106.9.”…..Pictured below is the staff of rhythmic oldies XHRM, San Diego “Magic 92.5” bestowing the first-ever “Magic 92.5 Lifetime Achievement Award” to radio legend Art Laboe.  The award recognizes Laboe’s many achievements over his legendary 75-year radio broadcasting career and was presented in front of an audience of more than 6,000 people at the station’s 2019 Valentine’s Super Love Jam concert on February 9.  Pictured (from l-r) are: Magic 92.5’s Greg Mack, Rick Nuhn, Xavier “The X-Man,” R Dub!, Laboe, Jagger & Kristi, Sheryl Love, Hurricane Andrew, Jammin’ Jay Michaels, Kelly Cole, and Billy Blast. Photo: Alan Hess

Friday, November 2, 2018

| November 2, 2018

Scripps Two Stations Away from Exiting Radio Biz; Good Karma and SummitMedia Close on Acquisitions.  Yesterday (11/1) was the closing on Good Karma Brands’ purchase of news/talk WTMJ-AM and country-turned-sports WKTI-FM in Milwaukee for $16 million and on SummitMedia’s acquisition of 19 stations in the Wichita, Springfield (Mo), Omaha, and Knoxville markets for $47 million.  The closing officially puts Scripps Media out of the radio business, having grossed $83.5 million from the selloff.  As reported earlier in TALKERS, Good Karma Brands is flipping WKTI-FM, Milwaukee from country to sports talk as “94.5 ESPN Milwaukee.”  The stations SummitMedia acquires are KFDI-FM, KICT-FM, KFXJ-FM, KYQQ-FM, and KFTI-AM in Wichita; KTTS-FM, KSPW-FM, KSGF-AM/FM, and KRVI-FM in Springfield; KEZO-FM, KSRZ-FM, KQCH-FM, KKCD-FM, and KXSP-AM in Omaha; and WWST-FM, WCYQ-FM, WKHT-FM, and WNOX-FM in Knoxville.  Kalil & Co was the exclusive broker for both transactions.  Once Lotus Communications closes on its $8 million acquisition of Scripps’ Tucson and Boise operations, it will officially have exited the radio business.

Beasley Reports Positive Third Quarter Financial Numbers; Net Revenue Up 10.6%.  This quarterly financial report from Beasley Broadcast Group comes after a number of station transactions that have taken place over the last year and a half.  The company cites the May 1, 2017 sale of six stations in Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville; the December 19, 2017, asset exchange of AC WMJX-FM, Boston and $12 million for sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston; and September 27, acquisition of country WXTU-FM, Philadelphia from Entercom for $38 million. This quarter’s results reflect the operations and from WBZ-FM in the three and nine months ended September 30, 2018 and WMJX-FM in the three and nine months ended September 30, 2018.  The results also reflect approximately two months of contribution from WXTU-FM in the three and nine months ended September 30, 2018 and four months of contribution from the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations in the nine-month period ended September 30, 2017.  That said, Beasley reports net revenue of $65.1 million – a 10.6% rise over the same period in 2017.  Although station operating income was down almost 35%, Beasley states that it was “impacted by an additional $1.7 million in bad debt expense due to financial issues at United States Traffic Network.” Chief operating officer Caroline Beasley says, “Beasley’s strong operating cash flows allowed us to continue making strategic investments in our broadcast and technology platforms. During the third quarter, we completed the strategically complementary and accretive acquisition of WXTU-FM in Philadelphia. In addition to being one of the best and most listened-to country music stations in America, WXTU-FM further enhances our revenue and competitive position by creating a full cluster of five FM and two AM stations in a key, top-ten market. We also completed two smaller acquisitions including a Tampa-based event company and a nationally syndicated Esports podcast in separate transactions that were funded with cash on hand. All three transactions are consistent with Beasley’s disciplined approach to growing our platform by identifying and completing transactions where we can drive valuable synergies, leverage content and enhance SOI margins, all with a limited impact to our leverage.”

Saga’s Q3 Net Revenue Up 4.6%.  The third quarter financial report from Saga Communications states net revenue was $31.7 million – an increase of 4.6% over the same period in 2017.  Operating income decreased 3.4% to $5.3 million and station operating expense increased 7.7% to $23.4 million for the quarter.  On a same-station basis for the quarter ended September 30, 2018 net revenue was flat compared to the same quarter last year at $29.6 million.  Looking at the past nine months, net revenue increased 6% to $91.9 million.  Saga reports $48.8 million in cash on hand as of September 30, 2018 and $50.5 million as of October 31, 2018.  The company’s total long-term debt was $20 million as of September 30, 2018.  On Tuesday (10/30), Saga announced its intent to buy Ocala Broadcasting Corporation’s Ocala-Gainesville four-station group – country WOGK-FM and classic rock “The Wind” trimulcast WNDT-FM, WNDD-FM, and WNDN-FM.

Delaware Talker Dan Gaffney Beginning Saturday Gig at WPHT in Philly.  His “day job” is program director and morning drive host at Delmarva Broadcasting Company’s WXDE, Salisbury-Ocean City “Delaware 105.9,” but tomorrow night (11/3) Dan Gaffney adds hosting the 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm Saturday show on Entercom’s WPHT, Philadelphia “Talk Radio 1210” to his radio work.  Gaffney says, “I’m so excited to work with PD Jared Hart and his team at WPHT, in my favorite big city – Philadelphia!”

Midterm Elections Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 29 – November 2.  Next Tuesday’s midterm elections and the battle for control of the House and Senate was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the caravan of Honduran migrants making its way to the U.S. border and President Trump’s controversial video ad. Coming in at #3 was the birthright citizenship issue, followed by the Pittsburgh synagogue slayings 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 this week’s entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Detroit, WDRQ PD and director of FM programming Robby Bridges announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Detroit cluster after five years to return home to Providence to focus on his family.  He posts on his Facebook page: “It is with many mixed emotions to share I have chosen not extend my agreement and will be leaving Detroit by the end of the year.  Totally my choice, company has been terrific as I made the decision also.  It’s been an amazing 11-year ride with Cumulus that’s given me incredible opportunities, found me lifelong friends and left me with unforgettable memories.  None more so, than in the Motor City!”…..There was no notice and Cumulus Media hasn’t said anything publicly, but Kelly Ford appears to have exited her role on the Nashville-based, syndicated country morning show “Ty, Kelly & Chuck” with Ty Bentli and Chuck Wicks – although her bio is still on the website…..Programming pro Robert Elfman is named program director for Cumulus Media’s adult contemporary WGNI-FM “102.7 GNI” and classic rock WKXS-FM “94.5 The Hawk” in Wilmington, North Carolina. Elfman moves to Wilmington after 11 years with Eagle Communications, most recently as OM and PD at the company’s Manhattan, Kansas station group.  Cumulus Media Wilmington vice president and general manager Eric McCart says, “While searching for our next leader for ‘102.7 GNI’ and ‘94.5 The Hawk,’ Robert impressed us from the very start as someone who will help take us to the next level and deliver an even better listener experience.  He possesses the leadership skills to work with our team and lead our brands to even greater success serving our listeners, advertisers, and community. I’m very excited to welcome Robert to our Cumulus family!”…..Adams Radio Group flips active rock WJFX-HD2/W277AK in Fort Wayne to hip hop as “Loud 103.3” featuring such core artists as DrakeThe Weeknd, Lil Wayne, Cardi B, Post Malone, Kendrick Lamar, and more. Station OM JJ Fabini states, “I couldn’t be more excited about ‘Loud 103.3.’ Our city has sorely been missing a hip hop outlet for years – an entire segment of our population didn’t have a radio station to call their own, and Adams is thrilled for the opportunity to serve the community with this new venture.”…..Meruelo Media’s hip hop KPWR-FM, Los Angeles “Power 106” is launching a new, two-hour show starring DJ Felli Fel and Justin Credible called, “New at Night.”  It airs from 12:00 midnight to 2:00 am and is being billed as “unfiltered new hip hop without limitations” programmed and mixed by DJ Felli Fel and Justin Credible with assistance from music and programming supervisor Becky Lopez.  “Power 106” personality Mando Fresko hosts the second hour of the program.

October 2018 PPM Data – Part Four. October 2018 ratings information has been released for Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s October 2018 survey period covered September 13 – October 10. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, managing editor Mike Kinosian (Kinosian@Talkers.com) provides his “Takeaways” from all 12 of these PPM-markets.

