Get Credit for Your Hard Work, Audit Your PPM Encoding. Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl writes in this TALKERS column that it’s a very wise move to take the time to audit your PPM encoding ASAP. Pendl says, “With radio audiences fragmented on different distribution platforms, it’s important to confirm all of our published content has the proper encoding to receive listening credit. Regardless if you’re simulcasting commercials on your digital platforms, if you’re not using PPM-encoded audio to distribute content you’re missing out.” In this must-read piece targeted to programmers, Pendl details why this is so important and provides a step-by-step plan for working with the good folks at Arbitron to make sure your PPM encoding is up to snuff. Read his entire column here.
George Noory to Stay with ‘Coast to Coast AM’ for Many Years to Come. Premiere Networks announces it has signed a new, multi-year contract renewal with “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory. Premiere says that “Under the new agreement, Noory will continue his current role as host of ‘Coast to Coast AM,’ the most-listened-to overnight radio program in North America. Heard by nearly 3 million weekly listeners on nearly 570 radio stations in the U.S., Canada, Guam and Mexico, the program is ranked #1 in several markets, including Los Angeles, Houston, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, Sacramento, Cleveland, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Providence and Hartford. In addition, Coast to Coast AM’s audience has grown 13% over the past two years, and in the past year alone, has experienced double and triple digit gains in major markets, including New York (+23%), Los Angeles (+25%), Houston (+121%) and Philadelphia (+167%).” George Noory talks about his new deal, saying, “By renewing my deal with Premiere Networks, I’ll be around when astronauts land on Mars. I want to thank Premiere and Clear Channel Media and Entertainment for having the confidence in me and our amazing team to take ‘Coast to Coast AM’ into the future. I look forward to many more years of bringing riveting programs during the late-night hours to our millions of listeners around the world.”
The Conclave Is Off and Running in Minneapolis. The nation’s longest-running national radio conference is in full swing in Minneapolis. Conclave 38 featured a multi-dimensional, all-afternoon presentation yesterday (7/17) by Fred Jacobs‘ Jacobs Media titled “Jacobs Media Summer School.” This morning (7/18), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison delivered the keynote. In it he addressed the future role of talent as radio continues to evolve and adapt itself to the new digital era. He drew applause when he stated that music radio must bring back the active disc jockey and reclaim ownership of the music culture – just as news/talk radio has claimed ownership of the political culture and sports talk radio has claimed ownership of the sports culture – in order to survive. Look for extensive coverage of the three-day event including a video of Harrison’s speech shortly in TALKERS. Pictured here are (from l-r): Conclave executive director Bob Shannon; WCCO, Minneapolis, PD, Bob Shomper; and Harrison at the Conclave this morning.
Jason Bailey Moves to Atlanta for AM Drive Gig on ‘92-9 The Game.’ CBS Radio announces Rick Kamla moves from “The Morning Grind” to the midday show alongside Jamie Dukes and former WTKS, Orlando personality Jason Bailey a.k.a. “Buckethead” (not the famous guitar player) partners up with Randy Cross and Kristen Ledlow for mornings. WZGC notes that “some of Jason Bailey’s sports accolades include hosting the WYGM Pre-Game Show, voice of the Orlando Rage, and color commentary for Predators radio broadcasts. Bailey has also been the sideline reporter for the Orlando Predators and Tuskers, as well as a host for WWE and TNA Wrestling.” WZGC program director Terry Foxx says, “As we continue to position ‘Sportsradio 92-9 The Game’ for success, we are excited to have Jason join us to bring his unique and entertaining personality to our team.”
Media Management Group Appoints Stacy Horton EVP of Sales and Affiliations. Media affiliate sales pro Stacy Horton joins the team at Media Management Group as executive vice president of sales and affiliations. The company states that in this new role, “Stacy will execute the affiliate growth strategy for the MMG Radio Network, as well as play an integral role in revenue growth and content development.” MMG VP of business development Alan Eisenson says, “When we launched MMGRN in April with Warren Eckstein’s ‘The Pet Show,’ we had no idea it would grow so quickly. There’s a great demand for quality, niche weekend programming, and Stacy will be invaluable in not only adding affiliates for Warren, but also as we continue to expand our roster of programs and services to affiliates.” Horton comments, “This is an exciting time for the media industry and I’m thrilled to be joining the amazing team at MMG. The company is ideally positioned at the nexus between talent, technology, and content. My job will be to leverage those synergies, and create value to fuel growth for the company, our partner stations, and the personalities we represent.” Horton started her radio career in the early 1990s as part of the marketing team that launched the Universal Studios Radio Broadcast Center, which hosted thousands of A-list radio personalities from around the world for live remote broadcasts during which Horton would join the guests for on-air banter. Most recently she was VP of affiliate sales at the Business TalkRadio Network. Prior to that, she was a producer and affiliate relations manager at Yahoo!, USRN, Launch Radio and Sony Music where she produced content and managed relationships with hundreds of stations around the United States.
Finding Radio Advertising Solutions. Radio is fighting for its piece of the American ad budget pie and numerous industry experts have been calling for better creative and better production in order to compete with the trend that is moving tremendous amounts of ad dollars to the digital frontier. In a piece published today (7/17), TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian offers a brief shout-out to a couple of the industry’s legendary creative talents and then spotlights Cumulus Media’s marketing initiative Sound Solutions. In this story he speaks with EVP/COO Jon Pinch and production manager Robin Marshall about how the company is using this division to woo advertisers to a medium that has a strong history of creating memorable spots that deliver results. Read his story here.
