Tag: "net revenue"
Cumulus Reports Q4 and 2015 Full-Year Numbers; Net Revenue Dipped 7.5% in 2015. The net revenue numbers for Cumulus Media were not pretty but there was no expectation that they would be. The company’s net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2015 was $308.8 million – down 6.2% from the same period in 2014. For all of 2015, net revenue was $1.1 billion; that represents a dip of 7.5% compared to all of 2014. Other fourth quarter numbers reveal big drops in the digital sector (- 42.7%) and in political advertising (- 78.3%). However, broadcast advertising was relatively flat (- 0.5). Breaking that down further, local advertising was flat (- 0.6) but national advertising was off 10.5% and network advertising was down 2.8%. New Cumulus CEO Mary Berner was brutally frank about the state of the company she’s been leading for five short months. She told investors during yesterday’s conference call, “As you can see by the continued underperformance we experienced this quarter versus our peers, we have a lot of work to do to stabilize the business. We are organizing that work around four foundational issues which I believe are responsible for our underperformance, and I will give you some context for the moves we are making to correct Cumulus’ trajectory. First, a well-constructed operational plan wasn’t or couldn’t be executed at Cumulus due to a lack of management tools and information, as well as a misalignment of authority and responsibility across many functions. Second, the company had a corporate culture characterized by a lack of focus, accountability, and collaboration and under-investment in human capital which collectively resulted in significant turnover and economic leakage. Third, revenue was meaningfully impacted by multi-year declines in ratings across the entire platform in part due to a command and control operating strategy that often ignored local market dynamics. And finally, a substantial amount of leverage on the balance sheet has reduced the company’s capital flexibility while increasing the pressure to execute in operational turnaround quickly. Our operational turnaround strategies thus are organized around these issues and are as follows; enhanced operational blocking and tackling, institute initiatives to improve the company’s culture and drive ratings growth.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can read the whole transcript here.
Analysis: The 2016 Infinite Dial. Yes, AM/FM radio is still the dominant audio listening device in-car, but, according to the most recent Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital, listening to podcasts and use of digital devices (especially smartphones) is continuing to rise at a steady rate. Consultant Holland Cooke attended yesterday’s webinar on the study and files this story for TALKERS magazine. Among some of the more interesting findings: 93% of persons 12-24 own a smartphone; 21% of those surveyed own no AM-FM device in their home; and 60% own an Internet-connected television. See more here.
The Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 7-11. The activities of the candidates for president, the primary elections, and the debates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Hillary Clinton private email server matter. Coming in at #3 was U.S. immigration policy followed by the European migrant issues 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. View this week’s entire chart here.
Garry Meier Enters Podcast World. According to a tip from Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Windy City radio legend Garry Meier is launching a new podcast on his garrymeier.com platform. The first show will stream on Saturday night. Meier is hoping to build a subscriber base, converting the free listeners into paying customers. Initially, he will produce three one-hour shows per week for free. His first guest on the program will be Howard Stern, who Feder notes has called podcasting “for losers.” Meier has been off the radio since Tribune cancelled his show on WGN.fm in November of 2014. Read Feder’s story here.
Gallagher Anchors SRN’s GOP Debate Coverage. Nationally syndicated talk show host Mike Gallagher was in Miami last night (3/10) anchoring Salem Radio Network’s coverage of the GOP debate at the University of Miami. The debate was aired on CNN and the audio simulcast was provided by SRN. Gallagher is pictured here speaking with GOP frontrunner Donald Trump after the conclusion of the debate. SRN personality Hugh Hewitt served on the CNN panel that questioned the four remaining GOP candidates.
Odds & Sods. Conservative Review published a short piece about viewers tuning out of last night’s GOP debate and leaving the post-debate coverage on both Fox News Channel and CNN for Mark Levin’s new LevinTV.com. The story features Twitter messages from people announcing their unhappiness with the Fox and CNN coverage and desire to get analysis from LevinTV…..At the Kevin Adell-owned religious urban-targeted station WFDF, Detroit, Oakland county executive L. Brooks Patterson is being paired up with radio pro Nancy Skinner for a program called “B.S. on 910.” The weekly show will air from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. Patterson is a staunch conservative and Skinner is a liberal. Patterson is not being paid for his role on the program…..ABC News is offering a new podcast from staffer Dan Harris, author of the best-selling book 10% Happier. The book recounts Harris’ reluctant journey into meditation. The podcast is called “10% Happier with Dan Harris,” and will involve Harris interviewing gurus, scientists, teachers, celebrities, athletes and executives about their meditation practices “as he investigates whether enlightenment is real and whether there is anything beyond just 10%.”
Saga Communications Net Revenue for 2015 Flat; Down 2.1% in Q4. Fourth quarter and 2015 full year financial figures have been released by Saga Communications and the company’s net revenue for all of 2015 was $132.9 million (basically flat at -0.9%). Comparing 2015 Q4 net revenue to the same period in 2014, the company was down 2.1% (including political). Saga reports that free cash flow increased 2.9% to $21.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. Gross revenue without political increased 0.7% for the year. Station operating expense decreased 1.2% to $97.3 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations). Operating income decreased $1.9 million. Net income for the year was $13.4 million ($2.29 per fully diluted share).
The Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, Oberlin Prof. Controversy, Netanyahu Cancels White House Visit, U.S. Illegal Immigrant Tally, and Erin Andrews Jury Award Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/7). The activities of the candidates for president and today’s Super Tuesday 2 primaries; the U.S. drone strikes on Islamic State militia; the controversial case of an Oberlin College professor’s Israel-Jewish conspiracy theories; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s abruptly cancelled visit with the White House; a report indicating an estimated 15 million immigrants are in the U.S. illegally; and sports reporter Erin Andrews wins a $55 million jury award in her case against the man who videotaped her and the hotel at which it happen were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michael Harrison Explores a Wide Swath of Media Theory from Cave Painting to Virtual Reality. In the latest episode of the weekly PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” the TALKERS publisher presents a dynamic series of provocative connections casting a wide net from prehistoric cave painting to humanity’s “wiring of the solar system.” Referring back to early technology, music (“Garland to Gaga”) and culture (including his own childhood memories of playing kiddie records on a phonograph), Harrison talks about the extraordinary influence that the smart phone and other modern appliances are having on the modern human nervous system going forward into the digital era. This is a tour de force certain to stimulate Harrison’s following of “media freaks” both inside the industry and beyond. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KOZN, Omaha’s Nick Bahe Returns to Air This Week. Sports talk host Nick Bahe is planning to return to the air on NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” after being off the air since February 17 to have a tumor removed from his chest. The midday personality called in to his own program yesterday (3/7) to tell listeners that the tumor is benign and he will be back on his show this week. NRG reports that podcast plays of the program tallied close to 17,500. KOZN operations manager Dave Tepper states, “Nick has had an incredibly challenging few months with his health. His ‘Zone’ team and listeners share relief in learning his test results are healthy and that he’ll back entertaining his listeners soon.”
Kinosian: John & Leah Show 1st Year Progress Report. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian recently spoke with Envision Networks-syndicated talk personality John Ziegler about the progress his Sunday evening show is making a year into its national distribution effort. The three-hour show that features co-host Leah Brandon (who also serves as WERC, Birmingham morning news anchor) is currently heard on 22 affiliate stations – 15 of which are in the top 28 markets. Ziegler tells Kinosian, “So far, I am surprised there has not been more of a bandwagon effect. Many stations are missing a fantastic opportunity to get their weekdays started in a strong way with this great reason for people to tune in on Sunday nights. I think this is a real missed opportunity for many stations around the country. We would like to help them take advantage of that opportunity. If every medium market manager saw our ratings success in Louisville, they would be calling Envision immediately because it is a remarkable story.” Ziegler understands the challenges of building a national show but he says he’s confident because he believes in the quality of the show. “There is so much clutter out there. If content means anything, this show will be a huge success because our content is better than [that of anyone else]. We are the only show that together has a male and a female with the expansive and unique backgrounds that Leah Brandon and I have. We are also the only show that can do both hard news and soft news in an informative and an entertaining way. No one else can bridge that gap.” Read more here.
Odds & Sods. A joint venture between Salem Radio Network and David Leach’s The Strident Conservative will give a network platform to the latter’s two-minute daily radio commentary. Leach says, “I am delighted to begin this new partnership with the Salem broadcast family. The SC combines poignant and honest opinion, mixed with a touch of sarcasm and satire, in ways that will appeal to listeners who still believe in the America envisioned by our Founding Fathers. I believe we are a perfect fit for the Salem network.”…..Sports talker KLWB, Lafayette, Louisiana is adding Houston Astros baseball to its programming this season. Delta Media Corporation says that will the addition of Astros baseball, it marks the first time in more than 10 years that the Houston club’s games have been heard in Acadiana…..According to Media Monitors, during the last 10 days, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ran the most spots on the radio with a total of 6,815 ads – 3,738 spots from her campaign, 2,906 spots from her Super PAC Priorities USA ACTION and another 171 spots were purchased by the SEIU COPE (Service Employees International Union); Bernie Sanders was in second place with 4,589 spots (of those, the National Nurses United Patient Protection PAC placed 123 spots and the CWA Working Voices PAC added 68 spots; Ted Cruz was in third place airing 3,024 spots; 979 from his campaign and 2,045 spots by the Keep The Promise I PAC; Donald Trump For President ran 338 spots putting him in fourth place; and Marco Rubio cleared 261 spots, with 208 spots bought by the Super PAC Conservative Solutions and 53 spots by the Cuba Democracy Public Advocacy Corporation…..Dielectric will be at the 2016 NAB Show in Las Vegas in April displaying its purpose-engineered antennas and RF systems for TV and radio broadcasters. There it will display its new low- and high-power antennas to cover all power requirements; and a common case FM combiner that supports channel multiplexing across a lighter infrastructure. Dielectric general manager Keith Pelletier says, “Dielectric has invested significant engineering effort into developing economical antenna and RF solutions for FM broadcasters. Innovations include a panel antenna design for low-power broadcasters that reduces the size of the feed system by half, and a ring-style solution for high-power stations that greatly lowers the costs and complexity of sidemount installations. Inside the transmitter building, we’re returning precious real estate to tenants by eliminating components traditionally associated with the filtering process, while simplifying channel tuning. The result is high-quality engineering with a quicker return on investment for the broadcaster.”
PodcastOne Founder and CEO Norm Pattiz to Moderate ‘The Podcasting Session’ at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations. In a panel discussion designed to serve as one of the informational centerpieces of the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference, PodcastOne founder/CEO Norm Pattiz will serve as moderator. “The Podcast Session” will feature the legendary radio broadcasting visionary and original Westwood One founder along with an all-star array of successful talent and leading-edge executives in the emerging field of podcasting. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We are delighted that Norm Pattiz will guide this extremely important session. He is clearly one of the leading experts, movers and shakers in the rise of podcasting – not just as a medium of communication – but as a mighty extension and new platform for the growth of both advertising and subscription-driven digital broadcasting, journalism and entertainment. That will be the focus of this intense panel discussion. Stand by as we announce the panel members over the coming days.” TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place on Friday, May 20, 2016 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. It will be the 19th annual installment of the talk radio and talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention. For more information see stories below.
WW1: Nielsen Data Highlights Strengths of NCAA Tourney Radio Audience. Stating its case for the quality of the radio audience for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Westwood One presents data from Nielsen studies analyzing that group of consumers. The first study analyzed the NCAA listening audience in 48 Portable People Meter markets, examining reach accumulation across the entire NCAA basketball season. The second study of 1,000 college hoops fans titled, “A Day in the Life of an NCAA Fan,” investigates how the March Madness audience follows the tournament across social, video, audio and digital platforms in a variety of locations. WW1’s goal is to show that the NCAA radio audience is a more dedicated audience that its other media counterparts and presents numbers to argue for that. Among the key findings are: NCAA radio listeners are more engaged fans and consume more games on average than the general NCAA basketball audience; 87% of NCAA basketball listeners will follow/watch/listen to the full tournament through the Final, compared with 78% of the overall NCAA basketball audience; and the average number of NCAA tournament games consumed by AM/FM listeners is 12.3, compared to 10.2 for the total NCAA basketball audience. See more from the study here.
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.”
Johnson Joins WTEM as PD. More accurately, as of next Monday (2/15), Chris Johnson will again occupy the programming chair at Red Zebra Broadcasting sports outlet WTEM “ESPN 980,” Washington, DC – just as he did from 2005 to 2008. Red Zebra Broadcasting chairman Terry Bateman states, “We are excited to have someone with Chris’ experience and skill to help us build and grow ‘ESPN 980.’ We have a great lineup of talent and great content. We look forward to putting it all together to give our listeners the best sports talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Most recently, Johnson covered MLB‘s Washington Nationals as a reporter for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. He previously was a producer of NFL and NCAA games for Westwood One; Johnson’s prior connection with WTEM lasted from 1996 – 2008. Down for the third straight ratings period (2.3 – 2.1 – 1.9 -1.6, 6+), “ESPN 980” finishes #20 in the “Holiday” 2015 report, while its format challenger – CBS Radio-owned WJFK-FM “The Fan” – also off for the third successive sweep (2.5 – 2.3 – 2.1 -1.9, 6+) – is #18. The market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH (5.9 – 6.1 – 7.0 – 12.0, 6+).
Trevor Carey Promoted to Afternoons at ‘PowerTalk 96.7’ in Fresno. Radio pro Trevor Carey had been hosting the afternoon drive show on iHeartMedia’s sister “PowerTalk” brand in the Stockton-Modesto market – “PowerTalk 1360” on KFIV and KWSX – in addition to hosting the 6:00 pm hour on “PowerTalk 96.7” (KALZ-FM and KRZR-AM in Fresno-Visalia). Now, with Christopher Gabriel’s recent exit from the PM drive slot, Carey takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. He’ll also host the 6:00 pm hour on the Stockton-Modesto duo.
New Hampshire Primary/Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 8-12. Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and the activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Hillary Clinton email case investigation. Coming in at #3 was the recent financial markets activity and related concerns about a recession followed by the effects of the Syrian civil war at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and it is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Sean Hannity to Speak and Host Breakfast at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations. In what has become an annual talk media industry tradition, Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will host “Breakfast with Hannity” and preside over the opening keynote discussion at the forthcoming 19th annual installment of the field’s largest, longest-running and most important national convention. In making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Sean’s contributions to this storied event, as well as to the industry in general, are incalculable. He has spearheaded discussions about crucial issues attendant to the ratings, consolidation, lowering the demos and free speech, just to scratch the surface. He has provided inspiration and encouragement to new generations of broadcasters coming into the field. When Sean walks in the door at this event, all politics are left outside and he becomes a true statesman of the business offering insight, experience and intelligence about the many issues and challenges we face in common. We are delighted that he will again play such an important role in this conference – especially considering its forward-motion theme of bridging the generations.” Over 60 outstanding speakers will participate in TALKERS 2016, set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
Beasley Broadcast Group 2015 Q4 Net Revenue Up 6.2%. That figure is based on Beasley’s reporting of combined operations – both continuing and discontinued operations – and that’s relative to the 2014 Q4 asset swap with CBS RADIO that saw Beasley exchange five radio stations in the Philadelphia and Miami-Fort Lauderdale markets for 14 CBS stations in the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Charlotte and Philadelphia markets. Net revenue of combined operations for the whole of 2015 was $105.9 million, an increase of 4.4% over 2014. Beasley CEO and chairman George Beasley states, “Throughout 2015 we implemented a broad range of operating, programming, sales and local strategies intended to extract operating and financial synergies from the stations acquired in the 2014 Asset Exchange. I am pleased to report that we achieved our goal of our clusters outperforming the markets that report to Miller Kaplan for the first time in December 2015 and expect this trend to continue in 2016. Success with our integration and profitability initiatives is also reflected in fourth quarter 2015 station operating income of $9 million and an SOI margin of 31.7%, as well as net income of $3.3 million or $0.14 per diluted share.”
CBS RADIO Revenue Dips 5%. Radio is not the primary focus of CBS Corp. but new CBS chairman, president and CEO Les Moonves has always said he likes the radio business – especially its cash flow. Radio is lumped in with CBS Television Stations to make up the Local Broadcasting category, but the company breaks the two apart in these reports and radio’s revenue was down 5% on “continued softness in the radio advertising marketplace and lower political advertising.” The television sector was down 11% compared to the same Q4 period in 2014 – a period that benefitted from mid-term election political spending.
