Tag: "Freedom of Speech Award"
CBS Reports Q4 2016 and Full-Year Financials; CBS Presented as Discontinued Operation. The latter is due to the pending merger of CBS Radio with Entercom and it means that CBS did not present any revenue information or operating income metrics for the radio division. Here’s what the company has to say about the Entercom deal: “In connection with the transaction, which is expected to be tax-free to CBS Corporation and its stockholders, the Company intends to split-off CBS Radio through an exchange offer immediately prior to the merger. The merger will create a well-capitalized company with a market cap in excess of $2 billion, a strong balance sheet, significant free cash flow, and the ability to pay an attractive dividend. The combined company is expected to generate meaningful cost synergies within 12-18 months after the merger. The Company expects to complete the transaction in the second half of 2017, subject to customary closing conditions.” In a press statement, CBS Corporation chairman and CEO Les Moonves states, “2016 was a phenomenal year for the CBS Corporation, with all-time highs in revenue, operating income, and EPS [earnings per share] that came in above $4 for the first time in our Company’s history; and as we begin 2017, I couldn’t be more excited about our growth prospects in the years ahead.” During yesterday’s investor conference call, COO Joseph Ianniello addressed the radio deal, saying, “CBS shareholders who participate in this split-off will own 72% of the combined company which will have best-in-class assets and will clearly be the best capitalized radio company in the industry. The combined radio business will benefit from increased scale, stronger cash flow and real operational synergies which should drive higher profitability. The new company will also have the ability to pay an attractive dividend.”
Cumulus Extends Early Tender Date for Note Exchange. This is the third extension of Cumulus Media Inc’s offer for its previously announced private exchange offer for 7.75% Senior Notes due 2019 issued by Cumulus Media Holdings Inc. Obviously not satisfied with the number of takers, the company is extending the early tender date to March 6 (5:00 pm ET). The company explains that “Eligible Holders tendering their Outstanding Notes prior to the Early Tender Date, as extended that are accepted for exchange, will receive the ‘Total Exchange Consideration.’” That exchange includes “revolving loans, the participation interests, the trust certificates and the shares of Class A common stock (or warrants, if applicable), Class D common stock and Class E common stock.”
TALKERS Editorial Board Tackling Freedom of Speech Award Decision. The TALKERS magazine editorial board has begun the sensitive and often-controversial task of deciding its annual roster of major award recipients in the categories of “Lifetime Achievement,” “Woman of the Year,” “Humanitarian of the Year,” and “Freedom of Speech” – the latter being the most potentially contentious of all – especially in today’s highly charged, politically polarized news/talk environment. In his weekly address to the editors, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “This award is always a sensitive issue because freedom of speech is one of the most difficult concepts to explain and the award is doubly difficult to defend – especially when a significant percentage of people immediately assume that the organization presenting the honor necessarily endorses the political position of the recipient.” Harrison continued, “TALKERS has a distinguished history of non-partisanship in its editorial coverage of political news/talk media and this has been reflected in the diversity of positions held by the recipients of this prestigious award over the decades. The award is not a reward for saying something ‘controversial’ with which we necessarily agree but, rather, for conducting oneself as a broadcaster in a manner that clearly displays the tenets of the First Amendment in action, as well as showing the courage of one’s convictions in facing the negative blowback and consequences of one’s public stance.” Harrison cited Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity, Salem Radio Network’s Michael Medved and former WTMJ, Milwaukee host Charlie Sykes among worthy candidates to be considered for this year’s honor, stating, “Hannity showed amazing courage coming out early and unswervingly for Donald Trump when it was not clear which way his core audience would swing and what the outcome of the primary and general election would be. Medved, also a conservative, came out early against Trump and then stuck to his guns as an objective observer of the candidate and now-president’s pros and cons as he sees them – even against negative criticism from his listeners and even members of his own syndication company. Sykes actually let his cool job in Milwaukee slide away rather than back down from his perception of the truth.” Harrison concluded, “And there are many more examples of news/talk hosts having to take a principled stand with uncertain consequences as a result of this turbulent but exciting chapter of talk radio history in the making.” The TALKERS awards will be presented on Friday, June 2 at Talkers 2017: A New Era in New York City. For information about the 20th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest running and most important national convention, please click here.