Midwest Communications Latest Company to Face Copyright Infringement Complaint. The bottom line for radio station website operators here is that if you didn’t take the picture, pay the copyright holder for the photo or receive it as a promotional photo from the copyright holder or owner, then you don’t have permission to use it and you may end up negotiating a settlement that will cost you money. That’s more than likely what Midwest Communications will end up doing after BWP Media filed a complaint in United States District Court Western District of Wisconsin alleging country WBFM, Sheboygan, Wisconsin “B93” posted a copyrighted photo on its website without permission. As is usual in these cases, BWP is seeking $150,000 per infringement but it will probably be settled out of court for much less and that will remain confidential. The photo in question was of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend in a bathing suit with the caption “Hugh Hefner’s Girlfriend Looks Like a Pregnant Barbie Doll.” Many station websites feature – or have in the past featured – these copyrighted photos and continued the practice because no complaint was filed. Now more than ever though, companies such as BWP Media are actively patrolling the web to catch violators in order to protect their property. Radio station digital brand managers must be vigilant in staying within the law.
Clear Channel’s KGME, Phoenix to Carry Arizona Men’s Sports. IMG College owns the rights to University of Arizona football and Men’s basketball and the organization announces that Clear Channel sports talk outlet KGME, Phoenix “Fox Sports 910” will carry the play-by-play as well as coaches shows and affiliated programming under a newly signed deal. CC Phoenix Scott Hopeck says, in a statement, “Teaming up with the Arizona Wildcats to provide full University of Arizona football and Men’s basketball coverage is a significant addition to our new ‘Fox Sports 910’ brand. We are happy to serve the large base of fans and alumni who now have a new radio home where they can follow their Wildcats anywhere in the Valley.”
Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, Rolling Stone Tsarnaev Cover, Soaring Dow/Fed Policy, Eastern U.S. Heatwave, IRS Conservative Targeting Scandal, and Internet Sales Tax Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/17). The ongoing aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; controversy over Rolling Stone magazine’s cover featuring the surviving Boston Marathon bomber; the high-flying U.S. financial markets and the Federal Reserve’s policies; the heat wave affecting the Eastern United States; the Internal Revenue Service’s scrutiny of conservative organizations and individuals; and the proposed tax on internet sales were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Study Shows Radio’s ‘Reach and Appeal Remain Strong.’ Those are the words of Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman about the results of the Latitude Research- and OpenMind Strategy-conducted study called the “State of Listening in America.” Pittman says of the study, “This research confirms that radio’s reach and appeal remain strong regardless of the platform, geography, ethnicity, or age group. American listeners – particularly younger generations – feel a strong connection to their favorite on-air radio personalities – which is made stronger by social media – in a way that isn’t replicated by other media.” Clear Channel calls the study “the first comprehensive audio analysis that addresses the various ways people are listening today and also clearly demonstrates that the growing prevalence of mobile devices coupled with easy access to streaming apps have made radio more relevant to users.” Some of the key findings include: 92% of all respondents listen to radio at least once a week; 69% agree “streaming services do not replace radio.”; 80% say radio is helpful in discovering new artists or songs; 82% say the first thing they do when they get in a car is turn on the radio; 66% agree that their favorite radio stations reflect who they are as a person; 78% agree that radio has the power to make a difference in the community; and 72% believe radio is more community-oriented than TV; 85% say radio is more accessible than at any time before and 78 percent say they can access radio anywhere; Radio advertising is viewed more positively than ads on TV, internet and mobile apps; 72% believe that radio feels more “human” than the internet and 65 percent believe it is more “personal” than TV; and 71% say radio is a part of their daily routine.
Interesting and Useful Fact: News/Talk Radio and Country Music Radio Share Significant Segments of their Audiences. Two different radio formats: One plays music by artists such as Johnny Cash, Carrie Underwood and Florida-Georgia Line. The other has voices such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Stephanie Miller. Ironically, both the country music format that does not talk politics and the news/talk format that plays no music each have something in common – they cater largely to the same audience! Leading country radio consultant Jaye Albright calls country radio and talk radio the “universal donor” formats. In an article posted on May 8, TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay talks to players in the field, cites research and provides an interesting overview of this phenomenon. To read the entire piece, click here.
Special Dave Ramsey Program to Air as Part of EntreLeadership Master Series. On today’s Dave Ramsey nationally syndicated program (live 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET), Ramsey will broadcast from Financial Peace Plaza as part of this week’s EntreLeadership Master Series. This special broadcast will focus on leadership and business questions from callers, e-mails and event attendees. Ramsey has been presenting this series at his offices in Nashville all this week and today’s broadcast is the culmination of that. Ramsey’s company explains the EntreLeadership series this way: “EntreLeadership combines the innovative spirit of an entrepreneur with the passion and drive of a leader. This philosophy is how Ramsey has grown his highly successful company and trained his leadership team since day one. At EntreLeadership Master Series, Ramsey condenses 20 years of business and leadership wisdom into a seven-day event. Business owners and leaders who attend walk away with practical ideas that can improve their communication, organization, team culture, finances, negotiating and selling skills, marketing, advertising, and ability to make tough decisions.”
