Tag: "Jeff McKay"
Wordsmith Rix Quinn delivers a unique mix of creative writing and a down-home vocal presentation to any station’s local marketing arsenal
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
NEW YORK – Budget cutbacks are not only limiting the resources of radio programming departments – they are squeezing station sales and creative marketing efforts as well. Concept development and simple copywriting take personnel and time – something in short supply these days on the radio front. Add the potential of literally limitless internet real estate to the mix of radio’s marketing possibilities and the frustration of having limited man/woman-power only grows.
In a recent report on the top-billing radio stations for 2013, BIA/Kelsey wrote of Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP-FM (103.5) that the top-billing radio station in the United States “WTOP is morphing into a digital media company by providing access to its audience in many different ways beyond over-the-air.” Mark Fratrik, senior vice president and chief economist for BIA/Kelsey concludes, “Its approach is serving them well and its model demonstrates that as the industry continues to adopt a multi-platform approach, it will engage audiences and sustain growth.”
TALKERS Three-Part Special Feature
The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse
By Jeff McKay
Special features Correspondent
NEW YORK — Since he ventured out on his own and started what has become not only a highly successful syndication company, but one that can truly serve the needs of both the largest and even the smallest radio station, Danno Wolkoff has known that he cannot simply rest on his laurels. Wolkoff will be the first to admit that his company, in order to be and remain successful, must change with radio’s changing times from how companies do business and manage their own businesses, to how companies must do more with less, and the ever-changing technology that could cost a company listeners and their survival.
Envision Networks has changed with the changing times in radio, something Wolkoff identifies as being driven by technology which is now the catalyst for these changes and placing traditional radio at a crossroads.
Entercom Revenue Down 2% in Q4; Dips 3% for 2013. The 2013 fourth quarter numbers for Entercom are in and the company reports net revenue was down 2% on $99.6 million though adjusted net income per share was basically flat. Also free cash flow increased by 2%. For the full year of 2013, net revenue dipped 3%. Though station expenses decreased slightly during the year, station operating income decreased by 8% to $125.8 million. Entercom will hold a conference call with investors and analysts at 12:00 noon ET today (2/11). President and CEO David Field says in a statement, “Entercom’s fourth quarter revenues declined 2% while revenues excluding political advertising posted a 2% increase. 2014 began on a solid note with January revenues up moderately over the prior year. We are optimistic about 2014 performance based on improving sales capabilities and execution, strong ratings and meaningful local growth opportunities.”
Beasley Broadcast Group to Work with Propel Marketing for Online Marketing. In an effort to expand its online marketing, Beasley Broadcast Group announces it is engaging Propel Marketing to “assist Beasley’s local clients in building and expanding their online marketing opportunities and solutions.” In a statement, Beasley says that Propel’s products and services include website and mobile site design, search engine optimization, lists and local directories, social media services and online reputation management. It further states that the “agreement affords Beasley’s local account executives access to a robust portfolio of online marketing services. Beasley’s relationship with Propel Marketing enhances the on-air and online advertising opportunities already available to existing and future clients, especially small businesses that typically do not have in-house resources to create and implement successful online marketing campaigns. Propel Marketing will not only create and deliver online marketing solutions, but also provide a dedicated team of specialists to ensure that Beasley’s clients are fully leveraging Propel Marketing products.” Beasley EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley states, “We are extremely excited by this relationship. It gives us the ability to respond to any request a local advertiser may have that involves exploring a digital component. The ability to combine radio’s powerful reach with Propel Marketing’s wide assortment of online products and services will greatly enhance a local advertising campaign.” Newly appointed vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook adds, “By integrating online marketing with their current radio marketing efforts our clients are able to both extend their audience reach and more efficiently target their messaging. Beasley sales professionals remain the primary contact for our advertising customers. Our goal remains helping local businesses build their brands and grow their revenue. We can now offer integrated marketing solutions under the Beasley Broadcast brand allowing advertisers to streamline their marketing efforts with a trusted local partner.”
TALKERS Posts Part-Two Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was Envision Radio Networks — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four-dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It is a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses exactly what it takes to build a formidable syndication firm from scratch and shares his view of the changing nature of the syndication business as well as radio in general. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part two of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here. And if you missed part one published yesterday, read that here.
Max Krasny Joins CBS RADIO as VP/Sales and Strategic Alliances. The former WestwoodOne EVP takes on the vice president, sales and strategic partnerships position with CBS RADIO’s Altitude Group division which focuses on helping brands connect with consumers using CBS RADIO stations, along with CBS Television stations and their digital properties, as well as CBS’s outdoor assets. Max Krasny reports to the executive leadership of the Altitude Group: Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, and Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales. Lobel states, “Max is a seasoned pro who brings a marketing acumen to a client’s business, and knows how to deliver creative excellence that makes brands stand out and get noticed. No one has a better portfolio of local assets under one roof than CBS including: radio, television, out-of-home, live events, websites, mobile and social apps.”