TALKERS News Notes. Beginning with this year’s 2017 NFL season, Washington Redskins football play-by-play (including some pre- and post-game programming) will be heard on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. The games will continue to air on Red Zebra properties WTEM, Washington “ESPN980”; WWXT, Prince Frederick, Maryland; and WWXX, Buckland, Virginia. This is a homecoming of sorts for Redskins football; the team’s games have aired on WMAL-AM from time-to-time as far back as 1942. WMAL-AM/FM vice president and GM Jake McCann comments, “We are excited and honored to be working with the Redskins again. The Redskins and WMAL were partners during the team’s three glorious Super Bowl-winning seasons. We look forward to bringing the combined assets of WMAL to this exciting, renewed partnership.”…..NBA All-Star 2017 begins today and SiriusXM is offering coverage with special, live programming from New Orleans on its NBA Radio channel, in addition to the live broadcast of the 66th NBA All-Star Game. Coverage will be hosted by Milwaukee Bucks guard Jason Terry, former players Eddie Johnson and Tim Legler, as well as Frank Isola, Jason Jackson, Joel Meyers, Justin Termine and Brian Geltzeiler…..The Forbes on PodcastOne network premieres “The Forbes List” today (2/16), featuring an in-depth look at the world’s top billionaires. The show – hosted by Jordan Harbinger dives into the stories behind Forbes’ most famous lists, including the Forbes 400 list featuring the wealthiest Americans, as well as lists covering celebrities, music, sports, entrepreneurs, companies and the world’s most powerful people. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz comments, “This makes our third launch of a new Forbes podcast and points out the strong relationship between Forbes and PodcastOne. Jordan Harbinger has hosted “Art of Charm,” which consistently ranks in iTunes’ top 10. This provides a combination that’s tough to beat.”
Violent Tragedy Strikes Dominican Radio Station. Two radio journalists were shot dead and a third staffer was seriously wounded in a raid on a radio station in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday. Numerous news outlets are reporting that news presenter Luis Manuel Medina and station director Leonidas Martinez were killed when unidentified men entered the station and shot Medina while he read a newscast and Martinez as he sat in his office. Medina was streaming his newscast live on Facebook at the time of the attack. It took place at radio station 103.5 FM in San Pedro de Macoris, a town near Santo Domingo. The AFP reports that the organization Reporters without Borders states that journalists that investigate corruption and the drug business are often the victims of violent attacks.
Sports, Music, Politics and Talk Media. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined in a free-wheeling dialogue by his long-time friend, New York City radio broadcaster Richard Neer as his guest on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out.” The two talk about the public’s and media’s obsession with Donald Trump, with an emphasis on the infiltration of sports and entertainment by political passions. Richard Neer brings his diverse background as a legendary Big Apple music radio host (WNEW-FM), sports talker (WFAN) and best-selling author of the landmark book FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) to the discussion which focuses on the rapid morphing of the traditional left/right talk media paradigm into a more complex resistance/revolution chess game. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Trump Campaign Russia Communications/Flynn Exit, Puzder Withdraws From Labor Secretary Nomination, Reince Preibus’ Status, Trump vs Intelligence Community, Fate of ObamaCare, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15). The controversy over the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and questions about the depth of communications between the Donald Trump campaign and Russian agents; Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder withdraws from consideration for the cabinet position; questions about the status of White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus after unconfirmed reports President Trump is unhappy with his work; the contentious relationship between Trump and the intelligence community; the fate of the Affordable Care Act after Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini told the Wall Street Journal the program is in a “death spiral”; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The performer and host lineups have been announced for the March 5 iHeartRadio Music Awards taking place at the Forum in Los Angeles. The evening will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest and will air live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET will be broadcast on iHeartMedia-owned stations nationwide, as well as on the iHeartRadio. Performers will include: Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran, The Chainsmokers, Shawn Mendes, Thomas Rhett, Noah Cyrus and Big Sean, in addition to the previously announced Bruno Mars…..Entercom San Diego is expanding the platform for its culinary audio feature, “Lick the Plate,” which has been airing on alternative KBZT “FM94/9,” adult contemporary KXSN “Sunny 98.1,” and country KSON. The David Boylan-hosted program will now be available in podcast format via the stations’ websites. The radio stations will continue to promote the show via on-air teaser segments. These changes take effect on February 27…..Radio programming for the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards from Westwood One is being announced. Westwood One and Cumulus Media are the official national radio partners for the ACM Awards. There will be a three-hour ACM Nomination Special, hosted by Thomas Rhett, on March 25 from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight as part of “NASH Nights Live.” The ACM Radio Row will take place on Friday, March 31 from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm ET and Saturday, April 1 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm ET. Then, the five-hour ACM Night Of Event Coverage will happen on Sunday, April 2 from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight…..Beasley Media Group’s adult hits WBEN-FM, Philadelphia is announcing a new weekend program featuring Kathy Romano. The show is titled, “Her Story,” and will air Sundays at 7:30 am. Romano – who works for sister rock station WMMR as part of the “Preston & Steve” show – says, “I’m thrilled to be the host of ‘Her Story’ on 95.7 BEN FM! This is giving me the opportunity for some girl talk that just doesn’t make sense on WMMR’s ‘Preston & Steve’ show. There are so many amazing women with fascinating stories that we just don’t get to hear. Every Sunday morning I’m going to bring listeners the great stories these dynamic women have to tell!”…..Radio One hip hop outlet WKYS, Washington announces that Danni Starr is joining “The Fam in The Morning” as co-host alongside QuickSilva. Radio One DC SVP and general manager Jeff Wilson comments, “Danni is the full package. She’s amazingly smart, well versed in music and community activism. Danni is authentic and transparent about her struggles and victories. That kind of energy and wit will serve our listeners well on-air, in social media and on the street.” Starr has worked in radio for more than a decade and is the face of TLCme on the TLC network.