Lighting Up the Stick (and Painting it Too). Once again noted radio engineering genius, consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray comes through with a priceless column in non-geek terms that is must-reading for today’s beleaguered, multi-tasking station managers who need to know what’s happening in terms of gear - and should be kept in a special in-house (or computer) file as a valuable resource. In a new article posted today (5/10) Ray explains exactly how VITALLY important it is to keep your station tower(s) up to code in terms of painting and lighting and EXACTLY (down to the specific color of the paint) how to do it. Plain, simple and to-the-point. If you work at a station, download this article and make sure whoever is responsible for the place has access to it because in today’s stressed out environment, a lot of this stuff is falling through the cracks! To read Tom Ray’s entire piece, click here.
CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York Extends Giants Broadcasts Deal. Sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York extends the 15-year relationship between the station and the NFL’s New York Giants with a multi-year deal for the stations to serve as the flagship station for all the team’s games. The new contract also includes special programming including: A weekly 30-minute Giants-themed segment as part of the station’s Monday Night Football coverage; Giants Power Lunch – the new one-hour live program will be broadcast one Tuesday a month during the regular season from the Giants Training Facility in East Rutherford, N.J. within the “Benigno and Roberts” show; Exclusive weekly player interviews with Eli Manning and other Giants player(s) to be named prior to the start of the 2013 season; and an expansive schedule of weekly and daily updates and vignettes will be executed across several different programs on WFAN from trusted experts and station personalities.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Offers Four New Shows. Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces four new programs added to its lineup. They include: Anthony Dias Blue’s consumer-oriented food, wine, and travel-oriented show “The Blue Lifestyle” that airs Tuesdays at 9:00 pm ET; “The Wise Guys Sit-down Hour” stars controversial former police officer Albert DeRobbio and East Coast-based businessman Nicky Barrilla and airs Saturdays at 3:00 pm ET. The network says the two “respect, honesty, and integrity – traits on which they feel the world could use a little refresher. They are real-life, old-fashioned gentlemen who’ve lead double-lives. They come from two different neighborhoods – and two different families (if you catch their drift). They are rough around the edges – but always gentlemen. They’re street smarts experts – and aficionados of life.”; Tommy Hunter’s “The Edge at Night” fuses talk and music. Stars ranging from alternative Christian rockers to mainstream celebrities merge Saturday nights at 10:00 pm ET. His first guest this Saturday is Brian “Head” Welch from the heavy metal band KORN; and “The Steve Sanchez Show” stars entrepreneur, pastor, and author Steve Sanchez who tackles “the areas of finance, cultural issues and politics…all from a cutting edge, Christian perspective.” CRN Digital president and CEO Mike Horn states, “We’re proud to offer our listeners an even greater selection of entertainment, news, politics, sports, and even music. Food, wine, and travel fans will love Anthony’s show. The Wise Guys instill lessons and tell jaw-dropping stories that everyone will find fascinating. Tommy and Steve bring compelling content to the faith-based market – a huge demographic – two fantastic shows that are very different from each other.”
2013 Radio Mercury Awards Finalists Announced. The finalists for the 2013 Radio Mercury Awards have been announced and 114 radio spots and campaigns have made it to the last round. The Radio Mercury Awards honor outstanding radio created by advertising agencies, production companies, radio stations and students. Entries are judged on their creativity, originality and effective communication of a brand’s message. The 2013 finalists incorporate a wide range of small to large advertising agencies and radio stations alike, as well as national and regional advertisers from the automotive, consumer packaged goods, beer, entertainment, fast food, financial services, insurance, telecommunications and retail categories. Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber states, “We continue to see marketers and advertisers leverage radio in unique ways. I’m really encouraged by the level of agency finalists and radio station finalists as well. This is a great example of the overall breadth and scope of radio; it continues to be an effective and strategic medium to build brand awareness and purchase intent, no matter the advertiser or marketer.” You can see the finalists here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Radio America announces the Dr. Joy Browne program picks up new affiliates WWRL, New York; WSNO, Montpelier-Barre-St. Johnsbury, Vermont; KHGG, Ft. Smith, Arkansas; WNIX, Greenville, Mississippi; KWBW, Hutchinson, Kansas; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; WFEB, Sylacauga, Alabama; and KVPI, Ville Platte, Louisiana…..Talk Media Network reports “Frontlines of Freedom” and “Fat Guys At The Movies” add KBRF, Fergus Falls, Minnesota; “Financial Fitness Show” picks up new affiliates WJML, Petoskey, Michigan and WJNL, Traverse City, Michigan; and “USA Financial Headquarters” adds affiliates WJML, Petoskey; WJNL, Traverse City; KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; and WJET, Erie…..“Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” is added to the program schedules at: WTCM, Traverse City; KWBY, Ranger, Texas; KRZR, Visalia, California; KBXD, Dallas; KBND, Bend, Oregon; and WCAP, Lowell, Massachusetts.