Odds & Sods. WOR, New York’s “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning” spoke on the radio with GOP presidential candidate and fellow New Yorker Donald Trump yesterday morning (2/11). Responding to criticism that he doesn’t have the temperament to be president, Trump told the WOR audience, “as we get closer, you will be shocked at how presidential I will be.”…..Talk host Bill Carroll had been doing an afternoon talk show for Corus-owned news/talk CFMJ, Toronto from Los Angeles while he was still working at iHeartMedia’s KFI (a gig he exited in early January). Now, he’s also leaving the CFMJ show with rumors he’s soon to land at a new station in Canada…..A special edition of the Joan Hamburg show will air on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York this weekend as the Big Apple radio host covers New York’s annual Fashion Week. For the second year, Hamburg speaks with New York’s fashion elite in “The Business of Fashion Week” airing on Saturday (2/13) from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ( a special replay will air Sunday night at 9:00 pm). Hamburg speaks with New York Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis, “The Real Housewives of New York City” star Countess Luann de Lesseps, New York style icon Nick Wooster, Harpers Bazaar editor Avril Graham, and Ben Stiller, director and star of the Zoolander films…..AccuWeather appoints Sarah Katt vice president of product development and operations for the AccuWeather Network. She’ll report to John Dokes, general manager of the AccuWeather Network and chief marketing officer of AccuWeather.
Don Imus to Be Honored with the TALKERS 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. The TALKERS editorial board announced today (2/11) that one of the most colorful, controversial, and venerable radio personalities of all time, John Donald Imus Jr. – mononymously known as Imus – has been named the 2016 recipient of the prestigious TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The 75-year-old legend has been heard on radio since 1968 on a variety of heritage stations including WGAR and WHK in Cleveland as well as WNBC and WFAN in New York. He has hosted cable TV shows on MSNBC and more recently Fox Business Channel. He presently hosts his long-running show “Imus in the Morning” on WABC, New York. Imus, author of numerous books and performer on several hit comedy albums, is a complex broadcasting figure known both for being a politically incorrect insult-artist as well as being a humanitarian and philanthropist, particularly in the battle against childhood cancer. Imus has won four NAB Marconi Awards, three for Major Market Personality of the Year in 1990, 1992 and 1997 and one for Network Syndicated Personality in 1994. He inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989 and was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in America by Time magazine in 1997. In 2002, TALKERS magazine ranked Imus as one of the 25 Greatest Radio Talk Show Hosts of all Time. In making the announcement on behalf of the board, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “If Don Imus doesn’t deserve this spoken-word radio award, no one does. His unique position, diversity of styles, capacity for reinvention – not to mention influence on the industry, pop culture and politics – stand out among a rarified handful of bold performers who have made broadcasting history.” The award will be presented to Imus at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. It is hoped that he will be in attendance to receive the award personally, despite his challenge with health issues and present home-base in Texas. True to form, the legend tells TALKERS, “My wife thinks I should do this – be gracious and accept your idiotic award.”
Cumulus and Mark Levin Agree to ‘Lifetime Extension.’ Both Westwood One EVP of news/talk Bart Tessler and talk radio star Mark Levin jokingly use the term “lifetime” to describe the new contract extension between the two parties, but nine years seems like a lifetime in the world of radio contracts. Levin says, “I could not be more pleased to extend my radio partnership with Cumulus/Westwood One. For the next nine years — an unprecedented long-term relationship in the broadcasting industry — I am committed to continuing to bring the best possible program, both substantive and entertaining, to my millions of beloved and loyal listeners each and every day.” Tessler adds, “To know that we’ll be working together for so many years is a Mark Levin show primary victory and a big win for affiliates, advertisers, and listeners. Mark’s tenure will now exceed that of a two-term president and that means continued excellence on the air on a nightly basis.” The company says Levin’s show “not only covers the most critical events of the day, but delves into history, economics, philosophy, and the constitution – and continues to be an enormous ratings and revenue winner for Westwood One and for the more than 300 stations that broadcast the show.
Entercom Reports 2015 Net Revenue Up 8%. 2015 was a good year for Entercom. The company reported net revenue for the fourth quarter was $117.7 million – up 16% from the same period a year ago. For the year of 2015 net revenue was $411.4 million, an increase of 8%. These figures include the impact of the transaction with Lincoln Financial Media and the station exchange with Bonneville International Corporation which started in July. But the impressive revenue hike is not just the result of additional signals; president and CEO David Field notes that the company’s stations performed well. “I am pleased to report that Entercom’s performance continued to accelerate into the fourth quarter, capping a very successful 2015…Fourth quarter same-station revenue increased by 5%, excluding political advertising. This marked the second straight quarter of mid-single digit organic growth. We are very well positioned for success in 2016 with an expanded market footprint, strong station ratings growth, and enhanced digital and customer marketing capabilities. Our pacings look strong and we are optimistic about our potential to deliver excellent results for our shareholders in 2016 and the years ahead.”
Greater Media’s ‘Detroit Sports 105.1’ Moves Baligian, Mazawey & Fellhauer to Mornings. The trio of Sean Baligian, Tom Mazawey and Marc Fellhauer is currently heard in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot on Greater Media’s WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1.” Beginning Tuesday (2/16), they will move to morning drive, replacing ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike. ESPN’s Ryan & Rico will now be heard from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and the afternoon drive show co-hosted by Matt Dery and Drew Sharp will start at 2:00 pm. Station program director Dave Shore says, “We feel this new lineup will give our dedicated motor city sports fans a more local sports experience. We are very grateful to ESPN’s Mike & Mike for their contributions to the station.”
Five iHeartMedia Programmers Boosted. Trading in their titles of senior vice president of programming to become division executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia‘s national programming group are Tony Coles, Steve Geofferies, Andrew Jeffries, Thea Mitchem, and Meg Stevens. Along with fellow division executive vice president of programming Gene Romano, they will report to iHeartMedia national programming group executive vice president and general manager Brad Hardin. According to national programming group president Tom Poleman, “Great programming is the foundation of our stations. We are fortunate to have an amazing group of local program directors leading our brands. The collaboration between local programming and the iHeartMedia national programming group unlocks the unparalleled scale and assets of iHeartMedia, providing us with unmatched resources which benefit each and every one of our stations.” Formerly organized into major and regional market groups, iHM is now comprised of four geographic divisions, each led by a division president. Jeffries and Geofferies are working in the West division with Greg Ashlock; Coles is in the Central with Matt Martin; Mitchem and Stevens in the Northeast with Hartley Adkins; and Romano is teamed with Tom McConnell in the Midwest-Southeast division.
NH Primary Aftermath/Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Record Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Iran-U.S. Navy Incident, U.S. Afghanistan Forces Strengthened, European Refugee Problems, Zika Virus Concerns, and Beyonce Super Bowl Performance Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The analysis of Tuesday’s New Hampshire presidential primary and the activities of the candidates for president; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; the continuing downward trend in oil prices, the world’s financial markets activity, and concerns about a new recession; Iran’s gloating over the incident with a U.S. Navy patrol; the U.S. increases peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan; the troubles European nations are experiencing dealing with Syrian refugees; concerns about a Zika virus pandemic and reports of cases in 20 U.S. states; and ongoing criticism of Beyonce’s performance at the Super Bowl were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. KEIR, Idaho Falls is expanding its local content. Riverbend Communications general manager Bill Fuerst tells East Idaho News that the station wants to give more voice to its listeners. “Idaho’s Morning News with Dylan Carder” will expand to two hours – airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am – and Mark Richardson will host a new, hour-long afternoon show at 3:00 pm…..Podcasting and audio-video streaming experts StreamGuys are attending “Proclaim 16” – the NRB International Christian Media Convention and Exposition – to share their expertise to assist worship communities extend their reach. StreamGuys says Matt Kellogg (who joined the company from the recently shuttered Live365) will lead the company’s engagements with houses of worship and religious organizations…..ESPN Radio will present radio coverage of the NBA’s 65th All-Star Game on Sunday (2/14) from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. This will be ESPN Radio’s 20th year covering the game. In the booth will be Kevin Calabro and Jon Barry with reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith. Marc Kestecher will host the pre-game and halftime coverage with analyst P.J. Carlesimo.
Michael Harrison and Tom Leykis Chat About the Past, Present and Future of Audio Media. Legendary broadcast radio performer and pioneering online radio entrepreneur Tom Leykis joins TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on PodcastOne’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two engage in an extensive, one-on-one discussion about Leykis’ colorful career that spanned decades as a talk show host on some of America’s highest-profile radio stations and during which time his on-air persona ranged from outrageous “shock jock” to edgy “progressive” political news/talker. Today, Leykis approaches the fourth anniversary of his successful online radio enterprise, The New Normal – a multifaceted platform upon which he streams his daily, live, listener call-in program, “The Tom Leykis Show,” as well as a podcast for radio talents Gary & Dino. A separate iteration of The New Normal delivers two streaming music channels – pop and rock – personally curated by Leykis. Leykis discusses his leading-edge business model that includes a mix of advertising, subscriptions, merchandising and live events – now generating upwards of $600,000 annual gross revenue. The two venerable pros talk about targeting Millennials, the nature of “authenticity” as it applies to today’s younger demos, the scope of non-traditional revenue and various aspects of media theory as it applies to 21st century communications. To listen to this entire uninterrupted conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Compass Media’s Gordon Deal Celebrates 10th Anniversary Hosting Morning Show; Two Sides Sign Contract Extension. Nationally syndicated morning host Gordon Deal is celebrating the 10th anniversary as host of “This Morning –America’s First News with Gordon Deal” at the same time syndicator Compass Media Networks is announcing it has inked Deal to a multi-year contract extension. Regular TALKERS readers remember that the program was developed by the old Wall Street Journal Radio Network and then WSJ decided to exit the radio business, Compass took over syndication of the Deal-hosted show and helped push it to its current affiliate mark of some 300 news/talk stations in 95 of the top 100 markets. Deal comments, “Has it really been ten years? Wow! Pride and gratitude are the words that come to mind at a time like this. First, thank you to our affiliates, sponsors and listeners. Second, our team puts a tremendous amount of work into our program and I would be remiss not to sincerely thank all our contributors, producers, and staff.” Jennifer Kushinka serves as the program’s main news anchor and Michael Gavin is executive producer and contributor.
Salem Media Group Q3 Broadcast Net Revenue Up 1.9%. For the company as a whole, net revenue for the third quarter of 2015 was down 3% on income of $67.5 million. But Salem Media Group’s broadcast division’s net revenue was $49.2 million, up 1.9%. Salem’s digital segment saw revenue dip 1% and the publishing sector was down almost 30%. For the first nine months of 2015, net broadcast revenue was basically flat at +0.4%.
Price: When the Lights Go Out. Yesterday (11/9) was the 50th anniversary of the Great Blackout of 1965 – an event that cast some 30 million people into darkness in New York City, much of the Northeast and Ontario for as long as 13 hours. ABC Television director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes that the anniversary is a good reminder for broadcasters to have their emergency plans updated and ready to implement. “That’s what we do, we broadcasters: We inform, we comfort, we calm an audience – help them through crises, and reassure them that things will turn out alright. And in so doing, we become an integral part of their everyday lives. But to do that, we have to have well-rehearsed emergency plans and protocols in place – and we have to resource them properly – to maintain our role as ‘first informers.’” Read Price’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Portland sports talker KXTG-AM “750 & 102.9 The Game” is now a CBS Sports Radio affiliate. The Alpha Media station is adding the network’s “Gio & Jones,” “Ferrall on the Bench,” and “After Hours with Amy Lawrence” shows to the lineup that features the Dan Patrick show, Jim Rome and “The Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano.”…..Westwood One names marketing and sales pro Erik Neubart senior director, sports marketing & sales. In this position, Neubart will work directly with the company’s agency client partners to create “innovative, multi-platform brand integrations and marketing solutions across the Westwood One sports assets —Westwood One Sports live play-by-play and the NBC Sports Radio and CBS Sports Radio 24/7 sports talk formats. Neubart is based in New York City and reports directly to Julie Boruchov, VP, sports sales.
Art Vuolo Video Exhibit to Reside at Museum of Broadcast Communications. American radio chronicler Art Voulo is contributing his video library “A History of the American Disc Jockey” to The National Radio Hall of Fame, located within the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. Well known as “Radio’s Best Friend” among radio pros, Vuolo has been videotaping radio personalities both on the air and behind-the-scenes since the late 1970s. This future exhibit is being spearheaded by Chicago broadcasting executives John Gehron of AccuRadio, Lisa Miller of Miller Broadcast Management, and Harv Blain of Vallie Richards Donovan Consulting, and will highlight nearly 40 years of Vuolo’s work with more than 700 disc jockeys from coast to coast, including many of radio’s most creative personalities. More than 1,000 videos will be available for viewing at the museum. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “The trust Art Vuolo created between himself and hundreds of radio personalities while capturing their on-air magic in video form has turned into a treasure trove of memories everyone should be able to see. Many personalities are in the National Radio Hall of Fame; many more are deserved of nomination. The collection of work should be heard and seen by all who are interested.” Vuolo comments, “I am honored to present my video library to The National Radio Hall of Fame at The Museum of Broadcast Communications and am absolutely overwhelmed with the support of the radio industry.”
2016 Presidential Race/Tonight’s GOP Debate, Starbucks Holiday Cups Controversy, U of Missouri President Resigns, Obama Immigration Order Blocked, UVA Fraternity Sues Rolling Stone, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/9). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the run-up to this evening’s GOP primary debate in Milwaukee; the controversy created by Starbucks’ decision to change its holiday cup designs to avoid potentially religious sentiments; racial tensions at the University of Missouri and the president’s decision to resign his post; President Obama’s executive order on immigration is blocked by a Court of Appeals; the University of Virginia fraternity named in the retracted gang rape story sues Rolling Stone for $25 million; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 4. Today (11/5), TALKERS magazine continues its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Today we explore the question: What is the future for women on talk radio? Consultant Valerie Geller says that developing shows hosted by women, like most new programs, takes time. “Oprah’s audience was made for women, hosted by a woman and got a huge female audience. You also have to give shows time to grow and find their audience. Both Rush and Sean had that. Many female hosts are given an opportunity, but management gets scared and pulls the plug too soon — shows take time to grow — you have to be willing to believe in, develop and then give a talent the time it takes to grow, male or female.” At Tribune’s WGN, Chicago, VP/content and programming Todd Manley says his station has numerous female voices – both in news and on talk host positions – and they’ve been brought aboard because they have specific attractive qualities. Wendy Snyder co-hosts middays and Patti Vasquez hosts solo at night. Manley says, “Wendy is just simply curious. She flies into every show without pretense. Plus, she has an engaging lack of filter, which works for her because she’s loving. Patti has an investigative gene and she’s quickly becoming Chicago’s favorite community activist. You throw in her comic genius and you get great laughs with the tears.” Read the entire piece here.
iHeartMedia Q3 Consolidated Revenue Down 3.1%. For the third quarter of 2015, iHeartMedia is reporting that although its consolidated revenue increased slightly during the period, unfavorable impact from movements in foreign exchange rates caused its reported consolidated revenue to drop to $1.57 million – down 3.1% compared to the same period a year ago. The iHeartMedia segment, excluding Americas Outdoor and Internation Outdoor, saw revenue increase $22 million, or 3%, excluding political advertising revenues. On a reported basis, revenue increased $16 million, or 2%, during the third quarter 2015 as compared to the third quarter 2014 driven primarily by sponsorship revenue related to the iHeartRadio Music Festival, barter and trade revenue and digital revenue. Partially offsetting these increases was a decrease in political advertising revenues, lower core broadcast radio revenue and prior year revenue from the radio towers sold this year during the second quarter of 2015.
Townsquare Media Q3 Revenue Up 4.2% on Pro Forma Basis. There are a number of ways to look at the third quarter financial numbers announced by Townsquare Media and the company’s acquisition of non-radio assets is important in sifting through the numbers. The 4.2% increase in net revenue on a pro forma basis means “pro forma for the acquisitions of WE Fest and NAME [North American Midway Entertainment] on October 31, 2014 and September 1, 2015, respectively, as well as for the divestiture of certain of our towers on September 1, 2015.” However, the company’s net revenue for Q3 increased over the same period a year ago by 9.7% (excluding the NAME acquisition) and 7.1% including NAME and on a constant currency basis. In a press release, chairman and CEO Steven Price states, “We believe our third quarter performance again demonstrates the strength of our diversified strategy. Our results were in line with our guidance and our strong cash flow generation also allowed us to strengthen our balance sheet through the voluntary repayment of $20 million of our outstanding term loan debt.” Looking a little closer, local advertising net revenue increased just $0.6 million, or 0.7% over the same period a year ago.
