Tag: "FEMA"

Friday, September 13, 2019

| September 13, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August PPM survey, today focusing on the sports talk format.  More than half of the sports talk stations on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up from the July survey to the August survey, led by iHeartMedia’s KFXN, Minneapolis “K-FAN” (+1.0).  Comparing August 2018 to August 2019, about half the stations were up and the other half were down.  Gainers included KFXN (+1.5) and Entercom’s KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” (+1.4).  Entercom’s WFAN, New York was the only sports talker to rank #1 in its market with a 5.6 share.  Entercom’s WIP, Philadelphia ranked #2 with a 6.7 share.”  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

New iHeartRadio Sports Digital Platform Launches. The new iHeartRadio Sports website allows listeners to find broadcast sports radio stations, sports podcasts, and latest sports news in one place.  iHeartMedia says that listeners can access more than 195 live broadcast and digital stations and episodes from more than 25,000 sports podcasts, including “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “3 and Out with John MiddleKauff,” “Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis,” “Sports Wars,” and more. iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group president Darren Davis says, “iHeartRadio has long been a destination for the biggest sports fans and now provides the premier destination where they can find all their favorite teams, podcasts, personalities and stations all in one place.  Sports listeners are incredibly passionate and this new destination utilizes the power and reach of iHeartMedia and its programming to create an encompassing all-things-sports experience like no other, for those enthusiastic fanatics everywhere whether it’s getting outstanding play-by-play of the latest Dodgers game to sports betting podcasts for expert picks and analysis.”

New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, one-hour experimental weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” produced by Goodphone Communications 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 (9/13).  The new episode titled, “And the Buzz Just keeps on Coming!” looks back at this past week of September 9-13, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Charles Freedman, host, KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  Nan Su, San Francisco editor, The Epoch TimesAlexi Cohan, reporter, Boston Herald; Graham Mack, program director, FIX Radio, London, UK; and Lisa Wexler, host, WICC, Bridgeport, CT.  This increasingly acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as a recap and exclamation point for the week-in-review as well as several other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeart Radio 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.

‘America in the Morning’ Celebrates 35 Years on Air. Next Tuesday (9/17), Cumulus Media’s Westwood One will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the award-winning, weekday news magazine, “America in the Morning,” which launched September 17, 1984.  The program – currently heard on more than 330 affiliate stations – grew out of what was originally the last half hour of the five-and-a-half hour overnight “Larry King Show.”  When King was cut back to five hours, Westwood One used the last half hour to launch a morning news magazine.  It later expanded to one hour.  After Larry King left the radio show, his replacement – Jim Bohannon – hosted the program.  Current host John Trout took over hosting duties from Bohannon in 2016 (although Bohannon continues to contribute reports to the program).  Westwood One EVP news and talk Bart Tessler says, “Our 332 affiliates know that ‘America in the Morning’ is the show to turn to for the best and most comprehensive coverage of breaking news overnight.  Jim Bohannon created a legacy and John Trout continues the tradition of ensuring Americans are informed and entertained at daybreak.”  The program has won many industry awards, including the top prize for “Best News Magazine” the last two years at the New York Festivals Radio Awards.

SRN’s Mike Gallagher to Broadcast from Mobile. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher will host his Salem Radio Network program from the offices of Mobile, Alabama’s FairHope Direct on Wednesday (9/18).  FairHope Direct is run by president & CEO Doug Meduna and his company recently made a $15,000 contribution to the Christian non-profit relief agency Food For The Poor.  Last month, SRN raised funds for the charity that delivered emergency food to displaced children and families along Colombia’s border with Venezuela.  Gallagher will interview Doug Meduna on his show. Gallagher says, “Thanks to awesome people like Doug Meduna and his team at FairHope Direct, our generous listeners network-wide donated a total of $730,000 in August.

