Tag: "Fisher Broadcasting"

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

| May 2, 2012

Sirius XM Reports Revenue Up 11%.  SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin tells analysts the satcaster has seen subscriptions increase by 405,000 compared to the first quarter of 2011.  Revenue for Q1 of 2012 was $805 million, an increase of 11% over the same period a year ago.  Karmazin states, “SiriusXM is starting the year with tremendous operational momentum.  We grew subscribers faster than any first quarter since our 2008 merger of Sirius and XM, and we improved our self-pay monthly churn rate to 1.9% despite implementing a price increase at the beginning of the year.  Rising auto sales and our strong execution should enable us to exceed our prior 2012 subscriber growth guidance of 1.3 million, which today we are raising to 1.5 million.”  The continued good news for SiriusXM includes: its subscriber growth rate accelerating to boost its subscriber base to an all-time high of 22.3 million; reduced its monthly churn to 1.9%; and was able to show positive free cash flow in the first quarter of a fiscal year for the first time – free cash flow was $15 million for 2012’s Q1.  SiriusXM EVP and CFO David Frear states, “Our growing cash flow is reducing our leverage substantially and this improving credit profile should benefit stockholders as we refinance or pay down more than $1 billion of high coupon debt over the next 15 months.”

2012 Q1 Report: CBS Radio Down 2%.  CBS Corporation announced its first quarter revenue for 2012 and although the company as a whole was up 12% on revenue of $3.92 billion over the same period a year ago, the revenue for the CBS Radio division was down 2%.  Content licensing and distribution revenue were responsible for much of the company’s growth.

Harris to Exit Broadcast Business.  Melbourne, Florida-based Harris Corporation employs some 17,000 people worldwide but the bulk of its revenue does not come from the radio equipment sector – not even close.  And that’s why the company announces it is divesting itself of the Broadcast Communications arm.  The company states a review of its business structure revealed, “the (radio) business is no longer aligned with the company’s long-term strategy.  The plan to sell these assets supports our disciplined approach to capital allocation, and we intend to use the proceeds to return cash to shareholders and invest in growing our core businesses.”

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Won’t Be Charged in Fender Bender Case.  Former Houston City Councilor and KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry will not face charges of hit and run in connection with a parking incident outside an area bar that happened in late January.  The District Attorney’s office tells the Houston Chronicle that based on its findings, there will be no charges filed against Berry.  It appears there’s no evidence to show Berry’s vehicle hit the car of a club bouncer who told authorities a car matching the description of Berry’s car hit his.  The incident happened outside of TC’s Show Bar in Montrose – a club known for gay clientele.  The local media made a big deal out of the incident and, in addition to the connection between the conservative Berry and the gay bar, questioned whether the former city councilor received special treatment from authorities investigating the incident.  Berry maintained his innocence and excoriated the local media on his radio show for running fast and loose with the facts.  He blamed much of the attention he received from the incident on politics.

Merlin Media’s New York Programming Chief Is Mark Austin Thomas.  “FM News 101.9” has been without an official programming chief since Liz Aiello was let go in December.  Now, it’s being reported that former KABC, Los Angeles news director and news anchor Mark Austin Thomas is in the programmer’s chair.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports an announcement from Merlin Media about Thomas’ status may come as early as this week.  All-news WEMP-FM, New York has been holding steady with a .7 share in the monthly PPM ratings.

Dave Milner Named Market Manager at Clear Channel Sacramento.  Reports of Jeff Holden’s departure from the building at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento cluster turned out to be true.  The company announces Dave Milner takes over the president and market manager role.  Milner has been serving as vice president of sales at Entercom’s San Francisco station group.  He previously worked for Clear Channel in the Portland market.   Clear Channel EVP of operations, Western Region Susan Karis states, “Dave brings an extensive track record of sales and management expertise with him to the Clear Channel Sacramento market.  I’m excited to have him back with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to lead our business in Sacramento to continued success.”

KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds Tony Katz to Permanent Weekend Show.  Emmis Communications’ KFTK-FM, St. Louis announces regular fill-in talk host Tony Katz gets a weekly Saturday afternoon show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Katz is the go-to fill-in guy for midday talk host Dana Loesch.  KFTK-FM program director Jeff Allen says, “Tony is a rising star and I am thrilled that we can launch a fresh, new talent into our Saturday evening line-up.  Tony is passionate, informative and most importantly, fun to listen to!”  Katz also hosts a regular internet talk program on allpatriotsmedia.com.