Midland Pays Valentine’s Day Visit to NASH Campus. New country act and Big Machine recording group Midland is pictured here with “NASH Nights Live” co-hosts Elaina Smith (second from left) and Shawn Parr (second from right).
PPM Analysis: Country. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the ratings performances of country-formatted stations based on Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2016 PPM survey. In this report, see charts detailing country stations’ (6+) numbers over the past six PPM surveys, fluctuations from December to the Holiday survey, comparisons to performances in the Holiday 2015 and Holiday 2016 surveys, station market ranks and more. Click here for more.
TALKERS 2016 Conference Wraps; Coverage of Annual Talk Media Event Forthcoming. The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention took place at Hofstra University on Long Island on Friday (5/20), drawing a sell-out crowd of several hundred talk media professionals. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations was presented by TALKERS magazine in association with Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU Radio. The full day of panel discussions and speaker presentations was video streamed live by Livestream. Detailed coverage of the event, including archived video from the Livestream content, will be presented here on Talkers.com in the coming weeks. Reflecting on the event, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This was one of the smoothest and productive content-laden installments of this historic convention in its storied 19 years of service to the radio industry. We are grateful to all the speakers, panelists, displayers and sponsors for making it so. We are especially grateful to Dean Evan Cornog of Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU (Radio Hofstra University) station manager Bruce Avery and operations director John Mullen for their phenomenal support as partners in the successful event.” Pictured here are: (top, left) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity engaging in a “fireside chat”; (top, right) Westwood One star Mark Levin accepting the annual Freedom of Speech award; (above, left) Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris accepting the 2016 TALKERS Woman of the Year Award; and (bottom, right) WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa addressing the attendees.
Donald Trump Seeks to Build Support from WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes. Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes and several other Wisconsin talk radio personalities were publicly chastised by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump during that state’s primary election for their opposition to his candidacy. Now, Trump is seeking to bring the influential WTMJ host around. The image you see here is a copy of The New York Times with a hand-written note from Trump to Sykes. It references an article in the paper about groups that’ve previously been against Trump reversing their course. The note to Sykes reads: “Charlie, I hope you change your mind. Looking forward to coming back on your show. I WILL WIN!” WTMJ posted the photo and an accompanying story in its website. Sykes comments, “He’s reaching out. I’m surprised that he would reach out to somebody who has been as critical. Obviously, he understands the need to unify the Republican party and reach out to some conservatives. I figured maybe there would be some conservatives who would be beyond the pale, including #NeverTrump guys like me, but apparently he’s doing that. I will give him credit for reaching out to people that I did not think he was going to reach out to.” Read the WTMJ piece here.
The Presidential Race, EgyptAir Crash Investigation, TSA Efficiency Issues, Facebook Anti-Conservative Bias Allegations, Islamic State Calls for Civilian Attacks, and NBA and NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; the investigation into the downing of EgyptAir flight 804; efficiency issues plaguing the TSA in screening airline passengers and statements from the agency that lines will get worse this summer; the controversy over allegations that Facebook manipulates its trending stories to downplay conservative issues; a high-ranking Islamic State official’s call for renewed attacks on European and American civilians; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. KBET, Las Vegas-based talk show host Wayne Allyn Root will appear on this Friday’s edition of HBO’s “Real Time” with Bill Maher. Also on the show will be Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. Root tells TALKERS his role will be to defend Donald Trump…..Two Fox News Radio programs are being made available on the CRN Digital Talk Radio platform. “Kilmeade & Friends” with Brian Kilmeade and the Alan Colmes show are both the CRN 2 “Bulls and Bears” channel…..The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” show with host Michael W. Dean adds new affiliate KZLS, Enid, Oklahoma.