Coleman Exits WACV-FM, Montgomery. Attorney, political operative and talk show host Baron Coleman leaves his 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk show on Bluewater Broadcasting’s WACV, Montgomery, Alabama “News Talk 93.1FM” and hints that he’ll be back on the radio in the market on Monday, on a different station.  Coleman tells Yellowhammer News, “I’m thankful for my time at Bluewater.  The last five years have been an incredible learning experience.  But, ultimately, the time was right to move on.  I’ll be announcing a fantastic opportunity in the next day or two, and I look forward to getting back on the air on Monday.” WACV says Jack Campbell and Joey Clark will co-host the late morning show.  It’s rumored that Little Engine Broadcasting’s crosstown WRBZ-AM/W238CE is flipping from classic hits to talk on Monday and that Coleman will surface there.

Dan Sileo to Join Twitch for Sports Talk Show. Thwarted in his effort to get back on terrestrial sports talk radio, Dan Sileo is joining Twitch.tv with the assistance of consultant Don Kollins.  Sports media personality Tony Bruno also hosts a show on Twitch and Sileo says he’ll be on with Bruno next week to make the announcement.  His program will follow Bruno’s.  Sileo was just hired to host afternoons on iHeartMedia’s KGME-AM, Phoenix, but four days into his new gig, pressure from the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes got him yanked.  The Coyotes just inked a deal to broadcast their games on the station and the club was nervous about Sileo’s past missteps on social media.

Ken Newman Named DOS for Cox Media Group San Antonio. At the San Antonio operations of Cox Media Group, Ken Newman is the new director of sales for the cluster that includes: classic hits KONO, rock KISS, and country KCYY.  CMG San Antonio VP and general manager David Abel says, “Ken brings a wealth of industry knowledge and sales expertise to his new role, making him the ideal sales leader for our market.  Our clients expect the very best from CMG and I am confident our teams will continue to deliver exceptional service under Ken’s leadership.”

Rob Sussman Exits ‘Delaware 105.9 FM.’Talk radio host Rob Sussman exits Forever Media’s news/talk WXDE-FM, Lewes “Delaware 105.9” where he’d been hosting the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show.  The station adds Radio America’s nationally syndicated “The Dana Show” with host Dana Loesch.  Sussman arrived at WXDE almost two years ago from his previous position as news director at KBUR, Burlington, Iowa.  He’s ready for his next opportunity and can be reached at Sussman.ra@gmail.com.  In July, the station parted ways with local host Susan Monday and fellow local host Ed Tyll resigned his position.  Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher was added to the late morning daypart and Compass Media Networks’ “Markley, van Camp and Robbins” program began airing in the early afternoon slot.  Forever Media acquired the station and nine other signals from Delmarva Broadcasting earlier this year.

WGTK-FM, Greenville Demonstrates PEP Station Responsibilities. Pictured above is WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina “94-5 The Answer” air personality Joey Hudson (left) on air with South Carolina Lt. Governor Pamela Evette (right) broadcasting from the Salem Media Group station’s transmitter tower.  WGTK-FM is a FEMA designated Primary Entry Point (PEP) station that cooperatively participates with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during, and after a national or local emergency.  Hudson broadcast from the WGTK PEP module using only backup generators and the equipment installed in the FEMA facility the agency maintains at the station’s broadcast tower.  As the PEP station serving Upstate South Carolina and Western North Carolina, it is equipped with back-up communications equipment and emergency power generators designed to enable continuous broadcasting independent of public utilities and without refueling for approximately 30-45 days.  Hudson says that although this exercise had been planned for weeks, with Hurricane Dorian passing through the Carolinas last week, the “practice scenario” provided by FEMA was timely as he simulated how he would provide essential information to the public immediately following devastating damage by a hurricane in the Carolinas.

John Bolton’s Exit and Cancelled Taliban Talks Top News/Talk Stories for Week of September 9-13.  The exit of John Bolton from his national security advisor position in the Trump Administration and the related cancellation of secret talks with the Taliban in Washington tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was “sharpie-gate” and the NOAA controversy.  Coming in at #3 was U.S.-China relations and North Korea’s missile test, followed by stock market activity and the economy 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.