Benghazi Attack Testimony Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 6-10. The testimony before congress this week regarding the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 this week was the Cleveland captives case. At #3 was the immigration amnesty issue followed by Mark Sanford winning the open South Carolina House seat 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
Emmis Reports Fiscal Q4 Results; Smulyan “Significantly Outperformed Our Markets.” Emmis Communications reports the results of its fiscal fourth quarter (which ended February 28, 2013) for 2013 with net revenue up 2%. Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan stated up front during the investor’s conference call, “I could not be more proud of what happened last year and I could not be more proud of what’s happening now. Because of our unique reporting structure, we have a pretty good handle on what the first quarter of our next fiscal year will look like and we’re equally pleased with that. I think it was a transformative year for Emmis for a couple of reasons. I think we solved this industry’s most vexing problems with capital structure and we did it because we have a unique culture here and a culture that I think stands out and I think people are starting to understand that their culture makes a difference.” Chief financial officer and COO Pat Walsh broke down the financials a bit, stating, “Pro forma for our station divestitures, radio net revenues consisting solely of our domestic stations grew 3%. Revenues in markets where Emmis competes, excluding barter revenues, grew 2.8% during the quarter. Emmis’ pro forma radio revenues reported on the same basis to Miller Kaplan grew 4.2%…automotive was once again our largest category, representing 11% of revenues, with the category growing nearly 20% as U.S. auto sales continued to accelerate. Wireless and financial services also exhibited strong growth at approximately 20%. Education and media also showed high mid-single-digit growth, high – mid to high single-digit growth. Other top ten categories such as restaurants, entertainment, healthcare and retail showed flattish growth with beverages off during the quarter.” During Q&A, Smulyan answered a question about whether IP-based services are sapping AM/FM audience. Smulyan responded, “We’ve been streaming like most of our brethren for almost 17 years and we haven’t cracked the code. We know Pandora hasn’t cracked the code. We know TuneIn hasn’t cracked the code or Spotify, so we know that that’s a challenge. I have one friend in the industry who says, let’s be honest. When we take a terrestrial listener at a 35% or 40% margin and we can convert that same listener to an IP-based stream, that listener goes from a 30% or 40% margin to zero.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Read the entire call here.
Entercom Reports Revenue Down 2% in Q1. Entercom announces financials for the first quarter of 2013 and reports net revenue down 2% on $78.4 million. Station operating income was flat at $20.5 million and free cash flow increased from $1.2 million to $3.9 million. Entercom CEO David Field noted the drop in net revenue was offset by a 3% decline in station expenses. Regarding sales during the first quarter, Field said, “Local and national revenues were essentially the same with both down low-single digits. Our best-performing markets were Indianapolis, Kansas City, Memphis and New Orleans. Top-performing categories were financials, travel, telecom, home improvement and drugstores.” Looking at the company’s status in general, Field stated, “It is important to reiterate that our efforts to pursue smart ways to reinvent our business model have not come at the expense of reinvesting in our future. To the contrary, we continue to boost our investment in new brands and content, expanded distribution, better operating systems and enhanced digital platforms to strengthen our value proposition to our listeners and customers and create new revenue opportunities. And we are very pleased with the state of our brands. We had a very solid set of winter ratings results and like how we are positioned in our markets across the country.” Again, thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. You can read the entire conference call here.
Arbitron Releases ‘Radio Today 2013’ Study to Clients; News/Talk #1 PPM Format. The full study is only available to Arbitron clients but here are some of the takeaways from “Radio Today 2013”: “News/Talk/Information and Talk/Personality remained the number one format in PPM markets and was number two in the rest of the U.S. The 2,121 rated AM, FM, HD Radio, and streamed stations in these formats far exceed any other format. Like other spoken word formats, they rank prominently in highly educated, high-income listeners.” And relative to TALKERS magazine’s analysis of the shared audience between news/talk and country in Jeff McKay’s piece above, the Arbitron report notes that “country and new country, already number one in our report last year, grew again to remain in first place and reach another record audience share. The format benefited most from an influx of listeners aged 18-24 and is even number two among teen listeners nationally.”
Odds & Sods. Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee (along with its sister TV station with the same calls) was honored at this past weekend’s Wisconsin Broadcasters Association annual “Awards Gala” for broadcast excellence. WTMJ won radio news station of the year and radio station of the year. The station also won nine other awards including best radio show for “Midday with Charlie Sykes.”…..Andrew Marcus, director of the new film “Hating Breitbart,” which explores the life and impact of the late media guru Andrew Breitbart, will debate Wade Rathke, the founding organizer of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) on Rathke’s radio show. The show will air on May 17 at 10:00 am ET on KABF-FM, Little Rock, Arkansas, where ACORN was founded…..Entertainment Weekly editor Jess Cagle will moderate a Town Hall special on SiriusXM with film star Hugh Jackman on May 28 at 7:00 pm ET. Entertainment Weekly operates its own channel on the satellite radio service.
Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne Program Adds 10 Affiliate Stations. The nationally syndicated Dr. Joy Browne program – now distributed by Radio America – picks up 10 new affiliate stations for the longest-running radio show of its kind. New to the program are: WWRL, New York; WSNO, Montpelier-Barre-St. Johnsbury, Vermont; KHGG, Ft. Smith, Arkansas; WNIX, Greenville, Mississippi; KWBW, Hutchinson, Kansas; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; WFEB, Sylacauga, Alabama; and KVPI, Ville Platte, Louisiana.