Herskovitz: Hall Talk 2016. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today in the aftermath of last Friday’s TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference. He says the sales pros attending the conference with whom he spoke all agreed that political advertising and digital sales were the hot topics this year. He says, “The unusual circumstances surrounding the current national candidates are posing unique sales problems. Yes, just about all with whom I spoke, acknowledged that they benefited from the ad wars affecting the primary season. But now local and regional battles are upon us. And numerous aspiring candidates are not allying themselves with the traditional wings of their political parties. Some candidates with no clearly defined affiliations are emerging.” Read Herskovitz’s column here.
WFAN, New York Personality Richard Neer Publishes Second Mystery Novel. Did you know that The Martian began as a self-published book? As did Still Alice and Legally Blonde. Do you think you’ve written a great book but the publishing industry won’t give it the attention it deserves? Richard Neer of WFAN, New York has just released the second of his Riley King series of mysteries through Amazon and CreateSpace — cutting out the middleman. Both are selling briskly without a traditional publisher. “Publishers are skeptical that radio, other than a few syndicated giants, can sell books. I’m happy to be proving them wrong,” Neer says. His traditionally published book, FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio was released in 2001 by Villard, and Neer believes that it wouldn’t stand a chance with a major publisher today. “I’ve had radio friends with great stories to tell inform me that their manuscripts have been rejected because there aren’t enough sordid tales of sex and drugs. They’re not interested in great writing — just sensationalism and what seems trendy today.” The Master Builders is the title of Neer’s latest effort. As a result of promoting it on his WFAN sports talk radio show, his first novel, Something of the Night, is also selling well. Both are murder mysteries featuring private investigator Riley King and his radio sidekick Rick Stone as they battle crime and corruption up and down the Eastern Seaboard. “Just like with the music and film industry, there’s a revolution in publishing where traditional gatekeepers are less important. People can be introduced to fine work that otherwise might be ignored. It’s a lot more democratic. Sometimes those books can be as important or entertaining as the big blockbusters,” Neer says. “As much as I lament the demise of many great bookstores, most readers are buying online these days.” Richard is available for interviews about the business of publishing your own work and can be contacted at Rneer@wfan.com. All his books can be purchased at Amazon.com here.
National Radio Hall of Fame 2016 Nominees Announced. Today, industry voting begins for the 2016 National Radio Hall of Fame inductees. The 24 nominations in six categories were determined by the organization’s nominating committee. Four of those categories will be voted on by a voting participant panel comprised of 400 industry professionals, while the other two will be voted on by the public. Public voting commences June 20 for eight nominations for Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “The sheer depth of talent in our industry never ceases to amaze me. After much discussion and deliberation, our nominating committee is very proud of this year’s class of nominees. We’re all looking forward to seeing the voter outcome from our industry peers and listeners nationwide.” Inductees will be announced July 11. The induction ceremony will be held Thursday, November 17 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago. Nominees are: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more): Jeff & Jer (Jeff Detrow & Jerry Cesak), San Diego; Charles Laquidara, Boston; Bobby O’Jay, Memphis; and Garland Robinette, New Orleans. Active Local/Regional (10 years or more): Tom Barnard, Minneapolis; BJ & Migs (BJ Shea & Steve Migs), Seattle; Eric & Kathy (Eric Ferguson & Kathy Hart), Chicago; and Preston and Steve (Preston Elliot & Steve Morrison), Philadelphia. Networks/Syndication (10 years or more): American Top 40 & On-Air With Ryan Seacrest, Ryan Seacrest; The Fabulous Sports Babe, Nanci Donnellan; The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Steve Harvey; and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal. Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more): Delilah, Delilah; Gospel Traxx with Walt “Baby” Love, Walt “Baby” Love; The Jim Rome Show, Jim Rome; and The Kim Komando Show, Kim Komando. The following are to be voted on by listeners. Music Format On-Air Personality: Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton; Tom Kent; The Kevin & Bean Show (Kevin Ryder & Gene Baxter); and Bob Kingsley. Spoken Word On-Air Personality: Diane Rehm; Mike Francesa and Chris Russo; Michael Savage; and Sean Hannity.