McGorry Elected to BFoA Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that William McGorry, chairman of Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame, has been elected to the board of directors of the BFoA.  McGorry oversees Broadcasting &Cable’s Hall of Fame nominating process and manages the annual awards event.  Proceeds from the black-tie gala benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America and The Paley Center for Media.  BFoA chairman Dan Mason says, “Bill has been a long-time supporter of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, and we are delighted that he is joining the Board.  Every year, Bill ensures that the Broadcasters Foundation is a recipient of some of the proceeds from Broadcasting & Cable’s Hall of Fame Awards dinner. Those much-needed funds go to helping broadcasters in need across our industry, either in monthly or one-time emergency grants. We are grateful for his contributions.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Nikki Imbrascio is officially introduced by Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach as the new midday host on hot AC WRMF.  She was previously with CHR WBBM-FM, Chicago “B96” as midday host. WRMF brand/content director Leo Baldwin says, “After an extensive search we are so happy to bring Nikki and her major market experience to Hubbard West Palm Beach.  WRMF has been looking for its mid-day voice for quite some time and I am excited for Nikki to get started!”…..In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Robbie Bridges resigns his position as operations and brand manager for Townsquare Media’s operations there, including programming country WOKQ. Taking his place is Sammy Cruise, who leaves his gig at Hubbard Radio’s country WIRK, West Palm Beach to return to the station he served with in the past…..Buffalo radio icon Roger Christian is ousted from Entercom’s hot AC WTSS “Star 102.5.”  Christian was on air on the 102.5 frequency for 43 years, going back to its time as a rock outlet.  Christian says he was told the position is being eliminated and the daypart will be voice-tracked.  However, Christian was scooped up quickly by Radio One Buffalo LLC’s Buddy Shula who’s bringing him aboard his oldies WECK-AM to handle weekends and fill-ins.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

| August 4, 2015

sagaSaga Communications Reports Q2 Revenue Up 1.6%.  Net revenue for the second quarter of 2015 for Saga Communications was $34.4 million – an increase of 1.6%.  The company reports that free cash flow decreased $281 thousand to $5.7 million.  Station operating expense increased $812 thousand to $24.3 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations).  Operating income was $7.5 million.  Net income for the period was $4.5 million ($0.77 per fully diluted share).  Taking a look at the radio division, net operating revenue was $29.1 million, an increase of 0.6% over the same period a year ago.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches.  It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended.  Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homelandbrownmichael Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history.  Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t.  After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right.  Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration.  A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode.  Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011).  He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT.  In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina.  To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases First Round of July 2015 PPM Data.  The first of four rounds of July 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

daviesrichardReport from Podcast Movement.  Longtime ABC News Radio journalist Richard Davies has been working with his co-host Jim Miegs on their podcast “How Do We Fix It?” since retiring from the network news radio business.  He recently attended the Podcast Movement conference in Fort Worth, Texas.  Davies reports that the recent success of “Serial” and the PR Marc Maron received for President Obama’s appearance on his “WTF?” podcast has given hope to the thousands of podcast “newbies.”  “Marketers and tech firms are taking note of podcasting’s recent growth.  Some companies sponsored booths and took part in Q&A sessions at Podcast Movement.”  Read Davies’ entire report here.

Odds & Sods. Sports talk station KHTK, Sacramento has a new program director as Kevin Sherrets returns to the station where he began his career 18 years ago.  Sherrets leaves his APD gig at Bonneville’s KKFN, Denver “104.3 The Fan” to join the CBS RADIO sports outlet…..FOX News Radio is providing GOP debate coverage to its affiliate stations.  It will offer live anchored coverage of the Cleveland debates with Jared Halpern anchoring and Debbie Georgatos serving as analyst.

Nielsen’s ‘Audio Today’ Report: Blacks and Hispanics Account for Almost One Third of National AQH Audience.  The quarterly radio audience report from Nielsen finds that “the broad national radio audience (those 12 or older) has hit an all-time high for the second year in a row: 245 million.”  This 2015 Q2 report focuses on minority listening and Nielsen’s data shows that a “record 71.7 million Blacks and Hispanics combine to account for almost a third (29.3%) of the national AQH audience.  These Black and Hispanic consumers spend more time with radio each week than any other group, and possess enormous buying power for advertisers looking to reach a qualified audience when they are away from home and in the marketplace ready to purchase.”  See Nielsen’s report here.