Commercials Are Content, Too.  The phrase “content is king” may be a cliché but the sentiment is true.  However, it’s important to remember that spots are content too and broadcasters should give attention to spot quality, according to H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz.  In his latest column for TALKERS, Herskovitz cites examples of commercial copy gone wrong that could have been avoided.  Read his piece here.

FM Sports Talker Coming to Twin Falls, Idaho.  Lee Family Broadcasting principal Kim Lee tells MagicValley.com that he’ll drop the AC music on KMVX-FM for sports talk on May 24.  The station will carry ESPN programming and be the local radio outlet for College of Southern Idaho sports.  The school’s radio voice, Jonathan Drew, will join the station as sports director and PM drive host of a local sports talk show.

Odds ‘n’ SodsBob Throndsen retires from his news director position at Fisher Broadcasting’s KOMO-AM/FM.  Throndsen has worked at KOMO radio and KOMO-TV for much of the past 30 years…..The debut of Michael Patrick Shiels’ new morning talk show based at local Fox TV outlet WSYM-TV, Lansing, Michigan will come not this week but next, according to a piece in the Lansing State Journal.  Shiels, who recently left his WJIM, Lansing based program after a contract dispute, plans to syndicate the new show to talk radio outlets across Michigan…..KBJR-TV, Duluth sports director Tom Hansen joins KDAL, Duluth-Superior as co-host of the late morning show alongside Dave Strandberg.  Hansen maintain’s his position with the television outlet…..Talk show host Tom Donahue, host of Tom Donahue Reports, announces his new flagship network for his syndicated show is Orion Talk Radio.  The program airs live from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces Second Annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America sets June 12 as the date of the second annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic – the fundraiser named in honor of the former Katz Media head who died in December of 2010.  Since its inception, the fund has raised more than $500,000 to benefit the foundation.  The event costs $250 per player and proceeds go directly to the fund.  Reservations to take part in the golf outing can be made by calling Jim Thompson at 212-373-8250 or e-mail info@thebfoa.org.

2012 Presidential Race, Obama Afghanistan Visit, U.S. ICE Scam and Ohio Bridge Terror Plot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1).  The 2012 presidential race; President Obama’s visit to Kabul, Afghanistan and the Taliban violence there; the Immigration and Customs Enforcement scandal; and the Ohio bridge terror plot were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Rusty Humphries Has Movie Role in “Flicka” Film.  20th Century Fox Home Entertainment just released the movie “Flicka Country Pride” starring Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black.  Appearing in the role of the announcer at the championship horse competition is Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries.  Humphries spent several days last November in British Columbia filming his scenes.  He says, “It was an honor to be asked to be a part of a major motion picture and to learn from some of the best talent in the movie making business.”  In a scene from the film, Rusty is seen here in his announcer role at the judge’s table.  Rusty Humphries’ star continues to rise on a number of fronts.  He has proven himself over the years to be like “the little engine that could.”  In addition to accruing steadily increasing ratings and affiliations, his marketing campaigns continue to attract industry attention with significant sales of such items as Rusty Humphries Beef Jerkey and Rusty Humphries cigars.  His position on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred took a leap from #35 in 2011 to #20 in 2012.  Meet Rusty Humphries at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7 where he will be appearing as one of the debaters on the Talk Rumble.  The industry-only event is near a sellout.  For reservations, hotel or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

 

Monday, April 2, 2012

| April 2, 2012

Programmer Paul Duckworth Returns to Seattle to Lead Fisher’s KOMO.  News/talk programming pro Paul Duckworth returns to the Emerald City, where he formerly led the programming department at Fisher Communications’ KOMO and KVI, to once again head up news radio KOMO.  He left Seattle in 2002 and programmed several other stations including KLIF, Dallas and WMAL, Washington, DC.  He begins his duties at KOMO on April 16 at the station that features morning and afternoon news blocks surrounding local talk hosts John Carlson in late mornings and Ken Schram in early afternoons.  Duckworth spent the last year in retirement in Florida.

Keith Olbermann Promises Legal Action as Tumultuous Term with Current TV Comes to an End.  Reports of mercurial news/talk TV personality Keith Olbermann’s contentious relationship with management at Al Gore-founded Current TV have been coming out for some time and, despite recent assurances via press releases that everything between the two sides is fine, Current TV has cut the cord and let Olbermann go, replacing him with former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and his new show “Viewpoints.”  Current TV had hoped that Olbermann’s “Countdown” show – brought over after his departure from MSNBC – would be the anchor program around which the network could build, but after just nine months the relationship was too strained to continue.  Current TV released the following statement on Friday, March 30: “We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet.  We are more committed to those goals today than ever before.  Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.”  Olbermann has fired back via Twitter and is promising legal action.  He states, in part: “I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV. Editorially, Countdown had never been better.  But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff.  Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract…In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out.  For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one.  That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.”