Gracies Awards Ceremony Take Place Tomorrow in Beverly Hills. The 41st annual Gracie Awards are taking place tomorrow (5/24) in Beverly Hills and actress Marika Domińczyk will serve as host. Also, Grammy Award-nominee Andra Day will perform her hit, “Rise Up.” The Gracie Awards honor outstanding individual achievement and programming by, for and about women. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation chair and SVP, Global Content Operations at Discovery Communications, Kristen Welch, says, “The talent that Marika holds, along with her contagious energy and sense of humor, makes her an ideal host for the Gracie Awards Gala. In the spirit of The Gracies, our host, presenters and performances will be unapologetically diverse, loud, personal, funny, emotional and bold.” The Gracie Awards Gala will be live streamed in partnership with Cumulus on websites nationwide.
Carolyn Fox Candidate for WPRO-AM, Providence PM Drive Gig. That is according to a report from WJAR-TV, Providence. The station published a feature story about the Providence-born radio pro who’s been – among other things – working lately in the real estate business. Carolyn Fox, known in the Providence market for her time at rock WHJY, told the television station that she is under consideration for the drive time show at the Cumulus Media news/talker. It’s part of a “where are they now” story that presents Fox’s colorful radio history in the Northeast. The afternoon drive show opened up after longtime political figure and radio host Buddy Cianci died in January.
Presidential Race, Run-Up to Academy Awards, Apple vs FBI Case, Syrian Ceasefire, and Britain’s Looming EU Exit Vote Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; the controversy over the slate of nominees for Academy Awards; the battle between Apple and the FBI over the company’s refusal to hack an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists; the civil conflict in Syria and the brokered cease fire; and Britain’s June referendum on exiting the European Union were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cooke: Engage in Unconventional Convention Coverage. For news/talk stations planning to cover the Democratic and/or Republican conventions this summer, radio consultant Holland Cooke has some advice: don’t duplicate the national coverage. In other words, make your coverage unique and interesting to your listeners and don’t sound like the network news your station is probably also carrying. Cooke also cautions against airing live reports, instead using your technology to air produced reports with interesting elements. Read more here.
Townsquare Media’s Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 5.4% for 2015. The acquisition of North American Midway Entertainment and the robust performance of Townsquare Media’s live events division contributed to a net revenue increase of 20.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015. However, for the fourth quarter local advertising net revenue was basically flat (down 0.4%). Chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “We believe our diversified strategy remains sound, demonstrated by the stability of our local advertising business and the outsized growth in our other businesses. In addition, we further diversified our business, with approximately half of revenue now derived from sources other than the sale of terrestrial radio advertising.” For all of 2015, local advertising net revenue (excluding political) increased 1.9% compared to 2014.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk personality Dino Costa will serve as host of the morning drive show on Randy Markel-owned KFNS, St. Louis “590 The Fan,” although a start date for the show has not been announced. Costa is currently broadcasting a live, three-hour nightly show via the internet…..Promoted from vice president of sales for the Cumulus Pensacola, Florida cluster to vice president/market manager is Davey Willhoit…..Nationally syndicated talk media personality Leslie Marshall is now part of the Worldwide Speakers Group, which describes itself as “a leading global professional services firm providing distinctive performance and innovative solutions in the global lecture industry to corporate, trade, education, and commercial customers worldwide.”
HEADS UP: Talkers New York 2015 Is Nearing Sellout. Based on the diminishing number of registrations still open and the rate at which they are being filled, Talkers New York 2015 – the 18th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention — will be sold out sometime next week. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are gratified by the strong response this event is receiving and we clearly do not like to turn folks away – however, we must abide by New York City’s building codes, not to mention be sensitive to the comfort and safety of our attendees.” Casey continues, “There will be no registrations sold after 5:00 pm EDT next Friday May 15, if not sooner. That will be the absolute cut off point.” The event will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district. It is an all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm. Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. They are not refundable or transferable. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest agenda, please click here.