2016 Presidential Candidates-Trump Criticisms, Planned Parenthood Videos Scandal, Cecil the Lion Death, New Obama Emissions Regulations, Battle Against ISIS, Baltimore Violence, and Search for MH370 Debris Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/3).  The activities of the candidates for president in 2016, the criticisms of Donald Trump and the possible entrance of Vice President Joe Biden in the race; the potential vote to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of the videos scandal; the continuing outrage over the hunting of Cecil the lion; President Obama’s new power plant emissions regulations; the air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria; the Baltimore police request federal assistance as violent crime continues to skyrocket; and the search for more potential debris from flight MH370 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

More on Alerts: Useful Weather Warning App

| June 20, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President   
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — You may remember a few weeks ago, I wrote about a set of PSAs released by FEMA that used the Emergency Alert System two tone attention signal.  I also stated that warnings on your cell phone were something I didn’t ask for and there is no way to get rid of this app.

Well, I just found an app that is a helluva lot more useful than what FEMA has mandated on your cell phone in regards to weather warnings.  And, it has great potential to be a tool for your broadcast operation, whether you’re on the street reporters, newsroom, or just the announcers and jocks are equipped with it.

The app is available for iPhones and Android devices, and is called Alert FM.

Read More

My Professional Opinion: Do NOT Run the FEMA/Ad Council PSA!

| June 3, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President   
TALKERS
Technical Editor

Ad CouncilFEMANEW YORK — You may have seen my warning in Friday’s edition regarding a PSA that was released by the Ad Council, under the auspices of FEMA, extolling the virtues of the emergency alerts the public can now receive on their cell phones.  A great idea.  Worthy of getting the word out.  Even if the PSA promotes a service available on cell phones.

Only one problem.  The PSAs (there are several, and they are also available for television) use the EAS two-tone alert tone as part of the message.

Read More

Monday, June 3, 2013

| June 3, 2013

missouribroadcastersFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Addresses Missouri Broadcasters Association on AM Revitalization.  FCC commissioner Ajit Pai wasn’t physically at the Missouri Broadcasters Association convention over the weekend but he delivered an opening statement before a panel discussion about revitalization of the AM band.  Referencing the recent tornados in Oklahoma and the tornado that devastated Joplin, Missouri two years ago, Pai pointed to Zimmer Radio’s KZRG, Joplin as an AM outlet that kept Joplin residents informed when most other paiajitforms over communications – cell phones and the internet – were knocked out by the power loss to the region.  Pai stated, “In the wake of the Joplin tornado, when mobile phone service and the Internet were all but wiped out, broadcasters led by KZRG-AM 1310 provided around-the-clock, uninterrupted coverage for nine consecutive days. KZRG told residents how to get disaster relief and connected people in need with people who could help. The residents of Moore, Oklahoma have a long road ahead of them, but if they need inspiration for how to rally and recover, they can look to Joplin as a model.”  As for the future of AM, Pai said, “But AM radio plays an important role in towns throughout the United States every single day. AM stations cover local politics and host debates about local issues.  They cover community events, such as high school sports.  And they reach out to all parts of society, with programming targeted at minorities, people who speak foreign languages, and the elderly.”  Pai reiterated his move to address the AM band in Washington, DC, “I proposed last year that the FCC launch an AM Radio Revitalization Initiative.  The last time the FCC comprehensively reviewed its AM radio rules was over two decades ago.  I think it’s time we do so again.  Since I made this proposal, I’ve been amazed by the outpouring of support from broadcasters across the country.  They’ve shared many ideas with me for improving the AM band, and I know that you’ll be discussing some of them today. Such as: How can the FCC make it easier for AM broadcasters to obtain an FM translator?  Should we eliminate the AM ratchet rule?  Should we replace the current minimum efficiency standard with a minimum radiation standard?  Should we modify community of coverage standards?  And what about the long-term future of the band?  Should our goal be to transition stations to all-digital? Or are there other options we need to think about? These are just a few of the questions that I hope you’ll address during today’s panel.”