Art Bell’s ‘Midnight in the Desert’ Clears on KABC, Los Angeles. Many in the talk radio industry are by now aware that late-night paranormal talker Art Bell has returned to hosting a nightly program that is being offered in syndication to AM/FM stations. The former host of “Coast to Coast AM” is putting his show on the internet via his ArtBell.com but recently began affiliate efforts. Now, TALKERS learns the show is now being cleared on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles, delayed by an hour from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am PT. Bell recently spoke with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison on Harrison’s hit podcast for media freaks called “Up Close and Far Out” on the PodcastOne platform. Listen to it here.
Radio One’s Radio Segment Down 6.6% in Third Quarter. Chief executive officer and president Alfred Liggins says the radio segment of Radio One continues to be challenged with its stations underperforming. The dip of 6.6% in net revenue compared to the markets in which they operate – down just 2.2% — should change in the future. “We are seeing some signs of stabilization in our Washington, DC and Houston clusters, as well as strong performances from Dallas, Philadelphia and St Louis. During the quarter we experienced double-digit ratings growth in 11 of our 15 markets, and our four largest markets showed ratings growth of 15% on average from July to September. This positive ratings momentum should lead to improved monetization in 2016.” The company’s TV One and Reach Media have performed better, helping to offset the radio sector’s performance. The company as a whole reports net revenue up 3.3% for the quarter. Liggins adds, “Fourth quarter core radio advertising revenues, excluding political advertising, are currently pacing (8.3%) YTY. We remain focused on correcting our underperforming radio clusters, while delivering increased cash-flow through overall cost containment, and revenue growth in the cable television business. I am excited that David Kantor has accepted the role as CEO of our radio platform, including our local stations, network and syndication business. Bringing together all of our radio assets under one leadership structure will enhance our ability to compete and transform our business for the future.”
Saga Communications Q3 Net Revenue Down 1.6%. The third quarter report from Saga Communications, Inc. shows the company’s net revenue was down 1.6% on income of $33.8 million. The company also reports that free cash flow increased 11.3% to $5.5 million for the quarter and station operating expense decreased $2.0 million to $24.3 million. For the nine month period from January through September 30, net revenue was down just 0.4% on income of $97.3 million.
Adam Carolla Re-Ups with PodcastOne. One of podcasting’s most successful personalities is continuing his relationship with the Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne advertiser-supported podcast network. Carolla Digital and Adam Carolla ink an exclusive sales and marketing deal for an additional five years. On top of repping the Carolla Digital lineup of programs, the companies will work closely on production and development of new programming. Carolla has been represented by PodcastOne since the company launched. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Pattiz comments, “I learned one lesson very early in life – if you want to do something, do it with the best. I’ve been working with Adam since his ‘Loveline’ days and I hope that my obituary is read on his show first.”
Michael Harrison Talks About the State of Journalism with CBS News Radio VP, Harvey Nagler. In the latest installment of the international hit PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out,” Michael Harrison engages in an in-depth conversation about electronic journalism in the digital age with CBS News Radio VP Harvey Nagler. Nagler is one of the most respected and decorated executives in the realm of radio journalism. The two discuss the role of news on radio today as well as radio’s changing role in the convergence of traditional platforms. It is a substantive conversation covering everything from media responsibility and the impact of citizen gatekeepers on the state of truth to the evolving mission of journalism schools and emerging opportunities for young people entering the field of news in this very new environment. Harrison and Nagler reflect upon the legacy of Edward R. Murrow and compare what he did in the 1940s and 50s to today’s multimedia 24 hour news cycle. Yes, they even mention Donald Trump and the public’s ever-increasing fascination for politics as an entertaining spectator sport in the current presidential election cycle. To listen to the entire conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KABC, Los Angeles to Be Subject of Panel Discussion at SoCal Media Convention. The convention at the Holiday Inn Media Center in Burbank is being presented by SPERDVAC – the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety And Comedy and it takes place this weekend. In addition to a lot of recreations of Golden Age of Radio theatre and celeb appearances, there will be panel discussions. One will feature talk about legendary Los Angeles station KABC. Moderating it will be radio pro and former KABC host Bill Moran. On the panel will be Eric Tracy, Carole Hemmingway, Tommy Hawkins, Royale Oaks, George Green, Ira Fistell, and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (via Skype). Moran says they discuss what made KABC legendary and how the station’s talk programming has changed since it assumed the spoken-word format in the 1960s. For more information about the convention, visit sperdvac.com.
C. Crane’s Impressive New Building. The family-owned-and-operated C. Crane company has been in business since it was founded at the Crane family’s kitchen table in 1983 selling AM antennas for the love of talk radio. Pictured here, you see the staff of the AM/FM radio and accessories vendor posing during the ribbon-cutting outside C. Crane’s newly remodeled 14,000 square foot facility. Local dignitaries and employees decided they might as well celebrate Halloween at the same time since a big move like this is kind of scary. Company founder Bob Crane says the new digs provide improved efficiency and better access for customers to the new showroom. He says, “Our ability to design and manufacture new proprietary radio products has dramatically accelerated with the new facility.”
2016 Presidential Race, Tuesday’s Election Results, Russian Airline Crash, Syria-Russia Relationship, Illinois Cop Case, European Migrant Troubles-U.S. Immigration Policy, and Quentin Tarantino Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016, including the controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance hosting “Saturday Night Live” this weekend; the results of various gubernatorial and mayoral elections on Tuesday; the investigation into the crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai and the possibility ISIS is responsible; the military relationship between Syria and Russia; the case of the Illinois cop, at first thought killed by attackers and now believed to have committed suicide to hide his theft of funds; the ongoing migrant troubles in European countries and U.S. immigration policy; and the flap over director Quentin Tarantino’s support of a rally against deadly police violence were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Loyal Fans of Art Bell Pool Resources and Invest in TALKERS Ad Campaign for their Radio Hero. An international group of extremely loyal fans of legendary radio talk show host Art Bell (left) have pooled their financial resources and invested in a major trade publication advertising campaign (see box and banner ads on every page of Talkers.com and the TALKERS email newsletter) on behalf of their favorite broadcaster. The purpose is to let broadcast radio owners, managers and programmers know that the iconic champion of cosmic consciousness, the paranormal and metaphysical subject matter is back in action doing a nightly (12:00 midnight – 3:00 am ET) online radio program via the Dark Matter Digital Network titled “Midnight in the Desert” – and, most importantly, that it is immediately available for syndication on AM and FM radio stations. Launched this past summer, the show is already carried on more than 35 terrestrial stations across the US and Canada. The group, organized largely through social media, issued the following statement:
Art Bell, the legendary king of late night radio, has always had a unique and surprising relationship with his listeners. For us, it’s personal. A pioneer of interactive radio since the 90s, Art has a long history of connecting directly with his fans in ways few, if any, other radio hosts have. Through Art’s early embrace of internet bulletin boards, IRC chats, and even HAM radio, he created a devoted following. These days, Art is a constant presence to his fans through more modern social networking tools, such as message boards, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. He has continued to maintain direct contact with his fans even during the years when he wasn’t on the air, whether updating them on family matters or giving them his observations on the world.
That personal touch allowed Bell to retain tens of thousands of hardcore fans years after his retirement from national broadcasting. That listener loyalty was bolstered by such things as Art calling into fan podcasts, or granting an exclusive two hour fan interview, hosted in his home and posted online for all to hear. Ever active on the pages of the various fan message boards, Art has always gone to his fans and interacted directly.
Now Art is back with a new show, “Midnight in the Desert,” and in true Art Bell fashion he’s bringing his loyal fans with him.
The genesis of the show was a true grassroots effort. Through modern social media, Bell connected with his fans and built the new show from the ground up. The fans chose the name of the show, as well as the show’s theme music, a song composed especially for Art Bell by Crystal Gayle. It turns out that she’s a fan, too. Art also recruited his staff from his fan base, most famously his webmaster of many years Keith Rowland, but also his current producer. A fan runs his official YouTube channel, and fans created no less than 10 commercial trailers to promote the upcoming show. A dedicated group of fans even got an advertisement for the show on an electronic billboard in Times Square. Art Bell doesn’t just broadcast, he inspires his fans through his interactivity with them.
That loyalty continues with this ad campaign on Talkers.com. Art’s fans include everyone from housewives to astrophysicists. It was brought to the fans’ attention by one of their members in the broadcasting profession that TALKERS was the most effective place to get the word out to radio stations that Art Bell is back and many tens of thousands of listeners are waiting to hear him on their local radio stations once again. Because, if there’s one thing Art Bell has in common with all of his fans, it’s their shared passion for good radio.
Please watch a special video from Art by clicking here.
TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “In the 25 years that we have been publishing TALKERS, we have never witnessed this type of display of fan loyalty. It is remarkable and tremendously inspirational for all of us who love radio and have a vested interest in the proliferation of the viability of the FM/AM paradigm. Thank you Art Bell for continuing to be a trailblazer and to his very special fan base for showing us that people will certainly care if we simply ‘do our jobs’ the way we are supposed to.” For affiliate information, interested stations should contact Amy Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Art Bell is scheduled to be Michael Harrison’s guest on a forthcoming installment of the international PodcastOne hit, “Up Close and Far Out.” Stay tuned for details.
Emmis Reports Q2 Radio Revenue Flat. Reporting that its net radio revenue was flat at $47.6 million, Emmis Communications releases figures from its second fiscal quarter, which ended August 31. In a press statement, the company notes that “second quarter radio revenues were down 0.5% compared to local radio market revenues [which were] down 1.9%. Our New York cluster performed much better in the second quarter (up 4.3% in a market down 3.4%).” Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “Despite our outperformance, the markets where we operate remain challenged. While we are outperforming in a difficult marketplace, the radio industry is clearly in need of a catalyst and we think we have it with NextRadio. The addition of AT&T and T-Mobile during the quarter continues the momentum for NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on smartphones and tablets. I’m most pleased by the broad industry support we have garnered for the effort, which we believe will revolutionize radio.”
CBS RADIO Suspends 92.9 The Game Atlanta Personality Mike Bell for Jessica Mendoza Tweet. Even though he’s apologized for his ill-advised Tweet about ESPN MLB playoff game analyst Jessica Mendoza, CBS RADIO has suspended the WZGC, Atlanta host until Monday (10/12), according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho. Mike Bell, who co-hosts the afternoon drive show with Carl Dukes on “92.9 The Game,” used a reference from a line in the movie Anchorman to express his displeasure with ESPN’s call to have the U.S. Women’s Softball gold medalist serve as color analyst for the Astros-Yankees game. He Tweeted: “yes tell us T*ts McGhee when you’re up there hitting the softball you see a lot of 95 mile an hour cutters.”
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his fourth 2015 PPM analysis of the ratings performances (6+, Mon-Sun 6a-12mid) of stations that serve as flagships for MLB franchise play-by-play. This report is based on the September 2015 PPM data (survey period August 13-September 9). Since this report is not based on ratings from actual game time dayparts, it reflects the overall movement of a station with baseball listening as one possible factor. In this report see charts illustrating the AQH shares of stations from August 2015 to September 2015, from September 2014 to September 2015, as well as the market ranks and how the flagships stacked up based on MLB divisions. Click here to read more.
SiriusXM Renews with the NFL Through 2022. There’s no mention of the price satcaster SiriusXM is paying the National Football League for the just-announced six-year extension of the satellite broadcasting and marketing agreement, but SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer and his team obviously value the play-by-play programming. As the Official Satellite Radio Partner of the NFL, SiriusXM will continue to “feature every NFL game live nationwide from the preseason through Super Bowl LVI in 2022 as well as SiriusXM NFL Radio – SiriusXM’s 24/7 radio channel dedicated entirely to the NFL.”
Clinton Gun Control Plan, 2016 Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Email Server Case, Russia’s Syria Military Campaign, Obama’s TPP Trade Deal, New House Speaker Vote, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/7). Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announces her gun control plan if elected; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing matter of Hillary Clinton’s private email server allegedly used for State Department business; the Russian military campaign in Syria and the U.S.’ role in the battle against ISIS; controversy over President Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal; the pending votes on a new GOP House Speaker; and the action in the MLB playoffs were some of the top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Saga Communications Reports Q2 Revenue Up 1.6%. Net revenue for the second quarter of 2015 for Saga Communications was $34.4 million – an increase of 1.6%. The company reports that free cash flow decreased $281 thousand to $5.7 million. Station operating expense increased $812 thousand to $24.3 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations). Operating income was $7.5 million. Net income for the period was $4.5 million ($0.77 per fully diluted share). Taking a look at the radio division, net operating revenue was $29.1 million, an increase of 0.6% over the same period a year ago.
Michael Harrison Chats with Former FEMA Director (and Current KHOW, Denver Talk Host) Michael D. Brown as 10th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina Approaches. It was almost a decade ago (August 23-31, 2005) that Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast of the United States with winds of up to 175 mph and flood waters of biblical proportions rising from the ocean and falling from the sky — leaving in its wake almost 1,900 fatalities, $108 billion in damages, and countless casualties and lives upended. Michael D. Brown – the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time and Under Secretary of Homeland Security (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job”) became the official poster boy for everything that went wrong with the federal government’s too-little-too-late response to one of the greatest disasters in American history. Some of the criticism that fell upon Brown was deserved – but much of it wasn’t. After all, it was an epic crisis and involved numerous overlapping agencies, governments, and politicians charged with making things right. Brown took a severe beating from the media as well as a proverbial bullet for the team and stepped down from his position with the Bush Administration. A lawyer by trade, Brown went on with his life, taking away an enormous amount of wisdom and experience from the episode. Undaunted, he began speaking to groups around the country about the insidious side of politics, and the human complexity of management and team play. He wrote a candid book about his role (and responsibility) in Katrina — Deadly Indifference: The Perfect (Political) Storm, Hurricane Katrina, the Bush White House, and Beyond (Taylor Trade, 2011). He also began a successful talk show hosting career in Denver – first at KOA and then at KHOW, where he presently presides over a daily program 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm MT. In the newly posted installment of the weekly international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” (8/4), Brown is interviewed by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison about inside-Washington politics, the war on terror, the nature of the political mind, the psychological profile of presidents, the general state of media and journalism as well as what his life is like as a big market talk show host 10 years after Katrina. To hear this must-listen conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Nielsen Audio Releases First Round of July 2015 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of July 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The July 2015 survey period covered June 18 through July 15. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Report from Podcast Movement. Longtime ABC News Radio journalist Richard Davies has been working with his co-host Jim Miegs on their podcast “How Do We Fix It?” since retiring from the network news radio business. He recently attended the Podcast Movement conference in Fort Worth, Texas. Davies reports that the recent success of “Serial” and the PR Marc Maron received for President Obama’s appearance on his “WTF?” podcast has given hope to the thousands of podcast “newbies.” “Marketers and tech firms are taking note of podcasting’s recent growth. Some companies sponsored booths and took part in Q&A sessions at Podcast Movement.” Read Davies’ entire report here.
Odds & Sods. Sports talk station KHTK, Sacramento has a new program director as Kevin Sherrets returns to the station where he began his career 18 years ago. Sherrets leaves his APD gig at Bonneville’s KKFN, Denver “104.3 The Fan” to join the CBS RADIO sports outlet…..FOX News Radio is providing GOP debate coverage to its affiliate stations. It will offer live anchored coverage of the Cleveland debates with Jared Halpern anchoring and Debbie Georgatos serving as analyst.
Nielsen’s ‘Audio Today’ Report: Blacks and Hispanics Account for Almost One Third of National AQH Audience. The quarterly radio audience report from Nielsen finds that “the broad national radio audience (those 12 or older) has hit an all-time high for the second year in a row: 245 million.” This 2015 Q2 report focuses on minority listening and Nielsen’s data shows that a “record 71.7 million Blacks and Hispanics combine to account for almost a third (29.3%) of the national AQH audience. These Black and Hispanic consumers spend more time with radio each week than any other group, and possess enormous buying power for advertisers looking to reach a qualified audience when they are away from home and in the marketplace ready to purchase.” See Nielsen’s report here.
2016 Presidential Candidates-Trump Criticisms, Planned Parenthood Videos Scandal, Cecil the Lion Death, New Obama Emissions Regulations, Battle Against ISIS, Baltimore Violence, and Search for MH370 Debris Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/3). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016, the criticisms of Donald Trump and the possible entrance of Vice President Joe Biden in the race; the potential vote to defund Planned Parenthood in the wake of the videos scandal; the continuing outrage over the hunting of Cecil the lion; President Obama’s new power plant emissions regulations; the air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria; the Baltimore police request federal assistance as violent crime continues to skyrocket; and the search for more potential debris from flight MH370 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cumulus Media’s 2015 Q2 Report: Net Revenue Dips 8.8%. That negative number is not so surprising because Cumulus had issued forward-looking statements that predicted results pretty much in line with what the final numbers turned out to be. Net revenue for the quarter was just shy of $300 million, accounting for the 8.8% decrease compared to the same period a year ago. Broadcast advertising was down 8.4% and the digital advertising category was off 19.5%. Further breaking down the broadcast advertising category, network and national sales took the biggest hits – down 16% and 10.8%, respectively – and local ad sales slipped 3.9%.