Austin

Spoken-Word Formats – Off a combined three-tenths in September and October (4.4 – 4.3 – 4.1, 6+), Emmis news/talk KLBJ-AM “News Radio 590 AM” repeats at #9; August’s 4.4 is its highest 6+-share since March (4.6). After posting a +.5 in June; -.9 in July; and +1.0 in September, Genuine Austin Radio sports talk KTXX “The Horn” is down one-tenth in October (2.5 – 2.4, #14 to #16, 6+). September’s 2.5 is its best 6+-stat since December 2016 (2.5, as well). Via six straight sweeps without a loss (.3 – .3 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .5 – .6, 6+), iHeartMedia’s similarly-programmed KVET-AM “1300 AM The Zone” doubles its 6+-share and continues at #24. A collective +1.5 in September and October (7.1 – 7.9 – 8.6, 6+), University of Texas at Austin-owned news/talker KUT repeats at #1. KUT, which was -1.0 in August, was on top in July and May – with 8.2 that month its best 6+-showing since November 2016’s 9.0.

Austin Music Formats – No sooner had Entercom adult contemporary KKMJ eroded by -1.2 in September than “Majic 95.5” roars back in October by erasing that deficit in its entirety (6.7 – 5.5 – 6.7, +1.2, fourth to third, 6+). Its 6.7 in August and October is its strongest 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2017’s 12.4. Off a collective nine-tenths in August and September (2.9 – 2.4 – 2.0, 6+), Crista Ministries contemporary Christian KFMK “Spirit 105.9” answers with a +.6 in October to 2.6 (#18 to #14, 6+). Dropping eight-tenths each are iHeartMedia CHR KHFI “96.7 Kiss FM – Austin’s #1 Hit Music Station” (5.2 – 4.4, flat at #8, 6+) and Emmis-owned KROX “101-X Alternative Austin” (4.0 – 3.2, #10 to #12, 6+). Having posted six straight sweeps without a loss for a net gain of six-tenths (1.8 – 1.8 – 1.9 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 2.4, 6+), University of Texas at Austin-owned triple A KUTX “98.9 The Austin Music Experience” drops three-tenths to 2.1 (#15 to #18, 6+). The October 2018 sweep isn’t kind to Austin’s country format as iHeartMedia’s KASE is down four-tenths (5.7 – 5.3, third to fifth, 6+). “Austin’s #1 For New Country” was -.5 (May); +.5 (June); -.5 (July) and a combined +.6 in August and September. Co-owned KVET-FM drops two-tenths (5.3 – 5.1, flat at #6, 6+). In four straight downward trends, “98.1 The Austin, Texas Original” was an overall -1.7 (6.4 – 6.1 – 6.0 – 5.6 – 4.7, 6+) until it scored a +.6 in September. Finally, Genuine Austin Radio-owned KOKE is off one-tenth (1.5 – 1.4, 6+) but stays at #21. With a combined +.6 in August and September (.8 – 1.0 – 1.4, 6+), “Austin’s Country Alternative” erased three straight decreases that produced a loss of six-tenths (1.4 – 1.2 – 1.1 – .8, 6+).

Raleigh

Spoken-Word Formats – In back-to-back sweeps, iHeartMedia news/talk WTKK is a collective +1.2 (5.1 – 5.5 – 6.3, 6+) as “106.1 Stay Connected” jumps from eighth to fifth. A July increase of four-tenths halted three down or flat trends that produced a loss of three tenths (5.3 – 5.1 – 5.1 – 5.0, 6+). In eight straight sweeps without a loss (1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.7 – 1.8, 6+), Curtis Media Group news/talk WPTF has nearly doubled (+.8) its 6+-share and advances from #19 to #17. In May, “News Radio 680” finished at #18, but prior to that, it occupied the #19 slot for nine straight sweeps. Up a cumulative six-tenths in September and October (1.8 – 2.2 – 2.4, 6+), Capitol Broadcasting sports talk WCMC “99.9 The Fan” moves from #16 to #14. Its +.4 in September halted three losses in a row that accounted for more than a 50% reduction (-2.1) of its 6+-share (3.9 – 2.6 – 2.0 – 1.8, 6+). Over the last five survey periods, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC “91.5 North Carolina Public Radio” has gone from third to first (June, +9); first to third (July, -1.1); third to first (August, +1.2, 6+); first to second (September, -.4+); and unchanged at second (8.4 – 8.3, -.1, 6+).

Raleigh Music Formats – As the result of four straight down or flat trends, WDCG “G-105 Raleigh’s #1 Hit Music Station” was a combined -1.3 (6.3 – 5.7 – 5.7 – 5.2 – 5.0, 6+). That slide ends in October though as the iHeartMedia CHR posts a one-half share increase to 5.5 (tenth to seventh, 6+); September’s 5.0 is its lowest 6+-share since December 2017 (5.0, as well). Also improving by one-half share are Curtis Media Group classic hits-oldies WKIX “Kix 102.9 – Carolina’s Greatest Hits” (3.9 – 4.4, steady at #11, 6+) and Radio Training Network contemporary Christian WRTP “His Radio” (2.2, #18 to #15, 6+), which had logged a 1.7 (6+) in five of the last nine reports (1.7 – 1.7 – 1.9 – 1.7 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 2.0 – 1.7, 6+). Albeit down two-tenths (9.6 – 9.4, 6+), Radio One urban AC WFXC “Foxy – Today’s R&B and Classic Soul” repeats at #1. On the strength of September’s +1.1, “Foxy” recorded a 9.6 – its strongest 6+-stat since January’s 10.7. A loss of nine-tenths (6.1 – 5.2, 6+) drops Curtis Media Group adult hits WBBB “96.1 BBB – Your Life, Your Music” from fifth to ninth. The rollercoaster ride continues for Capitol Broadcasting adult contemporary WRAL “Mix 101.5,” which is a collective +2.6 via three April, May, and June improvements (5.1 – 5.8 – 7.1 – 7.7, 6+); -1.3 in July (7.7 – 6.4, 6+); +.6 in August (6.4 – 7.0, 6+); and a collective -1.7 in September and October (7.0 – 5.8 – 5.3, seventh to eighth, 6+). October’s 5.3 is the lowest 6+-stat for “Mix” since 5.1 in March. At the same time that Curtis Media Group’s WQDR “94.7 QDR Today’s Best Country” adds one-tenth (7.9 – 8.0, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WNCB “B-93.9 #1 For New Country” surrenders four-tenths (2.9 – 2.5, 6+). The two format rivals are unchanged at #3 and #12, respectively. With a +1.0 in September, WQDR halted three straight downward moves that led to a collective -1.2 (8.1 – 7.7 – 7.2 – 6.9, 6+). A four-tenths decrease in September by WNCB suspended at four its consecutive string of increases that netted six-tenths (2.7 – 3.0 – 3.1 – 3.2 – 3.3, 6+). A loss of one-tenth to .5 (flat at #20, 6+) by Curtis Media Group classic hits-oldies WPTK “Just Right Radio” interrupts six straight sweeps without a loss (.5 – .5 – 5 – .5 – .6 – .6 – .6, 6+).

Indianapolis

Spoken-Word Formats – Shaking off September’s -.7 with an October increase of +1.0, Emmis news/talk WIBC advances from sixth to fifth. In addition, “93.1 Indy’s News Center” continues an up/down pattern that began in March: 5.6 – 5.9 – 5.6 – 6.7 – 6.0 – 6.2 – 5.5 – 6.5. Co-owned sports talk WFNI “The Fan – Indy’s Sports Center” levels out at 2.2 (6+) following September’s +.6, which almost wiped out its overall loss of seven-tenths through five consecutive sweeps without an increase (2.3 – 2.3 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 1.6 – 1.6, 6+). “The Fan,” however, backslides from #15 to #16 where it is tied with iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WNDE “Indy’s Sports Station,” which logs a one-half share gain (1.7 – 2.2, #19 to #16, 6+). After being a combined +1.8 in four straight increases (2.6 – 3.1 – 3.3 – 3.8 – 4.4, 6+), Metropolitan Indianapolis Public Broadcasting news/talk WFYI is now off a combined three-tenths in September and October (4.4 – 4.3 – 4.1, 6+) and exits the top ten (#10 to #11).

Indianapolis Music Formats – Tacking on nine-tenths to September’s +.4 (7.0 – 7.4 – 8.3, 6+), Cumulus Media’s WFMS “95.5 The Country Station” bumps up from third to second. WFMS was #1 in April, May, and June, before faltering by a cumulative -1.2 in July and August (8.2 – 7.7 – 7.0, 6+). Representative fluctuations this calendar year for “95.5 The Country Station” include: -.5 (February); +1.0 (April); +.5 (May); -.5 (July); -.7 (August); and +.9 (October). There’s also good news for its format foe, Emmis-owned WLHK “Country 97.1 Hank FM,” which responds to September’s -1.5 with a +.6 (5.1 – 5.7, eighth to sixth, 6+). “Hank” was down nine-tenths in June and then became frozen on 6.6 (6+) in July and August. Down or flat the past three sweeps for an overall loss of seven-tenths (2.9 – 2.9 – 2.7 – 2.2, 6+), iHeartMedia urban contemporary WZRL “Real 98.3” picks up two-tenths to 2.4 (6+) and continues at #15. Major accolades continue for Cumulus Media’s WJJK “Classic Hits 104.5,” which registers its fifth successive uptrend netting a whopping +3.2 (6.8 – 7.3 – 7.9 – 8.6 – 9.7 – 10.0, 6+); reaches 10.0, the highest 6+-share in the station’s PPM-history (beating the previous record of 9.7 set just last month); and is #1 for the fourth month in a row. Conversely, Radio One CHR WNOW “100.9 Radio Now” (flat at #14) is a collective -1.2 as a result of four straight slips (3.7 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 2.5, 6+) and falls below the three-share level (6+) for the first time since May 2016 (2.8). Rhythmic CHR cluster-mate WHHH “Hot 96.3” sputters by six-tenths (6.0 – 5.4, 6+) and segues from fifth to seventh. Following four consecutive up or flat moves for an overall +1.4 (6.1 – 6.6 – 6.6 – 6.8 – 7.5, 6+), Emmis adult contemporary WYXB “B-105.7” surrenders four-tenths to 7.1 (6+), slipping from second to third. September’s 7.5 represents the finest 6+-showing for WYXB since January’s 7.9.