raytomTom Ray’s Professional Opinion:  Do NOT Air the FEMA/Ad Council PSA!  You may have seen TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray‘s warning in this past Friday’s edition of TALKERS  (5/31) regarding a PSA that was released by the Ad Council, under the auspices of FEMA, extolling the virtues of the emergency alerts the public can now receive on their cell phones.  A great idea.  Worthy of getting the word out.  Even if the PSA promotes a service available on cell phones.  Only one problem.  The PSAs (there are several, and they are also available for television) use the EAS two-tone alert tone as part of the message.  Why is this a problem?  According to Ray who writes in a scathing column posted today (6/3), “Well, FCC regulation 11.45 states that the EAS codes and the EAS two-tone alert cannot be used for any purpose unless directly associated with an actual EAS message or an EAS test.”  Ray continues, “I believe the FCC fine for using the tone outside an EAS message starts around $10,000.  I, along with numerous other persons around the country, sent out the alert NOT to air this PSA.  I even sent notes to the SBE and the NAB.  Around 4:00 pm on Friday, May 31, a notice was released by the FCC granting FEMA a waiver for one year to utilize the EAS two tone alert in their PSA’s.  It is apparently OK to air this PSA.  I’m wondering how you prove it is the one produced by FEMA and is legal.  I then received an email from someone at FEMA that stated, ‘See, we aren’t off our rockers.  This notice was supposed to come out before the release of the PSA.’  Three letters came to mind.  W.  T.  F.”  To read Tom Ray’s entire column, click here.

seltzerbrentBrent Seltzer and Meg McDonald Named “Official Greeters” of Talkers New York 2013. TALKERS magazine is pleased to announce that the Los Angeles-based husband and wife team of Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald have beenmcdonaldmeg named to serve as the “Official Greeters” of the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 set this week for Thursday, June 6 in the Big Apple.  In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Brent and Meg are one of the most colorful and dynamic couples in the radio business today and the contributions they made to the past two California installments of the TALKERS conference in 2012 and 2011 proved to be invaluable.  We are absolutely delighted that they will be joining us in New York City Thursday for the big annual event and serving in this key role.”  Brent Seltzer is a legendary radio journalist/talent whose roots go back to the golden era of album rock radio when he established himself as one of the nation’s most successful and creative “rock ‘n’ roll radio newsmen.”  He was heard on such storied stations as KMET, KNX, KZLA and KMPC, Los Angeles and KGB, San Diego among others.  A ubiquitous figure in the voice-over field since then, Brent is the main voice and writer of the widely heralded, short-form feature “Brent Seltzer: Still at Large” heard on XM Satellite Radio, Podjockey, and WSRO, Santa Rosa.  Meg McDonald APR, who serves as co-writer and co-performer on “Still at Large,” is the multi-award winning president and founder of McDonald Media Services, one of the premiere public relations firms on the West Coast for the past three-plus decades.  The beautiful and gorgeous-voiced daughter of popular character actress Elisabeth Fraser (“The Phil Silvers Show”) and famous film and TV dancer Ray McDonald, Meg has been in show business and media since birth.  According to Harrison, “Brent and Meg will be playing a significant role in the lineup of TalkersRadio – but we’ll save that story for later in the summer.”  The role of “Official Greeters” at the TALKERS conference consists of being the liaison between the directors of the conference and its attendees providing a vital link in keeping everything moving smoothly along its very tight and power-packed schedule.

washburndocWBT, Charlotte Drops Doc Washburn’s Evening Show.  Telling the Charlotte Observer that the program wasn’t cost-effective, program director Jason Furst announces that Doc Washburn’s 9:00 pm to 1:00 am talk show is being replaced by Premiere Networks nationally syndicated “America Now with Andy Dean.”  Washburn will remain a regular fill-in host on the station.