FCC Socks WLS-AM, Chicago with $44,000 Fine. The Forfeiture Order comes from the station failing to identify the sponsor of programming that aired back in 2009. The content was in the form of long-form shows – two two-hour programs, a one-hour show – plus 90-second and 15-second spots and promotional announcements paid for by Workers Independent News. During the two-week period in question, the FCC determined that 11 announcements were aired without proper sponsor identification and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for $44,000 – 11 violations at $4,000 per. Cumulus argued that the commission had in the past reduced fines to a one-time violation amount and that it should just have to pay $4,000. But the commission ruled that no such precedent had been set and that the forfeiture amounts in failure to identify sponsorships cases reflect the unique aspects of each case and thus the commission considers this case to be comprised of 11 violations, not one.
Former MLB Slugger and Talk Host Jack Clark Apologizes to Albert Pujols. During a discussion on WGNU, St. Louis, sports talk host and former MLB slugger Jack Clark alleged that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used performance enhancing drugs during his time in St. Louis. Pujols threatened to sue and the station ended the contract between Clark’s co-host Kevin Slaten and Clark, cancelling their show. The station also issued an apology to Pujols. But for a time Clark maintained his assertion about Pujols and even challenged Pujols to a live debate – an invitation Pujols’ attorney refused. Now, Clark issues the aforementioned apology and Pujols agrees to withdraw his lawsuit.
“Market Rally” Readies for March Launch. What is said to be the first-ever, long-form agricultural commodity markets-focused national radio program will debut next month (3/10). That is when Farm Journal Media launches Chip Flory-hosted “Market Rally.” The one-hour weekday program will air at 2:00 pm (CT), immediately following the close of major commodity markets. Farm Journal Broadcast Division senior vice president Brian Conrady remarks that a “really solid group of stations” is already committed to air “Market Rally” and he anticipates “several more” before the program debuts. “The show fills a programming void for many stations,” Conrady comments. “It wraps their day’s farm coverage with a new, information-packed, entertaining program. It is all about markets, which everyone knows farmers cannot get enough of.” Flory notes, “We have a long list of guest analysts anxious to share their market perspective with the audience each day. We will take listener questions/comments via phone, text, and social media. Our goal is to remove as much confusion as possible from this increasingly volatile marketing environment.” Flory remains editorial director of Farm Journal’s “Pro Farmer” newsletter and he will host “Market Rally” from FJB’s new studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The Beatles Played in Washington, Too! As America remembers The Beatles’ arrival in this country 50 years ago this week, much of the attention is focused on the New York-based national broadcast on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” But Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington knows that the group’s first public concert was in Washington, DC. Pictured here in the WMAL studios are Fox News Channel chief Washington correspondent – and noted Beatles expert – James Rosen (center) and “Mornings on the Mall” co-hosts Brian Wilson (left) and Larry O’Connor (right) after being on the air for Tuesday’s celebration of The Beatles’ first concert on U.S. soil – in the Nation’s Capital. Among other guests remembering The Beatles on the program were: The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, Rolling Stone Magazine’s David Wild, Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone, and local Fox 5 anchor (and former “Good Morning America” weather anchor) Tony Perkins, who discussed his love for the Beatles as an African-American youth growing up in D.C.
Odds & Sods. Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter recently visited his alma mater Seton Hall University and spoke with student staffers at his old college radio station – WSOU-FM – about making it in sports broadcasting today. Hunter, pictured here (third from the right) surrounded by students, stressed to them the importance of preparation, noting that the need to do your homework doesn’t end when you graduate from college. He also shared tips on improving on-air performance and how to tell listeners a good story…..New York City broadcasting legend John Gambling returned to the radio recently, if only briefly, to speak on WABC, New York with Frank Morano on his Sunday “Morning with Morano” program. Morano and Gambling talked about the state of radio today, the tradition of the Gamblings and covering weather events…..For the 18th consecutive year, ESPN Radio is providing comprehensive coverage of NBA All-Star 2014, culminating with an exclusive radio broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16. Kevin Calabro will describe the action throughout the weekend with analyst Jon Barry. They will be joined by studio analysts Marc Kestecher and P.J. Carlesimo and reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith.
Brent & Meg Honored for Keeping Studio City, California Free of Dog Poop. Although they are heard all over the world on TalkersRadio (weekdays 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm PT), the experimental talk station that lives on this website, the dynamic husband/wife radio duo of Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) believe in the concept of cleaning up your own backyard as well as tackling the issues of greater humanity. This past Saturday evening (2/8) they were honored by some of LA’s top movers and shakers for their community volunteer work in regularly picking up dog poop (no kidding) found on the streets of LA’s Studio City – the neighborhood from which their daily show emanates (as well as their home). The gala appreciation dinner took place at Carla’s Café on the CBS Studio Center lot. Pictured here are (from l-r): State Assemblymember, 46th District, Adrin Nazarian; Los Angeles City Councilmember, 2nd District, Paul Krekorian; Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg Show on TalkersRadio); Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Brent Seltzer (Brent & Meg Show on Talkers Radio). Upon learning of Brent & Meg receiving this honor, TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo’s music editor/director Duane Doobie issued the statement: “I seldom listen to talk radio, but when I do, I prefer Brent & Meg. True, like most talk show hosts, they are full of sh*t… but in a helpful, solutions-oriented way.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Hillary Clinton in 2016, Immigration Reform, Winter Olympics, Winter Weather, and Shirley Temple Black Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). Scrutiny of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the release of new documents about the Clintons and Hillary’s possible run for president in 2016; the move in Washington to pass immigration reform legislation; the Winter Olympics games in Sochi, Russia; a new winter storm reportedly heading for the South and East this week; and the death of former child star and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Serving Local Listeners – A Blueprint for Talk Success
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
MEDFORD — If you leave Portland, Oregon and head just over four hours south down Interstate 5, before you reach the California border you’ll drive right into the town of Medford. About 75 miles inland through rugged terrain from the Pacific Ocean, Medford is a small town with a population of 76,000, but is also an economic hub for Southern Oregon and a home for the state’s growing wine industry.