Emmis Reports for Fiscal Q4 and Full Year; Net Revenue Flat in Q4, Up 1.6% on the Year. Reporting on its past fiscal year, Emmis Communications Corporation states radio net revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter was $38.8 million, up from $32.3 million from the prior year, an increase of 20%. On a pro forma basis, Emmis’ revenue reported to Miller Kaplan in the markets where Emmis competes (excluding barter and syndication revenue) were up 0.8% in markets down 2.5%. For the full year, radio revenues were $176.3 million, compared to $145.3 million in the prior year, an increase of 21%. On a pro forma basis, Emmis’ revenues reported to Miller Kaplan in the markets where Emmis competes (excluding barter and syndication revenue) were up 1.6% in markets down 3.7%. Emmis likes to frame its revenue in the context of how it performed against the markets. It goes on to say, “February marked the 15th consecutive month in which Emmis outperformed the markets in which it competes. Every measured Emmis market outperformed for full year fiscal 2015. Emmis stations in New York, Los Angeles and Austin all outperformed their markets in the fourth fiscal quarter.” President and CEO Jeff Smulyan comments on the company and the NextRadio platform. “Despite weakened markets and a challenged industry, Emmis once again outperformed. The radio industry needs a catalyst for growth, and we are convinced we have it with NextRadio, the Emmis-developed free smartphone app that marries over-the-air local FM broadcasts with visual and interactive features. The radio industry’s consumer awareness campaign for NextRadio has had remarkable results, further validating the promotional power of radio. Consumers exposed to NextRadio overwhelmingly love it. Average Time Spent Listening (ATSL) per session on NextRadio is nearly double traditional listening, all major radio companies are supporting the effort, and we are adding 350,000 activations each month. The momentum is tremendous.”
Townsquare Media Q1 Net Revenue Up 2.5%. That’s compared to the same period one year ago. The company’s 2015 first quarter net revenue was $81,118,000. The press release also notes Local Advertising net revenue was flat; Live Events net revenue increased 5.1%, and 59.7% excluding non-recurring festivals; and Other Media and Entertainment net revenue increased 29.%. Townsquare Media chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “In the first quarter of 2015, we delivered net revenue growth of 6.5% excluding political revenue and non-recurring festivals. We are pleased with our first quarter performance, in the face of challenges presented by harsh weather conditions which particularly affected our Northeastern markets. These challenges impacted our Local Advertising segment and were offset by the strength in our Live Events segment and in Other Media and Entertainment.”
Salem Media Group Flat for First Quarter of 2015. As a whole, Salem Media Group reports flat net revenue – down 0.8% revenue of $61.9 million — for the first quarter of 2015 compared to the same period a year ago. Breaking it down by sector, the broadcasting division saw net revenue dip 0.5% to $46.5 million from $46.8 million. The digital sector also reversed course and dropped 4.6% on revenue of $10.8 million. Publishing, on the other hand, rose 6.2% to $4.5 million from $4.3 million.
Schatz Back with Advantage Systems. The sales consultancy firm Advantage Systems Inc. brings Jeffrey A. Schatz back into the fold as director of integrated sales. Schatz comes to the company from Digity Companies where he was director of revenue development. Prior to that he was vice president of total marketing solutions for Townsquare Media from 2009-14. Schatz comments, “I am excited to be joining Advantage Systems Inc. again! I’ve spent the last seven years helping broadcast companies generate revenue through integrated selling. Advantage offers a variety of integrated sales platforms, which align perfectly with my experience in helping media companies maximize their sales efforts in broadcast, online, digital, and interactive. These platforms will generate an annual revenue base for our media partners in their local markets. I’ve also been involved with Musical Images and Custom Creative and am excited to be able to offer these services through Advantage Systems Creative to enhance local clients’ existing marketing efforts. It’s the perfect marriage!” Advantage president Mike Loconte says, “We are ecstatic to have a veteran like Jeff back on our team. Jeff knows the challenges experienced by our media partners first hand. He knows the ins and outs and he’s worn every hat, so he can relate to our clients in a very unique way. His experience in traditional and digital sales along with his creative experience makes him the perfect fit for this position.”
Sanchez Adds WLZL OM Duties. WNEW-FM, Washington, D.C. program director Robert Sanchez takes on further responsibilities as operations manager of CBS Radio Spanish tropical sibling WLZL “El Zol 107.9 FM.” He succeeds Pete Manriquez, who was the program director of “El Zol.” Senior vice president and market manager Steve Swenson comments, “We have a lot of talented people at ‘El Zol’ who will work with Rob in taking the station to new heights. The experiences of everyone will be of great help to Rob as the team works together. Rob is a straight shooter, he knows CBS Radio, and he is a winner. I would like to thank Pete for his work as one of the executives on my team.” Sanchez remarks, “Pete did a great job in creating a radio station that sounds wonderful. He has been incredibly supportive of his programming staff and it has shown in what comes out of the speakers.” Ever since all-news WNEW-FM debuted in November 2011, Sanchez has been the station’s only PD. Among persons 6+ in Washington, D.C.’s latest Nielsen Audio PPM report (March 2015), WLZL (1.9) and WNEW-FM (1.7) finish at #19 and #20, respectively; meanwhile, Hubbard all-news WTOP (9.1) is the market’s (6+) pacesetter for the third successive survey.