Internet Talk Station, LA Talk Radio, Continues to Grow – Adds Maria Sanchez to Daily Line Up. Veteran talk radio host Maria Sanchez is now part of the growing LA Talk Radio team as the host of her own daily live radio program, “The Maria Sanchez Show.” The show covers current events, newsmakers and lifestyles. As a woman, a mother, and a Hispanic, Maria is being presented by LA Talk Radio as having “a unique perspective that is not represented in most of radio.” A 20+ year career in radio, she developed her skills in the medium as a talk radio talent at KFI, Los Angeles, a weekend host and substitute host for such personalities as Bill Handel, John & Ken, and Phil Hendrie. “I am thrilled to be back behind the mic and to be working with LA Talk Radio! The ability to be relevant, topical, and without commercial interruption is a fabulous opportunity to really explore topics and guests” says Maria. Sam Hasson, owner of LA Talk Radio, tells TALKERS, “We look forward to a long and storied relationship with Maria, a true pro in the radio industry.”
24th Annual Imus Radiothon Airs on WABC, New York Next Week. WABC, New York-based Don Imus will broadcast the 24th annual “Imus Radiothon for the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer” next Tuesday and Wednesday, May 14 and 15. The radiothon will also be broadcast to Imus show affiliates and be seen on Fox Business Network from 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET.
The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Announces Candidates for Career Achievement Awards. The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame announces the Career Achievement candidates. Members will cast their votes in July and eight Georgia radio professionals selected will be announced in October. The 7th Annual Induction Awards Ceremony will be held Saturday October 19, 2013 at the Atlanta/Marietta Hilton Hotel and Conference Center. The 2013 candidates (some positions are former) are: Harry Beadle, newsman at WGST, Atlanta; Tom and Paul Collins, The “Tiger Twins” on WQXI, Atlanta; Bill Edwards, host of “Good Morning Savannah” on WTKS, Savannah; Robert “Flash” Gordon, morning host on WKZK, Augusta; Steve Goss, host of “Morning Edition” on WABE, Atlanta; Charlie Hill, announcer at WCEH, Hawkinsville; Kaedy Kiley, morning host on WRVR, Atlanta; Greg McClure, program director at WFOM, Marietta; Kelly McCoy, afternoon host on WSB-FM, Atlanta; Nelle Reagan, host of “Talk of the Town” on WRGA, Rome; Bill Rice, host of “Soul Session” on WLET, Toccoa; Mike Roberts, owner WQMJ, Macon; Deborah Richards, news director, WKHX, Atlanta; and Mark Summers, mornings at WBBQ, Augusta.
SiriusXM Reports Positive Q1 with Revenue Up 12%; Company Involved in Digital Dashboard Technology Rollout. That 12% percent increase over the same period a year ago is on revenue of $897 million. New permanent CEO Jim Meyer had every reason to be bubbly during his first investor conference call as official chief executive officer of the satcaster. He reports the company grew its subscriber base to a new record high on new subscriptions of 453,000 during the quarter. From a financial perspective he stated, “We are proud to have achieved the highest suggested EBITDA margin in the history of the company in the first quarter. We expect to achieve a 30% adjusted EBITDA margin this year, up from 27% last year and we continue to target 40% plus margins over time. You will see us move over the next few years to become one of the highest margin businesses among major media companies in the United States. Our ability to convert the bulk of that EBITDA in the free cash flow is also unmatched in the subscription media world.” He said the company is riding the “tailwind in the new car market as it recovers.” Meyer told investors the company is committed to having the best content, spoke about new channel additions as well as new talent joining the company and mentioned talk host Michael Smerconish. Addressing the specific question about GM’s plans for its future “digital dashboard,” Meyer said he couldn’t talk about any one manufacturer’s plans but was able to state, “I believe GM is on a leadership strategy in terms of where I believe the auto industry will go in general. And that is, I believe, over a mid and long period of time — you can define how many years that is — you will see automakers move to what I will call embedded connectivity that will be LTE-based that will give them lots of options for what they want to do for their customers and their vehicles. I think it’s very important that Sirius XM participates in that rollout of technology as it occurs over the next three to seven years and that’s exactly what we’re all about when we referred to our connected-car strategy. This is something that…I want to reiterate again today, that we’re moving and reprioritizing a lot of our technical resources and frankly now our commercial programming resources towards making that goal happen as we go out over time.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. You can read the whole shebang here.
Tom Wheeler Gets Nod from Obama for FCC Chief. On the political side of things, many Democrats wanted to see President Obama select a woman for the post being vacated by Julius Genachowski, but the president nominated a man with a telecommunications background who was very helpful in getting him elected. Politico reports that managing director of Core Capital Partners, Tom Wheeler, (along with his wife) worked Iowa for six weeks straight during the president’s first campaign. Although Wheeler will get some grief from those who are suspicious of his past tenure as a lobbyist with both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the CTIA (Cellular Telephone Industry Association), he has experience in the industry having founded numerous cable and communications services businesses. National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB welcomes the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman of the FCC. He has the experience and temperament to serve the agency with distinction, and we look forward to working with him.”
Talkers New York 2013 Approaching Sellout Today. At the present rate of registration bookings, all available seats to the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 will be sold out by the end of business today (5:00 pm ET). The 16th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention has broken the record for reaching advance registration earlier than ever before. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are amazed and gratified that this conference has reached a sellout almost five weeks in advance of its actual date, which is a testimony to the vibrancy of the talk format and the enthusiasm of the industry that produces it.” The one-day, power-packed event takes place on Thursday, June 6 in New York City between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. It features a speaker roster of more than 50 industry leaders from programming, sales, talent, management, technology and ownership. Registration ($199 for all events and food services) is open exclusively to members of the working media and can only be booked by phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. For complete registration and sponsorship information including an up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.