Milwaukee

Spoken-Word Formats – This is a genuinely historic sweep for news/talk WTMJ “Wisconsin’s Radio Station,” which not only has the largest (6+) September 2018 – October 2018 increase of any facility in PPM’s 48 electronically-measured markets (7.9 – 10.4, +2.5, 6+), it unseats an outlet that had been #1 the past 43 sweeps (see below). October’s 10.4 actually isn’t the best 6+-stat in WTMJ’s PPM history though – it hit 10.9 in January 2015. It was announced roughly three months ago that Good Karma Brands would be acquiring Green Bay Packers’ network flagship WTMJ from Scripps; the sale is pending. A combined -2.1 in four straight decreases (7.7 – 6.9 – 6.7 – 6.2 – 5.6, 6+), iHeartMedia’s similarly-formatted WISN “News/Talk 1130” picks up four-tenths to 6.0 (sixth to fifth, 6+). Remaining at #16, Entercom’s WSSP “Sports Radio 105.7 The Fan” is a collective +.7 as the result of four consecutive upticks (1.2 – 1.3 – 1.4 – 1.5 – 1.9, 6+). Down one-tenth in back-to-back sweeps (2.9 – 2.8 – 2.7, 6+), University of Wisconsin news/talk WUWM answers with a gain of seven-tenths to 3.4 (#12, 6+). Prior to October, WUWM ranked #14 for three straight months and had been within 2.0 – 2.9 range (6+) for 17 consecutive sweeps. The June 2018 – October 2018 topline for Wisconsin Public Radio news/talk WHAD is .9 – .9 – .7 – .9 – .7 (flat at #19, 6+).

Milwaukee Music Formats – Adding six-tenths to September’s +.3 (5.3 – 5.6 – 6.2, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WMIL advances from sixth to fourth. “FM 106.1 – Milwaukee’s Best Country” rebounded from June’s -1.0 with a +.5 in July. It no longer has a direct competitor as (Scripps-to-Good Karma Brands’) WKTI “94.5 KTI Country” transitioned to sports talk this week (as “94.5 ESPN Milwaukee”). In its final sweep as a country station, WKTI shifts from #13 to #12, but is an overall -1.0 in five straight decreases (4.4 – 4.3 – 4.2 – 3.8 – 3.5 – 3.4, 6+). Even after cratering -1.6 in September (10.2 – 8.6, 6+), iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WRIT “95.7 Big FM – Milwaukee’s Greatest Hits” managed to stay at #1 for the 43rd consecutive ratings period. In October, however, the combination of WTMJ dialing up a mammoth +2.5 (to 10.4, 6+) and “Big FM” faltering by seven-tenths (to 7.9, 6+), WRIT tumbles to the runner-up slot. Prior to losing seven-tenths in July, “Big FM” had been +1.7 in four straight February through June increases (8.8 – 9.4 – 9.9 – 10.3 – 10.5, 6+). Three consecutive upticks by Milwaukee Radio Alliance adult contemporary WLDB resulted in a +2.2 (4.0 – 4.3 – 5.1 – 6.2, 6+), but “B-93.3” surrenders nearly half that increase (5.2 -1.0, 6+) and dips from fourth to seventh. September’s 6.2 represents the strongest 6+-showing for WLDB since “Holiday” 2017’s 7.4. On the heels of September’s one-half share decline, Saga Communications’ WKLH “96.5 Milwaukee’s Hometown Rock” plunges another nine-tenths (7.9 – 7.0, second to third, 6+). WKLH previously was -.9 (“Holiday” 2017); +.5 (January 2008); -.9 (February); +1.1 (March); -.5 (April); -.5 (May); +.9 (June); +1.2 (August); -.5 (September); and -.9 (October). Four gains in succession by Entercom CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM” eventuated in an overall +1.0 (4.1 – 4.5 – 4.9 – 5.0 – 5.1, 6+) and the best 6+-showing (5.1) since December 2016’s 5.5. In October though “Kiss” stumbles by four-tenths to 4.7 (ninth to tenth, 6+). After logging a one-half share gain in September to 5.9 – its best 6+-stat since August 2017’s 6.3 – hot AC cluster-mate WMYX “99.1 The Mix” relinquishes eight-tenths to 5.1 (fifth to eighth, 6+). While it remains at #11, Saga Communications urban AC WJMR “Jammin’ 98.3” is off two-tenths to 4.0 (6+), thus pulling the plug on three consecutive increases that netted a +1.6 (2.6 – 3.4 – 3.7 – 4.2, 6+).

Nashville

Spoken-Word Formats – Entering the August ratings period, Cumulus Media news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” had a fluctuation of two-tenths in April, May, June, and July (3.5 – 3.7 – 3.5 – 3.3 – 3.5, 6+). It’s apparently time for another move of two-tenths by “Super Talk” (3.8 – 4.0, 6+), taking it back into the top ten (#11 to #10). With a (6+) high of 1.4 and low of .8, iHeartMedia news/talk WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” (#19 to #20, 6+) has a May 2017 – October 2018 topline of 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – .9 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.1 – 1.0 – 1.4 – 1.3 – 1.1 – 1.3 – 1.2 – 1.1 – 1.2 – .8 – .7 – 1.1. In four consecutive up or flat moves, Cumulus Media sports talk WGFX  has more than doubled (+3.3) its 6+-share (3.0 – 3.0 – 3.6 – 5.0 – 6.3, 6+) as “104.5 The Zone” jumps from seventh to fifth. This (6.3) is the highest 6+-share for the Tennessee Titans’ flagship since January’s 6.5. An overall -1.9 in four straight decreases – three of which were by one-tenth (2.6 – 2.5 – .9 – .8 – .7, 6+) – Cromwell Group-owned sports talk WPRT “102.5 The Game” gains a collective six-tenths in September and October (.7 – .8 – 1.3, #19 to #18, 6+). Having recorded a one-half share increase in August, Nashville Public Radio news/talk/classical hybrid WPLN-FM surrenders twice that margin (-1.0) in September and October (4.9 – 4.6 – 3.6, 6+) as “NPR News and Classical Music” departs the top ten (#10 to #12).

Nashville Music Formats – A collective -1.5 in three slips in succession (7.5 – 7.3 – 6.6 – 6.0), iHeartMedia urban contemporary WUBT “101.1 The Beat” erases one-third of that deficit with a one-half share gain to 6.5 (fifth to fourth, 6+). In addition to having its highest 6+-stat (5.8) since May’s 5.9, CHR sibling WRVW “107.5 The River” is a combined +1.4 in three straight gains (4.4 – 4.8 – 5.5 – 5.8, seventh to sixth, 6+). Despite the fact that it backslides from #13 to #14, Educational Media Foundation contemporary Christian WLVU “Positive & Inspiring K-Love” is an overall +.8 in five consecutive sweeps without a loss (2.3 – 2.3 – 2.4 – 2.4 – 3.1 – 3.1, 6+). While Midwest Communications adult contemporary WJXA is in the driver’s seat for the ninth successive ratings period, it hasn’t always been uneventful. These are among the fluctuations this calendar year for “Mix 92.9 – Your Life, Your Music”: -6.7 (January); +1.0 (February); -.5 (May); +1.0 (June); +.9 (August); -.9 (September); and now -.7 in October (8.8 – 8.1, 6+). “Mix” ranked first in November (2017), December, and “Holiday”; shifted to second in January (2018); but returned to #1 in February. In three positive spikes in succession (5.9 – 6.8 – 6.9 – 7.4, 6+), Cumulus Media urban AC WQQK was a collective +1.5. In one fell swoop, however, “92-Q” craters by -1.9 (7.4 – 5.5, 6+) and drifts from third to eighth. It’s a somewhat similar, although less dramatic, story for iHeartMedia-owned WNRQ, which was an overall +1.5 via four consecutive increases (6.3 – 6.4 – 6.7 – 6.8 – 7.8, 6+). In September and October, “105.9 The Rock – Nashville’s Classic Rock” is a combined -1.2 (7.8 – 7.6 – 6.6, #2 to #3, 6+). August’s 7.8 is the best 6+-stat for WNRQ since January (7.8, as well). It is a clean sweep for the market’s three country-formatted FMs: Cumulus Media’s WSM-FM “95.5 Nash Icon” is up two tenths (5.6 – 5.8, flat at #6, 6+); iHeartMedia’s WSIX “The Big 98 – Nashville’s #1 for New Country” notches an improvement of four-tenths and is steady at #8; and Cumulus Media’s WKDF “103.3 Nash FM” gains three-tenths (3.7 – 4.0, #12 to #10, 6+). “The Big 98” was up eight-tenths in September, while “Nash Icon” spiraled by -1.0. Following three straight up or flat trends that netted a +1.1 (3.5 – 4.0 – 4.0 – 4.6, 6+), “Nash FM” was a combined -1.0 in July and August (4.6 – 3.8 – 3.6, 6+).

