Tag: "Julia Ziegler"

Friday, May 10, 2019

| May 10, 2019

Cumulus Media Q1 Report: Net Revenue Rises 1.4%. Reporting on the first quarter of 2019, Cumulus Media’s net revenue was $267.5 million, an increase of 1.4% compared to the same period in 2018.  Net income was $451,000 in the first quarter, compared to 2019 in which Cumulus posted a loss of $5 million.  Cumulus reports in two segments – Cumulus Radio Station Group and Westwood One.  In this first quarter of 2019, the Radio Station Group was down 1% on net revenue of $166.5 million, while Westwood One was up 5.9% on net revenue of $100.4 million.  Chief financial officer John Abbot says on the radio station side that the company continues “to experience a tough, local spot market environment.”  Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner states, “Driven by a steady focus on our key strategic priorities including accelerating digital growth, our strong performance continued in Q1 2019 with year-over-year increases in both revenue and EBITDA.  Additionally, we now have four pending M&A transactions that collectively are expected to generate more than $120 million of net proceeds and bolster our competitive positions in Indianapolis and Allentown. Combined with the $25 million voluntary prepayment made in February, these proceeds will reduce our net leverage to 4.8x on a pro forma basis.  We look forward to continuing our disciplined execution against all our strategic priorities and financial goals in the quarters ahead.”

Podcasting and Digital Efforts Bearing Fruit for Cumulus.  On yesterday’s Q1 earnings call with investors, Cumulus CEO Mary Berner lauded the company’s podcasting and digital segments.  She said, “So far in 2019, we continue to see the same strong growth in podcasting that we have enjoyed since we started the business.  As the exclusive partner for over 40 podcasts we’ve generated nearly 52 million downloads in March 2019, more than doubled the 23 million generated in March 2018.  And that doesn’t include our growing local podcast businesses.  By our estimation, this will put us in the top five largest podcast companies measured by PodTrack in March.  What is particularly notable about this growth, is that, that we have been able to achieve it while maintaining profitability.”  Berner is also pleased with the company’s efforts to grow digital revenue.  She adds, “We are continuing to generate exceptional growth across all of our platforms, with total digital revenue for the quarter growing 79% from the first quarter of last year.  Our streaming audience is growing steadily, driven by both organic listenership and increased distribution on the Tune In platform.  And we’re monetizing this high-margin digital inventory better and more broadly, through all of our channels, local, national network, programmatic exchanges, and remnant networks as well.”

Saga Communications Down 0.7% in Q1. The 2019 first quarter financial report from Saga Communications, Inc. shows the company’s net revenue during the period was $27.8 million, a dip of 0.7% over the same period in 2018.  Free cash flow increased $324 thousand to $2.6 million and station operating expense decreased 1% to $23.2 million.  Same station operating income was down 22% to $1.86 million and net income dipped 11% to $1.4 million.   The company notes that the results for the quarter were affected by its October 2018 acquisition of WOGK-FM, WNDT-FM, WNDD-FM, and WNDN-FM, in the Gainesville-Ocala market from Ocala Broadcasting Corporation, LLC for $9.3 million.  Saga reports having $39.2 million in cash on hand (as of 3/31/19) and $40.7 million in cash on hand (as of 5/6/19).

Hannity to Afternoons on WPHT, Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Business Journal is reporting that Entercom will fill its afternoon drive daypart with Premiere NetworksSean Hannity program starting next week.  Earlier this week, the station announced that current afternoon talk host Rich Zeoli becomes the new morning drive host on Monday (5/13), assuming the role left open when Chris Stigall exited WPHT earlier this year. It appears Entercom will air the Sean Hannity show during its live air time – 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm – on WPHT beginning on Monday as opposed to searching for a local host for the daypart. Hannity’s show has been airing on the station in a delay broadcast in the evening.

PodcastOne and Hubbard Radio Produce True Crime Program ‘22 Hours: An American Nightmare.’ The true-crime genre is a popular one among podcast consumers and now, PodcastOne and partner Hubbard Radio (remember that Hubbard owns 30% of PodcastOne) are producing a new podcast series titled, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare.”  The 10-part series investigates the Washington, DC mansion murders using the talents of WTOP, Washington reporters Megan Cloherty and Jack Moore, and produced by WTOP and its digital news director, Julia Ziegler.  Hubbard podcast strategy manager Wheeler Morris says, “We at Hubbard are excited to bring listeners around the country this story from a team of experienced investigative reporters at WTOP.  Listeners in the Washington, DC region are familiar with WTOP’s high-quality journalism and, with the help of PodcastOne, we are excited to now share that with the nation.”  PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz adds, “I’ve noticed recently that other major radio companies are promoting their new relationships with podcasters.  The Hubbard Radio/PodcastOne relationship recognized the synergies present over four years ago, and it continues to expand today.  We have a very definite game plan that seeks to take advantage of podcasting’s obvious on-demand advantages to stations, while mining the creativity that radio companies can bring to the table.”