Walton & Johnson Take Over Mornings on KPRC, Houston. Just four months after the Walton & Johnson [John Walton (left) and Steve Johnson (right)] morning show was dropped from Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “97.3 The Arrow,” the program is brought back to the Houston airwaves as the new morning program on the company’s news/talk KPRC. The duo was replaced on “The Arrow” by longtime St. Louis radio personality J.C. Corcoran. Clear Channel Houston director of AM programming Bryan Erickson says, “We are thrilled to have Walton & Johnson back on KPRC. They have a proven track record of great ratings and we look forward to them continuing that success on KPRC.” Walton & Johnson made KPRC their flagship beginning in 2007 but moved to “The Arrow” in 2009. Off KPRC as a result of the move is Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo who is based at Clear Channel’s WOAI, San Antonio and is heard there and on other Clear Channel news/talk stations.
Armstrong & Getty to Join KFMB, San Diego in June. Morning show duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty will be heard in the San Diego market beginning June 3 as their program bumps current morning host Mike Slater to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Armstrong & Getty are based at Clear Channel’s KSTE, Sacramento and heard in other markets in Northern California including San Francisco on KKSF. This is a big move for the duo as they are added to a non-Clear Channel station – Midwest TV’s KFMB. Program director Dave Sniff states, “Like any great radio morning show, Armstrong and Getty have that unique ability to not only connect with the listener but to become their companions. They fit in amazingly well among the great storytellers that are part of 760 KFMB’s character and lineage. They’re not so much a ‘talk show’ as a ‘mock show.’”
Cox Media’s WOKV, Jacksonville Adds 104.5 FM Signal. Market news/talk powerhouse WOKV got a little more powerful as Cox Media Group gives the 104.5 FM signal long-occupied by now-defunct rock station WFYV to the station to boost its coverage of the region. WOKV program director Mike Dorwart says, “Our listeners told us loud and clear that we needed more power. Moving to 104.5 FM means that, for the first time, our listeners can hear us crystal clear, everywhere in northeast Florida, both day and night. The most noticeable improvement will be heard by listeners in Baker, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau counties. They now have full coverage from WOKV, 24/7, on 104.5 FM. Duval residents will also hear a big difference, especially those who listen at work. Our new signal also gives reliable coverage to listeners in Flagler, Putnam, Bradford, Union and Columbia counties in Florida, as well as Camden and Charlton counties in Georgia.” The station has been simulcast on the 106.5 FM frequency but that class A FM is much smaller. WOKV will continue to be heard on 106.5 as the company directs listeners to the new 104.5 frequency.
Five Critical Steps for Radio to Achieve Success with Online Video. Noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo outlines five crucial pointers that radio broadcasters should keep in mind when utilizing video in their digital initiatives. In a column posted today (5/1) he suggests: 1) bad equipment is usually the best; 2) online video is NOT television (TV); 3) 80% of all videos are watched within 72 hours of posting; 4) most of the biggest stars of the internet (“webstars”) are self-cast; and 5) late evening is the best time to post. To read the entirety of this timely and informative article, click here.
The End of an Era for Knoxville News/Talk; Country to Take Over 100.3 Frequency. With Journal Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Oak Ridge FM’s news/talk WNOX, Knoxville about to close, the company is preparing to move the country format currently heard on its WCYQ to the much stronger 100.3 signal currently occupied by news/talk on WNOX. A country simulcast will begin tomorrow on the two FMs (5/2) and the news/talk programming now on WNOX will move to Blount Broadcasting’s WKVL, a daytime AM at 850.
KTRS, St. Louis Newest Affiliate for Envision’s ‘America Weekend.’ The weekend news/talk radio program being nationally syndicated by Envision Radio Networks announces CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is the latest station to add the programming to its weekend offerings. Envision calls “America Weekend” “the winning antidote to bad brokered programming and tiresome ‘Best-of’ shows. Hosted by Paul Harris, Rick Roberts, and Turi Ryder, ‘America Weekend’ is designed to increase ratings while providing an innovative system for maintaining or even increasing revenue from brokered programs. The flexible ‘America Weekend’ system provides the perfect platform to break away for sports and other special programming as needed. Since ‘America Weekend’ is broadcast live via satellite, it is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen. The program airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.”
Fargo Stations Sales Close: Fargo-Moorhead Radio Cluster to Midwest Communications; Triad Broadcasting Group to Larry Wilson’s L&L. The sales of both of these Fargo market station groups were announced last year and were approved by the FCC months ago. Now the transactions close with Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications taking ownership of the former Fargo-Moorhead Radio cluster that includes: news/talk KFGO, sports KVOX, CHR WDAY “Y-94,” country KBVB “Bob FM,” talk KRWK “101.9 Talk FM,” and adult hits KMJO “Popster FM.” Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy tells the Forum of Fargo Moorhead he doesn’t anticipate any immediate programming changes. Larry Wilson, whose Alpha Broadcasting operates stations in Portland, Oregon, also is a principal in L&L Broadcasting and his company is closing on Triad Broadcasting’s stations that include: oldies KQWB “True Oldies,” classic rock KPFX “The Fox,” hot AC KLTA, country KVOX “Froggy 99.9,” full service KBMW, and rock KQWB “Q98.” Triad vice president and market manager Michael Brooks also tells the paper he does not anticipate any immediate changes.