Providence

Spoken-Word Formats – Even though Cumulus Media news/talk WPRO-AM notes its third straight increase for an overall +.8 (3.7 – 4.0 – 4.4 – 4.5, 6+), “News Talk 630” backslides from seventh to eighth. Its August increase halted three straight down or flat sweeps for a -1.0 (4.7 – 3.9 – 3.9 – 3.7, 6+). Flat at #12, iHeartMedia news/talk WHJJ “Providence’s News, Traffic, and Weather” is a combined +.6 via three consecutive gains (1.1 – 1.3 – 1.5 – 1.7, 6+), directly following an overall loss of nine-tenths through five straight decreases (2.0 – 1.8 – 1.7 – 1.5 – 1.3 – 1.1, 6+). Without an increase the past four sweeps for a net May through September decline of just one-tenth (.6 – .6 -.6 – .5 – .5, 6+), Cumulus Media-owned WPRV “AM 790 Talk & Business” picks up one-tenth to .6 (6+) and continues at #21. Following an approximately 6.5-year absence from the Providence report, iHeartMedia Boston’s WBZ-AM returned in print in May. “News Radio 1030” is up three-tenths in four straight up or flat Providence moves (.8 – .8 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.1, #19 to #16, 6+). Three of the most recent shifts for Entercom sports talk outlet WVEI include: -.6 (July); +.7 (August); and +.7 in October (4.1 – 4.8, eighth to seventh, 6+). In advance of July’s decrease, WVEI was a collective +1.2 in three upticks in a row (2.8 – 3.4 – 3.9 – 4.0, 6+). Finishing back-to-back at #9 and #10, respectively, are The Wheeler School’s news/talk WELH, which duplicates September’s +.4 (1.8 – 2.2 – 2.6, flat at #9, 6+) and WGBH Educational Foundation news/talk WGBH (1.8 – 2.3, +.5, #11 to #10, 6+). Before adding four-tenths in September, WELH was off one-half share in six straight sweeps without an increase (2.3 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.2 – 2.1 – 2.0 – 1.8, 6+). In September, WGBH returned the four-tenths it earned in August (1.8 – 2.2 – 1.8, 6+). Immediately prior to the May sweep, these two outlets finished back-to-back four straight times and were tied in May at #10.

Providence Music Formats – A combined -1.7 in August and September (8.1 – 7.3 – 6.4, 6+), iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies WWBB bounces back in October with a +.5 to 6.9 (6+) and carries on at #5. Entering the August sweep, “B-101” was +.3.1 in five upticks in a row (5.0 – 5.9 – 6.5 – 6.9 – 7.2 – 8.1, 6+). Improving by one-half share as well is Hall Communications’ WCTK “Cat Country 98.1,” which is trending 7.9 – 8.2 – 8.7 (fourth to second, 6+). Entering the October sweep, Cumulus Media adult contemporary WWLI had been in double-digits (6+) 11 of the last 17 sweeps, but “Lite Rock 105” falters by eight-tenths (10.2 – 9.4, 6+). Nonetheless, it #1 for the third month in a row; June’s 10.3 is its highest 6+-stat since 12.3 in “Holiday” 2017. Some major ups/downs continue for CHR cluster-mate WPRO-FM “92 PRO FM – Today’s Hit Music,” which is -.7 (July); +1.0 (August); -.7 (September); and now -1.4 in October (8.4 – 7.0, third to fourth, 6+). This (7.0) marks the first time WPRO-FM is below an eight-share (6+) since February’s 7.8.

Norfolk – An overall -2.5 via four straight declines (8.3 – 7.3 – 6.1 – 6.0 – 5.8, 6+), Saga Communications’ WNOR “99 Rocks” responds in October with a +1.1 to 6.9 (fifth to third, 6+). It is tied at #3 with classic rock sibling WAFX “106.9 The Fox,” which nets a +1.6 in September and October, (5.3 – 6.4 – 6.9, 6+). That nearly erases its -1.8 in four straight decreases (7.1 – 6.7 – 6.0 – 5.9 – 5.3, 6+). After losing 86% of its 6+-share (-4.3) through seven successive sweeps without an increase, (5.0 – 1.6 – 1.3 – 1.1 – 1.1 – 1.1 – .9 – .7, 6+), iHeartMedia rhythmic hot AC WMOV “Movin’ 107.7” has more than doubled (+.8) its 6+-share in three positive spikes in succession (.7 – 1.0 – 1.3 – 1.5, #10 to #9, 6+). In the Entercom cluster, urban AC WVKL just keeps rolling as “Smooth R&B from Yesterday & Today” (flat at 13.7) is #1 for the 23rd time in a row and posts a 6+-share of 11.0 or higher for the 31st time in the last 32 sweeps. Its 15.5 in August sets the record for highest 6+-performance by any Norfolk station in the PPM-era, breaking the old mark of 14.6 (6+), which WVKL tied in July. In the runner-up slot for the fifth straight month is iHeartMedia urban contemporary WOWI “103 Jamz,” which spirals by -1.2 to 7.0 (6+). As a result, it pulls the plug on five consecutive up or flat moves that yielded an overall gain of nine-tenths (7.3 – 7.4 – 7.9 – 8.1 – 8.1 – 8.2, 6+). Down a combined one-half share in three successive slips (6.3 – 6.2 – 5.9 – 5.8, 6+), Entercom adult contemporary WWDE “101.3 2WD” segues from fourth to fifth. Immediately prior to this streak, “2WD” was +1.3 in June and July (5.0 – 5.5 – 6.3, 6+) and in advance of May’s -1.1 posted three upticks in succession that generated a +1.8 (4.3 – 5.7 – 5.9 – 6.1, 6+).

Greensboro

Spoken-Word Formats – Bouncing back from September’s -.8 with a gain of three-tenths (4.3 – 3.5 – 3.8, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WPTI “94.5 Your News, Talk, & Sports Station” returns to the top ten (#11 to #10). WPTI posted a gain of two-tenths in back-to-back sweeps (3.8 – 4.0 – 4.2, April – May – June, 6+), before dropping one-tenth in July. Curtis Media Group sports talk WSJS “Triad Sports” doubles its 6+-share (.2 – .4, 6+) and carries on at #16. Entering this sweep, however, WSJS lost 75% (-.6) of its 6+ AQH share as a result of six straight down or flat moves (.8 – .6 – .5 – .4 – .2 – .2 -.2, 6+). This marks the fifth consecutive month that Wake Forest University news/talk WFDD “88.5 Public Radio for the Piedmont” finishes at #13 and fourth time in a row it is without a loss for a collective +.4 (2.0 – 2.0 – 2.1 – 2.3 – 2.4, 6+). Its +.1 in August concluded at four a consecutive string of down or flat monthlies for an overall -.5 (2.5 – 2.3 – 2.2 – 2.0 – 2.0, 6+). The May through October topline for University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill news/talk WUNC (flat at #15) is 1.1 – 1.0 – .9 – 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.1 (6+).