Medford is also the home of KMED-AM (1440), a news/talk station owned by Bicoastal Media and the oldest radio station in Medford. It’s weekday lineup includes syndicated conservatives Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, along with Glenn Beck and Alex Jones. However, what drives the station is their morning show, and Bill Meyer has not only made the morning show his own, he has been able to create a blueprint of how to package a large market type of local show and imprint that on a small market audience, giving the station a very sellable show, while the listeners get the interaction and local flavor they would not get with a nationally syndicated program.
And, he does it all on his own – without a show producer.
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
COWLINGTON, Oklahoma — When you think of syndicators, you think of giants like Premiere or Dial Global. When you think of radio stations that carry syndicated programs, heritage stations like New York City’s WABC and KABC in Los Angeles come to mind. What you don’t think is a syndicator setting up their operation, or their entire radio station’s operation, in a bedroom in their home located in rural Oklahoma. You also don’t think anyone working out of a room about the size of a one-car garage distributing 24 hour programming, seven days-a-week on three continents. What you also don’t think is that anyone can do all of this, with an operating budget that equals the pay before taxes of a young adult working full-time at a fast-food restaurant.
Southern California Broadcasters Association Touts Big July for Radio Sales. According to the July 2013 X-Ray revenue report from Miller Kaplan Arase, radio advertising revenue in Southern California was up 3.8% over the same period a year ago. SCBA president Thom Callahan says that eight of the top 10 advertiser categories grew over the same period. “On a YTD basis, impressive category growth was recorded in education up 41.5%, transportation up 32.6%, department stores/shopping centers up 40.7% and appliances/electronics up 82.8%. The depth and breadth of July’s results cannot be showcased enough. The critical auto category alone was up 9.6% over last July with beverages, financial services, concerts, grocers, casinos, and professional services all showing double digit growth.” Callahan states the new business acquired over the past year tells the real story with “an astounding 485 new clients who invested a record $30,550,000 through July 2013.” Callahan adds, “Month after month, these documented revenue growth reports starkly conflict with all the ‘radio is dead’ noise we continue to read about in the press. The facts are obvious: Southern California Radio is a potent advertising partner and 485 new advertisers found that out in the first seven months of 2013.”
Still More Rumors of CBS Radio Selling. These rumors about CBS selling its radio stations seem to pop up once or twice a year and they, obviously, have yet to amount to anything. The latest has Cumulus Media supposedly considering making an offer for the CBS Radio stations. So far, Cumulus is not commenting on the speculation but that doesn’t mean anything, either. Although it’s true that if the price is right, everything is for sale. But Les Moonves has stated during numerous investor conference calls that the company likes the radio business because it’s a cash business. Remember, at the Deutsche Bank DbAccess 21st Annual Media and Telecom Conference in March of this year he said, “We like radio. Once again, low-single digit growth, revenue, OIBDA. It’s still a very great cash business with great margins. We still like running it. We have no intent to sell it as many people are watching terrestrial radio today as watching 10 years ago, even with all these things going on with satellite and everything else. It is what it is. We like the business, it produces cash every year. We like having the amount of cash we have, where our balance sheet is certainly in great shape, partially because of radio.” Yes, companies do change their minds, but industry watchers tell RadioInfo any deal for CBS’ stations would have to include off-the-charts money.
Creating a Worldwide Radio Network One “Hobby” Station at a Time. When you think of syndicators, you think of giants like Premiere or Talk Radio Network. When you think of radio stations that carry syndicated programs, heritage stations like New York City’s WABC and KABC in Los Angeles come to mind. What you don’t think is a syndicator setting up their operation, or their entire radio station’s operation, in a bedroom in their home located in rural Oklahoma. You also don’t think anyone working out of a room about the size of a one-car garage distributing 24-hour programming, seven-days-a-week on three continents. What you also don’t think is that anyone can do all of this with an operating budget that equals the pay before taxes of a young adult working full time at a fast-food restaurant. Welcome to the world of radio iconoclast Jan Starks (pictured here in the studio). If you have not heard of Jan Starks, it may be because you’re not one of the 155 people who live in Cowlington, Oklahoma, a tiny town with about 55 households nestled near the Arkansas border. This is the town that Starks calls home, and is also the home of Star Com Media, LLC. Cowlington is also the home of KKRP-AM (1610), a low-power radio station broadcasting with 100mw of power, the same milliwattage that can power a small laser pointer, and just enough to reach the rural population of Cowlington. However, thanks to modern technology, the internet, a few computers, an unusually strong passion for radio and an equally unusual business plan, KKRP-AM is now a part of a legion of stations across the nation just like it, and he hasn’t stopped there. Welcome to the micro-level of today’s broadcasting scene – a provocative mix of over-the-air broadcasting on the smallest, most local of levels boosted to international reach by the power of the internet and human ingenuity. To learn more about Jan Starks, Star Com Media, LLC and micro-broadcasting, read TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay‘s entire article posted today (8/27) by clicking here.