Cooke: Local Radio Still an Opportune Career Path. In a brand new installment of Talkers TV, media consultant Holland Cooke calls “this latest round of corporate cutbacks real scary.” And he predicts there are more firings to come saying, “financially, it’s inevitable.” Still, Cooke reckons, “This can be an opportune time for on-air talent,” because, in his view, “so much of what now comes out the speaker has been automated and voicetracked and has become so ‘un-local,’” and because “listeners and advertisers can hear the difference.” In a two-part series in his monthly newsletter, HC outlines where employment opportunity lies and what salaries are typically being paid. And Cooke stresses two skills imperative for today’s job-seekers: digital production savvy, and, as he puts it, “knowing how to actually get hired.” He emphasizes that “simply knowing how to do your job won’t GET you your job.” If you attended Talkers New York 2015, you already have part one, in the June issue of Holland’s newsletter, which was distributed at the conference. Part two is in the August issue, which is available even to non-subscribers. Click here for download instructions. To view Cooke’s presentation on Talkers TV please click on the Talkers TV box in the upper right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
ESPN Radio Announces August Lineup for Former Cowherd Slot. With the recent benching of soon-to-be-exiting personality Colin Cowherd, ESPN Radio goes to its O&O stations as well as the network for talent to fill the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET network time slot. Next week, KEPN, Los Angeles “ESPN LA 710” afternoon drive hosts Max Kellerman and Marcellus Wiley will be heard nationally. The weeks of August 10 and 17 belong to network personality Michelle Beadle and ESPNLA’s Ben Lyons. For the week of August 24, WMVP, Chicago afternoon drive duo Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman – a.k.a. “Waddle & Silvy” – will be featured on the network program. ESPN Radio has not yet announced a permanent show to fill the spot where “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” aired.
KTAR-FM, Phoenix Newsman Ned Foster to Retire. After a career that has spanned 40 years in radio news, “Arizona’s Morning News” anchor Ned Foster will retire from the station at the end of November. The Boston native is enshrined in the Arizona Broadcast Hall of Fame. Foster, who has worked at such heritage signals as WBZ-AM, Boston; KFWB, Los Angeles; and WOWO, Fort Wayne, says, “It’s hard for me to believe how fortunate I’ve been and how much fun I’ve had. I am humbled and gratified beyond words that so many people over so many years found it worth their while to tune in. Thank you!” Bonneville Phoenix VP of content and operations Ryan Hatch adds, “Ned is the consummate newsman and he’s had an absolutely remarkable career. We can’t thank him enough for helping Arizona commuters get to work informed and on-time each morning.”
Odds & Sods. A joint effort between Alpha Media Portland and Seattle’s Feedback Media is bringing the business talk radio show “Business Briefing” with Brian Bushlach to Sinclair Radio’s news/talk KVI, Seattle. The show – a popular Portland market program for the past 10 years – will air on Saturday mornings at 8:00. Bushlach says, “Seattle is the epicenter of American business. Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Starbucks, Costco, Nordstrom, Expedia and Alaska Airlines have become household names, but think about companies like Tommy Bahama, Trident Seafoods, REI and others who are also leaders in their sector. We’re looking forward to featuring companies big and small, with execs and owners sharing their stories each weekend.”…..Media commentator and public relations expert Raynard Jackson is sitting in for Roland Martin on his nationally syndicated midday talk radio show (7/30 and 31). Jackson’s guests include actress/entrepreneur Erika Alexander, hip hop artist BriaMarie and former NFL player Mike “Scooter” McGruder…..ABC Radio announces some of the special Labor Day programming it is offering. The three one-hour specials are: “The Election Show: 16 Things to Know Before 2016,” co-hosted by ABC News correspondent Cheri Preston and ABC News political director Rick Klein; “Back to School Survival Guide,” hosted by Michelle Franzen; and “Streamline and Simplify Your Life,” hosted by Scott Goldberg…..Football season is upon us and FOX Sports Radio says its continuing a partnership with Big Ten Network to present an audio simulcast of the latter’s “BTN Live” television show to radio station affiliates. Beginning August 10, the program will be available for air Monday through Friday from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET. The show is hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Mike Hall and Rick Pizzo, with Big Ten Network analysts Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and other special guests…..Woof Boom-owned news/talk WHBU-AM, Anderson-Muncie, Indiana (also heard on translator W279CL, Anderson at 103.7 FM) moves local personality Doug Zook to the 7:30 am to 9:00 am slot and begins airing Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity in the afternoon drive daypart.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The sports talk show “Jay Mohr Sports” from Premiere Networks and FOX Sports Radio Network is added to the lineup at the following stations: KVET, Austin; KHKA, Honolulu; WOLF-AM, Syracuse; KQWB, Fargo; and WKGN, Knoxville…..The Envision Networks-syndicated Sunday night talk show “The John and Leah Show,” featuring hosts John Ziegler and Leah Brandon, is added to the lineup at WPGP, Pittsburgh “AM 1250 The Answer.”…..The GCN-syndicated “Freedom Feens” show is added to the program schedule at KTKK, Salt Lake City.
WQAM, Miami Covering College Football. Pictured here (from l-r) are: Miami Hurricanes play-by-play voice Joe Zagacki, WQAM afternoon drive host Marc Hochman, and Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer at the Big 10 media days in Chicago. Hochman tells TALKERS that the station partnered with the Capital One Orange Bowl to broadcast from all of the major college conference media days.
2016 Presidential Candidates and Trump Criticisms Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM for Week of July 27-31. The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the extreme media attention Donald Trump is receiving tied for the most-talked-about news/talk radio stories of the week. At #2 was the case of the hunting and killing of Cecil the lion by a Minnesota dentist. Coming in at #3 was the Planned Parenthood videos scandal and following at #4 was the debate over immigration policy in the United States. 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. View this week’s chart here.
A Down First Quarter for Cumulus Media. The numbers here are compared to the same period in 2014. Cumulus Media reports 2015 Q1 net revenue dipped 7.2% on income of $271,079,000. Revenue was down across the board at the company in the first quarter and here’s the breakdown: broadcast revenue was $251 million (down 7%) and digital revenue was $8.06 million (down 16.4%). Political ad revenue was down 67.7% and a portion of the net revenue drop was due to an increase in the license fees and other category which rose 9.1%. Breaking down the broadcast revenue a bit further, local and national spot sales were down a bit – 3.6% and 2.4% respectively – but network revenue sank 13% on income of $86.7 million.
Radio One Down 4.8% in Q1. Urban media operator Radio One reports a down first quarter of 2015 on income $105.8 million – a drop of 4.8%. The company saw positive results in its cable TV advertising sector – up 9.9% — and that helped ease some of the decline in other sectors. The radio broadcasting segment was down 9.4%. Radio advertising was down 5.5% and digital advertising dipped 6.1%. Meanwhile, in the category “event revenue & other” Radio One dropped a dramatic 82.6%, due in part to a timing issue relative to annual events.
Inside the Mind of the Sports Radio Fan. Using data from its recent Techsurvey 11, Jacobs Media presents this analysis of the media usage of the typical sports radio fan. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs says, “Since our Techsurveys expanded to more than a dozen formats several years back, it has afforded us the opportunity to study how fans of different formats differ when it comes to media and technology use. No group of radio listeners typifies that more than sports radio partisans. In their quest to find a good game, up-to-date info, fantasy sports, draft information, gossip and rumors, these savvy fans use a lot of different media options.” Some of the media habits of sports radio fans that the survey highlights center around the smartphone. Sports radio P1s are very frequent texters and they stream audio and video on a more frequent basis than P1s of other radio formats. For more, see the full story here.
YES-YOU-CAN Sell Rush Limbaugh. Media consultant Holland Cooke presents some tested means of selling the “controversial” leading news/talk radio host – Rush Limbaugh. As Cooke points out, just because there’s been some backlash against Limbaugh’s show and his affiliate stations doesn’t mean stations can’t find sponsors for the show. After, as Cooke observes, “This guy moves product.” In this piece he offers some thoughts on whom to prospect, how to write spots that work and how storytelling can work in your favor. Read it here.
Michael Harrison to Do 60-Second Daily Feature on Media for Boston Herald Radio. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison has entered into an agreement with the Boston Herald to write and perform a weekly 60-second feature titled “Michael Harrison on the Media” beginning Monday (5/4) that will be dropped into the pioneering online station’s programming flow several times a day as well as its growing network of terrestrial partners. In it, Harrison explores the direct connection between media and the human condition – past, present and future – commenting on the impact of changing communications technology on society and culture. According to Harrison, “I love the idea of being connected with such a forward-thinking organization as the Boston Herald and its ground-breaking media station, Boston Herald Radio. Creating one of these tight little pieces each week helps sharpen my insights and ability to express them and just like my weekly, longform podcast ‘Up Close and Far Out’ on Podcast One, it gives me the opportunity, at this seasoned stage in my life, to dabble in speculation about the broader scope of media outside the radio industry itself for a worldwide consumer audience of ‘media freaks.’ What fun!” Boston Herald Radio Network executive producer Tom Shattuck tells TALKERS, “I am thrilled to have these exclusive commentaries by Michael Harrison running on our platform!” To hear an installment of “Michael Harrison on Media” please click below.
Spectrum of Talk Radio Programming to Be Addressed on “Variety, the Spice of Life” Panel at Talkers New York 2015. At the Talkers New York 2015 conference taking place on June 12, talk personalities from a variety of styles of programming will discuss the industry, their roles in it, and the future of talk content when they appear on the “Variety the Spice of Life” panel. Moderated by TALKERS general manager of radio operations David Bernstein, the panel will feature: Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host at classic rock-formatted WAQY “Rock 102,” Springfield, MA; Dr. Joy Browne of Genesis Communications Network; Tony Bruno, WIP-FM, Philadelphia; Thom Hartmann of WYD Media; Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia; and Larry Young, WOLB, Baltimore. This panel will present hosts from disparate backgrounds and radio formats, including a rock jock appealing to listeners immersed in rock and pop culture; the industry’s longest-running radio psychologist; a season sports talk pro; a progressive host with a multi-disciplined background; a nationally syndicated morning talk generalist; and an urban personality working mornings and heavily involved in the community on a local station. Bernstein says, “This will be an exciting panel to moderate – there is so much more to talk radio than one would think having it always described in the media as just a bunch of conservative white men talking politics.” Talkers New York 2015 takes place on Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in New York City’s financial district. Space is limited, so register today by calling 413-565-5413. For the full agenda, please click here.
PodcastOne Platform to Host Bossip Podcast. Bossip.com is billed as the “premier online destination for African American popular culture and entertainment news.” Now, it is partnering with PodcastOne to produce the “Bossip Presents: Don’t Be Scared” podcast. A press release says, “The weekly podcast is a viciously funny conversation between Bossip’s awkward, quirky and at times terrifyingly honest trio, Bossip staffer-hosts David Dennis, Jason “Jah” Lee and Danielle “Danni” Canada. PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz comments, “Bossip.com has built a great digital platform that hits the right points of humor and news in entertainment gossip. This new podcast extends their site to the rapidly growing audio-digital platform, and provides a strong content addition to our roster of websites who have turned to podcasting as an impactful way to communicate with their loyal audience.”
Done Deal: Alpha Closes on Coast Radio and Free Lance-Star Stations. There are seven more radio stations officially in the Portland-based Alpha Media fold after the closing took place on the deals with Coast Radio Company and Free Lance-Star Radio. As previously reported when the sales were announced, Alpha gets three California signals from Coast: adult contemporary-formatted trio KUIC, Vacaville, KKIQ, Livermore, and KKDV, Walnut Creek. And from Free Lance-Star it acquires: country WFLS and talk WNTX in Fredericksburg, Virginia; CHR WVBX, Spotsylvania, Virginia; and classic rock WWUZ, Bowling Green, Virginia. Alpha chief Larry Wilson says, “We are very fortunate to be able to work with such great employees at all of the stations. Each cluster is exceptional and brings its own unique attributes to the company, allowing us to build a diverse and dynamic culture.”
Odds & Sods. Talk radio personality Leslie Marshall joins the iHeartRadio platform as her podcast is now being featured there. Marshall also announces she’s begun writing a blog for Blue Nation Review and has penned her first column titled, “It’s 2015 and Sexism Is Alive and Well in Clinton Coverage.”…..Getting a national presence is WINS, New York weekend news anchor David Weiss who has two features that will be distributed by America’s Talk Radio Network. The five-minute “News for You” show features Weiss’ take on the world and national news and the two-minute “Slice of Life” is a more offbeat take on daily life…..In Seattle, Ed Ronco is the new local host of “All Things Considered” on KPLU. He’s been with the station for two years and also hosts a weekly travel segment titled, “Going Places.”
Salem’s Capitol Gang. Posing for a shot at Salem Media Group’s reception at the U.S. Capitol on Thursday evening (4/30) are (from l-r): Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager, Townhall.com news editor Katie Pavlich, hosts Bill Bennett and Mike Gallagher. The event was to honor freshmen members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House. It was also attended by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and U. S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with hosts Ian Freeman and Mark Edge add new affiliates to their roster including: KIXZ, Amarillo, Texas; Chattanooga market trimulcast WSDT, WEPG, and WSDQ; KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; and KAZZ, Parowan, Utah and its Cedar City, Utah K253BU at 98.5 FM…..The Marilu Henner show is added to the program schedule at: KTUI, Sullivan, Missouri; WGGH, Marion, Illinois; WIMS, Michigan City, Indiana; KHUC-FM, Pine Bluff, Arkansas.
Baltimore Protests and Violence Top Talkers TenTM. The week of protests, violence and questions about the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody were all facets of the most-talked-about story of the week. Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the 2016 presidential prospects. At #3 was scrutiny of the operations of the Clinton Foundation followed by the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case of four states with anti-gay marriage statutes 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. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Beasley Reports 2014 Q4 Pro Forma Net Revenue Dips 4.3%. Getting an accurate picture of the fourth quarter – not to mention the total of 2014 – is a bit dicey because of the asset exchange between Beasley and CBS RADIO. But as Beasley chairman and CEO George Beasley says in the press release, “On a reported basis, fourth quarter net revenue from continuing operations rose 23.5% and SOI [station operating income] increased 14.6%, while operating income of $1.8 million was impacted by $1.7 million of transaction and termination expenses related to the Asset Exchange and otherwise would have compared favorably with the $2.8 million in the comparable year ago period. However, given the required accounting treatment for discontinued operations, the results include only one month of operations from the stations we received in the asset exchange, while excluding the results of the stations we gave up in the transaction. As a result, we believe a pro forma presentation, which assumes the asset exchange occurred on January 1, 2013, better reflects the operating results. On a pro forma basis, fourth quarter net revenue decreased 4.3% to $28.9 million while SOI declined 8.0% to $9.2 million. Importantly, while the fourth quarter pro forma presentation allows for a comparison of the same stations during both periods, it does not reflect our recently initiated and planned format and personnel changes in Tampa as well as expense reductions in Tampa and Charlotte, the benefits of which we expect will be reflected in our results as we move through 2015 and into 2016.”
20 Years of KKFN Sports Talk in Denver Being Recognized. This Monday (3/9), Lincoln Financial Media will celebrate 20 years of sports talk in Denver on KKFN. The format is now heard on KKFN-FM “104.3 The Fan,” but debuted in 1994 on KKFN-AM. The special broadcast will feature several former personalities and athletes who have been part of the two-decade history. The station’s original lineup included: the Fabulous Sports Babe (Nanci Donnellan), Woody Paige & Todd Mansfield, Doug Moe & Tom Green and Jeff Reckard. On Monday the station will welcome back former Fan personalities Woody Paige, Tom Green, Dan Issel, Charles Johnson, Irv Brown and Joe Williams. They will be joined by Rockies radio announcer Jerry Schemmel. The station’s current lineup is: “The Fan Morning Show with Mike Evans, Nate Lundy and Vic Lombardi” (5:30 am to 9:00 am), Dan Patrick (9:00 am to 12:00 noon), Sandy Clough and Scott Hastings (12:00 noon to 3:00 pm), “The Drive” with Alfred “Big Al” Williams and Darren “D-Mac” McKee (3:00 pm to 9:00 pm) and “The Fan Late Night” with Ryan Edwards and Shawn Drotar (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight). “The Fan” will also hold an anniversary party on Thursday, March 26, at the Sports Column in downtown Denver. Listeners will get the chance to celebrate with members of “The Fan” on-air staff and celebrities.
iHeartMedia Names Charlie Wilkinson Dallas Market President. Moving to Texas from his most recent position with the company as regional president overseeing Charlotte and Raleigh, Charlie Wilkinson becomes market president of iHeartMedia’s six Dallas properties. EVP of operations – Texas majors Kelly Kibler comments, “Charlie has exceeded expectations and consistently raises the bar. He has proven his ability to create and lead winning teams. I’m confident he will continue to deliver consistent integrated revenue growth for the Dallas cluster.” Former market president, Deidre Richter, will join iHeartMedia’s national sales team and will report to Jeff Howard, president of national sales. Richter will lead the South Central Connections Team.