iHeartMedia Promotes Rahul Sabnis to Lead New In-House Creative Group. This promotion comes with a realignment of the company’s in-house creative efforts.  Rahul Sabnis rises from EVP and executive creative director for iHeartMedia to chief creative officer & EVP for the newly branded, in-house creative group “TheStudio at iHeartMedia” operating under the aegis of Darren Davis, president of iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group.  The company says that under Rahul’s leadership it will combine its Creative Studio and “CSG” in Atlanta into “TheStudio at iHeartMedia.”  A press release says TheStudio in-house agency will “provide a range of high-level strategy and creative services, helping iHeart’s own brands and the brands of its advertising and marketing partners use the efficiency and efficacy of audio seamlessly across all its company assets at the scale that only iHeart can deliver.”

Marie Harf to Exit FOX News to Join Seth Moulton Campaign.The Daily Beast reports that FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio personality Marie Harf is leaving her positions as political commentator and radio host, respectively, to join the 2020 presidential campaign of U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) as deputy campaign manager for policy and communications.  Harf co-hosts the “Benson and Harf” radio show with Guy Benson.  Harf served on Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and was a senior communications adviser to former Senator John Kerry (D-MA).

The Mueller Report and Trump’s Claim of Executive Privilege Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 6-10.  Democrats’ request for the unredacted version of the Mueller Report and President Trump’s claim his executive privilege gives him control of the report was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the New York Times piece on Trump’s business losses.  Coming in at #3 was the 2020 presidential races, followed by the China trade war, the effect on the stock market, and North Korea’s missile tests at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT: Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019. Being a talent in 2019 is not as unique as it was years ago.  Thanks to the Internet, so-called talent is everywhere.  But the digital age has also brought new opportunities for talent that didn’t exist years ago and it’s incumbent upon talk media talent to seize them in order take control of one’s career.  At Talkers 2019: Telling the Story, set for New York on Friday, June 7, ABC News Radio executive director of programming Andrew Kalb will moderate a panel of broadcasters to discuss “Launching and Growing a Talent Career in 2019.”  Panelists include (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Danielle Lin, host, “The Art of Living & the Science of Life”; Greg Moceri, CEO, Moceri Media; Michael Riedel, host, WOR, New York; and Todd Starnes, host, FOX News Radio.  The conference is rapidly moving toward being an early sellout.  To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and for registration/hotel information, please click here.

Conspiracy Theorist David Icke Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  With Facebook moving to officially ban Alex Jones and other controversial media figures from its platform and President Trump weighing in on the situation on the side of Jones and his InfoWars organization, there has been a lot of talk this week about conspiracy theorists, fake news, and freedom of speech.  One of the world’s most famous and controversial conspiracy theorists, David Icke, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Icke, who hails from Great Britain, has a worldwide following on YouTube and other digital platforms in addition to being the author of more than 20 books whereby he talks and writes about a wide variety of political and metaphysical issues that run the gamut from a scientifically plausible analysis of the vibrational aspects of reality per quantum physics to completely outrageous ideas about the human race being under the hidden control of a lizard-like, reptilian species of interdimensional humanoids that borders on science fiction.  He routinely sells out large meeting spaces on his lecture tours and is banned in a number of venues and countries for what many consider to be his dangerous ideas.  He has been accused on a number of occasions of anti-Semitism for his views on international banking and the turbulent politics of Israel, the Palestinians, and the Middle East – charges he vehemently denies.  There’s a new documentary film about this former English soccer star turned conspiracy theorist titled, “Renegade:  The Life Story of David Icke,” which takes a fly-on-the-wall view of his life as a family man, lecturer, and social/political disrupter.  It was banned by a theater in Los Angeles last week just hours before its premiere there when the theater owners learned about the level of controversy surrounding Icke.  Harrison caught up with Icke this past Thursday (5/2) when he was in New York City to attend the premiere of the film there that evening.  They talk about the media, the First Amendment, and the state of the conspiracy theory business in 2019.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Atlanta radio pro Jeff Dauler is out at WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94.1” where he was co-host of the “Jeff & Jenn” show with Jenn Hobby.  She addressed Dauler’s departure on the program but didn’t offer any specifics on his departure.  Hobby will continue to lead the morning show.  At the same time as Dauler departed, afternoon personality Mike Marino also left the air and his info on the station’s website has been scrubbed.  Aside from Hobby addressing it on the air, WSTR has not commented specifically on the changes…..Warner Music Nashville recording artist Cale Dodds (right) took time out of his busy tour schedule with Chase Rice to fill in as a special guest co-host with Jackson (left) on Beasley Media Group’s WKLB, Boston “Country 102.5” morning show.  Dodds helped finn in for morning show co-host Ayla Brown.  He took the opportunity to premier his new single, “I Like Where This Is Going.”  On Monday and Tuesday (5/13-14), Sony Nashville recording artist Rachel Wammack will co-host with Jackson.  WKLB program director David Corey says, “There’s no better way for the country audience to get to know an artist than to bring them into our world and put them on a morning show.  It allows us to go way beyond the typical interview questions that might be asked.  This is real life conversation…and fun!  We are thankful to Cale and Rachel for getting that and jumping all in with us!”