clearchannelClear Channel Announces Debt Restructure Terms.  The bond exchange that Clear Channel announced back in mid-May has been completed and the terms are as follows.  A new $5 billion Term Loan D has been created as Term Loan B lenders and/or Term Loan C lenders agree to push the maturity of a portion of their loans due in 2016 to January 30, 2019.  The company states that “approximately $6.7 billion in aggregate principal amount of term loans was submitted for extension in the offer and, accordingly, the amount of each lender’s term loans that was accepted for extension was reduced by a proration factor of approximately 74.6808%.”  Upon the closing of the offer, CCU’s cash flow credit facility consisted of an approximately $3 billion Term Loan B facility which matures on January 30, 2016, an approximately $198.2 million Term Loan C facility which matures on January 30, 2016 and a $5 billion Term Loan D facility which matures on January 30, 2019.  Concurrently with the closing of the offer, CCU entered into an amendment to the agreement governing its cash flow credit facility, which permits CCU to make AHYDO catch-up payments beginning in May 2018 with respect to the new Term Loan D facility and any notes issued in connection with CCU’s previously announced exchange offer with respect to its outstanding 10.75% Senior Cash Pay Notes due 2016 and 11.00%/11.75% Senior Toggle Notes due 2016.  The new Term Loan D facility has the same security and guarantee package as the outstanding Term Loans B and C and borrowings under the new Term Loan D facility bear interest at a rate equal to, at CCU’s option, adjusted LIBOR plus 6.75% or a base rate plus 5.75%.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago Boasts Digital Ratings Peak.  Tribune’s WGN, Chicago reports the station achieved its highest digital ratings ever Wednesday, May 29 during its coverage of the Chicago Blackhawks 2013 Western Conference Semifinals Game 7 defeat of the Detroit Red Wings.  The historic game registered 22,917 simultaneous digital listeners at 10:00 pm, the peak of the thrilling overtime playoff victory by the Blackhawks.  WGNRadio.com shattered its previous streaming record of 11,771 recorded on May 27, 2013 and the next closest was 10,318 during the Blackhawks Stanley Cup run on June 2, 2010.  The station says it will continue to broadcast on all of its digital platforms as it covers the 2013 NHL Western Conference Final featuring the Chicago Blackhawks and Los Angeles Kings.

wproWPRO, Providence Takes Page from the Papers.  Cumulus Media’s “Newstalk 630 AM and 99.7 FM” WPRO, Providence and its website 630WPRO.com, begins a regular column called “Your Voice, Your Turn,” an op-ed platform where “Rhode Island’s most intriguing voices will share their opinions with the people of the Ocean State.”  The first column in this ongoing series features the state’s Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Deborah A. Gist with a piece titled, “The Truth About Testing.”  WPRO program director Craig Schwalb states, “As Commissioner of Education, Ms. Gist’s voice is prominent in, and important to, Rhode Island which makes her the perfect choice to launch the ‘Your Voice, Your Turn’ Op-Ed platform on 630wpro.com.”  The station says it “looks forward to showcasing the views of other notable Rhode Islanders on a regular basis.”

Friday, May 31, 2013

| May 31, 2013

cumulusOKCumulus Media Raises Close to $4 Million for Oklahoma Tornado Relief.  This number could keep changing as more pledges come in after the Wednesday effort that saw all 525 Cumulus Media-owned stations soliciting funds for tornado relief via the United Way of Oklahoma City that so far has totaled $3.77 million.  Cumulus SVP of programming Mike McVay reports the company’s 84 country outlets aired a special, one-hour edition of “American Country Countdown” hosted by Kix Brooks live from the “Healing in the Heartland” concert on Wednesday evening that aired on NBC-TV.  Numbers aren’t final for pledges received during the televised concert fundraiser but are reported to be in the $6 million range.

cellalertEmergency Alert for Cell Phones PSA Violates FCC Regulations.  TALKERS columnist and broadcast engineer Tom Ray of Tom Ray Consulting reports a public service announcement touting emergency alerts sent to cell phones raytomthat some stations may be airing violates FCC regulations.  Ray tells TALKERS, “A PSA was released today about the emergency alerts you can receive on your cell phone.  It uses the EAS two-tone alert.  Airing this PSA would be a blatant violation of FCC regulation 47CFR11.45 which specifically prohibits the use of the EAS code bursts or the two-tone alert signal unless they are transmitted as part of an actual EAS alert or EAS test.  And according to the Ad Council website…this PSA is sponsored by FEMA.  Shame on them!  They should know better.”  Ray advises stations not to air the PSA.