Greensboro Music Formats – Tacking on six-tenths to September’s +1.1 (6.8 – 7.9 – 8.5, 6+), iHeartMedia adult contemporary WMAG “99.5 – The Triad’s Best Variety” continues in third-place with its highest 6+-showing (8.5) since 16.1 in “Holiday” 2017. WMAG had been a collective -1.0 in July and August (7.8 – 7.2 – 6.8, 6+). Up one-half share (5.4 – 5.9, 6+), Entercom’s country-formatted WPAW “93.1 The Wolf,” which eroded by -1.5 in June, advances from eighth to seventh. Steady at #5, iHeartMedia-owned WTQR “Q-104.1 – #1 for New Country” follows September’s loss of eight-tenths with a -.1 (7.3 – 6.5 – 6.4, 6+).”Q-104.1” was down three-tenths in July and then up four-tenths in August. July’s decrease ended at three its consecutive streak of gains that netted a +2.3 (4.9 – 5.0 – 6.2 – 7.2, 6+). By adding two-tenths to 10.4 (6+), Entercom urban AC WQMG applies the brakes to five successive decreases that resulted in a net loss of -2.0 (12.2 – 12.0 – 11.2 – 10.9 – 10.5 – 10.2, 6+). This is the tenth month in a row “97.1 QMG The Best R&B and Old School” is on top and 23rd straight time it’s in double-digits (6+). Wiping out September’s +.5 with a -.6 in October (2.9 – 3.4 – 2.8, 6+), iHeartMedia CHR WMKS “100.3 Kiss FM All the Hits” finishes at #12 for the fifth consecutive time. Prior to August, “Kiss” was a collective -1.4 in three downward moves in a row (4.1 – 3.7 – 3.2 – 2.7, 6+). Owing to three straight declines (10.0 – 9.7 – 9.6 – 9.1, 6+), Entercom adult hits WSMW is off a combined nine-tenths, but “98.7 Simon Says We Play Everything” continues in the runner-up slot for the tenth consecutive time. A July gain of nine-tenths halted five consecutive decreases that accounted for an overall -2.5 (11.6 – 11.4 – 10.4 – 10.3 – 9.4 – 9.1, 6+). Stuck on 3.3 (6+) in June and July and then on 3.6 (6+) in August and September, Curtis Media Group regional Mexican WYMY “101.1 La Ley” sputters by one-half share in October to 3.1 (6+) and departs the top ten (#10 to #11, 6+).

West Palm Beach

Spoken-Word Formats – A combined -1.0 in August and September (2.9 – 2.3 – 1.9, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WJNO “1290 The Palm Beaches’ News & Talk” makes up half that deficit with a +.5 to 2.4 (#13 to #11, 6+). WJNO previously notched four straight up or flat trends for a +.9 (2.0 – 2.3 – 2.3 – 2.7 – 2.9, 6+). In addition to exiting the top ten (#10 to #12) Alpha Media’s WFTL “News Talk 850” drops four-tenths to 2.0 (6+), thus snapping at four its consecutive string of positive spikes that yielded seven-tenths (1.7 – 1.9 – 2.1 – 2.3 – 2.4, 6+). Repeating September’s 1.8 (6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WZZR “Real Radio 94.3 – Real Talk for the Palm Beaches” bumps up from #14 to #13; “Real Radio” gained one-half share in August. In three straight increases, Miami news/talk sibling WIOD is up a collective four-tenths (.9 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.3, 6+) and is steady at #18. With its third straight improvement for a collective +1.0 (2.9 – 3.1 – 3.4 – 3.9, 6+), Dade County School Board news/talk WLRN progresses from eighth to sixth.

West Palm Beach Music Formats – After sputtering by one-half share in September, WAY Media contemporary Christian WAYF “WAY-FM Uplifting-Upbeat-Real” roars back with an increase more than twice that margin (2.8 – 3.9, +1.1, ninth to sixth, 6+). An overall +1.7 in five consecutive reports without a loss (9.0 – 9.3 – 9.3 – 9.4 – 10.0 – 10.7, 6+), Alpha Media hot AC WRMF is on top for the tenth month in a row with its highest 6+-share (10.7) since November 2017’s 11.2. When “97.9 Variety from the 90s and Now” logged a +.3 in June, it suspended three straight decreases that produced an overall -1.2 (10.2 – 9.9 – 9.2 – 9.0, 6+). In addition to cracking the top ten (#11 to #10), iHeartMedia Spanish contemporary WRLX “Mia 92.1” is +1.2 through four upticks in succession (1.5 – 1.6 – 2.1 – 2.2 – 2.7, 6+). The three latest shifts for Alpha Media-owned WIRK “Country 103.1” are +1.2 (August); -.9 (September); and -1.0 in October (4.2 – 3.2, sixth to eighth, 6+). Immediately prior to August, WIRK notched five successive sweeps without an increase that accounted for a -1.0 (4.9 – 4.5 – 4.1 – 4.1 – 3.9 – 3.9, 6+); August’s 5.1 is its best 6+-stat since June 2017. Similarly, major month-to-month moves continue for iHeartMedia CHR WLDI “Wild 95.5,” which was -1.6 (May and June, 4.3 – 3.1 – 2.7, 6+); a collective +1.3 (July and August, 2.7 – 3.8 – 4.0, 6+); -.5 (September, 4.0 – 3.5, 6+); and now -.7 in October (2.8, seventh to ninth, 6+). Remaining at #5, co-owned WKGR “98.7 The Gater – The Palm Beaches’ Rock Station” drops six-tenths (5.0 – 4.4, 6+). Up four-tenths in back-to-back sweeps (4.4 – 4.8 – 5.2, 6+) after July’s half-share loss, Alpha Media’s WEAT “Sunny 107.9” forfeits six-tenths (5.2 – 4.6, 6+) and remains in fourth-place. September’s 5.2 is the best 6+-showing for “Sunny” since April (5.2, as well). Following three setbacks in succession for an overall -1.2 (6.5 – 6.3 – 6.1 – 5.3, 6+), its format rival – iHeartMedia-owned WOLL “Today’s Kool 105.5” – posts a +.1 to 5.4 (third to second, 6+). September’s 5.3 is its lowest 6+-share since 4.9 in “Holiday” 2017.

Jacksonville

Spoken-Word Formats – These past four ratings periods have been quite the rollercoaster ride for Cox Media Group news/talk WOKV. It is -.7 (July); +.5 (August); -.6 (September); and topped with an eye-popping +2.0 in October (8.6 – 10.6, 6+) that takes “104.5 – Jacksonville’s News, Weather, and Traffic” from #3 to #1 with its best-ever 6+-stat (10.6) in the PPM-era. This is the first time WOKV finishes first since May, when it scored a 9.3 (6+). For the third month in a row, iHeartMedia sports talk WFXJ “Sports Radio 930” registers a .5 (#19 to #20, 6+). Off one-tenth after September’s -.6 (2.8 – 2.7, 6+), public news/talk WJCT dips from #12 to #13.

Jacksonville Music Formats – By gaining two-tenths to 7.0 (flat at #4, 6+), iHeartMedia-owned WQIK “99.1 Jacksonville’s Country” interrupts three straight down or flat moves that led to a combined loss of three-tenths (7.1 – 7.1 – 6.8 – 6.8, 6+). October 2017’s 13.6 is the best-ever (6+) PPM-performance for WQIK, which was #1 this past January and March. Continuing at #7, Cox Media Group adult contemporary WEZI “Easy 102.9” nets +1.4 in three straight increases (3.4 – 4.2 – 4.7 – 4.8, 6+), immediately following three straight down or flat trends that produced a collective -1.2 (4.6 – 4.6 – 4.2 – 3.4, 6+). Down two full-shares in September and October (10.6 – 9.8 – 8.6, 6+), Renda Broadcasting’s similarly-formatted WEJZ “96.1 Jacksonville’s Official Work Station,” which had been on top the past four months, shifts to #3. In September, WEJZ had its consecutive string of reaching double-digits (6+) end at three (10.4 – 10.3 – 10.6, 6+). August’s 10.6 is the best 6+-showing for WEJZ since “Holiday” 2017’s 11.9, while October’s 8.6 its weakest since 8.1 in March. In six successive downward moves, co-owned WGNE is an overall -2.2 (5.9 – 5.8 – 5.7 – 4.8 – 4.6 – 4.4 – 3.7, 6+), but “Gator Country 99.9” repeats at #9. A cumulative -1.0 in March and April, iHeartMedia urban contemporary WJBT “93.3 The Beat,” was +.8 (May); -.5 (June); +1.0 (July); -.4 (August); +.8 in September; and now -.7 in October (5.9 – 5.2, flat at #6, 6+). Delmarva Educational Association contemporary Christian WCRJ “The Joy FM” debuts with a 1.1 (#17, 6+).

Memphis

Spoken-Word Formats – Trending 3.1 – 3.5 – 3.4 – 3.1 (July-August-September-October, 6+), iHeartMedia news/talk WREC “600 AM – Memphis’ News, Traffic, & Weather” remains in tenth-place. July’s +.2 to 3.1 (6+) stalled five straight sweeps without an increase for an overall loss of six-tenths (3.5 – 3.3 – 3.2 – 3.2 – 3.0 – 2.9, 6+). Notwithstanding that it is unchanged at #12, Entercom sports talk WMFS “ESPN Sports Radio” posts its third straight gain for an overall +.7 (2.3 – 2.4 – 2.9 – 3.0, 6+); WFMS was off six-tenths in July. Although flat at #18, co-owned sports talk WMC-AM “Sports 790 AM” drops two-tenths to .2 (6+), halting five successive up or flat moves that yielded three-tenths (.1 – .1 – .1 – .3 – .3 – .4 – .4, 6+).