Monday, June 22, 2015

| June 22, 2015

mcmeartymikeWTOP, Washington Names McMearty Program Director.  Three months after former programmer Laurie Cantillo and Hubbard Radio parted ways, the company names 23-year staffer Mike McMearty program director for the multi-platform news operation.  McMearty moves up from his news director post to the new position of director of news and programming.  Hubbard Washington SVP/GM Joel Oxley comments, “Mike has been an integral part of our success for more than two decades.  He has led the newsroom to hundreds of industry awards for excellence in journalism, including 18 National Murrowwtop logo NEW 1-15 Awards and more than two dozen honors already in 2015.  I look forward to him taking the department to new heights.”  The station reports that Jim Battagliese continues his role as director of traffic, transit and weather.  Mitchell Miller is promoted to senior news director managing the newsroom weekday mornings, Darci Marchese moves up to a full-time news director weekday afternoons, and Jamie Forzato now will manage news operations on the weekends as weekend managing editor.  Meera Pal moves to social and digital engagement director reporting to Julia Ziegler, who moves from web and operations manager of FederalNewsRadio.com to become the news director of WTOP.com.  All of the changes will take place over the next several weeks.

2015 NYC 150Talkers New York 2015 Videos Begin Being Posted Today (6/22).  Starting today with WFAN, New York superstar Mike Francesa’s opening “Keynote Greeting,” TALKERS will be posting videos of each of the sessions that made Talkers New York 2015’s agenda one of the most successful in the convention’s 18-year history.  A session will be added each business day for the next nine days in a row, in the order that they took place at the event, until the entire agenda, video-recorded by Art Vuolo, is posted in a special Talkers TV feature sponsored by independent station owner, Michael Zwerling’s KSCO, Santa Cruz.  The entire feature will remain posted for the rest of 2015.  To see the opening session with Mike Francesa, please click here.  Tomorrow:  “The State of Radio Ratings” panel moderated by Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel icon Sean Hannity.

talkersnyc2015FrancesaMike Francesa Opens Talkers New York 2015 on Upbeat Note – See Video Today!  In a video posted today (6/22), legendary WFAN afternoon drive personality Mike Francesa sets the tone for what proved to be a realistic, but highly optimistic and solutions-oriented, agenda at the recent industry mega-conference, Talkers New York 2015 (6/12).  The tell-it-like-it-is broadcaster – who has been ranked at #1 on the TALKERS “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio” for the past two consecutive years – blasted the pessimism that he says permeates the radio industry and offered his assessment of the tremendous opportunities available to radio in the digital era.  Francesa drew applause form the packed house stating, “It’s amazing the amount of negativity that exists no matter what part of the business you’re in… I’m here to tell you that even though I am a little closer to the finish [of my career] than I am to the start, back [in 1987] when I was pounding on the door at WFAN with Jeff Smulyan – it took me 18 interviews to get hired, folks — I would be as bullish on radio and as gung ho about getting a career and feeding my family on radio NOW… as I was back then.”  Francesa discusses the multi-platform nature of programming content today and the need/opportunity to monetize every element of it.  He praises the spread of smartphones as being equivalent to a theoretical resurgence of the old transistor radio and thus providing radio with universal portability… something it hasn’t enjoyed in decades.  He discusses the importance of branding in today’s media environment and vehemently champions the importance of “live and local” being the key to radio’s survival and purpose in the coming era.  To see Francesa’s entire speech, please click here.