Odds & Sods. At the Cromwell Group’s Nashville sports talk duo “94.9 The Game 2” — WQZQ-AM and W235BW – morning drive co-host Joe Dubin leaves the station and partner Greg Pogue to return to television sports as sports anchor on WSMV-TV, Nashville, effective March 30…..This weekend begins Westwood One Sports’ presentation of a slate of exclusive women’s college basketball broadcasts this month. It gets underway Sunday with the Pac-12 Women’s Championship game and culminating with the Women’s Final Four and National Championship in Tampa on April 7. On Tuesday, March 10, WW1 broadcasts the Big East Women’s Championship, live from Allstate Arena in Chicago. CBS Sports Radio talk-show host Amy Lawrence has the play-by-play, along with former University of Connecticut All-American Swin Cash as the analyst…..Salem Media Group New York brings Chief of Robotic Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, Dr. David Samadi, to the staff serving as chief medical correspondent for news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA “AM 570 The Mission.” Additionally, Dr. Samadi will host the new program “World Health News with Dr. Samadi,” airing Sundays from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.
Curtis & Kuby Roast Takes Place Monday in NYC. Gotham Comedy Club will be the site of the Curtis & Kuby Roast on Monday, March 9 at 7:00 pm. The duo – heard daily in middays on Cumulus Media’s WABC – will be in attendance as Roast Master Rich Vos (featured on Comedy Central, HBO, and Showtime) hosts a night of no-holds-barred comedy in honor of talk radio odd couple Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby. Comedians Kurt Metzger, Bonnie McFarlane, Geno Bisconte, Aaron Berg, and The Stone Brothers will all come out to roast the duo. Limited tickets are still available at www.wabcradio.com. The event is produced by Jeffrey Gurian in conjunction with Gotham Comedy Club and 77 WABC.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The sports programming from Yahoo! Sports Radio is now being heard on Word Broadcasting’s WVHI, Evansville, Indiana…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” show is now being heard on affiliate stations WRMN, Elgin, Illinois (Chicago market) and on WPNN, Pensacola, Florida.
Netanyahu Speech/Iran Nukes Top Talkers TenTM for Week of March 2-6. The speech before Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the issue of a pact to allow Iran’s nuclear program to expand were tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. At #2 was the Supreme Court’s hearing a challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Coming in at #3 was the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for State Department business, followed by the Homeland Security Department funding battle and President Obama’s amnesty order at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio this week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Entercom 2014 Q4 Net Revenue Up 2%. That increase over the same period a year ago comes on revenue $101.5 million. For all of 2014, Entercom Communications posted net revenue up 1% over 2013, with total net revenue hitting $379.8 million. Other fourth quarter data includes: station expenses increasing 3% to $63.3 million; station operating income flat at $38.2 million; and free cash flow rising 4% to $23.4 million. For the year 2014, adjusted net income per share was flat at $0.79. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “After finishing 2014 with modest gains in net revenues, adjusted net income and free cash flow, Entercom is looking forward to a promising year of opportunity in 2015. Our recently announced Lincoln Financial Media acquisition will add a number of terrific new markets and brands to our lineup and should be accretive to shareholders with no material impact on our solid balance sheet. And we are well positioned to capitalize on a number of other significant growth opportunities throughout the organization.” If you remember, Entercom is buying Lincoln Financial Media’s 15 stations in the Atlanta, Denver, Miami and San Diego markets for $105 million. It will sell one of its Denver FMs to comply with FCC regulations.
iHeartMedia Q4 Net Revenue Rises 1%. During its 2014 Q4 conference call, iHeartMedia announced that net revenue was up 1% for both the fourth quarter of 2014 and for the year as a whole. iHeartMedia COO Richard Bressler said during the investors conference call that “political dollars, traffic and weather, as well as national broadcast radio, drove higher revenues in a market that was soft across local radio.” Bressler also touted the performance of the iHeartRadio digital platform, saying it has surpassed 60 million registered users and that total listening hours have risen 14% compared to the fourth quarter of 2013.
Round Three of January PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of January 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was January 1-28. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
WTEM, Washington to Launch Local AM Drive Show. Currently, Red Zebra-owned WTEM, Washington ESPN980 carries ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike show. But beginning on March 16, the station will pair up longtime morning drive personality Chris Paul with national sports columnist Jason Reid to host “The Man Cave with Chris Paul and Jason Reid.” Red Zebra vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza says the show “will be a blend of sports, comedy and entertainment and we are thrilled to welcome these two talented men to ESPN980.” Chris Paul has worked in radio as part of the Donnie Simpson show on crosstown hip hop WPGC for 16 years and, for the last six years, on the syndicated “Tom Joyner Morning Show.” Jason Reid began his professional journalism career at the Los Angeles Times covering the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Clippers and providing college basketball analysis. He moved to Washington in 2010 as the beat writer for the Washington Redskins for the Washington Post and was promoted to a sports columnist position in January 2011. Reid will continue writing as a NFL columnist for ESPN.com. Red Zebra CEO Rick Carmean adds, “We have been interested in creating a local morning drive show on ESPN980 for a while. Chris and Jason give us and the Washington, DC sports fan the perfect combination of sports knowledge, humor and personality.”
Odds & Sods. Producer Scott Miller jumps from Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago to Hubbard’s classic rock WDRV to serve on the new Dan McNeil and Pete McMurray morning show…..Celebrity cook Paula Deen works out a deal with Compass Media Networks to launch daily radio vignettes called, “Get Cooking with Paula Deen,” and a weekly long-form podcast called, “What’s Cooking with Paula Deen.” They will debut on May 1…..USA Radio Networks adds “Animal Radio” to its weekend lineup, airing on Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, effective March 7…..New York radio personality Joan Hamburg is hosting a special show on Cumulus Media‘s WABC on February 21 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm titled, “The Business of Fashion Week,” focusing on the fashion economy and featuring interviews with leading fashion industry insiders…..Alpha Media announces today that KXTG-AM, Portland “750 The Game” enters into a partnership agreement to continue as the official radio station of the Portland Thunder of the Arena Football League…..At the Fort Lauderdale cluster of iHeartMedia, Shari Gonzalez is named VP of sales…..ABC Radio is providing coverage of the 87th Annual Academy Awards this Sunday. Correspondent Jason Nathanson will be live on the red carpet with interviews from the night’s biggest stars. Starting at 8:20 pm ET, ABC News correspondent David Blaustein will anchor twice-hourly, one minute status reports from New York correspondents Alex Stone and Jason Nathanson reporting from backstage at the main event.
Joe Madison to Attempt Marathon Talk Show Record to Benefit Museum of African American History. Talk radio host Joe Madison, as part of Black History Month, will attempt to break the Guinness World Record for hosting the longest talk radio show on Wednesday and Thursday, February 25-26. The current record is 50 hours and the SiriusXM “Urban View” host plans to concurrently raise funds for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, currently under construction on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The non-profit museum is scheduled to open in 2016.
Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money Tour Kicks Off in Denver. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey began his 2015 Smart Money tour in Denver yesterday (2/19) with a sold-out appearance at the Bellco Theatre. The Smart Money tour presents Ramsey’s philosophy on winning with money, getting out of debt, and investing for the future. Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan appeared with Ramsey on stage. Ramsey and affiliate station KKZN “Real Talk 760” worked together to promote the event. Station program director Greg Foster comments, “The Dave Ramsey show connects with listeners like no other. ‘Real Talk 760’ has been in existence for less than a year, but Dave sold out 5,000 seats to his live event in Denver. Dave’s fans are incredibly loyal, and that translates to new revenue for his stations.” Pictured here at the iHeartMedia Denver studios are (from l-r): iHeartMedia Denver director of integrated media and special events Ryan Clune, general sales manager Jessica Farias, Ramsey, and market manager Pat Connor.
Battle Against ISIS/Islam Criticism Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 16-20. The fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the political controversy over associating Islam with the militant organization was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week. Coming in at #2 was a Texas court’s stay of the Obama amnesty order. At #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects and following at #4 was the rise in European anti-Semitism. 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. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Clear Channel Goes ‘Next Generation’ on KOY, Phoenix. The business talk format on Clear Channel’s KOY, Phoenix is gone and the company is airing a news/talk format it has dubbed “KFYI 2 The Next Generation of Talk.” The lineup for the station is: Armstrong & Getty (piped in from KSTE, Sacramento), the Radio America-syndicated Dana Loesch show, Casey Bartholomew, Portland-based “Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis” and Premiere’s “America Now” (which is seeking to replace Andy Dean as the permanent host), among others. Certainly, these hosts are a bit younger than the majority of the news/talk radio personalities working today, but critics will argue that building a lineup to appeal to a younger audience faces almost impossible odds on an AM band station. Although, the station is available via Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio platform.
Burnie Thompson Show Exits WYOO, Panama City and WVFT, Tallahassee; Show to Continue Online. The Florida talk show hosted by Burnie Thompson – based in Panama City and focused on state and regional issues – lost its last two affiliates as Magic Broadcasting II dropped the show citing low ratings. The program had aired in afternoons on WYOO, Panama City “Talk Radio 101” and in Tallahassee on WVFT “Freedom 93.” Thompson, who promises the show will re-emerge on Monday, August 11 at MyFreedomRadio.com, posted on his Facebook page the following comments about his departure: “They didn’t fire me as much as they took away your voice on the radio in Panama City and Tallahassee. Now you can no longer express your support or criticism of elected officials by name on ‘Talk Radio 101.’ They will continue to pipe in a nationally syndicated show or find someone who follows the new rules that forbid editorializing on local elections. I think they’ve underestimated how much this all meant to you and how many of you there are. I know they’d rather upset you than Congressman Southerland, Gov. Rick Scott, or Jay Trumbull Jr.’s financiers.”
Cumulus Media Q2 Net Revenue Up 2%. That figure is pro forma – the actual net revenue is up 21.4% but that number is so high because it’s affected by the acquisition of Westwood One and the Townsquare transaction. Breaking down the radio side of things for Cumulus Media, the numbers tell the story of a challenging second quarter. The company reports “broadcast advertising revenue decreased by $4.0 million, primarily due to a $9.4 million decrease in network spot revenue, a $9.8 million decrease in local spot revenue and a decrease of $2.6 million in national spot revenue. These decreases were partially offset by a $2.9 million increase in revenue from the addition of two radio stations being operated under a local marketing agreement in the Chicago market and the benefit from $14.9 million of reduced producer revenue shares at Westwood One.”
Envision Adds Content to ‘America Weekend.’ The weekend programming block, “America Weekend,” designed for news/talk radio stations offered by Envision Networks announces more additions to its content. Envision adds “Animal Radio” as part of the new “America Weekend” lineup. The nationally syndicated “Animal Radio” show has been on the air for 14 years and is heard on 125 affiliate stations. “America Weekend” also has added “Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline,” “Smith and Sabatino,” and host Ed Kalegi.
Round Two of July PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of July 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The survey period was June 19 through July 16. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Jim Jones Returns to Westwood One as Senior Director, News Affiliate Sales. Just after the unveiling of its new news product – a collaboration with CNN Newsource – Westwood One announces that Jim Jones is named senior director, news affiliate sales. The company says that in this new position, Jones will be overseeing affiliate sales for Westwood One’s news vertical and will be based in Washington and report to SVP of affiliate sales Dennis Green. Jones worked for Westwood One for 15 years and was previously VP of affiliate sales, news/talk. Most recently he was with Focus 360. Green comments, “Jim has an extensive knowledge of the news product and has been involved in the affiliation of major news networks with a high level of success. Our affiliates will have the benefit of Jim and his team’s knowledge of integrating our new white label news product into the station’s lineup as we find new audiences to bring news and information from around the world.”
“We Initially Went for a Vacation and Found a War.” Talk show host and perennial Heavy Hundred member Alan Stock, heard mornings on KDWN, Las Vegas, joins what seems to be a growing list of prominent talk show hosts (Sean Hannity, Ethan Bearman, John Batchelor) who have taken their microphones to Israel for a closer perspective on the Gaza conflict. However, in the case of Stock (who has broadcasted from Israel several times during recent years), the original plan was to take his family there on vacation – during which the violence broke out quickly, changing his agenda. Stock interviewed a number of prominent Israeli figures including a wide array of Knesset Members (Israel’s Congress) such as conservative Likud Party leader Moshe Feiglin and liberal Labor Party leader Hilig Bar. Stock tells TALKERS, “Both agreed that all tunnels had to be destroyed and all rocket launching sites had to be eradicated. Both said that these things had to happen regardless of what it took to accomplish these goals. While they have different views on domestic issues, they — and all other members of the Knesset I interviewed — agreed on the unified need for an effective defense.” Stock adds, “I was able to call in with daily reports to my show. Much of the information reported from the region focused on Israeli air attacks on Gaza, missing the other half of the story — the need for those attacks to put an end to rockets constantly being fired from Gaza into Israeli population centers. If it wasn’t for Iron Dome, Israeli casualties would have been as great or greater than the Arab casualties. In Las Vegas, at least, talk radio [KDWN] and FNC gave a more balanced picture of what was really going on in this latest war.” Above, Stock (l) is pictured with Knesset Member Natan Sharansky (r), once a Soviet refusenik who spent time in the Soviet Gulag and who later moved to Israel. On a completely separate note, Stock tells TALKERS that his one-time morning co-host at KXNT, Las Vegas, Kerri Kasem is going to co-host his show this Friday (8/8). She’s visiting Las Vegas for a Nevada Broadcasters Association gala the following night where they will be giving special mention to her late father, Casey Kasem. Stock reports she will also be meeting with Nevada legislators to get the same bill passed that’s working its way through the California legislature that would allow adult children of divorced parents the right to petition the court to have visitation rights if they are being prevented from doing so by the new spouse (as was the case with Kerri and her siblings regarding their father).
WestStar MultiMedia Enters Film Business. The company founded by computer expert and nationally syndicated radio host Kim Komando and Barry Young is branching out into the film business as WestStar MultiMedia’s Barry Young Entertainment division announces it’s working in conjunction with OceanBlue Entertainment and Magnolia Pictures to present the film Frontera — starring Ed Harris, Eva Longoria, Michael Peña, and Amy Madigan – which is set for theatrical release September 5, 2014. Barry Young says, “We are very excited to have quietly watched the progress and development of Frontera over the past 18 months. Frontera provides a careful and thoughtful look at the issue of America’s border disarray with a superb cast. As we push our company and efforts even further into the development of digital programming with such projects as ‘The Kim Komando Show’ now being produced not only for radio, but also as a full television production, shooting live with 10 HD cameras, we are actively but very selectively perusing additional film projects.” Young adds, “We will not consider film projects with violent and meaningless content, but rather look only at thought-provoking projects that can make a difference in the lives of its audience, such as a new Christmas production for release in 2015 and another major production based on the best-selling Anne Rice novel, Christ The Lord: Out of Egypt, the story of Jesus Christ at age 7 as he and his family depart Egypt to return home to Nazareth.”
Odds & Sods. Saying it is focusing on the fan this NFL season, Westwood One is collaborating with its 500-plus AM and FM station partners to promote its prime time Monday, Thursday, and Sunday Night NFL broadcasts with exclusive content, special features, and local tune-in promotion. Every Monday, Thursday, and Sunday, NFL-affiliated stations will be able to access a Game Day package featuring game-specific audio highlights, on-air vignettes, special features, and customized tune-in promos featuring Westwood One Sports’ lineup of NFL announcers, including Kevin Harlan, Scott Graham, Kevin Kugler, Ian Eagle, and James Lofton…..Former St. Louis Rams player Will Witherspoon becomes part of the St. Louis Rams radio broadcast team for games heard on flagship WXOS, St. Louis “101ESPN.” Witherspoon joins the booth team of Steve Savard and former Rams star D’Marco Farr.
