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By Chris Miller
SHAKER HEIGHTS — So, what the heck is social media really worth? What sort of return on investment are we talking about here?
Some days, it seems that everyone is liking, sharing, commenting, retweeting, favorite-ing and pinning. On one hand, it’s easy to wonder if it’s worth it to have a social media presence. On the other hand, it’s also easy to wonder if we’re missing out if we don’t actively pursue having a social presence.
What this stuff is worth is also a question that digital media and social media pros wrestle with. Most brands that have staked out a social space are working on either creating a direct response of some sort, or brand awareness. All other strategic goals being equal, I’ve had much more success using social media for direct response than for brand awareness, although the latter can be done.
Dial Global Restructures Credit Status; Pays Down $15 Million of Existing Term Loan. The industry has been watching the state of Dial Global’s debt situation and now the company announces that it, its lenders and certain of its stockholders have agreed to recapitalize the company’s existing credit facilities, other obligations and equity interests. CEO Spencer Brown states, “The new agreements with our lenders represent a significant step forward for the company. Once these transactions close, we will have delivered our balance sheet and decreased cash interest expense. The agreements will provide us with greater flexibility to actively manage and grow our business. We look forward to closing these transactions in April and focusing on serving our clients.” As part of the recapitalization, the company has entered into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, by and among the Company, General Electric Capital Corporation, as administrative agent and collateral agent, and the lenders party thereto which provides for a $15 million paydown of the company’s existing term loan and revolving credit commitments. That agreement matures on October 21, 2016. The company is also entering into a Priority Second Lien Credit Agreement among the company, the administrative agent, the syndication agent and the lender party for an additional $31.5 million through a term loan facility to the company, with a maturity date of July 21, 2017. As part of this Dial Global agrees to issue it penny warrants to purchase 7.5% of the company’s common stock exercisable immediately following the consummation of the recapitalization. Regarding the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement, dated as of October 21, 2011, lenders agreed to restructure their existing approximately $93 million in second lien obligations by amending and restating that agreement to provide for a $30 million term loan that matures five years after the expected closing of the recapitalization and exchanging approximately $63 million in remaining obligations under the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement for a new series of preferred stock of the Company. Under various subscription and exchange agreements between the company and the holders of the company’s PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock, such holders have agreed, subject to the satisfaction of certain specified conditions, to exchange their PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock for equity securities of the company and have further agreed to make an additional equity infusion of $16.5 million.
Cumulus Media’s News/Talk KKOB, Albuquerque and Talk Host Jim Villanucci Part Ways. When talk radio personality Jim Villanucci’s contract came up at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque the company chose not to renew it. Villanucci tells TALKERS magazine that he’d been reaching out to Cumulus for the past several months about a contract renewal but the company didn’t appear interested in talking so he exited after last Thursday’s program. Cumulus AM stations program director Pat Frisch is sitting in the PM drive slot for now as he seeks out a replacement. Villanucci’s program was a big ratings-getter for the station for many years. It will be hard to replace the kind of steady performance he’s achieved at KKOB-AM. Villanucci tells TALKERS, “I leave KKOB after 14 years looking forward to my next opportunity. I have had so many wonderful years working with some of the finest broadcasters in the business in a market that’s been very good to me. I wish the good people of Albuquerque and the folks at KKOB the very best. I would especially like to thank my former GM Milt McConnell, and wish my friend and PD Pat Frisch good luck going forward. ” Villanucci has been an annual face on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred for years due to his consistent performance and ability to branch out beyond the often-predictable news/talk topics heard on so many stations in the format.
Dan Sileo Exits WQAM, Miami. The statement from sports talk host Dan Sileo is brief and indicates the two sides were not seeing eye-to-eye on programming philosophy, “Our differences revolve around content issues and we wish each other the best. As for me and my style of sports talk, I will never change.” Sileo joined Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM, Miami for the PM drive show after a successful stint at Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa. He then moved to middays.
L.A. Daily News Ranks Top Sports Talk Personalities Heard in Market. To TALKERS editors, the thing that stands out about this list is that there are enough sports talk radio hosts – both local and nationally syndicated – to put together a ranking for the Los Angeles market. But there are and KSPN’s Steve Mason and John Ireland tied for #1 this year with KLAC, Los Angeles’ Petros Papadakis coming in at #3 (there is no #2 since Mason and Ireland tied for #1). Papadakis’ partner Matt “Money” Smith ranked #5 this year. The paper also ranked the top nationally syndicated sports talk hosts heard in the L.A. market and the top three were: 1) Dan Patrick of DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio; 2) Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith of Fox Sports Radio; and 3) Jay Mohr also of Fox Sports Radio Network. Nice compliment for Jay Mohr since he’s only been in the gig since the beginning of the year. And speaking of Jay Mohr…
Comedian, Actor and Sports Nut Jay Mohr Focuses on Fox Sports Radio Gig. To show how serious he is about his new full-time gig as midday sports talk host on the Fox Sports Radio Network, Jay Mohr tells TALKERS magazine, “Honestly, I have turned off the sitcom and movie noise to concentrate on the radio show; those other doors are closed right now. I cannot be on the phone trying to figure out how I am going to leave a studio at ‘this time’ to be on a movie set at ‘that time.’” In this profile piece, TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian talks with Mohr about his radio influences, love of sports, comedy road work and how he got into the sports talk game by subbing for Jim Rome, and finally to his first full-time sports talk job. He says of the fill-in work, “I thought if I could keep doing this, one day I might be able to do it for a living. I listened to Jim for many years and he really changed sports talk radio. He made it fun again. My job is to reset the dial a little and bring everybody back to the fun part of it.” Read the entire story here.