eff logoPatent Holder Personal Audio Targets Podcasters; EFF Takes ‘Patent Troll’ Fight to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  If you’re a podcaster and you’ve been approached by a company called Personal Audio claiming you’re using patented technology and you have to pay up, you’re not alone.  According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), podcasters including Adam Carolla and “How Stuff Works” have been “shaken down” by Personal Audio which claims it holds a patent on technology used by podcasters.  The EFF is fighting back, saying it is “is mounting a new, focused campaign to bust the dangerous patent” the company has been employing against end users – including podcasters. carollaadam Here’s what EFF says: “Claiming it owns the patent that broadly covers podcasting technology, Personal Audio is the classic example of a patent troll that neither makes nor sells anything, but uses its patent as a weapon to threaten lawsuits and extort settlement fees.”  EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels says, “Patent trolls have been wreaking havoc on innovative companies for some time now.  But this particular breed of troll — targeting end users, small businesses, startups, and even individuals like podcasters for simply using everyday products — is a disturbing new threat.”  Wondering what part of the process on which this company claims to hold the patent?  The TALKERS legal department tells us that the patent generally relates to a system whereby a server provides media content to client devices over the internet.  On the server, the provider maintains a ‘compilation file,’ which is essentially a list of available media files.  The compilation file generally includes the URL for each available media file in a series and may also include descriptive text.  This compilation file may be static, such as a simple web page with links to each available file to which new files are added, or may be customized for a particular user, perhaps only showing them content from feeds to which they have subscribed.  The claim that has been asserted against podcasters to date is called Claim 31.  The EFF goes on to say, “As with so many patent troll cases, the troll is asking for money despite having contributed nothing to the industry.  By its own admission, Personal Audio tried and failed at its attempt to make an audio player.  Having failed at actually making something, it became a shell company that does nothing but sue on its patents.  And now it wants a handout from those who worked hard to create popular podcasts.”  EFF is organizing a Help Save Podcasting campaign.  You can find that information here.

kqrs logoFormer KQRS, Minneapolis Personality Michael Gelfand Sues MetLife and Cumulus Media Over Disability Claim.  Michael Gelfand was formerly part of the Tom Barnard morning show on Cumulus Media’s classic rock KQRS, Minneapolis.  He exited the station after his medical condition made it impossible to function and now he’s suing Metropolitan Life Insurance Company and Cumulus Media for long term disability benefits.  Gelfand suffers from delayed sleep-phase syndrome – a condition that throws off the body’s circadian rhythm – and prevents him from functioning well or maintaining physical health working the early morning drive shift.  In brief, MetLife denied the claim and Gelfand is suing both companies seeking retroactive long term disability benefits.

barksingaInga Barks Exits KMJ-AM, Fresno.  Bakersfield-based talk show host Inga Barks recently joined the program schedule at Buckley Brodcasting’s KNZR, Bakersfield for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program but she’s no longer with Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM, Fresno where she’s been hosting a show since 2005.  The Fresno Bee reports Peak management is not commenting on Barks’ exit but notes the station added Cumulus Media NetworksMark Levin show in place of it.

wexlerlisaGracie Award Winning Talk Host Advises Colleagues to Add Writing to their Communications Toolbox.  WFAS, Westchester host Lisa Wexler says that writing op-ed pieces for newspapers is an excellent way for talk show hosts looking to expand their net and make a difference.  In a piece posted today (5/31) Wexler says, “If you are going to be a thought leader, then simply speaking on the radio is not enough.  The written word carries a different kind of weight.  Radio is a rush — there is nothing like the spontaneity of an actual conversation, the nuance and humor of the human voice communicating through the airwaves to the lone listener on the other end.  But radio is also ephemeral; despite podcasts and the ease of reaching audio files, people rarely re-listen to the same broadcast.  They do, however, read an article more than once, and pass it on to friends.  Your column has the potential to go viral in a way your radio show may not.”  To read Lisa Wexler’s entire article, click here.

lewisbretKFWB, Los Angeles Sports Anchor Bret Lewis Retires.  Today is the last day at KFWB, Los Angeles for sports anchor Bret Lewis who is retiring from the station.  The longtime Los Angeles broadcaster will be replaced by Bill Seward, currently afternoon sports anchor.  Bob Harvey will assume Seward’s afternoon role.  During his career, Lewis has served as a sports anchor on the TV side at KNBC-TV and KCBS-TV.  He also hosted a talk show at crosstown KLAC.