Cumulus Media New York’s ‘Bark in the Park’ a Succcess. The trio you see here are WABC, New York personalities (from l-r) Curtis Sliwa, Mark Levin, and Ron Kuby (plus Kuby’s pooches) at last weekend’s 4th Annual “Bark in the Park” at Overpeck Park in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. Levin served as the host for the event. It was presented in conjunction with The North Shore Animal League America & Bergen County Animal Shelter/Adoption Center and Cumulus is proud to note that the adoption mission was a success as 19 dogs and 4 cats were adopted. Also taking part in the event were WPLJ’s Todd Pettengill and Race Taylor, “NASH FM 94.7” personality Kelly Ford, “Radio 103.9” host Roxie, plus WABC’s Geraldo Rivera.
Gaza Violence, Ebola Threat/Treatment Controversy, Immigration Policy/Southwest Border Crisis, Army General Killed in Afghanistan, ISIS Campaign/Threat to Christians, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, and Russia’s Ukraine Aggression Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/5). The ongoing strife in the Gaza Strip and the West’s Israel policies; the threat of an Ebola pandemic and controversy over a new treatment for the virus; the U.S.’s immigration policy and the border crisis in the Southwest; the assassination of U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Harold Greene in Afghanistan; the ISIS campaign to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria and the group’s threat to Christians; the primaries for this fall’s mid-term elections and the 2016 presidential race; and Russia’s bolstering of troops along the Ukraine border were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Thom Hartmann, Multi-Platform Talk Show Host, Receives TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award. Today (7/25) marks the ninth consecutive business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with part 4 of the event’s traditional “Talkers Awards Ceremony,” emceed by legendary Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech to multi-platform progressive talk show host, Thom Hartmann. The presentation is made by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who tells the audience that he personally and his organization [TALKERS magazine and Talk Media, Inc.] are “vehemently non-partisan,” however, also “vehemently supportive of the First Amendment.” Harrison says, “Doing talk radio is extremely dangerous. Exercising free speech is not only dangerous because, throughout most of history and in much of the world, you can be shut down by the government and thrown in jail – you can also be KILLED! People have been killed doing talk radio.” Thom Hartmann graciously accepted the award recounting a personal anecdote from an experience he had as an 18-year-old radio announcer dealing with and succumbing to police pressure to repress coverage of a local story that abridged his rights and duties as a broadcaster – a situation that he says he “regrets to this day” but inspired him to champion the First Amendment. Hartmann says, “Because of the presence of talk radio in our nation over the past 20 years or so, we have found our voice to talk back to authority.” To view this entire presentation, please click here. Coming Monday: A special address titled “Radio in the Digital Age” by Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano. The Talkers New York 2014 conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Beasley Q2 Revenue Down 3.6%. This morning’s release of Beasley Broadcasting Group’s 2014 Q2 financials conforms to many experts’ conclusions about the second quarter of the year: Ad spending in radio was down across the country. BBGI reports the net revenue figure of $25.9 million for the 2nd quarter of 2014 (compared to $26.9 million during the same period in 2013) “primarily reflects lower advertising revenue at the company’s Philadelphia, Wilmington and Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville market clusters. The decline in net revenue was partially offset by $0.7 million in other revenue, resulting from an agreement with an electronics company and its affiliate concerning the use of our and their respective logos.” Chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “Second quarter revenue levels reflect slower advertising spending across most markets where we operate which led to declines in seven of our eleven markets and lower station operating income. Overall, we outperformed in our five market clusters that report to Miller Kaplan. In these markets, which accounted for approximately 78% of total second quarter revenue, Beasley station cluster revenue declined 5.2%, compared with the total revenue for all reporting radio stations in these markets which were down 6.0% for the quarter. Our year-over-year revenue decline is partially attributable to difficult comparisons with 2013 second quarter results when we generated double-digit revenue gains in markets including Philadelphia and Las Vegas. However, our initiatives to expand our digital offerings are delivering results as we recorded an approximate 24% rise in digital revenue during the quarter. Notwithstanding the challenges faced in the second quarter, our market positions remain healthy based on our organization-wide focus on strong core programming and targeted localism. This focus is vital to the company’s ratings strength and long-term success.”
WEEI-FM, Boston’s Dennis & Callahan Show to Lose NESN Simulcast. According to a report by Chad Finn in the Boston Globe, when the contract between regional sports cable network NESN and Entercom’s WEEI, Boston to simulcast the morning drive Dennis & Callahan show ends in September, the cable network will not renew its deal. Finn reports that sources say the non-renewal has nothing to do with cast member Kirk Minihane’s recent high profile criticism of Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews’ performance on the MLB All-Star Game broadcast. The story notes that John Dennis and Gerry Callahan’s contracts with WEEI are also up around the same time and that negotiations are ongoing. The simulcast has been ongoing since November of 2010 and the report indicates NESN is considering doing more local programming with its own talent in the morning drive daypart. Read Finn’s piece here.
Townsquare Media IPO Raises $91 Million. It’s hard to judge the IPO of a radio and digital media company that’s so young in corporate terms, but the sale of 8.3 million shares of class A stock made the company a little more than $91 million – short of the $125 million the company was hoping to raise. Some analysts are noting that the IPO price was not in the low teens dollar figure the company had hoped for and even the $11 share price was a bit too high as the sale didn’t take off until the price dropped to $10.74. Still, the offering results in a cash infusion for Townsquare Media. Only time will tell if Townsquare’s plan to build revenue with small and medium market radio stations augmented by its stable of digital publications will pay off for investors and the company.
Odds & Sods. With the demise of Oskie Media-owned sports talker WVLZ, Knoxville “Tennessee Sports Radio” on July 29 (a new format will replace the sports talk), it will be the end for most of the shows currently heard on the station. But Jayson Swain’s “The Swain Event” show will live on at Blount Broadcasting’s country WKVL, Knoxville airing from 7:00 am to 10:00 am beginning September 1. According to a story in the Knoxville News, Swain’s on-air producer Seth Stokes will remain with the show and regular contributors (and, like Swain, former Tennessee Volunteers football stars) Jamal Lewis and Leonard Little will also continue to be part of the show…..David Singer is leaving his executive producer position at ESPN O&O KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPN Los Angeles 710” to join the NFL Network in a talent booker role.
‘Talk 1300’ Albany’s Paul Vandenburgh Wins ‘Best of’ Honor. The annual “Best of” edition of the Capital Region’s alternative weekly Metroland is out and WGDJ, Albany “Talk 1300” owner, GM and morning drive host Paul Vandenburgh takes ‘Best Radio Talk Show’ honors. The paper says, “Yes, we all enjoy his rages, but you can learn a lot about the ins-and-outs of local politics from Vandenburgh and his guests.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia adds the nightly edition of “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge. Also, the program is added to the program schedules at KBYR, Anchorage and WLWI, Montgomery…..The Pam Oakes-hosted “Car Care for the Clueless: Daily Edition” feature is added to the programming at KCAA, Loma Linda, California and WOMI, Owensboro, Kentucky.
On Remote in Downtown Tucson. Program director and morning show host Bill White (left) interview’s Fred Ronstadt (right) – yes, Linda Ronstadt’s brother – during a remote broadcast of “Tucson’s Morning News.” The live event was designed to promote the grand opening of Tucson’s Modern Streetcar which local businessman Ronstadt helped build.
Gaza Strip Violence Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 21-25. The escalating violence in the Gaza strip and Secretary of State John Kerry’s role in brokering peace between Israel and Hamas was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. Following at #2 was the downing of Flight 17 and Russia’s role in supplying weaponry to the Ukraine rebels. At #3 was the child illegal alien crisis in the Southwest followed by the two recent ObamaCare court rulings 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. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Clear Channel Makes Corporate Structural Changes; Moves iHeartRadio into Clear Channel Networks Group Division. Along with this change – putting the iHeartRadio platform under the Clear Channel Networks Group banner headed by president Darren Davis – Brian Lakamp remains with the company and is promoted to the new position — president of technology and digital ventures. The company calls Lakamp’s promotion part of its “taking another important step in its continuing transformation to a consumer-driven, technology-fueled company.” Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “Our corporate focus on digital, increasingly leveraging technology to maximize our business, reflects the natural evolution of Clear Channel into a 21st century media company. Creativity is also enabled by technology, and as advertisers’ interest in new and emerging technology options continues to grow, we intend to remain at the forefront of both innovation and creativity. Brian is perfectly positioned to help us – and our consumers, advertisers and content partners – as we continue to build Clear Channel’s digital roadmap for the future.” The new role puts Lakamp in charge of the overall technology platform and capabilities for all of Clear Channel – including its broadcast, digital radio, events and promotions and out-of-home businesses. The company says he will also be responsible for developing the company’s overall place in the worlds of big data and programmatic buying. Putting iHeartRadio under Darren Davis’ purview means he’ll be responsible for the entire business of iHeartRadio as well as Premiere Networks, Total Traffic and Weather Network; and the 24/7 News Network. Davis comments, “I look forward to working with the immensely talented iHeartRadio team to build on the tremendous success of iHeartRadio by utilizing the full promotional and creative power of Clear Channel for iHeartRadio Networks. I’m excited to continue my collaboration with Brian in his new role to leverage new opportunities and maximize emerging technologies across Clear Channel’s national platforms and services.”
Rise Guys Return to Sacramento Radio. Sports talk morning drive personalities Whitey Gleason and Mark Kreidler – known as The Rise Guys – are returning to the Sacramento market on Entercom’s KCTC “ESPN 1320” after leaving the market for San Francisco three years ago. In 2011 they took the gig at Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” after years at the company’s KHTK, Sacramento. But earlier this year they exited that station after talent changes were made. Now, they return to the Sacramento market on KHTK’s sister station.
Brock and Salk Show to Air in Mornings on KIRO-AM, Seattle. The recent return of Mike Salk to Bonneville’s Seattle sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle” as program director after a year-long stint at WEEI, Boston is now bringing about changes to the station’s talent lineup as he and Brock Huard are getting back together on the radio for a morning show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. The “Brock & Salk” show debuted in 2009 but ended when Salk took the afternoon co-host gig at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston in the spring of 2013. The change means Michael Grey is moving from afternoons to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot followed by “Bob & Groz” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. Danny O’Neil, Dave Wyman and Jim Moore will host afternoon drive from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Salk comments, “These changes make an already strong lineup even stronger and this is just the beginning. I’m thrilled with where the station is going and couldn’t be more excited to get behind the mic.”
Frantz Exits WTAM, Cleveland. Talk personality Bob Frantz is let go from his position with Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland where he appeared alongside Mike Trivisonno on the 9:00 am to 10:00 am show “The Spew” as well as hosting the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm program. Frantz was doing his second tour of duty with the station – he worked there in the late 1990s before returning in 2006. Replacing him in the evening slot is “The Sports Feed” co-host and Indians reporter Nick Camino.
Round One of June PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of June 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was May 22 through June 18. TALKERS magazine’s sister publican RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings at RadioInfo.com here.
Emmis Q1 Report: Radio Revenue Essentially Flat. The results for the first fiscal quarter for Emmis Communications (ending May 31) show the company’s net radio revenue up 22% — but that includes the addition of revenue from WBLS and WLIB, New York which it has been operating under an LMA since March 1. Assuming those stations had been in the fold at the same time a year ago, revenue would have been flat. At the station level, the company reports its stations were up 1.6% compared to local radio market revenue down 5.5% during the fiscal quarter. Emmis president and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “While our markets continue to be tested, our stations and employees have risen to the challenge and continue to outperform our markets. We continue to believe NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on smartphones and tablets, is a game-changer for the radio industry and will reignite growth. We have spent the last year building out the NextRadio ecosystem, and now we are entering a critical phase to build consumer awareness. I’m proud of our team for its continuing focus on innovation and operational excellence.”
Odds & Sods. WOAI, San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo’s program is being added to another Clear Channel-owned news/talk station as KEX, Portland picks up the program to air from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The show is also heard on KPRC, Houston and KHOW, Denver…..Former Dallas Cowboys defensive star Dat Nguyen inks a contract renewal with Alpha Media sports talker KZDC, San Antonio “1250 ESPN.” Nguyen hosts the afternoon drive show where he’s been since joining the station in August of 2012…..ESPN Radio’s “10th Annual ESPY Day Auction” to benefit The V Foundation for Cancer Research is officially underway on eBay and will continue through Wednesday, July 16. This year’s auction of more than 250 items includes tickets to prime sporting events, autographed memorabilia, unique experiences with athletes, celebrities and ESPN and ABC personalities and behind-the-scenes experiences with numerous ESPN programs.
Child Immigration Crisis, Obama Approval Ratings, GOP Picks Cleveland for 2016 Convention, Israeli-Hamas Violence, Costco Pulls D’Souza Book, Palin Joins Impeachment Plea, and Klein’s Blood Feud Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8). The influx of minor illegal immigrants in the Southwest and the political battle over immigration enforcement; the lower approval ratings for President Obama; the RNC chooses Cleveland for site of 2016 convention and the importance of Ohio in the next presidential election; escalating violence between the Israelis and Palestinians; the flap over Costco’s decision to stop selling Dinesh D’Souza’s America: Imagine the World Without Her; Sarah Palin returns to the media spotlight calling for the president’s impeachment; and controversy over Ed Klein’s book about the relationship between the Clintons and the Obamas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Movement Afoot to Curtail Media’s Free Speech? In a story by Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner, he writes that Federal Elections Commissioner Lee E. Goodman warns there is brewing sentiment within the FEC to support changing the exemption that the media enjoys regarding support of political candidates and/or issues. Goodman tells the paper, “I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers.” The piece cites Premiere Networks talk star Sean Hannity and the movie division of Citizens United for effectively endorsing candidates. As the story notes, all media currently enjoys the right to endorse candidates and promote them without being subject to limits or disclosure requirements. It’s unlikely that such a move would pass legal muster but Goodman’s comments to the Examiner indicate frustration with conservative media on the part of liberal staffers at the FEC.
Jennifer Perry Exits WYAY, Atlanta. The former WGST, Atlanta afternoon news anchor had been the news director at Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY “All News 106.7” since its inception as a news station 16 months ago, but now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Perry is leaving the station for a position outside the radio biz. The move coincides with the station’s addition of another talk show that begins Monday, May 12 – this one featuring Michael Graham in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot – to what had been a true all-news format. There’s no indication the programming changes were part of Perry’s decision to exit. Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson has been hosting a show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm since last fall. Ho also reports that he hears the station will change its handle from “All News 106.7” to “NewsRadio 106.7” in the near future.
CCM+E Teams with Grupo Radio Mexico for iHeartRadio Hispanic Network. It was a natural progression given Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s existing relationship with Grupo Radio Mexico syndicating “El Show Del Mandril” via Premiere Networks, but the additional ventures announced today (5/8) take the relationship much deeper. The launch of the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network will mean listeners to the digital entertainment platform will be able to hear Grupo Radio Centro, Grupo Radio Mexico stations and “El Show Del Mandril.” Grupo Radio Mexico owns and operates 51 radio stations across multiple formats in 13 Mexican markets — including the leading station cluster in Monterrey and Guadalajara. As part of the deal, beginning later this year, iHeartRadio will become the exclusive digital ad sales provider for these market-leading Mexican stations. In what CC is calling an industry first, it will replace all local Mexican station ads with consumer-targeted U.S. ads and that this also marks the first time iHeartRadio will provide U.S. listeners with radio broadcasts from leading stations throughout the Mexico Republic. GRC chairman and CEO Francisco Aguirre says, “This is the second step in the groundbreaking partnership between our two companies. Bob Pittman and I share a vision to expand both companies beyond their respective borders in a very fast paced and evolving digital landscape. Our Mexico stations are market leaders across all demographics and we look forward to their natural expansion in the U.S. through the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network.”
Biz Biggies Rock On — The Colorful History and Present-Day Innovation of Industry Entrepreneur Steve Lehman. Actually there are two stories here. One is the colorful history about the birth and early days of Premiere Networks which was launched by noted industry entrepreneur Steve Lehman and his partners Tim Kelly, Louise Palanker, and Ed Mann in the mid-1980s and went on to become one of network radio’s greatest successes. The second story is about the more recent launch of an extremely innovative multi-media, radio-based syndicated program called “Business Rockstars,” hosted by brilliant business expert and organizer of billionaires, Ken Rutkowski. What is the connection between these two stories? Steve Lehman. In a fascinating two-part special feature written by TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian, we are taken on a radio journey that spans three decades from the early days of modern syndication and consolidation to today’s leading edge of multi-platform talk radio. “I saw the need for something that was not ‘old politics’ on talk radio,” declares Lehman, who was fascinated by an article that indicated there are 30 million “wantrepreneurs” in the United States. “I thought that is a great audience to try to educate and to entertain about something I am passionate about — entrepreneurship. ‘Business Rockstars’ is an entrepreneurial business platform that is driven by radio, television, and social media. Those are the springboards to the monetization model, which is live events, content and product sales, and membership.” Part one begins today (5/8). Read it by clicking here.