Chicago News, Talk and Urban Radio Pro Ty Wansley Dead at 63. A week after being admitted to a Chicago hospital suffering from congestive heart failure, Ty Wansley has died. Wansley’s career in Chicago spanned more than three decades and included success in urban, news, and talk formats. Wansley had been serving as the news and information director for iHeartMedia’s three urban outlets: hip hop WGCI, urban AC WVAZ and gospel WGRB. He began his career in his native St. Louis. He became news director at the old WBMX, Chicago, served as a talk host on urban talk outlet WVON and was famously paired up with former Chicago Alderman Ed Vrdolyak on news/talk WLS-AM in 1993 – a show that became a ratings smash. That show continued its success on crosstown WJJD.
Baltimore Aftermath, Prophet Drawing Contest Attack, Clinton Family Foundation Scrutiny, Tsarnaev Penalty Phase, Gay Marriage SCOTUS Case, Obama Trade Deal, Amnesty Issue, and Patriots Deflategate Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The political repercussions of the Freddie Gray death in Baltimore; controversy over the Garland, Texas prophet-drawing contest that was attacked by purported ISIS sympathizers; the ongoing scrutiny of the Clinton Family Foundation operations; the penalty phase of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; the case of four states with anti-gay marriage laws that went before the Supreme Court; President Obama’s foreign trade deal; the controversy over amnesty for illegal aliens in the U.S.; and the NFL’s report on the Patriots’ deflation of game balls were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WTOP, Washington’s Jim Farley: “We’re Engaged Across All Platforms.” Hubbard Broadcasting’s Jim Farley, vice president of news and programming at WTOP, Washington, speaks with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison in this TalkersTV video interview. Farley tells Harrison that although WTOP is a heritage radio station, they think of it differently, “We don’t think of it as a radio station; we think of it as a digital news organization…we compete with everybody who does news.” Farley praises WTOP ownership – both current and past – for having the foresight to invest in staff and equipment to compete in the 21st century news game. Farley says they recently added a digital editor for the overnight shift so the organization has a radio and digital editor on the clock at all times. “Whenever there is a story – middle of the night or on weekends – we’ll be engaged across all platforms.”
Rush Limbaugh Camp Fires Back at Media Matters with Scathing Statement. Embattled Premiere Networks talk radio star Rush Limbaugh, via his spokesperson Brian Glicklich in a commentary in Politico, yesterday afternoon issued an official response to the campaign being waged against the show by Media Matters. This is the first lengthy, official statement made about the advertising issue by Limbaugh’s organization since the controversy began and it has the industry buzzing. In Glicklich’s scathing attack on Media Matters’ tactics he writes the end result of the campaign hurts more people than Rush Limbaugh. “By putting small business in the crosshairs of their war on expression, Media Matters is causing real harm. They are hurting these businesses, their employees and their families. As a business owner, imagine waking up one morning and being assaulted by hundreds of coordinated attacks from operatives who never were or will be your customers.” Read Glicklich’s entire commentary here.
Los Angeles City Council Passes Resolution to “End Racist and Sexist Language” on Radio. On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council – by a vote of 13 to 2 – passed a resolution that read: “NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that by adoption of this Resolution, the City Council urges all management of radio and television stations in Los Angeles to do everything in their power to ensure that their on-air hosts do not use and promote racist and sexist slurs over public airwaves in the City of Los Angeles.” The wording of the resolution was broadened with an amendment. The original intent and much of the discussion was targeted at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk KFI. Though language on the radio was discussed by the council, other discussion involved accusations by critics that lack of diversity in staffing – too few minorities and women in on-air roles, specifically – is to blame for occurrences of what they call racist and sexist slurs.
WTOP, Washington VP News and Programming Jim Farley Named 2012 Recipient of Freedom of Speech Award. The TALKERS editorial board has selected legendary radio news director Jim Farley as the 2012 recipient of the prestigious Freedom of Speech Award. The award will be presented to Farley at the New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. Farley, recently interviewed by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison (see Talkers TV at right and story below), will address “the renaissance of journalism in the new digital broadcasting era” following the presentation of the award. In a statement released Wednesday, March 21 Michael Harrison states, “We are witnessing the rebirth of committed journalism in America on the radio airwaves and its associated digital platforms. WTOP proudly shines as the inspirational example of this positive movement, and Jim Farley’s visionary leadership in bringing it to life on a day-to-day basis would make even Thomas Jefferson proud. The First Amendment is alive and well at WTOP. Jim Farley is a remarkable broadcaster.” The Freedom of Speech Award is a non-partisan honor that has been presented to a wide variety of talk media figures since 1990 whose work has demonstrated the First Amendment in action and raised awareness of its principles. Past recipients have included Brian Lamb, Matt Drudge, Rush Limbaugh, Al Franken, Jack Anderson, Norm Pattiz, Sean Hannity, Alan Colmes, Bob Grant, Alan Dershowitz, Bill O’ Reilly, Gene Burns, G. Gordon Liddy, Howard Stern and more. Last year’s recipient was Juan Williams.