Rush Limbaugh Reports Audience Hikes.  During his nationally syndicated Premiere Networks show last week, Rush Limbaugh broke format briefly to talk about his ratings in the wake of the Sandra Fluke controversy.  He stated that he usually doesn’t talk about ratings but because of the high-profile assault on his program’s advertisers (and others’) he felt compelled to report ratings were up at all 600 of his affiliates.  The Daily Caller reports Limbaugh stated, “The simple answer is that on the range of all 600 radio stations, our ratings are up anywhere from 10% to 60%, depending on the station…And that’s as detailed as I’m going to get…What I mean by that is we could be up 33% on one station, 12% on another – 60% is the top that we’re up on another.  We’re up 50% in a number of places.”  The increased interest in Limbaugh’s program was predicted by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as numerous consumer media outlets quoted TALKERS in covering the unfolding story.  Addressing the advertiser issue, Limbaugh also stated, “The advertisers who hung in here are going gangbusters, yes.  I mean, that’s the simple truth.  The only ones who got hurt are the ones who left.  And that’s its own tragedy because they left under false, trumped up, unreal pretenses.”

Another Casualty of the Clear Channel Cuts: Cincinnati Programmer Tony Bender.  Program director Tony Bender had been with the Cincinnati cluster of stations since it was owned by Great American Broadcasting in the late 1980s.  Until Friday he was serving as program director of talk WKRC and sports WCKY.  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports other staffers let go in the latest round of cuts included promotions director Sherry Rowland, traffic reporter Brian Pitts and two other off-air employees.

Coming Tomorrow: The FCC and You – Part 2 - An Explanation of Obscenity.  Don’t miss the second in a series of exclusive TALKERS articles by legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman covering the crucial FCC regulatory information of which every license holder and radio station management employee must be aware.  Informal surveys of radio station managers indicate that an alarming number of them are dangerously under-informed about the FCC regulations that pertain to them and their stations.  TALKERS editors urge managers to take the time to read this free abridgement (of a forthcoming expanded e-book) and share it with their management teams.  Information on the purchase availability of the expanded e-book will be announced via TALKERS soon.  In tomorrow’s installment, Attorney Weisman covers the FCC’s position on obscenity.

Battle for Control of SiriusXM Is Brewing.  Liberty Media Corp has filed a request with the Federal Communications Commission to take “de facto” control of SiriusXM, setting the stage for a battle between Liberty’s John Malone and SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin.  Malone’s Liberty Media came to the rescue of SiriusXM three years ago with a cash investment of $530 million when the satcaster needed it most.  Now, Liberty’s filing is being contested by SiriusXM as it asks the FCC to “dismiss or deny” the petition.  Liberty Media only owns 40% of the company and, though there is precedent for a minority shareholder taking control, it’s not common and many deal watchers are quick to doubt that the FCC will grant even “de facto” control to a minority shareholder.  Liberty is arguing that certain provisions of the Investment Agreement inked in 2009 have expired and should result in a takeover.  But again, numerous experts in the field of corporate takeovers are saying the Liberty FCC filing is unlikely to result in a control change.  Most say if Liberty wants control over SiriusXM it is going to have to acquire more shares the old-fashioned way: Buy them.

Cumulus Media Splits Simulcast of Sports WWLS, Oklahoma City; ESPN Radio Takes Over AM Side.  The “Sports Animal” radio network continues to be led by flagship WWLS-FM, Oklahoma City with programming sent to six affiliate stations in five Oklahoma markets, but the AM side of WWLS has split off to broadcast ESPN Radio’s programming lineup.  The Oklahoman reports the AM station will continue to air Oklahoma City Thunder play-by-play as well as Oklahoma University and Oklahoma State pre- and post-game programming.

Dan McNeil Set to Return to WSCR, Chicago After Month-long Absence.  It’s been a bit over a month since midday co-host Dan McNeil took time off from his program at CBS Radio’s sports talk WSCR, Chicago (co-hosted with Matt Spiegel) for unspecified health issues.  He recently announced on his Facebook page that he’s ready to return on April 9 and thanked family and friends for their support, assuring them he’s feeling better.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that McNeil’s health issues were not disclosed but that colleagues have alluded to McNeil’s struggles with sobriety.