Beasley Broadcasting CEO George Beasley Cuts Ribbon on Appalachian State University Media Complex. Named the George G. Beasley Media Complex, the state-of-the-art broadcasting complex on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, was officially opened during a ceremony held last Thursday, August 22. Beasley chairman and CEO George G. Beasley (pictured here at the ceremony) received an undergrad degree in 1958 and completed his Master of Arts in educational administration in 1960 at the school. He stated, “I not only envision Appalachian being one of the top schools in communications in North Carolina, I think that over the next few years it will become the premier school of broadcast communications in the Southeast and maybe one of the top 5 in America…This building isn’t about George Beasley and his family, it’s about the many hundreds of students we expect to come through this building.” The complex is an 18,000 square-foot media facility that houses the Department of Communication’s radio and television studios, classrooms, labs and faculty offices. The department’s 24-hour, student-managed radio station is 90.5 WASU-FM.
Ken Matthews New Afternoon Host at WHP, Harrisburg. The search for a replacement for the recently retired Bob Durgin is over at Clear Channel news/talk outlet WHP, Harrisburg. Ken Matthews, a frequent fill-in host for Durgin, is named the permanent afternoon drive personality. Matthews says, “I’m thrilled to be joining the WHP580 family. The WHP team is an outstanding group of broadcasters and part of a wonderful Pennsylvania community. I’m looking forward to many great conversations with local listeners on and off the radio.” Matthews was morning drive host at Clear Channel’s CHR WAEB, Allentown “B104” from the early 1990s through 2006. CC regional program manager Jeff Hurley states, “Ken is poised and talented – I’m confident he will become one of Pennsylvania’s great newsmakers during the afternoon slot on WHP 580. He’s the perfect host to drive political discussion in Central Pennsylvania. He brings energy and excitement that’s infectious to everyone around him.”
Eliot Spitzer Appears with David Paterson and Curtis Sliwa on WNYM’s ‘Political Roundtable.’ Two of New York’s former governors – David Paterson (l) and Eliot Spitzer (c) – are pictured here at the Statler Grill in Manhattan with Curtis Sliwa (r) on last Friday’s edition of “Political Roundtable” on Salem Communications-owned WNYM, New York “AM970 The Answer.” Paterson and Sliwa host “Curtis & the Gov.” and Spitzer appeared to talk about his run for comptroller of New York. The station says “the format all NYC mayoral and comptroller candidates an unfettered hour of prime airtime to articulate and explain their positions and policies, without the constraints of conforming to a 30-second sound bite. Candidates take questions from Sliwa and Governor Paterson and share their vision for the city as patrons chow down on juicy steaks and fresh seafood.” Curtis Sliwa adds, “This is live and local at its best. No media outlet in New York is covering these important races the way AM970 is.” Others that have participated in the round table have included John Catsimatidis, Joe Lhota, George McDonald, John Liu, Sal Albanese, Bill Thompson, John Burnett, Scott Stringer and Kristin Davis.
MEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Dave Garland of Dave Garland Media Brokers. In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Dave Garland of Dave Garland Media Brokers located in Woodville, Texas. Dave Garland has an extensive background in radio saying, “I spent many years in radio grunt work… on air, sales, etc. My first paid non-college broadcast job was as a photographer for a TV network affiliate and I really got bit hard by the radio bug by hanging out with the folks on the radio side. I now say I have done every job at a station from sweep the floors to being an owner.” Dave says that the buying of a radio station in today’s tight banking environment is a “tough business” but he is available to talk to first-time buyers and see if the right deal can be located for them.” There are lots of stations that are not officially ‘for sale’ but can be acquired if the right buyer comes along.” Per the custom of this feature, Sandi Bergman offers several opportunities for displaced station managers and first-time entrants looking to roll up their sleeves and take on an ownership project. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.
WTOP Expands Website with Technology Section. Hubbard Radio-owned all-news WTOP, Washington launches a new technology section added to wtop.com with director of digital media John Meyer stating, “Technology touches everything we do today. We are going to tell the stories of how it is affecting lives in our area at work, home, school, and in government.” WTOP veteran award-winning reporter Neal Augenstein is the technology editor and will produce multimedia coverage of the tech category – on-air, online, and via social content. WTOP notes Augenstein is a pioneer when it comes to journalism and technology; he was the first major market radio reporter to do most of his field production on an iPhone, and has written about and hosted multiple seminars on using the latest technology for audio, video, photography and writing. WTOP Tech is the latest expansion of WTOP’s digital footprint following the launch of its Living section earlier this year.