Memphis Music Formats – Owing to four successive sweeps without an increase, Cumulus Media urban-rhythmic oldies WRBO  was a combined -1.4 (10.0 – 9.3 – 8.8 – 8.8 – 8.6, 6+). Despite picking up two-tenths to 8.8 (6+) to halt that skid, “Soul Classics and Today’s R&B” downshifts from second to third. May’s 10.0 is its finest 6+-performance since October 2017’s 10.2. Over and above adding an astonishing +2.4 to September’s +.6 giving Entercom adult contemporary WRVR an 11.0 – its best 6+-stat since “Holiday” 2017’s 12.9 – “104.5 The River” flows from second to first. Steady at #14, Cumulus Media’s similarly-formatted WKIM “98.9 The Bridge” is up an overall one-half share in four consecutive up or flat reports (1.4 – 1.6 – 1.7 – 1.7 – 1.9, 6+). Ousted from the top spot after five consecutive months there is iHeartMedia urban AC KJMS “V-101,” which – despite being up four-tenths (10.3 – 10.7, 6+) – trades places with WRVR at #2. Entering the August sweep, KJMS was +1.7 in three straight up or flat trends (9.4 – 10.1 – 11.1 – 11.1, 6+), but was a combined -.8 in August and September (11.1 – 10.4 – 10.3, 6+). Down or flat six monthlies in a row for a collective -2.7 (7.3 – 7.2 – 7.1 – 6.1 – 4.8 – 4.8 – 4.6, 6+), co-owned gospel WHAL “95.7 Halleluiah – Memphis’ Inspiration Station” is up seven-tenths in September and October (4.6 – 4.7 – 5.3, eighth to fifth, 6+). It is tied at #5 with co-owned 1070 WDIA “The Heart & Soul of Memphis,” which erodes by eight-tenths (6.1 – 5.3, 6+). An overall -2.7 in six downward moves in succession (9.8 – 9.4 – 8.5 – 8.2 – 8.1 – 7.2 – 7.1, 6+), urban contemporary cluster-mate WHRK “K-97.1 – Memphis’ Only Hip-Hop and R&B” remains at #4 with its lowest 6+-stat (7.1) since March 2017’s 6.5. By gaining six-tenths in April (following a +1.0 in March), “K-97.1” succeeded “V-101” at #1. As a result of four straight slips for a combined -2.4 (6.8 – 6.0 – 5.3 – 5.1 – 4.4, 6+), Entercom hot AC WMC-FM tumbles from sixth to ninth. Entering the July sweep, “FM 100 Today’s Best Mix” was an overall +2.3 in four straight increases (4.5 – 4.9 – 5.2 – 5.5 – 6.8, 6+). When Cumulus Media-owned WGKX lost two-tenths in September, it curtailed three straight increases that netted +1.8 (3.4 – 3.9 – 4.5 – 5.2, 6+). Now, “Kix 106 Today’s Best Country” falters by one-half share (5.0 – 4.5, 6+) but continues in seventh-place.

Hartford

Spoken-Word Formats – After posting a 6.2 (6+) in each of the last three sweeps, Entercom news/talk WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” busts out a +.8 to 7.0 (sixth to fifth, 6+). July’s one-half share gain halted three straight down or flat trends in succession for a -.2 (5.9 – 5.8 – 5.8 – 5.7, 6+). Red Wolf Broadcasting news/talk WDRC-AM “AM 1360 The Talk of Connecticut” (#15 to #14) has an ultra-consistent topline so far this calendar year: 1.0 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.2 – 1.0 – 1.2 – 1.1 – 1.0 – 1.2 (6+). Returning to print after an extended hiatus, iHeartMedia sports talk WUCS “97.9 ESPN Hartford” is trending 1.7 – 1.5 – 1.5 – 2.0 (6+) and checks in at #13. After seven straight down or flat trends for a -2.4 (5.9 – 5.9 – 5.5 – 4.2 – 3.6 – 3.5 – 3.5 – 3.5, 6+), Connecticut Public Broadcasting Network news/talk WNPR “Connecticut’s Public Media Source for News & Ideas” is a combined +.8 in September and October (3.5 – 4.0 – 4.3, flat at #9, 6+). University of Massachusetts-owned WFCR “New England Public Radio” (#13 to 14) follows August’s gain of three-tenths with a combined September and October loss of four-tenths (1.3 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.2, , 6+). Its August improvement curtailed five successive down or flat trends that led to a -1.2 (2.5 – 1.8 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.4 – 1.3, 6+).

Hartford Music Formats – By posting a one-half share increase to 7.5, (6+), WTIC-FM ends a July-August-September mini-slide that accounted for a collective -1.6 (8.6 – 7.2 – 7.0, 6+); the Entercom hot AC is unchanged in third-place. Regaining the three-tenths it lost in September (11.4 – 11.1 – 11.4, 6+), adult contemporary cluster-mate WRCH “Lite 100.5” is on top for the 27th consecutive ratings period and is in double-digits (6+) for the 24th time in the last 26 sweeps. Following July’s -2.2, “Lite” rebounded with a +1.2 in August, which pulled the plug on four straight March through July downward moves that accounted for a -4.1 (14.3 – 13.2 – 13.1 – 12.4 – 10.2, 6+). Penetrating the market from Springfield (Massachusetts), Cumulus Media’s similarly-formatted WMAS-FM is off one-half share (2.2 – 1.7, #11 to #13, 6+). Entercom rhythmic CHR WZMX “Hot 93.7” is -1.9 in five straight decreases (8.3 – 8.2 – 7.8 – 7.0 – 6.7 – 6.4, fifth to sixth, 6+).

Monday, September 24, 2018

| September 24, 2018

Nielsen Audio Announces Monthly Reporting for Diary Markets Starting in July of 2019. This is a move that broadcasters in diary markets have been waiting for.  Ratings giant Nielsen Audio announces it will “transform the measurement of markets that are measured with the audio diary from a quarterly or two times a year view to year-round measurement with monthly reporting.  This more dynamic measurement solution enables clients to see seasonal shifts and react more quickly to marketplace changes.  With this transition, radio will be able to find new insights and tell its reach story to advertisers each month.”  The implementation of Continuous Diary Measurement will begin in phases with the first starting in July 2019 in the markets currently measured four times a year.  The current four-book markets will convert to 12 currency releases that will comprise three months of data starting with the May/June/July 2019 report period.  Effective with July 2019, approximately 70% of radio’s ad spend will be reported monthly by Nielsen Audio.  Company managing director Brad Kelly says, “Big billion-dollar advertisers leave nothing to chance.  Every decision they make is data driven and updated audience data is crucial for timely decisions.  Nielsen Audio is excited to help diary market clients have a better understanding of the audio landscape and respond faster to dynamic market conditions. Continuous Diary Measurement will help radio reinforce its compelling reach story more often and provide fresh radio data to fuel marketing mix models — the decision tools big advertisers rely on to allocate budgets and evaluate the effect of their ad spend.”  Nielsen plans to deliver monthly reports, covering six months of data in markets with at least 1,000 metro in-tab, and monthly reports covering 12 months of data in the smallest markets.  Currently, Nielsen reports larger diary markets four times a year (winter, spring, summer and fall), mid-sized diary markets twice a year in the spring and fall and the smallest markets with two book averages of Spring/Fall and Fall/Spring.

SiriusXM to Acquire Pandora.  Satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM announces that it is acquiring internet pure-play Pandora in an all-stock deal valued at about $3.5 billion.  According to today’s statement, Pandora owners will get 1.44 shares of SiriusXM stock for each Pandora share they own.  Both companies issued brief financial statements within the announcement. SiriusXM reiterates its previous outlook of 1.15 million new, self-pay subscribers and an adjusted EBITDA of $2.17 billion for the year.  Pandora reports expected Q3 revenue to be $390 million to $405 million.  SiriusXM says of the deal, “The combination creates the world’s largest audio entertainment company, with more than $7 billion in expected pro-forma revenue in 2018 and strong, long-term growth opportunities.”  SiriusXM says it plans no immediate change in listener offerings but adds that it can “capitalize on cross-promotion opportunities” and leverage its “exclusive content and programming with Pandora’s ad-supported and subscription tiers to create unique audio packages, while also utilizing SiriusXM’s extensive automotive relationships to drive Pandora’s in-car distribution.”  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer comments, “We have long respected Pandora and their team for their popular consumer offering that has attracted a massive audience and have been impressed by Pandora’s strategic progress and stronger execution.  We believe there are significant opportunities to create value for both companies’ stockholders by combining our complementary businesses.  The addition of Pandora diversifies SiriusXM’s revenue streams with the U.S.’s largest ad-supported audio offering, broadens our technical capabilities, and represents an exciting next step in our efforts to expand our reach out of the car even further.  Through targeted investments, we see significant opportunities to drive innovation that will accelerate growth beyond what would be available to the separate companies, and does so in a way that also benefits consumers, artists, and the broader content communities.  Together, we will deliver even more of the best content on radio to our passionate and loyal listeners, and attract new listeners, across our two platforms.”