Rising Talk Radio Star Says Host Endorsements Should Be Interesting (and a Whole Lot More). He also says the goal of advertising on radio should be results – a simple concept often overlooked by sales and programming departments in their rush to sell the ads, give the client what they want and then get the spots on and off the air as quickly as possible. Michael Berry is one of news/talk radio’s most dynamic and promising rising stars. His mid-morning program is heard on KTRH, Houston as well as seven other respected talkers around the country. Today (3/4) in an exclusive TALKERS piece he makes a number of powerful points about the marketing and delivery of advertising within the news/talk radio medium making the point that although host endorsements are an important technique to get the sponsor’s message across, the real trick is to do it in a way that also gets them results while proving to be a tune-in, and not a tune-out factor. Berry (who will be speaking at Talkers New York 2013 on June 6) advises when it comes to writing and delivering commercial spots: 1) lose the copy points; 2) less is more; 3) trust the value of the endorsement (and don’t overload with justification); 4) be conversational throughout, building to the call to action; and 5) resist gimmicks and games. To read this important article or pass it along to someone in your station or company who will benefit by it, click here.
Talk Radio Pro Chuck Morse Joins IRN/USA Radio Network. Boston-based talk personality Chuck Morse begins a daily, two-hour talk show (airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET) via the IRN/USA Radio Network. Morse says of his new enterprise, “I am honored to work at the network founded by economist Larry Bates and award-winning talk pioneer, the late Marlon Maddoux. I look forward to working with talk host Chuck Bates who carries on the tradition of excellence at IRN/USA. With a national audience, I hope to follow in the footsteps of my mentor, the late Jerry Williams, who developed an intense bond with his callers and audience.”
Baldwin/McCullough Radio Show Co-Host and Actor Tops Fundraiser Effort on Celebrity Apprentice All Stars Show. Stephen Baldwin, actor and co-host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show “Baldwin/McCullough” (co-hosted by talk radio personality and XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough), and his team raised more than $600,000 for the American Red Cross during last night’s season premiere of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice All Stars.” That sum set a new record for the most ever raised in a season kick-off episode. Baldwin is competing for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Foundation named in honor of his mother.
Welcome to the Concept of Core-Casting. It is a simple and elegant idea that puts one of the most effective radio broadcasting uses of social media into perspective and focus. Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes today (3/4) about how social media provides radio programmers and talent with a pipeline to communicate directly with their most ardent listeners and fans. Miller writes, “There are companies outside radio who are learning how to use social media to leverage the power of their most valuable customers. One day, some smart radio group is going to figure out that social media is not just more broadcasting in a different medium. Neither is it just a matter of getting likes, shares and comments. While most mass marketing involves some form of trolling for cume, this is different. This is like the sales department taking its 10 biggest clients on a cruise. It’s core-casting.” To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.
Bubba the Love Sponge Talks Suicidal Man ‘Off the Ledge.’ After an agitated and despondent man who had barricaded himself inside a Tampa-area business and was threatening to kill himself called the Bubba the Love Sponge program on Friday, Bubba (Todd Clem) was able to calm the man enough that he put his weapon down and was taken into custody by local police. The man, identified as Corey, locked himself inside The Car Store, a business owned by Bubba’s friends Todd and Shellie Herndon. The man is a family friend of the Herndons. Bubba says, “I’m just glad The Herndons are safe, no deputies were harmed and this gentleman can get the help he needs.”
Harry Teinowitz Exits ‘ESPN 1000’ Chicago. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports ESPN O&O WMVP “ESPN 1000” is going with a two-man PM drive show featuring Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic as the station has cut ties with Harry Teinowitz after 12 years. Feder reports a memo to the staff read, in part, “At 6:00 pm this evening Harry Teinowitz signed off air for the last time at ESPN Chicago. Throughout the many years that Harry has been with us, he has served in many different roles and has helped to establish the ESPN brand in Chicago. Harry’s contributions will be felt for years to come in every department at ESPN Chicago. We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.” Afternoon drive on sports talk radio is, by many industry executives, considered to be more important than AM drive. Feder reports the most recent PPM data show crosstown rival WSCR leads the market in the Men 25-54 demo with a 7.2 share compared to WMVP’s 3.4 share.
Radio Broadcasters Still Learning About IP Codecs. Last week’s TALKERS article by technical editor Tom Ray about the proper use and application of IP codecs raised several questions from readers indicating there is still a lot to be learned about this emerging technology that promises to be the next step beyond ISDN in remote audio delivery. Today (3/4), the industry’s leading technical wizard addresses some of those issues — namely 1) the most important thing to have in place to use IP codecs effectively; 2) how to integrate service between brands of the device made by different manufacturers and get them to “talk” to each other; and 3) how to go about purchasing and testing an IP codec. To read Tom Ray’s informative article or pass it along to the person at your station or company who manages technical issues and equipment, click here.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk personality Adam Schein joins SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio. Beginning March 11, Schein will host “Schein on Sports” live from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET on the Mad Dog Radio Channel. He had “The SiriusXM Blitz” alongside 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon on the NFL channel…..TVNewser reports former “Good Morning America” senior executive producer Jim Murphy will serve as executive producer for CNN’s new morning show that will be co-hosted by Chris Cuomo. It had been rumored that Erin Burnett would be moved to mornings alongside Cuomo but reports indicate that many not be the case…..In other TV news, the New York Daily News reports Matt Lauer is on the hot seat since “Today” has fallen behind “Good Morning America” and the local “Good Day New York” on Fox5 in New York City. The story indicated morale on the set is low and conflicting reports about whether a new executive producer will join the show are adding to the problems. Several sources are indicating Matt Lauer may not be long for the program.