NAB Ups Cumming and Ingram. National Association of Broadcasters promotes Ann Marie Cumming from vice president to senior vice president of communications, reporting to Dennis Wharton. Cumming joined the NAB full time three years ago and her duties have included supporting the department’s public policy outreach and managing media-related activities at the NAB show. The promotion includes new duties but she will continue to oversee the newsrooms at the Radio Show and the NAB Show. Also, Shermaze Ingram is promoted to senior vice president, marketing and creative services. She continues to report to NAB marketing executive vice president Michelle Lehman. Ingraham handles much of the marketing for the Radio Show.
WEEI, Boston Teams with NESN for 12th Annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. Today begins the 12th annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The annual two-day event is being broadcast live from Fenway Park on Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM, Boston and simulcast on regional cable network New England Sports Network. Last year’s broadcast raised $3.4 million bringing the 12-year total to more than $31 million.
U.S. Syria Policy, Miley Cyrus MTV Appearance, Race Relations in the U.S., Financial Markets Activity, and California Wildfire Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/26). The United States’ policy regarding Syria; Miley Cyrus’ controversial performance at the MTV VMAs; the increasing discussion about race relations in America; financial markets activity; and the threat to Yosemite National Park and San Francisco’s water supply as the result of the wildfire in California.
Raising the Digital Frontier Bar One “Great American Broadcast” at a Time
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
NEW YORK — The one thing you can never say is that Alex Bennett is not ahead of his time. Bennett can stake a claim to the fact he may be the only one who has successfully climbed the ladder from the smallest of radio markets to the top market in terrestrial radio, worked on the air as a talk host on satellite radio, and have made the transition to the audio and video digital frontier in a way nobody else has. It also appears that being 73-years young, he has no plans to hang up his headphones or power down his bandwidth anytime soon.
Bennett was born in 1939, when NBC’s Red Network had an affiliate in Havana, Cuba, and a few months before radio shows like “Truth or Consequences” and “The Adventures of Superman” debuted on the air. Much like those “firsts,” Bennett would soon prepare to venture into radio and create a few “firsts” of his own.
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
KANSAS CITY — When you’re in radio and you lose your job, in almost all cases you begin looking for another job at another radio station, whether it’s in the same city or another market. For some, the intrigue of the internet brings them to the digital frontier. If the choice becomes the digital divide, then the question then becomes, “How can you make money?”
For that answer, you can ask “Radio George.”
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
NEW YORK — While conservative political talk radio still dominates the AM/FM commercial spoken word air waves, pharmacist Ben Fuchs proves syndication, and talk radio in general, can come in many forms. In the case of Fuchs, the host of the nationally syndicated Genesis Communications Network (GCN) radio program “The Bright Side,” he has become a thorn in the side of the pharmaceutical industry by becoming an advocate for better nutrition and a natural healing approach, because, as he says, “I look at the human body as a healing and regenerating system.”
Clear Channel Study Shows Radio’s ‘Reach and Appeal Remain Strong.’ Those are the words of Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman about the results of the Latitude Research- and OpenMind Strategy-conducted study called the “State of Listening in America.” Pittman says of the study, “This research confirms that radio’s reach and appeal remain strong regardless of the platform, geography, ethnicity, or age group. American listeners – particularly younger generations – feel a strong connection to their favorite on-air radio personalities – which is made stronger by social media – in a way that isn’t replicated by other media.” Clear Channel calls the study “the first comprehensive audio analysis that addresses the various ways people are listening today and also clearly demonstrates that the growing prevalence of mobile devices coupled with easy access to streaming apps have made radio more relevant to users.” Some of the key findings include: 92% of all respondents listen to radio at least once a week; 69% agree “streaming services do not replace radio.”; 80% say radio is helpful in discovering new artists or songs; 82% say the first thing they do when they get in a car is turn on the radio; 66% agree that their favorite radio stations reflect who they are as a person; 78% agree that radio has the power to make a difference in the community; and 72% believe radio is more community-oriented than TV; 85% say radio is more accessible than at any time before and 78 percent say they can access radio anywhere; Radio advertising is viewed more positively than ads on TV, internet and mobile apps; 72% believe that radio feels more “human” than the internet and 65 percent believe it is more “personal” than TV; and 71% say radio is a part of their daily routine.
Interesting and Useful Fact: News/Talk Radio and Country Music Radio Share Significant Segments of their Audiences. Two different radio formats: One plays music by artists such as Johnny Cash, Carrie Underwood and Florida-Georgia Line. The other has voices such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Stephanie Miller. Ironically, both the country music format that does not talk politics and the news/talk format that plays no music each have something in common – they cater largely to the same audience! Leading country radio consultant Jaye Albright calls country radio and talk radio the “universal donor” formats. In an article posted on May 8, TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay talks to players in the field, cites research and provides an interesting overview of this phenomenon. To read the entire piece, click here.