CRN Digital Talk Syndicates ‘Let’s Talk Tech.’ The weekly radio program “Let’s Talk Tech” with host Christian Wheel is now being syndicated nationally by CRN Digital Talk Radio. The program airs live Saturdays 8:00 pm ET from home base KFWB, Los Angeles. The show is described as covering everything from “smartphones to the internet, home theater to security, software to digital cameras.” CRN CEO Michael Horn says, “Christian is fluent in things called ‘C/C++,’ ‘Visual Basic’ and ‘x86 assembly.’ But more important, he’s fluent in radio. Christian explains tech-related topics so everyone can understand and enjoy them.”
Help for the Industry from the Experts at LDR Interactive. The company says that it is launching its #Engage Blog to offer “broadcast solutions to motivate, measure and monetize your audience.” LDR Interactive says the #Engage Blog shares “perspectives from the leadership team behind the Listener Driven Radio phenomenon and the growing TopicPulse real-time social measurement platform.” The LDR #Engage Blog will feature insights on motivating, measuring, and monetizing audience engagement by offering a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful implementations of real-time, social, local, mobile, and interactive programming across LDR’s partner stations. LDR says it will also share unique perspectives from its world-class team of software engineers, broadcast managers, sales managers, and programmers. Blog posts have been published by CEO, Daniel Anstandig; director of sales, Tracy Gilliam; and TopicPulse support and client services manager, Dana Hall.
Sullivan Heads to Brew Town with Entercom. From his most recent gig with Cumulus Media in Mobile, Chuck Sullivan heads north to the Dairy State to serve as VP/GM for Entercom’s Milwaukee cluster, taking over for Michael Keck who left for opportunities in the Twin Cities. Sullivan will oversee CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM,” hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix,” and sports talk WSSP “Sports Radio 1250.” He says, “I couldn’t be more excited about this tremendous opportunity. Entercom Milwaukee has some of the most powerful and iconic brands, from ‘Kiss FM,’ the most-listened-to station in Wisconsin, to ‘99.1 the Mix’ and ‘SportsRadio 1250.’”
Odds & Sods. The Ayn Rand Institute announces it will begin producing a weekly, two-hour talk radio program hosted by executive director Yaron Brook. In addition to seeking AM/FM affiliates, the program will air on the digital Liberty Express Network and the Ayn Rand Institute’s own site, aynrand.org. The show debuts June 9…..Sports talk personality Jay Mariotti expands his digital reach by joining with PodcastOne for distribution of his daily show. Mariotti’s program is heard via Genesis Communications Network and on his own Mariottishow.com platform…..Lisa Namerow, former SVP of strategic partnerships and audio monetization at Slacker Radio is joining XAPPmedia as senior vice president of business development and publisher relations for the company that provides an interactive audio advertising service.
Nielsen to Make Cuts at Three Call Center Locations. The Baltimore Sun reports that Nielsen will make cuts to its call-out workforce at locations in Sarasota, Florida; Radcliffe, Kentucky and Columbia, Maryland. The paper reports the call center cuts are part of the company’s efforts to consolidate operations since the acquisition of Arbitron by Nielsen last year. Though no filing with the Maryland State Department of Labor has been reported, filings have been made in Florida and Kentucky with cuts of 220 and 237 workers being made respectively.
Net Revenue Up 12.1% at Radio One; Liggins Cautious. The financials from Radio One, Inc. for the first quarter of 2014 are in and the company reports net revenue was approximately $111.1 million, an increase of 12.1% from the same period in 2013. It reported a net loss of approximately $25.2 million or $0.53 per share compared to $18.1 million or $0.36 per share the same period a year ago. Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins III says, “Reflective of the broader economy, we experienced a slowdown in revenue growth in Q1. Adjusting for timing differences on major events, consolidated revenue was up by 5.4% compared to Q1 2013. Looking across the segments, TV One achieved its highest-ever show ratings, with the “NAACP Image Awards Show.” However, the benefits of the NAACP partnership will be felt over the longer term as during the first quarter, TV One had higher programming amortization associated with the initial telecast of the Image Awards. Our internet business continued its profitable trajectory and had robust 27.6% revenue growth year-over-year. Looking ahead, core radio revenue is currently pacing down mid-single digits for the second quarter, but we anticipate markets picking up momentum in the second half of the year as political spending ramps up.”
Lew Dickey Is “Bullish on the Stick” – Shares Insights into the Big Picture of Cumulus Media’s Corporate Strategy at Canadian Music Week. In a “Fireside Chat” between Cumulus Media president/CEO Lew Dickey and Talkers/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison held during the opening sessions of an international radio summit in Toronto, the head of the America radio industry’s second largest group said that he is “bullish” on radio when asked where the stick stands within his company’s long-term strategy. The 40 minute-conversation took place at 9:30 am Wednesday (5/7) at “Radio Interactive: International Radio Summit” held as part of this week’s ongoing multi-media festival, “Canadian Music Week.” Dickey made the comment when asked by Harrison how Cumulus plans to balance its attention between the traditional AM/FM federally licensed platform (the “stick”) and all of its many digital age assets. Harrison asked, “Considering the massive amount of capital you have invested in traditional radio, is there the danger of a conflict between the stick and your other media? More importantly, how do you feel about the future of the traditional radio station in general in this rapidly changing environment?” Dickey responded that – yes, “times have changed in the past five years alone faster than ever and will probably change even faster in the coming five years” but he is nonetheless “bullish on the stick” and that all of Cumulus Media’s projects and multi-media endeavors are based upon the foundation and strength of traditional radio. He said, “What we are doing is building upon our radio assets as the foundation of our larger media reach, always keeping in mind the importance of radio as the base of this larger system.” Dickey went on to say that he personally believes in the uniqueness, importance and future of radio as a vital audio medium and has great respect for the basics that drive its success – music, entertainment, information and especially talent. He summed it up stating, “In today’s media marketplace, the size of your reach counts. You can’t effectively compete with emerging and already-existing giants such as Google with limited audience reach – that’s why you have to be able to provide advertisers with a large, multi-media package for maximum exposure which even includes magazines that we have among our assets. That does not mean we do not value the tremendous importance of radio or the radio station in particular. It is just that the ability of each station to compete effectively is enhanced when it is connected to a larger set of platforms increasing the reach we can provide to advertisers.” Acknowledging Harrison as one of the industry’s leading experts on talk radio, he praised the importance of the format “in its broader definition” – even as it applies to music radio — stating, “Talk radio is more than just the political talk that many tend to narrow it down to when referring to the format. Talk radio is all over the radio in many different forms…it appears on rock and pop music radio as morning shows, it’s in the all-news broadcasts…it is certainly in sports talk and it is our very act of talking that makes radio programming of all formats really work.” When Harrison complained that there doesn’t seem to be the same level of format innovation today as there was in the past – and that he can’t see how radio can survive if its owners and managers think today’s formats can exist in a ‘snapshot’ and not be replaced by new ones, especially when these rapidly changing times demand it, Dickey smiled and said, “You must have been a fly on the wall at one of our recent corporate meetings! I specifically asked the question, ‘When was the last time we’ve seen a significantly new format emerge in radio?’ There is no doubt this is a concern that we care about greatly. However, I want to point out that we have good programming people on our team and we encourage them to be creative in this regard.” Dickey added, “However, keep in mind, formats DO evolve as the times demand… it is just not always as noticeable as the debut of brand new formats that mark a departure from those that came before them.” Harrison asked Dickey about audience measurement stats and his view of the PPM in particular to which he responded that “PPM would be far more accurate if we had a larger sample and until that day we have to deal with the potential of large fluctuations that can cause problems especially when dealing with tight margins within the rankings of stations.” When asked if he counters that with some emphasis on qualitative selling in addition to the quantitative approach – especially on the local level, Dickey responded, “Even on the local level advertisers want data – we are living in an age in which data and measurement play a critical role in just about everything. So even in situations in which there are no ‘ratings’ per se, it is incumbent upon the sales force to come up with information that conveys something measurable.” Immediately following the conversation with Dickey, Michael Harrison was asked how he felt it went to which he responded, “That guy is one smart dude!” Prior to facilitating the chat with the Cumulus head, Harrison delivered the conference’s keynote address titled, “Staying Iconic in the New Pop Culture,” in which he reiterated his basic principles that for music radio to maintain its standing in society it must reclaim ownership of the music culture and not stray from the basic tenets of entertainment, magic, humanity and caring – trusting its future as much on instinct and courage as on research and fear.
Global Warming/Clean Air Act, Boko Haram Kidnappings, Monica Lewinsky Vanity Fair Piece, 2016 Presidential Race/Mid-Term Elections, House Holds Lois Lerner in Contempt, and Russian Aggression in Ukraine Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7). The Obama Administration’s push for tougher regulations on power plant emissions and the debate over global warming; the global community’s response to the capture of Nigerian school girls by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram; Monica Lewinsky breaks her silence about affair with President Bill Clinton; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and this fall’s mid-term elections; former IRS official Lois Lerner found in contempt by House; and continued concerns about Russian aggression in Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Beasley Broadcasting Reports Q4 Revenue Down Slightly; 2013 Up 4.7%. Political advertising – or the lack thereof in the fourth quarter of Beasley’s Q4 – led to a mildly down quarter as net revenue dropped a half of a percent compared to the same period in 2012. Station operating income was down 5.2% quarter over quarter. However, for the year, Beasley reports net revenue was up 4.7% and net income per diluted share was up 6.3%. Further, the company states that “lower net revenue in the 2013 fourth quarter and a $0.4 million, or 2.5%, increase in station operating expenses related to operating KVGS-FM in Las Vegas which was acquired in September 2013, as well as a rise in sales and programming expenses, caused fourth quarter 2013 station operating income (SOI), a non-GAAP financial measure, to decrease by $0.6 million, or 5.2%, to $10.2 million, as compared to the 2012 fourth quarter.” Chairman and CEO George Beasley comments, “Beasley Broadcast Group’s fourth quarter net revenue decline primarily reflects a reduction in political spending as in the fourth quarter of 2012 we recorded approximately $1.2 million in political advertising revenue. While we were not able to fully offset the cyclical impact of political revenue, the fourth quarter radio advertising environment in our markets remains healthy and on an actual basis we reported just a slight decline in net revenue compared with last year. Excluding the benefit of political advertising in the year-ago quarter, Beasley Broadcast Group’s 2013 fourth quarter same station net revenue rose approximately 2% and, reflecting our success throughout 2013, actual full year net revenue rose 4.7% while same station net revenue for 2013 was up 1.9% versus full year 2012. Overall, for our five markets that report to Miller Kaplan – which represent approximately 76% of total fourth quarter revenue – Beasley station cluster revenue declined by 2.6%, which again was primarily attributable to the cyclical nature of political advertising, while the total revenue for all reporting radio stations in these markets decreased by 4.1% for the quarter. Beasley Broadcast Group’s out-performance relative to our markets again highlights the benefit of our organization-wide focus on strong core programming and targeted localism. Our planned investments in sales and programming and the expansion of our digital offerings, combined with the revenue decline, led to fourth quarter 2013 SOI which was 5.2% below year-ago levels.”
Sliwa Child Support Case Creating ‘Tabloid’ Sensation in NYC. The child support case currently in the courts in New York involving WABC, New York talk show host Curtis Sliwa has been fodder for the city’s tabloid newspapers. Recently it was the New York Post. Now it’s the New York Daily News. The most recent court filings by Sliwa’s ex-wife Mary charge Curtis Sliwa was having an affair with now-Queens Borough president Melinda Katz prior to his marriage to Mary – and that he even spent the night before his wedding to Mary with Katz. Sliwa was in court late last year contending he can’t afford the $13,000 per month he had agreed to pay Mary Sliwa for their now-10-year-old son because his salary had been slashed to $200,000 from its high of almost $700,000. (That was when he worked for Salem, he now works for Cumulus and his current salary has not been published.) Sliwa now lives with Katz and their two children and he pays $10,000 to Katz for child care even though they co-habitate. Court documents allege that – via voice mails – Mary Sliwa can show Curtis Sliwa was having an affair with Katz for a long period of time although the two deny it started before 2011. Mary Sliwa is also contesting the claim by Katz that her children were the product of frozen sperm donated by Sliwa. Whereas this ordeal is no doubt causing financial and personal pain for the parties involved, the buzz factor generated by a scandal of this nature cannot help but draw priceless and timely publicity to Sliwa’s radio presence in the competitive New York market as he reunites with his former longtime co-host Ron Kuby on WABC. Read the most recent New York Daily News story here.
TV News Net Exec Joins Clear Channel Seattle as Market President. The new market president at Clear Channel’s Seattle cluster is Kent Haehl. The former Channel One Network chief executive officer will report to executive vice president of operations Hartley Atkins, who comments, “We are fortunate to bring someone onto our team who has such an expansive leadership and experience base. Kent’s extensive knowledge of television, media, and the industry as a whole will immediately bring additional value to our advertisers and listeners as we continue to provide a greater reach than any other media outlet in Seattle.” Haehl, who replaces Lisa Decker in the role, remarks that he is “extremely grateful” to begin working with “such a talented team of professionals.” He adds, “I am looking forward to leading the market to continued success and to unlocking the full potential of our brands in one of America’s greatest cities.” Prior to his tenure at Channel One, a daily global television news network, Haehl held senior sales and marketing positions at In-Store Broadcasting Network and Meredith Broadcasting Group.
Bartley Joins WICC, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Air personality and programmer David Bartley is named assistant program director and producer at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WICC, Bridgeport, Connecticut. Bartley – who serves with the cluster as weekend and fill-in personality on the company’s sister AC WEBE – will produce the “Talk of the Town” program hosted by Jim Buchanan. He will continue his role with WEBE. In a statement, Bartley says, “I am very thankful to Danny Lyons and Ann McManus for giving me this awesome opportunity to help program ‘Fairfield County’s News and Information Leader’ WICC 600 AM, and I am also looking forward to working daily with Jim Buchanan.”
Portland’s KXTG to Air AFL Thunder Games. As a result of a multi-year partnership agreement, Alpha Broadcasting, Portland’s sports-formatted KXTG “The Game” will be the flagship station for the Portland Thunder, the city’s Arena Football League team. Senior vice president and market manager Milt McConnell notes, “We are excited to be a part of bringing the high-scoring Arena Football League’s Portland Thunder to our community. This is an entertaining brand that extends Alpha’s ‘live and local’ focus.” Portland Thunder owner Terry Emmert adds, “Sports fans in Oregon know that ‘The Game’ is the premiere sports radio station in the State. We are thrilled to have partnered with the station and Alpha Broadcasting in airing the inaugural season of Portland Thunder Arena Football. The AFL franchise will play 18 games, including nine at home at the Moda Center. KXTG is also the flagship of the Oregon Ducks and Major League Soccer‘s Portland Timbers.
Long-Running Syndicated Health Show ‘Duke & The Doctor’ Ends. One of the nation’s longest-running syndicated health talk shows is ending after tomorrow’s broadcast. The “Duke & The Doctor” program – co-hosted by Dr. Jan McBarron (right) and her husband Duke Liberatore (left) – has been in national syndication for more than 15 years. The couple is putting the wrap on the show at the same time they are selling their chain of six health food stores in North Georgia to Utah-based Nutraceutical. Long-time readers of TALKERS magazine and industry pros who attended TALKERS’ New Media Seminar in New York City in the late 1990s and early 2000s are familiar with the colorful couple who were regular attendees at the event during those years. With the show ending and the health food store chain being sold, Dr. McBarron is focusing on her medical practice and Liberatore will become more involved with the Columbus Lions Indoor Football team of which he and McBarron are part owners.
Veteran Recognized at SOTU Featured in KFYI, Phoenix Program. When President Obama recognized US Army Ranger Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg at the end of Tuesday’s State of the Union Address, Americans were applauding a man who was also recognized as part of news/talk KFYI, Phoenix’s “My Military Hero” promotion. Remsburg (pictured here at left with KFYI’s Mike Broomhead), was the August 2013 military hero of the month who was featured on a local billboard in the Phoenix metro and received a $500 Visa gift card courtesy of sponsor Rio Salado College. As part of the program, Mike Broomhead (heard on KFYI weekdays 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm) meets with each hero (or their family) each month to personally thank them for their service and presents them with their winnings including a mini digital billboard.