WEEI Names John Ryder to Red Sox Broadcast Team; Grande and Merloni to Handle Fill-In Role. In announcing John Ryder’s ascension to a permanent role on Red Sox broadcasts as host of pre- and post-game coverage, the company says, “Ryder has been with WEEI since 1998 and is a regular contributor to the ‘Planet Mikey’ show, in addition to hosting ‘Red Sox Review’ and ‘Celtics Rewind’ after Sox and Celtics games.” The company is also announcing that Sean Grande and Lou Merloni will join the broadcasts filling in for Dave O’Brien, who will miss Monday night games during the season due to his responsibilities for ESPN. Grande has been the voice of the Boston Celtics since 2001, after having served as the TV voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves for three years. Merloni is currently co-host of the “Mut and Merloni” show on WEEI 93.7 FM. Merloni also enjoyed a nine-year professional career in Major League Baseball, the first five with the Red Sox. Entercom Boston vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “John has done a stellar job in every role we’ve had for him and has absolutely earned this promotion. He’s hosted the pre- and post-game shows for the Sox many times before and was a natural choice for us to fill this important job. Sean’s play-by-play experience speaks for itself. He’s one of the greats in the industry right now, and Lou’s expertise is second to none. There’s no baseball man in Boston who knows the Sox better than Lou.”
Odds & Sods. Result Radio’s Christian contemporary KJJK, Fargo will flip to sports talk on Monday, May 6 using programming from Fox Sports Radio Network including Dan Patrick, Jay Mohr and the “Loose Cannons” with Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman. The station will continue to serve as a Minnesota Twins affiliate…..Personality J.D. Hayworth – co-host of the “Hacksaw & Hayworth” show on sports talk XEPRS, San Diego – does some news/talk fill-in work this week when he sits in for Cumulus Media Networks host Michael Savage tonight through Friday from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. He’ll also sit in for the company’s Mike Huckabee tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET…..Bouyed by coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas fertilizer warehouse explosion, cable news/talk channel CNN has improved in the ratings compared to the same period a year ago. Based on April Nielsen numbers as reported in Deadline.com, CNN saw its total day viewers number rise 79% compared to April 2012. CNN was also up in prime time, achieving an 81% increase in total viewers over the same period a year ago. The network was able to climb over MSNBC into second place behind Fox News Channel in both ratings categories.
Benghazi Cover-up Investigation, ObamaCare Effects, Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Slow Job Growth Reports, and Immigration Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). New inquiries into the Benghazi attack; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for possible co-conspirators; newly released reports indicating slow job growth in the United States; and debate over immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Norm Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media Announces Debut of PodcastOne.com. Calling it “a single, online destination that makes it easier than ever to discover, download and enjoy the most popular podcasts,” Launchpad Digital Media debuts PodcastOne.com. In a statement, the company says the site is “already home to more than 200 major podcasts including those from some of the biggest names in radio, news and entertainment, such as: Adam Carolla, CBS News, Dr. Drew, Tom Green, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Laura Ingraham, Penn Jillette, Maria Menounos and more.” Chairman of Launchpad Digital Media and Courtside Entertainment Group, Norm Pattiz, states, “What others have done with music, we are doing with the spoken word – helping listeners discover new programming based on their listening habits. This is a powerful promotional vehicle for any program looking to grow audience in a big way. In addition, by delivering talk, comedy, news, sports and entertainment radio as on-demand podcasts accessible via the internet, Podcast One expands the reach of national radio programs to every listener in the country – eliminating void and uncleared markets, while helping radio grow its audience and receive fair value for it.” Users go to PodcastOne.com, pick their favorite podcasts and add them to their listen list. Podcast One suggests new shows based on what they already enjoy and the list is continuously updated with the freshest episodes and users can listen online or download and take their favorite shows with them. Launchpad Digital Media president Kit Gray says, “Podcast One helps people spend less time searching for great content and more time discovering and enjoying it. The site’s discovery feature and easy-to-use social network interface allow Podcast One to provide programs with unprecedented exposure to a previously untapped audience.”
Jim Bohannon to Receive the TALKERS magazine Lifetime Achievement Award. Veteran Dial Global radio talk personality Jim Bohannon has been named by the TALKERS editorial board as the 2013 recipient of the publication’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Bohannon began his illustrious on-air career in 1960 at KLWT in Lebanon, Missouri. He began working as a reporter at Mutual Broadcasting System in 1983 and went on to become the fill-in host for that network’s pioneering Larry King Show. In 1993 he took over the hosting reigns of that program which he maintained through its ownership by Westwood One to its present incarnation as a Dial Global property. Bohannon also hosts Dial Global’s “America in the Morning.” The recipient of numerous industry awards and honors, Jim Bohannon has been a member of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred every year since its inception in 1995 and is an inductee in the National Radio Hall of Fame. He will be presented the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award at the forthcoming national convention, Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6 in New York City.
Clear Channel Brings Bloomberg Radio to WXKS-AM, Boston. The comedy format currently airing on Clear Channel’s WXKS-AM, Boston – formerly Talk 1200 – will move to WXKS-FM’s HD-2 channel and Friday will see the debut of a full-time business news station. Bloomberg Radio programmer Al Mayers – who programmed news/talk WRKO, Boston almost 20 years ago – tells the Boston Herald, “There’s been a retrenchment in business coverage and we hope to come in there and fill that void. Boston’s a great center for the things that our customers are very interested in.” Mayers says there are 26 Bloomberg journalists stationed in Boston who will contribute to program content. He says there will be eight hosts and that programming will be guest-driven. The new venture will also include a relationship with Bentley University to use its faculty for content and commentary.