Special Dave Ramsey Program to Air as Part of EntreLeadership Master Series. On today’s Dave Ramsey nationally syndicated program (live 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET), Ramsey will broadcast from Financial Peace Plaza as part of this week’s EntreLeadership Master Series. This special broadcast will focus on leadership and business questions from callers, e-mails and event attendees. Ramsey has been presenting this series at his offices in Nashville all this week and today’s broadcast is the culmination of that. Ramsey’s company explains the EntreLeadership series this way: “EntreLeadership combines the innovative spirit of an entrepreneur with the passion and drive of a leader. This philosophy is how Ramsey has grown his highly successful company and trained his leadership team since day one. At EntreLeadership Master Series, Ramsey condenses 20 years of business and leadership wisdom into a seven-day event. Business owners and leaders who attend walk away with practical ideas that can improve their communication, organization, team culture, finances, negotiating and selling skills, marketing, advertising, and ability to make tough decisions.”
Lighting Up the Stick (and Painting it Too). Once again noted radio engineering genius, consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray comes through with a priceless column in non-geek terms that is must-reading for today’s beleaguered, multi-tasking station managers who need to know what’s happening in terms of gear - and should be kept in a special in-house (or computer) file as a valuable resource. In a new article posted today (5/10) Ray explains exactly how VITALLY important it is to keep your station tower(s) up to code in terms of painting and lighting and EXACTLY (down to the specific color of the paint) how to do it. Plain, simple and to-the-point. If you work at a station, download this article and make sure whoever is responsible for the place has access to it because in today’s stressed out environment, a lot of this stuff is falling through the cracks! To read Tom Ray’s entire piece, click here.
CBS Radio’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York Extends Giants Broadcasts Deal. Sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York extends the 15-year relationship between the station and the NFL’s New York Giants with a multi-year deal for the stations to serve as the flagship station for all the team’s games. The new contract also includes special programming including: A weekly 30-minute Giants-themed segment as part of the station’s Monday Night Football coverage; Giants Power Lunch – the new one-hour live program will be broadcast one Tuesday a month during the regular season from the Giants Training Facility in East Rutherford, N.J. within the “Benigno and Roberts” show; Exclusive weekly player interviews with Eli Manning and other Giants player(s) to be named prior to the start of the 2013 season; and an expansive schedule of weekly and daily updates and vignettes will be executed across several different programs on WFAN from trusted experts and station personalities.
CRN Digital Talk Radio Offers Four New Shows. Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces four new programs added to its lineup. They include: Anthony Dias Blue’s consumer-oriented food, wine, and travel-oriented show “The Blue Lifestyle” that airs Tuesdays at 9:00 pm ET; “The Wise Guys Sit-down Hour” stars controversial former police officer Albert DeRobbio and East Coast-based businessman Nicky Barrilla and airs Saturdays at 3:00 pm ET. The network says the two “respect, honesty, and integrity – traits on which they feel the world could use a little refresher. They are real-life, old-fashioned gentlemen who’ve lead double-lives. They come from two different neighborhoods – and two different families (if you catch their drift). They are rough around the edges – but always gentlemen. They’re street smarts experts – and aficionados of life.”; Tommy Hunter’s “The Edge at Night” fuses talk and music. Stars ranging from alternative Christian rockers to mainstream celebrities merge Saturday nights at 10:00 pm ET. His first guest this Saturday is Brian “Head” Welch from the heavy metal band KORN; and “The Steve Sanchez Show” stars entrepreneur, pastor, and author Steve Sanchez who tackles “the areas of finance, cultural issues and politics…all from a cutting edge, Christian perspective.” CRN Digital president and CEO Mike Horn states, “We’re proud to offer our listeners an even greater selection of entertainment, news, politics, sports, and even music. Food, wine, and travel fans will love Anthony’s show. The Wise Guys instill lessons and tell jaw-dropping stories that everyone will find fascinating. Tommy and Steve bring compelling content to the faith-based market – a huge demographic – two fantastic shows that are very different from each other.”
2013 Radio Mercury Awards Finalists Announced. The finalists for the 2013 Radio Mercury Awards have been announced and 114 radio spots and campaigns have made it to the last round. The Radio Mercury Awards honor outstanding radio created by advertising agencies, production companies, radio stations and students. Entries are judged on their creativity, originality and effective communication of a brand’s message. The 2013 finalists incorporate a wide range of small to large advertising agencies and radio stations alike, as well as national and regional advertisers from the automotive, consumer packaged goods, beer, entertainment, fast food, financial services, insurance, telecommunications and retail categories. Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber states, “We continue to see marketers and advertisers leverage radio in unique ways. I’m really encouraged by the level of agency finalists and radio station finalists as well. This is a great example of the overall breadth and scope of radio; it continues to be an effective and strategic medium to build brand awareness and purchase intent, no matter the advertiser or marketer.” You can see the finalists here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Radio America announces the Dr. Joy Browne program picks up new affiliates WWRL, New York; WSNO, Montpelier-Barre-St. Johnsbury, Vermont; KHGG, Ft. Smith, Arkansas; WNIX, Greenville, Mississippi; KWBW, Hutchinson, Kansas; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; WFEB, Sylacauga, Alabama; and KVPI, Ville Platte, Louisiana…..Talk Media Network reports “Frontlines of Freedom” and “Fat Guys At The Movies” add KBRF, Fergus Falls, Minnesota; “Financial Fitness Show” picks up new affiliates WJML, Petoskey, Michigan and WJNL, Traverse City, Michigan; and “USA Financial Headquarters” adds affiliates WJML, Petoskey; WJNL, Traverse City; KSGF-AM/FM, Springfield, Missouri; and WJET, Erie…..“Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” is added to the program schedules at: WTCM, Traverse City; KWBY, Ranger, Texas; KRZR, Visalia, California; KBXD, Dallas; KBND, Bend, Oregon; and WCAP, Lowell, Massachusetts.