Beasley Promotes Buzz Knight to EVP of Strategy and Innovation. Programmer Buzz Knight is promoted from his vice president of programming position to executive vice president of strategy and innovation, effective immediately.  Knight came into the Beasley Media Group organization with the company’s acquisition of Greater Media in 2016.  In his new role, he will be responsible for the company’s existing and future strategic initiatives, along with new opportunities that innovate and diversify its portfolio.  Knight says, “These are transformative times in the company and the media industry.  Beasley Media Group is committed to pursuing and embracing strategy and innovation.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of helping to shape the company’s next exciting chapter!”

WTAM, Cleveland Adds ‘Geraldo in Cleveland’ Program and Begins 106.7 FM Simulcast. Heritage Cleveland news/talk WTAM unveils a number of programming additions that take effect today (9/24), starting with the AM station’s addition of translator W295DE at 106.7 FM to the station’s signal.  Also, American news and talk icon Geraldo Rivera is launching at daily, one-hour program on WTAM called “Geraldo in Cleveland” that airs at 9:00 am.  The iHeartMedia station says the program will address “a range of local and national headlines, including the latest business, political, and pop culture news.”  Rivera says in a press release, “Cleveland is my home now and so is WTAM.  History put me here by random chance and now I am a part of this great city where I fell in love with my wife of 15 years, Erica Rivera.  I will continue to work on a national level with FOX News [as correspondent-at-large], and I look forward to sharing conversations and perspective locally with you every day.  This is just the beginning of what I hope will be a long relationship with WTAM, iHeartMedia, and most importantly – YOU.”  Also at WTAM, the station adds former Cleveland Indians pitcher and current Indians TV broadcaster Jensen Lewis to the afternoon daypart as co-host of the 6:00 pm sports show “Sports Feed 2.0” with Mike Trivisonno and Nick Camino.  Finally, longtime station personalities Bill Wills – co-host of the morning drive show – and afternoon drive personality Mike Trivisonno have once again renewed their agreements with WTAM, both signing multi-year contract extensions.  Wills will continue his 20-year tenure as anchor of morning drive and Trivisonno will extend his 22-year reign as afternoon drive on-air personality.

Report: Gargano Off Mornings at WPEN-FM.  According to a report by Rob Tornoe at Philly.com, Beasley Broadcast Group’s sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” is removing Anthony Gargano from his post as host of the morning show and set to replace him is NBC Sports Philadelphia (and former crosstown WIP) personality Marc Farzetta. The story says it’s unclear if current morning show cast members Bob Cooney and producer Jamie Lynch will remain with the new lineup. WPEN has not responded publicly to the report.  Gargano left Entercom’s crosstown sports talker WIP in 2015 to take the WPEN gig.  Gargano is still listed as morning host on the station’s website and spots with his voice are still airing.

‘Savage Nation’ Reinvented for the New Year; One-Hour Radio Show and One-Hour Podcast to Replace Current Show. Starting in January, Michael Savage and Westwood One transition his current three-hour, syndicated talk show into two separate entities – a one-hour version of “The Savage Nation” radio show and a new, original podcast (that will also be available for radio broadcast).  Savage currently releases a podcast version of his radio show.  This new podcast will be original content.  Savage states, “As I move into the next phase of my 25-year radio career I hope to bring even more listeners to the medium of audio with ‘The Savage Nation.’  I will be free to innovate in unique ways on my podcast.  The flexibility of the platform will permit me to expand my storytelling and insights into politics, books, food, cars, and rock and roll.  I’m going to change the way talk radio is spoken and consumed.”  WWO adds that the combination of podcast and broadcast will fuel the audience for both shows, saying Savage will cross-promote across “The Savage Nation” radio show and podcast, which will also be heavily promoted by Westwood One Podcast Network.

Westwood One to Produce New, Two-Hour Ben Shapiro Radio Show. A lot has been made about making conservative media figure and Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro’s podcast available to broadcast radio stations. But, the real innovation in today’s news about Westwood One’s new, two-hour radio show being made available to news/talk stations is that the national spots will be restricted to a “limited number of powerful live reads” just as Shapiro does on his podcast.  The new Ben Shapiro show will air live from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET and debut in January. Shapiro says, “I grew up on talk radio and cut my teeth there.  There’s no medium that allows the exchange of ideas and the explanation of detailed narratives better than talk radio and I can’t wait to bring two more live hours to listeners across the country.  And we’re going to bring the values of podcasts – islands of advertising surrounded by oceans of content – to talk radio, too, merging the best of both worlds. Westwood One is a tremendously innovative partner, and I can’t wait to get started!”

RAB/NAB Radio Show Gets Underway This Week in Orlando.  The 2018 Radio Show opens in Orlando tomorrow (9/25).  Radio consultant Holland Cooke offers a little teaser about Edison Research’s “Share of the Ear” study that will be released at the Radio Show this year.  He also has some insight on the new Echo Auto.  Read his piece here.  Among the numerous happenings at this year’s confab is a live broadcast of “The Bob & Tom Show” Wednesday through Friday.  The broadcasts will take place in the North Foyer of the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and will feature special guests; Frank Caliendo, Drew Hastings, Pat Godwin, and Greg Hahn.

Kavanaugh Assault Allegations, Trump-Russia Investigation/Rosenstein Status, Midterm Elections, New Illegal Population Study, U.S.-China Trade War, Deadly Iran Parade Attack, NFL Action, and MLB Playoff Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.This week’s scheduled testimony from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, and the new allegation from Kavanaugh’s Yale years; President Trump’s attacks on the Russia investigation and speculation about Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein’s job security; the coming midterm elections; a new illegal population study that declares real illegal population is 22 million – double previous estimates; the escalating placement of tariffs on goods by the U.S. and China; the attack on an Iranian military parade being blamed by Iran on the U.S. and Israel; the weekend’s NFL Action and the Major League Baseball playoff push 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 Las Vegas, Beasley Media Group names Kris Fisher the new brand manager for rhythmic oldies KOAS “Old School 105.7” and hot AC KVGS “STAR 107.”   Fisher was most recently PD at the company’s hip hop WCHZ.  Beasley Las Vegas vice president and general manager Dennis Gwiazdon comments, “We’re thrilled that Kris will be joining our team in Las Vegas.  After a lengthy nationwide search, it is especially gratifying to be able to promote someone from within our company.  “HD98.3” and “Hot 95.5/ 93.1” have achieved some of their highest ratings under his direction.  I’m looking forward to watching Kris work his magic for us here!”…..The nationally syndicated “DeDe in the Mornings” show is being added to the program schedule at iHeartMedia’s WHTY-FM, Columbus, Georgia “Hot 100.”  Compass Media Networks officially launched “DeDe in the Mornings” in partnership with Service Broadcasting’s “K104” in Dallas on July 16.  The program is also heard on WJMR-FM, Milwaukee; KATJ-HD2/K242CS, Victorville, California “HD 96.3”; and more…..Chicago on-air pro Brian Peck is named evening personality on Cumulus Media’s classic hits WLS-FM.  Peck has recently shared evening hosting duties with fellow WLS personalities Tom O’Toole and Danny Lake.  They will continue with their weekend shows along with Erin Carmen and Abby Ryan. Peck arrived in Chicago in 1992 as a morning co-host on WKQX “Q101.”  He’s also worked at WTMX, WSHE, and WJMK.

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.”

Monday, May 7, 2018

| May 7, 2018

Beasley Q1 Net Revenue Up 2.6%. Comparing the first quarter of 2018 to the same period in 2017, net revenue for Beasley Broadcast Group was $55.2 million, an increase of 2.6%.  The report notes last May’s sale of its six-station Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville cluster and the December asset exchange of WMJX-FM, Boston and $12 million for sports station WBZ-FM and states that this report reflects the operations and results from WBZ-FM in the three months ended March 31, 2018 and the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville stations and WMJX-FM in the three months ended March 31, 2017.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley states, “In the first quarter of 2018, we continued to execute well on our integration strategy focused on strong local programming to support our goals of ratings and market leadership at recently acquired stations, while implementing our operating and expense management disciplines…The $1.6 million increase in station operating expenses was largely attributable to the Boston market’s sports leader, WBZ-FM, and additional one-time costs related to New England Patriots’ Super Bowl programming.  However, the ongoing success of our expense management initiatives resulted in a year-over-year reduction in operating expenses at our Tampa, Charlotte, Detroit, Fort Myers and Augusta clusters.  As a result, while Beasley’s SOI declined 1.5% year-over-year, after excluding the SOI contribution from the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville station divestitures from the comparable 2017 period, first quarter SOI would have been flat.  With our strong operating cash flows we have invested in our broadcast and technology platforms while pursuing select accretive acquisitions and station swaps. At the same time, Beasley remained committed to enhancing shareholder value through capital returns and capital structure improvements. In this regard, during the first quarter, we increased our quarterly cash dividend by 11.1% and declared our nineteenth consecutive quarterly cash dividend. In addition, interest expense decreased approximately $1.2 million year-over-year, reflecting the recent refinancing of our senior debt, which reduced our interest rate by 200 basis points. We also used cash from operations to make voluntary debt repayments of approximately $3.0 million and ended March 31, 2018 with total outstanding debt of $222 million.