Alan Colmes Show Moves to Earlier Air Time on Fox News Radio. The late-night talk radio show hosted by Fox News personality Alan Colmes will begin airing live at an earlier time – 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm – starting on Monday, March 4. The network announces that it will continue to offer a re-feed from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am and that Colmes will do live programming during the later hours during times when there is major breaking news.
Melissa Etheridge Wins Gracie Award for Syndicated Radio Show. Musician and radio program host Melissa Etheridge will take home a 2013 Gracie Award for Outstanding Talk Show in the Entertainment/Information category for her Benztown Radio Networks-produced and syndicated radio program. The 38th Annual Gracie Awards will be presented on May 21, 2013, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Etheridge says in a statement, “I have won Grammys and an Oscar, but there is something especially meaningful about being recognized with a Gracie. I love radio, and it’s important to me to bring the voices of women to our audiences, as they share their respective truths about life, love and family — and as I share the same with them. It’s also a great pleasure to provide a forum where we can connect with each other about the music that moves us. I’m honored that people are responding to the show across the country and I thank the AWM Foundation for this award.”
Heavy Hundred to be Published Next Week. Hang in there talk radio enthusiasts. It’s almost here! The 2013 installment of TALKERS magazine’s signature annual feature, The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America – otherwise known as “The Heavy Hundred” – is being readied for publication next week. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This feature is always a painstaking task for our editorial board to compile because it takes into account so many variables from the quantitative to the qualitative and plays such an important role in the lives and careers of so many established and rising stars of the industry.” Casey adds, “It also offers a snapshot impression to industry watchers outside the business of just what makes ‘talk radio’ tick. It defines its parameters, dispelling the widespread notion that spoken-word radio is any one single slice of a much bigger pie.”
Urban Talk/Music Hybrid WMCS, Milwaukee to Flip Formats. The All Pro Broadcasting-Times Shamrock venture called Milwaukee Radio Alliance that operates urban talk and music outlet WMCS, Milwaukee says it will flip the station’s format after 20 years targeting the African American community in the market. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Duane Dudek writes that Milwaukee Radio Alliance vice president Bill Hurwitz says the station has been losing money for the past 10 years and that the move is a business decision. He’s quoted saying, “Stations like this, basically super-serving the African American community — especially on AM — don’t exist in this country.” All Pro Broadcasting is operated by Green Bay Packers great Willie Davis and Hurwitz says if not for Davis, the station would have disappeared long ago. The move is affecting 15 full- and part-time employees including morning host Eric Von and PM drive talk host Earl Ingram.
The Conclave Names 2013 Rockwell Award Winners: Jaye Albright and Tom Kay. The Conclave Learning Conference announces country consultant Jaye Albright and Conclave executive director emeritus Tom Kay are this year’s recipients of the Rockwell Award for 2013. Executive director Bob Shannon says of this year’s honorees, “Jaye Albright represents the best broadcasting has to offer. Always a student of radio, she’s also one of our best teachers and her influence on country radio is unmatched.” Regarding Tom Kay, Shannon says, “This is recognition for a job well done. If it weren’t for Tom, the Conclave wouldn’t exist today. Giving him the Rockwell Award makes all the sense in the world. I can’t tell you how pleased I am.” On her receiving the honor, Albright states, “As I think about the past Rockwell honorees, and how much I respect what each of them has given to our business over many, many years, I remain a bit stunned that The Conclave feels that I belong among them. I’m humbled, surprised, flattered and honored.” Albright and Kay will receive the Rockwell Award and be honored during “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” in Minneapolis July 17, 18 and 19.
FCC Approves Journal Broadcast Group’s Purchase of WNOX, Knoxville. When the sale of Oak Ridge FM-owned news/talk WNOX, Knoxville to Milwaukee-based Journal Broadcast Group was announced late last year, M&M Broadcasting said it intended to sue Oak Ridge for breach of contract implying it had a deal to buy the signal. Now, the FCC has approved the transfer of the license from Oak Ridge to Journal and the speculation about the station’s future format gets more intense. Based on a scan of recent domain registrations, it appears Journal is considering moving its country WCYQ “Q93” to WNOX’s 100.3 signal and may be prepping a launch of a classic hits format for the 93.1 signal, thereby eliminating news/talk from the mix. Domain registrations can be intentionally misleading so only time will tell for sure what Journal’s intentions really are.
Phil Grande’s “Phil’s Gang” Show to Be Distributed on Business TalkRadio Network. The independently produced and syndicated financial talk show “Phil’s Gang” – hosted by Phil Grande – will be available to Business TalkRadio Network affiliates beginning March 11.
Sequestration Battle, John Kerry in Germany, ObamaCare, Iran/North Korea Nuke Threats, Michelle Obama ‘Automatic Weapon’ Gaffe, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26). The looming March 1 sequester; Secretary of State John Kerry’s European tour; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; nuclear weapons threats from Iran and North Korea; Michelle Obama’s “automatic weapons” gaffe; and the winter weather affecting large parts of the nation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.