Benghazi Attack Testimony Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 6-10. The testimony before congress this week regarding the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 this week was the Cleveland captives case. At #3 was the immigration amnesty issue followed by Mark Sanford winning the open South Carolina House seat at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. View this week’s entire chart here.
Emmis Reports Fiscal Q4 Results; Smulyan “Significantly Outperformed Our Markets.” Emmis Communications reports the results of its fiscal fourth quarter (which ended February 28, 2013) for 2013 with net revenue up 2%. Chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan stated up front during the investor’s conference call, “I could not be more proud of what happened last year and I could not be more proud of what’s happening now. Because of our unique reporting structure, we have a pretty good handle on what the first quarter of our next fiscal year will look like and we’re equally pleased with that. I think it was a transformative year for Emmis for a couple of reasons. I think we solved this industry’s most vexing problems with capital structure and we did it because we have a unique culture here and a culture that I think stands out and I think people are starting to understand that their culture makes a difference.” Chief financial officer and COO Pat Walsh broke down the financials a bit, stating, “Pro forma for our station divestitures, radio net revenues consisting solely of our domestic stations grew 3%. Revenues in markets where Emmis competes, excluding barter revenues, grew 2.8% during the quarter. Emmis’ pro forma radio revenues reported on the same basis to Miller Kaplan grew 4.2%…automotive was once again our largest category, representing 11% of revenues, with the category growing nearly 20% as U.S. auto sales continued to accelerate. Wireless and financial services also exhibited strong growth at approximately 20%. Education and media also showed high mid-single-digit growth, high – mid to high single-digit growth. Other top ten categories such as restaurants, entertainment, healthcare and retail showed flattish growth with beverages off during the quarter.” During Q&A, Smulyan answered a question about whether IP-based services are sapping AM/FM audience. Smulyan responded, “We’ve been streaming like most of our brethren for almost 17 years and we haven’t cracked the code. We know Pandora hasn’t cracked the code. We know TuneIn hasn’t cracked the code or Spotify, so we know that that’s a challenge. I have one friend in the industry who says, let’s be honest. When we take a terrestrial listener at a 35% or 40% margin and we can convert that same listener to an IP-based stream, that listener goes from a 30% or 40% margin to zero.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Read the entire call here.
Entercom Reports Revenue Down 2% in Q1. Entercom announces financials for the first quarter of 2013 and reports net revenue down 2% on $78.4 million. Station operating income was flat at $20.5 million and free cash flow increased from $1.2 million to $3.9 million. Entercom CEO David Field noted the drop in net revenue was offset by a 3% decline in station expenses. Regarding sales during the first quarter, Field said, “Local and national revenues were essentially the same with both down low-single digits. Our best-performing markets were Indianapolis, Kansas City, Memphis and New Orleans. Top-performing categories were financials, travel, telecom, home improvement and drugstores.” Looking at the company’s status in general, Field stated, “It is important to reiterate that our efforts to pursue smart ways to reinvent our business model have not come at the expense of reinvesting in our future. To the contrary, we continue to boost our investment in new brands and content, expanded distribution, better operating systems and enhanced digital platforms to strengthen our value proposition to our listeners and customers and create new revenue opportunities. And we are very pleased with the state of our brands. We had a very solid set of winter ratings results and like how we are positioned in our markets across the country.” Again, thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. You can read the entire conference call here.
Arbitron Releases ‘Radio Today 2013’ Study to Clients; News/Talk #1 PPM Format. The full study is only available to Arbitron clients but here are some of the takeaways from “Radio Today 2013”: “News/Talk/Information and Talk/Personality remained the number one format in PPM markets and was number two in the rest of the U.S. The 2,121 rated AM, FM, HD Radio, and streamed stations in these formats far exceed any other format. Like other spoken word formats, they rank prominently in highly educated, high-income listeners.” And relative to TALKERS magazine’s analysis of the shared audience between news/talk and country in Jeff McKay’s piece above, the Arbitron report notes that “country and new country, already number one in our report last year, grew again to remain in first place and reach another record audience share. The format benefited most from an influx of listeners aged 18-24 and is even number two among teen listeners nationally.”