E.W. Scripps Q1 Conference Call May Shed Light on Sale of Radio Division.  Or it may not.  It depends on whether Scripps is in serious talks to sell its radio division and whether or not those parties want any public disclosures made at this time.  Scripps made the announcement last fall that it would be selling the radio division that it acquired in the Journal Communications deal to allow it to focus on its television segment. Because of that, Scripps is listing the radio stations as “discontinued operations” in its financial reports. Today’s press release notes, “At the end of 2017, radio operations were classified as held for sale. The radio segment results are included in discontinued operations. All periods have been adjusted to reflect this presentation. Discontinued operations include a $20 million non-cash charge to write down the assets of our radio business to fair value.”  There have been rumors that Scripps has a buyer for its largest market stations – news/talk WTMJ and country WKTI-FM in Milwaukee – and many industry watchers suspect that buyer is Entercom.  Today’s conference call is 9:00 am ET.

Cumulus’ Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors Files Proposed Finding of Facts; Challenges Stated Value of the Company. The 56-page document filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York by The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Cumulus Media Inc., Et Al. challenges the company’s and the senior lenders’ assessment that Cumulus Media is worth $1.67 billion, arguing that its true value is between $2.1 and $2.4 billion.  As Cumulus announced last week, the court has confirmed Cumulus’ reorganization plan based on the $1.67 billion valuation.  In Friday’s filing, the unsecured creditors try to make the point that the calculation of multiples in assessing the value of Cumulus’ stations is too low, “Cumulus should receive a premium multiple relative to comparable companies in the radio industry.”  It also argues that Cumulus’ tower portfolio’s fair market value is $134 million and should add “an additional $45 to $55 million in incremental value to the company.” Read details here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago all-newser WBBM-AM is officially recognizing its 50thanniversary as a news station (the actual 50th was Sunday).  The Entercom station is celebrating the milestone on its website with a history of the station plus photos, old ads and logos and much more.  Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that director of news and programming Ron Gleason told staffers in a memo, “Think about 50 years — all that’s transpired, all the chronicling of Chicago, the state, the country and the world.  You and your predecessors have covered some incredibly exceptional events, and devastating tragedies, doing so with credibility and without bias every step of the way.  I’m so lucky to be part of this, and proud to work alongside each of you on a daily basis.”…..Scripps’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee combines with sister country station WKTI to bring home 15 awards for excellence from the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association.  WTMJ picked up “News & Talk Station of the Year,” “News Operation of the Year,” and “Social & Digital Media Operation of the Year.”  Vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “‘WTMJ Radio’ and ‘KTI COUNTRY’ are committed to providing community service, local news, programming and multi-platform local content to serve our communities.  To be recognized by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association is truly a meaningful honor.”…..Mike Calta show cast member Sandra Carmin Herrst was arrested over the weekend on domestic violence charges after she allegedly hit her boyfriend.  Herrst, who goes by Carmin on the WHPT, Tampa “102.5 The Bone” morning show, was arrested and released on her own recognizance…..The Westwood One nationally syndicated weekly talk show “Sterling on Sunday” announces it has inked its 50thaffiliate station with the signing of WBAP, Dallas.  The show is hosted by longtime radio executive Walter Sabo, a.k.a. Walter Sterling (pictured at left), who says, “Successful talk stations are aggressively widening their topic offerings and I’m delighted to be heard on 50 of them…and counting.  ‘Sterling on Sunday’ resonates with audiences because it’s a reflection of their real lives. We talk about life with family, life at work, life at the mall. It’s all very relatable. The power of the mirror always wins.”…..The third season of ESPN’s “30 for 30 Podcasts” launches on May 22 with five episodes covering the story of the rise and fall of Bikram yoga and how the community is still grappling with its identity in the wake of the sexual assault allegations against its founder Bikram Choudhury.  The podcast is reported and produced by ESPN’s Julia Lowrie Henderson.….Entercom’s WFAN, New York “The Fan” and the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets agree to a multi-year deal for the station to air Nets games and related programming through the 2020-21 season.  As part of the deal, in the case of conflicts, Nets games will air on sister all-news WCBS-AM.

Fifth Annual GAB Radio Talent Institute Begins Today. The 5th annual GAB Radio Talent Institute returns to the campus of the University of Georgia today and Beasley Media Group VP of corporate communications Heidi Raphael was today’s opening speaker for the 10-day institute.  Forty broadcasters from Beasley, Cox Media, Urban One, Entercom, Cumulus, iHeartMedia, Salem Media Group and others – as well as the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons – are coming together to teach the students who come from UGA and seven other schools in the region.  Georgia Association of Broadcasters president Bob Houghton comments, “The Georgia Association of Broadcasters is proud of our partnership with the National Radio Talent System, and now, with our Beasley Media Group relationship, this partnership is even stronger. Over the past five years we have graduated over 100 students who are ready to make a contribution to the future of our industry. I appreciate the nearly 40 broadcasters each year who give their time and talent to speak in the Institute.  Broadcasting, and specifically radio, has a proud past and, with this program, a bright future.”  Pictured above is WSB-FM, Atlanta “B 98.5” afternoon personality Madison James (at left) teaching students.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case/‘SNL’ Sketch, Iran Nuclear Deal, Facebook Helps ISIS Supporters, McCain HBO Documentary/Book, North-South Korea Talks, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Robert Mueller-led investigation into potential connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the Stormy Daniels payoff, Rudy Giuliani’s role representing President Trump, and the “Saturday Night Live” sketch lampooning the issue; the Trump Administration’s stance on the Iran nuclear deal; allegations that Facebook’s “suggested friends” feature has been connecting those with ISIS sympathies; terminally ill Senator John McCain’s HBO documentary and new book; the peace talks between North and South Korea; Major League Baseball action and NBA playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! Is Nearing an Early Sellout. The organizers of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! TALKERS magazine’s 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – set for Friday, June 8 in New York City – is on course to again be an early sellout.  Friday, May 11 at 5:00 pm ET has been set as the absolute cut-off date past which new registrations will no longer be taken – although according to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We might have to stop taking registrations before that because the number of bodies we can accommodate at this basically intimate gathering is indeed finite.” The power-packed program will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology, as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to on-air and online broadcasting professionals. See the list of speakers and up-to-the-minute agenda as well as registration, hotel and sponsorship information by clicking here. The conference takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the colorful Chelsea District of Manhattan and organizers have arranged for a special hotel deal for conference attendees right across the street at the Hilton New York Fashion District located at 152 West 26th Street, New York. A special block of remarkably priced rooms has been reserved for convention attendees. They will only be available until May 8 or until they sell out – which can come at any moment. The TALKERS editorial board strongly recommends that industry professionals planning on attending the convention make their registrations and hotel reservations as quickly as possible.

Rock Radio Pioneer and Station Owner Dex Allen Dies at 74.  As reported by LARadio.com, radio pro Dex Allen has died at age 74.  Allen started his career as a DJ and rose through the ranks to work in management and sales before entering the radio ownership business.  LARadio.com writes: “Dex was best known for spearheading the ‘underground’ movement at KPRI, San Diego.  In the late 1960s, he drove to Southern California every weekend to work as a jock at KDAY, Los Angeles (1969-70).  Eventually he became general manager of several stations in San Diego.  Dex made one of those rare journeys from DJ to station owner.”  After years in management, Allen formed Commonwealth Broadcasting and acquired a number of stations.  He was most recently president/CEO of Pacific Start Communications.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York alternative WBMP “ALT 92.3” has a new programming leader as Entercom announces Mike Kaplan is named SVP of programming and PD for the station.  At the same time, the company brings Christine Malovetz aboard to serve as midday personality on the station. Kaplan was most recently PD for iHeartMedia’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles “ALT 98.7.” Malovetz was most recently host of middays and assistant program director for Entrercom’s KNOU-FM, St. Louis.  Entercom New York regional president and market manager Susan Larkin says, “We are thrilled to welcome Mike and Christine to ‘ALT 92.3’ and are looking forward to having their talent and drive propel the brand to new heights in New York.”…..In Miami, Rick Party announces he’s left Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WHQT “HOT 105” after he and the company could not agree to terms on a contract extension…..iHeartMedia appoints Scotty Davis afternoon drive host for country WFUS, Tampa “US103.5.”  Davis slides over from the cluster’s CHR WFLZ where he also hosted afternoons.  He says, “I’ve been eying a move over to the country format for quite some time.  This is a natural next step for my career and I’m thankful to everyone at iHeartMedia for believing in me!”…..Pictured below are hosts Bobby Bones (left) and Candace Cameron Bure (right) backstage at Saturday’s 2018 iHeartCountry Festival By AT&T at The Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas. Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

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