russoronWestwood One Names Ron Russo EVP Northeast Sales.  Radio sales pro Ron Russo is named EVP, Northeast Region for Westwood One’s network sales division.  In this position, Russo will “manage and oversee the New York sales office and be responsible for revenue growth and multi-platform brand integrations across all Westwood One assets, including network sales, spot sales, platform, digital, and events.”  Russo will report to Westwood One president Steve Shaw.  In awestwood one NEW statement from WW1, the company notes that Russo comes to them from iHeartMedia where he was general sales manager for the NYC station group.  “In addition to building and overseeing the sales teams, he was instrumental in managing the transition when iHeart purchased WOR-AM from Buckley Broadcasting.  He also played an important role in securing the station’s radio rights to the NY Mets.”  He worked for CBS RADIO at hot AC WWFS, “Fresh 102.7” before joining iHeartMedia.   Russo says, “I am really looking forward to working with this great team of sellers and collaborating throughout the organization as we look for innovative ways to drive and accelerate results for our clients.”

ellismayesBillboard15Rob Ellis Lands at WPEN, Philadelphia.  Former WIP-FM, Philadelphia personality Rob Ellis debuts on crosstown Greater Media’s WPEN, Philadelphia, partnered up with Harry Mayes.  Ellis exited CBS RADIO’s WIP in March after failing to come to terms on a contract renewal with the station.  Ellis, who also hosts “Breakfast on Broad” on cable’s Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, takes over as co-host of the midday show for Eytan Shander, who remains with the company.  Former WIP personality Anthony Gargano also joined WPEN late last year as morning drive personality.

Odds & Sods. Both FOX Sports and ESPN are reporting that former San Diego Chargers player and longtimeWW1EmrichGrahamKuglerCWS2015 radio play-by-play analyst Hank Bauer has been let go from the radio broadcast team.  Bauer served a one-game suspension last season – missing the final preseason game – after he used a Jewish slur during the third preseason game.  He later apologized…..Westwood One presents coverage of the NCAA Division I Men’s College World Series Finals beginning this evening from TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Nebraska.  The best-of-three championship series between Vanderbilt and Virginia is being covered by (pictured here in front of the famous Road to Omaha statue standing from left to right) Ted Emrich, Scott Graham, and Kevin Kugler.

brownejoyIs15Dr. Joy Browne Tours Israel as Guest of Prime Minister – Meets with Victims of Terror.  Nationally-syndicated (GCN) talk show host and clinical psychologist, Dr. Joy Browne returns to New York today (6/22) after an intense week-long tour of Israel on a fact-finding/counseling mission that brought her into one-on-one encounters with Israeli victims of terror.  Browne (right) is pictured meeting with Israeli citizens at the Jerusalem headquarters of the OneFamily organization during what has been her first visit to the Middle East democracy this week.  According to a report in the Jerusalem Post, during the emotionally charged encounter, which was hosted by OneFamily CEO Chantal Belzberg, Browne met with former residents of the US, Canada, and the UK who were physically and emotionally scarred in terrorist attacks across Israel during the past few years.  “I am delighted and honored to be here,” Browne tells the Post. “After experiencing the aftermath of 9/11, we all share a common echo and I am impressed with the resilience of the people here who have worked or who are working to transcend fear and are getting on with their lives.”  The perennially popular radio personality, in addition to interviewing and counselling victims, also interviewed the organization’s various psychologists and therapists for a future segment on her widely heard program.  Browne’s trip to Israel was sponsored by the Office of the Prime Minister and America’s Voices in Israel. (Photo courtesy of the Jerusalem Post and Sarah Levin.)

ratnerPinkerton15FOX News Commentators Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton Honored by Grenada’s St. George’s University. Media personalities Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton were recognized with honorary doctorates from St. George’s University in Grenada for their charitable works.  Pinkerton and Ratner – who work together as conservative and liberal commentators, respectively, on FOX News Channel’s “FOX & Friends Weekend” on the “Long and Short of It” segment – are known for separate charitable efforts.  Pinkerton has been working with the school assisting with its cure strategy for diseases.  Ratner has been working for years to provide some of the basic tools for subsistence farming to people in South Sudan.  Ratner (third from left) and Pinkerton (fourth from left) are seen here receiving their honorary degrees.

morrisonbobDallas Newsman Bob Morrison Dies.  Former KRLD-AM and WBAP-AM, Dallas newsman Bob Morrison died yesterday (6/21) after a long illness. Salem Radio Network VP, News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “When I served its VP/general manager, I hired Bob as news director of the USA Radio Network in 1999, and he brought a professional demeanor to reorganizing USA that was nothing short of amazing.  His planning and execution of the national political conventions in 2000 remains a highlight, and nurturing his strong delivery and solid journalistic skills will always remain a highlight of my career.”