Odds & Sods. Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee (along with its sister TV station with the same calls) was honored at this past weekend’s Wisconsin Broadcasters Association annual “Awards Gala” for broadcast excellence. WTMJ won radio news station of the year and radio station of the year. The station also won nine other awards including best radio show for “Midday with Charlie Sykes.”…..Andrew Marcus, director of the new film “Hating Breitbart,” which explores the life and impact of the late media guru Andrew Breitbart, will debate Wade Rathke, the founding organizer of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) on Rathke’s radio show. The show will air on May 17 at 10:00 am ET on KABF-FM, Little Rock, Arkansas, where ACORN was founded…..Entertainment Weekly editor Jess Cagle will moderate a Town Hall special on SiriusXM with film star Hugh Jackman on May 28 at 7:00 pm ET. Entertainment Weekly operates its own channel on the satellite radio service.
Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne Program Adds 10 Affiliate Stations. The nationally syndicated Dr. Joy Browne program – now distributed by Radio America – picks up 10 new affiliate stations for the longest-running radio show of its kind. New to the program are: WWRL, New York; WSNO, Montpelier-Barre-St. Johnsbury, Vermont; KHGG, Ft. Smith, Arkansas; WNIX, Greenville, Mississippi; KWBW, Hutchinson, Kansas; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; WFEB, Sylacauga, Alabama; and KVPI, Ville Platte, Louisiana.
Internet Talk Station, LA Talk Radio, Continues to Grow – Adds Maria Sanchez to Daily Line Up. Veteran talk radio host Maria Sanchez is now part of the growing LA Talk Radio team as the host of her own daily live radio program, “The Maria Sanchez Show.” The show covers current events, newsmakers and lifestyles. As a woman, a mother, and a Hispanic, Maria is being presented by LA Talk Radio as having “a unique perspective that is not represented in most of radio.” A 20+ year career in radio, she developed her skills in the medium as a talk radio talent at KFI, Los Angeles, a weekend host and substitute host for such personalities as Bill Handel, John & Ken, and Phil Hendrie. “I am thrilled to be back behind the mic and to be working with LA Talk Radio! The ability to be relevant, topical, and without commercial interruption is a fabulous opportunity to really explore topics and guests” says Maria. Sam Hasson, owner of LA Talk Radio, tells TALKERS, “We look forward to a long and storied relationship with Maria, a true pro in the radio industry.”
24th Annual Imus Radiothon Airs on WABC, New York Next Week. WABC, New York-based Don Imus will broadcast the 24th annual “Imus Radiothon for the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer” next Tuesday and Wednesday, May 14 and 15. The radiothon will also be broadcast to Imus show affiliates and be seen on Fox Business Network from 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET.
The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Announces Candidates for Career Achievement Awards. The Georgia Radio Hall of Fame announces the Career Achievement candidates. Members will cast their votes in July and eight Georgia radio professionals selected will be announced in October. The 7th Annual Induction Awards Ceremony will be held Saturday October 19, 2013 at the Atlanta/Marietta Hilton Hotel and Conference Center. The 2013 candidates (some positions are former) are: Harry Beadle, newsman at WGST, Atlanta; Tom and Paul Collins, The “Tiger Twins” on WQXI, Atlanta; Bill Edwards, host of “Good Morning Savannah” on WTKS, Savannah; Robert “Flash” Gordon, morning host on WKZK, Augusta; Steve Goss, host of “Morning Edition” on WABE, Atlanta; Charlie Hill, announcer at WCEH, Hawkinsville; Kaedy Kiley, morning host on WRVR, Atlanta; Greg McClure, program director at WFOM, Marietta; Kelly McCoy, afternoon host on WSB-FM, Atlanta; Nelle Reagan, host of “Talk of the Town” on WRGA, Rome; Bill Rice, host of “Soul Session” on WLET, Toccoa; Mike Roberts, owner WQMJ, Macon; Deborah Richards, news director, WKHX, Atlanta; and Mark Summers, mornings at WBBQ, Augusta.
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
NEW YORK – Two different radio formats: One plays music by artists such as Johnny Cash, Carrie Underwood and Florida-Georgia Line. The other has voices such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Stephanie Miller. Ironically, both the country music format that does not talk politics and the news/talk format that plays no music each have something in common – they cater largely to the same audience!
When it comes to country music listeners and news/talk radio listeners, especially those who lean conservative, similarities between listeners really depend on their age. Jaye Albright, a consulting partner for Albright & O’Malley & Brenner/RadioIQ, Inc. interestingly calls both “universal donor” formats.
By Jeff McKay
Special Features Correspondent
SANTA CRUZ, CA — The news/talk radio station in question is not owned by a hedge fund or multi-billion dollar conglomerate. Their ownership group doesn’t occupy the top floors of a big-city skyscraper. You will not see the morning or afternoon show brandishing seven-figure contracts, nor the corporate PD flying into town on the company Lear jet, or the “brand manager” moving from market to market implementing new strategies to grow the market cluster.
The fact of the matter is none of the above elements – which have become somewhat commonplace in today’s radio industry – at this station exist.