Scarborough Research Releases Study of Entertainment Spending by Baby Boomers. It’s probably not too surprising that the favorite radio formats of the Baby Boom generation are, in order, AC (30%), news/talk (28%), and classic hits (25%). The study includes statistics about how Boomers like to spend their free time – a nod to the types of ad clients likely to benefit from being heard on their favorite stations. It notes, “In the past 12 months Baby Boomers have attended a professional sporting event (36%), attended live theater (22%), visited an art museum (14%), attended a rock concert (12%) and gone to the symphony or opera (9%). And Baby Boomers don’t just have a hunger for entertainment – they are 11% more likely than all American adults to have eaten at a seafood restaurant or steakhouse in the past 30 days.” EVP of commercial development Brian Condon says, “Baby Boomers remain an essential demographic since they reap the rewards of having had long careers and no longer have young children to care for. Baby Boomers represent a segment of the American population that has a thirst for adventure, and the financial freedom to explore that passion.”
KGMZ-FM, San Francisco Adds Billy Beane and Bob Melvin to A’s Coverage. Entercom’s sports talk “95.7 The Game” – KGMZ-FM, San Francisco – announces the addition of A’s general manager Bill Beane and manager Bob Melvin to the station’s coverage of the team. Beane will become part of the Thursday PM drive show with Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis and Melvin will join “Rise Guys” Whitey Gleason, Mark Kreidler and Dan Dibley every Monday morning. PD Jason Barrett states, “Bill Beane is one of the smartest baseball minds in America and has a unique perspective about the game that Bay Area baseball fans won’t want to miss. Bob Melvin has his pulse on the finger of the Athletics and he’ll give Bay Area baseball fans a weekly glimpse inside the clubhouse like no one else.”
“Free Talk Live” Gets Major Market Clear on WWRL, New York. The independently syndicated evening and weekend program hosted by Ian Freeman and Mark Edge enters the New York City market with a Sunday morning clearance on Access.1 Communications’ progressive talk WWRL. Freeman says of the addition, “There aren’t many issues-oriented talk shows that can cross talk platforms. However, we’ve been doing it for years with conservative, progressive, business talk and hot talk stations all airing ‘Free Talk Live.’ I’m excited to announce that ‘Free Talk Live’ welcomes our newest affiliate in America’s largest market: WWRL 1600 in New York City. Thanks to program director Rennie Bishop for allowing us the opportunity to entertain the people of NYC on the country’s most prominent progressive station.”
Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ, Fresno Celebrates 90th Anniversary Tomorrow. 1922 was a big year for the U.S. government granting radio station licenses and another heritage station is celebrating its 90th year on the air this week. KMJ, Fresno is the 38th oldest licensed continuously operating radio station in the country. It was originally licensed to San Joaquin Power and Light Corporation but was sold to McClatchey Newspapers in 1925. CBS Radio bought KMJ in 1987 and then sold it to Peak Broadcasting in 2006.
WTKS-FM, Orlando’s “Monsters in the Morning” Sponsor Habitat for Humanity House. The morning drive crew at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WTKS-FM, Orlando led by Russ Rollins is kicking off its First Annual Monster House project in conjunction with the Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka and the City of Sanford. Rollins and Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett, who on behalf of the City of Sanford, donated the property for the project made the recent announcement. Rollins says, “This is a huge project with our national radio program teaming up with local government and Habitat for Humanity to benefit the community. For every $1 spent on construction, $7 will go back into the local economy. ‘The Monsters’ are looking forward to helping a local family fulfill their dream of home ownership with the First Annual Monster House. We hope to make The Monster House an annual project in partnership with Habitat for Humanity.”
Romney Wins Illinois Primary/2012 Presidential Race, Iran Nukes Program, Saints Staff Penalized for Bounty Program/Tebow Traded to Jets and Afghanistan Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/21). Mitt Romney’s decisive win in Illinois on Tuesday and the larger issues surrounding the 2012 presidential race; uncertainty over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; the NFL’s Saints, coaches and former coach penalized severely for ‘bounty program’; Tim Tebow is traded to the Jets; and continuing tensions in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.