gaskinsjohnKNTK, Lincoln Names John Gaskins Program Director.  Home Field Communications announces “Gaskins and Stephens” show co-host John Gaskins is named program director for sports talk KNTK, Lincoln “93.7 The Ticket.”  The station also fills its PM drive slot with former KCSP, Kansas City personality Mike Welch who will host his “Drop the Mike” beginning June 5.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge adds new affiliates WPNN, Pensacola; KYRO, Troy, Missouri; and KCAA, Loma Linda, California…..Talk Radio Network-syndicated “Watchdog on Wall Street” with host Chris Markowski is added to the program lineup at WLEE, Richmond…..Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” with Eric Harley and Gary McNamara reaches the 200-affiliate mark with the help of recent partners KTAR-FM, Phoenix; KBET, Las Vegas; WTMJ, Milwaukee; WFTL, West Palm Beach; and KJCE, Austin.

rosenjamesDOJ Investigation of Journalists Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of May 27-31.  The Department of Justice’s investigation of journalists – from Fox NewsJames Rosen to the Associated Press – and Attorney General Eric ap logoHolder’s request for an off-the-record meeting with news organizations was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 this week was the IRS’ targeting of conservative organizations seeking tax exempt status.  Following at #3 was the rise in the number of Americans on disability and at #4 was the Chinese hacking of U.S. weapons systems.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio during the week, is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

etheridgegracieMelissa Etheridge Brandishes Her Gracie. Musician and radio show host Melissa Etheridge (r) is pictured here with Rory Kennedy (l) (who won for her documentary film “Ethel” about her mother) at the annual Gracie Awards Gala in Los Angeles where she won a Gracie Award for her nationally syndicated program, “The Melissa Etheridge Show.”  Etheridge won in the Outstanding Talk Show – Entertainment/Information category.  Etheridge says, “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.”  Etheridge’s five-hour daily show is syndicated by Benztown.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

| November 10, 2011

National EAS Test Proves What Many Suspected.  The national Emergency Alert System test that happened (in many places, anyway) at 2:00 pm ET yesterday, showed where the holes are in the system.  There were numerous places where the primary entry point stations did not receive the test and therefore whole regions did not air the test.  But that’s what yesterday’s exercise was all about.  A joint statement from the FCC and FEMA noted, “The Nationwide EAS Test served the purpose for which it was intended – to identify gaps and generate a comprehensive set of data to help strengthen our ability to communicate during real emergencies.  Based on preliminary data, media outlets in large portions of the country successfully received the test message, but it wasn’t received by some viewers or listeners.  We are currently in the process of collecting and analyzing data, and will reach a conclusion when that process is complete.”  Stations have 45 days to report to Washington how the test went at their station or in their market.  For those markets where the test did go off, there were complaints about poor audio quality that made it hard to understand what the message was.  In other places the audio was missing completely.

Restructuring at Cumulus Media Networks Ousts Maureen Lesourd.  With the company since 2009, Maureen Lesourd joined then-Citadel Media Networks as vice president of programming and distribution and was in charge of its 24-hour music formats.  She exits along with 24/7 formats operations director Chris Miller, affiliate relations staffers Brian Curry and Dave Allison as well as finance manager Brian Kaefer.

Former ABC News Political Director Hal Bruno Dies at Age 83.  Hal Bruno served as political director at ABC News from 1978 through his retirement in 1999.  His election coverage and political reports were a staple of ABC Radio’s news content during that time.  Bruno fell on Friday, November 4 and died after complications from the incident on November 8.

 

Euro Zone Jitters/Financial Markets Activity, Penn State Scandal, Herman Cain Accusations/GOP Debate and Iran Nukes Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/9).  The concern over the Euro Zone’s ability to fix its debt problem and the effect on the world financial markets, Joe Paterno’s firing and the Penn State abuse scandal, Hermain Cain’s defense against accusations of sexual misconduct and the GOP debate plus Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.