RTDNF Names Wallace Host of First Amendment Awards. This year’s host of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation (RTDNF) First Amendment Awards is Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace. The event will be held at Washington, DC’s Grand Hyatt Hotel on March 12. Honorees include CBS News‘ Bill Plante (RTDNF “Lifetime Achievement Award”); NBC News‘ Lester Holt (Leonard Zeidenberg “First Amendment Award”); Gannett Broadcasting‘s David Lougee (“First Amendment Leadership Award”); ABC News‘ Robin Sproul (“First Amendment Service Award”); and The Associated Press (“First Amendment Award”). RTDNF chair Vincent Dully states, “We are delighted to have Chris Wallace as our master of ceremonies. We invite everyone to join us in Washington to honor our award recipients and support the Foundation’s work for the First Amendment.” Wallace received the organization’s Paul White Award in 2013, the group’s highest honor for a lifetime of achievement and service.
Former Tampa-Area Talk Host Arrested on Racketeering and Fraud Charges. Using the religious station as a backdrop for his program “It’s God’s Money,” Gary L. Gauthier convinced 38 people in the Tampa area to invest in his Ponzi scheme and, according to the St. Petersburg Tribune, bilked them out of about $6 million. During 2005, Gauthier’s program aired on Salem Communications-owned stations WTBN and WGUL, though it’s not clear if Salem owned the stations at the time Gauthier’s program aired. According to the charges, Gauthier worked with local accountant David George Dreslin on the ploy. Dreslin has also been arrested and charged. The paper’s report indicates that many of the victims said they trusted Gauthier because he was broadcasting on a Christian radio station.
Odds & Sods. The “weigh-in” for WIP-FM, Philadelphia’s “Wing Bowl 22” takes place this afternoon at Chickie’s & Pete’s as Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes broadcast live from the restaurant in a prelude to the actual sold-out “Wing Bowl” that happens Friday morning at the Wells Fargo Center…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington adds popular Washington Post columnist Clinton Yates to its lineup as a contributor with a daily commentary called, “My Take.” It’ll air at 5:35 and 8:35 each morning, Monday through Friday. Yates says, “Radio is the original journalism media that I fell in love with as a kid. The opportunity to work with a powerhouse station like WTOP is tremendous.”…..Multi-talented broadcaster Kate Delaney – host of the syndicated “America Tonight” show – sharpens her sports talk skills as she sits in for Newy Scruggs on the NBC Sports Radio Network’s midday show on Tuesday, February 4.
State of the Union Address, ObamaCare Criticism, Immigration Legislation, U.S.-Afghan Relations, Snow Paralyzes South and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29). Analysis of President Obama’s State of the Union Address; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; criticism of House Speaker John Boehner and plans for immigration legislation that includes amnesty; the worsening of relations between the U.S. and Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai; the winter weather that hit the South and the activity on the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
TALKERS Publishes Second Annual “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio. The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, have compiled the second annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. The eagerly anticipated list is posted today (11/7). Like its long-established “sister list” – the long-running (18 years) annual “Heavy Hundred” that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine have ranked sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100 based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. The results are, admittedly, subjective. Being true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at the time of publication. TALKERS salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s second annual list! To see the entire roster, please click here.
Darryl Parks Exits Clear Channel. The longtime WLW, Cincinnati steward and architect of so many of the talk shows that aired on the station has been let go by Clear Channel. Programmer Darryl Parks was PD of WLW from 1999 to 2010 when he was promoted to vice president of news/talk operations for the entire company. He remained based at the Cincinnati cluster and hosted a Saturday morning talk show on WLW. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter broke the news on Wednesday afternoon and in his report calls Parks “arguably the most influential person in Cincinnati radio” during his time as PD of WLW. As per policy, Clear Channel doesn’t comment on personnel matters but has confirmed that Parks is no longer with the company. The move is likely a restructuring of management within the company but Parks drew attention to himself last month with a blog post criticizing acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn’s AM revitalization program and referred to the NAB/RAB Radio Show as a “circle jerk.”
CBS Corporation Reveals Q3 Numbers: Radio Up 1%. For the company as a whole, revenue was up 11% but the radio division’s net revenue rose just 1%. With so much of CBS’ revenue from television and cable, the company doesn’t spend much time talking about radio. EVP of investor relations Adam Townsend did single out the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network, saying, “CBS Sports Radio network continues to help drive our results. Plus, digital revenue was up 19% in the quarter. And nontraditional revenue, including our growing local events business, was up 9%.” The company says it expects the radio division to be up in the low single digits in the fourth quarter.
Clear Channel Radio Revenue Up 3%. CC Media Holdings issued its third quarter 2013 financial results and the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment division’s revenue increased by 3% or $25 million. Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Strategically and financially, our third quarter results reflect the growing strength of our Media+Entertainment business, while we continue to make meaningful progress in moving Outdoor forward internationally and in the Americas. At Media+Entertainment, we outperformed the entire radio sector in revenue growth, including in our major markets. Increasingly, our radio business is benefiting from our strategic approach to advertising that sets us apart in the marketplace.” Among numerous other points made about the division’s recent achievements, the company notes that there are now “39 million iHeartRadio registered users as of September 30, 2013, up 114% from the end of the 2012 third quarter, and crossing the 30 million registered user mark faster than Facebook, Twitter, Spotify or Pandora, and second only to Instagram. iHeartRadio’s total listening hours were up 30% in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. Mobile represented 60% of iHeartRadio total listening hours during the quarter.”
Tony Katz to Host Evening Show on WIBC-FM, Indianapolis. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and talk show host Tony Katz have agreed to terms for Katz to debut his “Tony Katz Tonight” program on the station airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight beginning Monday, November 11. Katz will be based out of his Tomorrow Media Network studios in Los Angeles. Katz most recently hosted a weekend program on Emmis-owned KFTK-FM, St. Louis “FM News Talk 97.1” where he also serves as the regular fill-in for the station’s Dana Loesch. Katz states, “I’m thrilled to be with Emmis, a company that has fought hard to be strong in this ever-shifting radio landscape. I’ve had a great relationship with the company, with Dana and especially KFTK program director Jeff Allen, who gave me nothing but support, opportunity and encouragement. To go from there to the capable and fearless hands of WIBC program director David Wood makes me truly believe that this is the start of a long, profitable relationship.” Katz is a columnist with TownHall and Christian Post and a frequent commentator on “Fox and Friends” and “The Kudlow Report” on CNBC. He is also a sought after public speaker.
Bill Cunningham’s TV Show Renews on The CW. WLW, Cincinnati talk show host Bill Cunningham can also claim success in his other media endeavor – the Tribune-produced television talk program “The Bill Cunningham Show.” Now, Cable & Broadcasting reports that the show has been picked up for another season – its third – by The CW Network which airs the show at 3:00 pm ET. The TV project was one of those that began back when former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels was heading up Tribune. Former Clear Channel programmer Sean Compton is one of the executives whom Michaels brought to Chicago and has risen to president of programming and entertainment for Tribune Broadcasting. Compton is quoted in the piece saying, “The growth of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ over the past three seasons has exceeded all expectations. When compared to perceptually bigger shows, Cunningham consistently comes out on top. His demo conversion steadily yields impressive results and we are extremely proud of this show.”
A Peek Inside: NAB Futures 2013. Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke was recently invited to attend – and deliver a keynote speech! – at the invitation only NAB Futures 2013 that took place in Laguna Beach, California. Cooke describes it as “a think tank about how broadcasters can embrace and exploit the ‘disruption’ that has changed how consumers consume media.” He reports back interesting tidbits from such speakers as: James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research and the author of Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation; Scott Burnell, global lead, business development & partner management at Ford Motor Company; Jason Dorsey, “The Gen Y Guy” who wrote Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business. Get Holland Cooke’s scoop on the NAB Futures 2013 here.
WestwoodOne Opens Creative and Production Studio for Radio Marketers. Saying that it wants to help marketers develop “world-class audio,” WestwoodOne announces the opening of a full-service Creative Services division to be “powered” in part by TM Studios. The company says it will “provide multi-platform marketing solutions including on-air, digital and experiential components, built upon the company’s core service producing engaging audio experiences that connect people with their passions in life. The studio is currently preparing to work with marketers to produce audio ads for WestwoodOne’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII.” WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “Audio plays a vital role in the new media landscape and WestwoodOne is uniquely positioned to help marketers integrate creative, multiplatform audio advertising into the mix. Marketers need a reliable partner who understands how, where and when today’s mobile consumers are interacting with audio and the ability to develop audio content that can stand out from the competition. Be it mobile, terrestrial or digital consumption, the team at WestwoodOne Studio has the talent and expertise to create the most compelling and effective advertising to give our marketers the most exposure.”
Phil Valentine Kicks Off ‘Spreading the Truth’ Tour. Nashville-based syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine is launching what he’s calling the “Spreading the Truth” tour to promote the newly released DVD of his film “An Inconsistent Truth.” Valentine will be in Pensacola, Florida at the Cordova Mall on Sunday, November 10 in conjunction with his Pensacola affiliate station WCOA. Valentine reports that the movie – which challenges the notion of runaway, man-made global warming and takes its title from a twist on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – “hit the #1 spot on Amazon.com’s documentary list shortly after its release. It’s the winner of three film festival awards including the Nevada Film Festival. The film enjoyed a limited run last year in select theaters and was the top-grossing movie per screen in the entire country its first two weeks out. It’s the 20th top-grossing nature documentary of all time, out-grossing films like “Cool It, Gasland and Fuel.” Valentine states, “I think the fact that we hit #1 on Amazon so quickly is a testament to the appetite out there for the truth. People inherently know carbon dioxide is not some kind of poison. They instinctively know they’re being lied to. We just arm them with the facts.” The Spreading the Truth tour kicks off in Pensacola then moves to Nashville. Other tour dates are being added.
Odds & Sods. Chicago Cubs radio color analyst Keith Moreland is stepping down from his role. WGN, Chicago announces the former Cub has made the decision to leave the broadcast booth to spend more time with his family. In a note to the WGN staff, Moreland stated, “I would like to thank the fans, the folks at WGN Radio, my colleagues in the booth, the Ricketts family, and the Cubs for this great opportunity. After spending three years doing it, I’ve simply decided that I want to spend more time at home in Texas.” Moreland became a permanent fixture with play-by-play broadcaster Pat Hughes in February of 2011…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the return of its off-season baseball show “Red Sox Hot Stove,” a weekly, one-hour program hosted by WEEI.com editor Rob Bradford and Red Sox reporter Alex Speier that will air every Thursday night from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm through February. The program will focus on all off-season moves made by the Red Sox and in Major League Baseball, including free agency and trades, the GM and owners’ meetings and the league’s annual Winter Meetings, taking place this year from December 9-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL. Bradford and Speier will be joined on a recurring basis by Red Sox manager John Farrell, general manager Ben Cherington and assistant general manager Mike Hazen. In addition, listeners will regularly hear from other managers, general managers, agents and players from around baseball.
‘There She/He Is, Miss Indiana…’ Okay, so that’s not exactly how the song goes. Nonetheless, the attractive woman you see here is Mekayla Diehl (right) who was crowned Miss Indiana USA 2014 this past Sunday. The handsome lad seated and wearing the tiara is Federated Media news and programming guru Jon Zimney of ‘95.3 FM MNC’ (Michiana News Channel) in South Bend, Indiana, and WOWO-AM/FM in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Miss Diehl visited the broadcasting facility to talk about her being crowned to represent the state of Indiana.
ObamaCare Criticism, Election Day Results, Benghazi Case, GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategies, Iran Nukes, Miami Dolphins ‘Bullying’ Story and Tony Dorsett Health Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6). The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Tuesday’s election results; renewed criticism of the handling of the deadly Benghazi attacks; Republican prospects and strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014 and the presidential election in 2016; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; controversy over the suspension of Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito; and former NFL great Tony Dorsett’s admission he suffers from possible effects of football injuries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Reports Q3 Revenue Down 4%. Bucking the trend of recent third quarter reports from other broadcasters showing generally moderate revenue growth, Entercom’s Q3 2013 financial statement indicated revenue down 4% on $98.4 million. President and CEO David Field stated that station expenses increased 5% and the resulting adjusted EBITDA was down 22% to $26.2 million. Field did tell investors during yesterday’s conference call that the company has been paying down debt, “We also continued to direct our substantial free cash flow towards debt reduction. During the third quarter alone, we cut our net debt by $20 million, and have now lowered our net debt by nearly $450 million over the past six years.” Field reported that local sales were down 5% and national revenue was basically flat. Field admitted the company’s sales effort was the problem, stating that in the markets in which the company operates, total radio revenue was up 1%. “Plain and simple, our sales performance in the third quarter was poor. We failed to get the job done and that is unacceptable. We lagged our radio peers by a significant margin, and failed to capitalize on our strong brands, ratings and marketing capabilities.” Field reminded investors that the company anticipated a down third quarter due to recently enacted changes in the company’s sales strategies and practices and that the changes will make the company stronger in the long run.
Saga Communications Inches Up 1.6% in Net Revenue. For the third quarter of 2013, Saga Communications says the $35.8 million (ex political) resulted in a net revenue increase of 1.6%. CEO Ed Christian told investors during yesterday’s conference call that considering how much the company is down from the loss of political from last year to this, the results are not bad though he had hoped to be up 2%. Christian can be downright chatty during these conference calls and he took the time to reference a Barron’s article indicating America may be at the beginning of decades of slow growth and suggested radio’s prescription for adapting to such an economy is to focus on rebuilding radio’s image. He says research shows people like radio but there needs to be more trust and respect. “If we blend the community – and you can define community any way that you like it – if we blend the community and we blend radio into one, we’ll continue to survive and prosper, even in a 2% GDP world.”
Salem Communications’ Broadcast Division Announces Flat Q3 Numbers. The broadcasting division of Salem Communications was up just a hair – 0.3% on $46 million dollars for the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During yesterday’s conference call, CFO Evan Masyr broke down the company’s performance by format, reporting, “Thirty-nine of our radio stations are programmed in what we call our foundational format Christian Teaching and Talk, these stations contributed 45% of total broadcast revenue and increased 1% for the quarter. Block programming increased 2.3%, while infomercials were down 29.7% as we continue to reduce the infomercials on our radio stations to improve the overall programming on the stations. Our 26 news/talk stations had a decrease of 6% in revenue for the quarter. Overall, these stations contributed 14% of total broadcast revenue. The revenue from the 12 contemporary Christian music stations contributed 24% of total broadcast revenue and had an increase of 5% for the quarter. Again, we continue to see strong results from many of our music stations, most notably in this quarter Los Angeles and Dallas. The seven stations that we have programmed in Spanish language, Christian Teaching and Talk grew by 26%, and these stations comprised 2% of our broadcast revenue. Finally, with respect to the formats that we focus on the 10 stations in a business talk format, and that format contributed 3% of our broadcast revenue and had a decrease of 2% in revenue.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can read the entire call here.
Nielsen Promotes Mitch Barns to CEO. The ratings giant – which recently brought radio ratings into its fold with the acquisition of Arbitron – announces that Dwight M. “Mitch” Barns will succeed David L. Calhoun as chief executive officer effective Jaunary 1, 2014. Barns has been with Nielsen for the past 16 years, currently serving as president, global client service, which oversees $5.5 billion in revenue and leads the efforts of Nielsen’s Watch and Buy client service teams worldwide. Upon Barns’ succession, David Calhoun will become executive chairman of the board of directors, at which time Nielsen’s current Chairman of the Board, James M. Kilts, will step down as chairman, but will remain a board member. Calhoun states, “Nielsen is successfully implementing its global strategy, and the time is right to name the next leader to take the company to its next phase of growth. Mitch’s strong track record at the helm of a number of key Nielsen business units around the world – combined with his vision and commitment to our strategic plan – puts the company on solid footing for continued global expansion and value creation. I will continue to remain invested in Mitch’s success in my new role.” Barns adds, “I am honored by this opportunity to serve Nielsen as its chief executive officer, and I am thankful for the board’s vote of confidence. Throughout my 16 years at this company, I’ve been privileged to work side-by-side with talented leaders and associates in Nielsen businesses across the world. I look forward to continuing our work together to anticipate client needs with ongoing innovation and expand our footprint in developing markets, while consistently delivering growth and enhancing shareholder value.”
KFI, Los Angeles Critic Files Petition to Deny License Renewal. It’s probably not surprising to anyone at Clear Channel’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles that Alex Nogales, representing the National Hispanic Media Coalition, has filed a Petition to Deny the station’s license renewal application. Nogales has long been a critic of the station’s programming. It’s hard to say whether Nogales actually believes the FCC would act on his assertions that because hosts such as John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou speak against illegal immigration that their show is “harmful and dangerous” and this could qualify as actionable or whether he just wants to get some publicity by announcing the filing of the Petition. Regardless, as we’ve seen countless times before – and most recently with the Commission’s refusal to deny license renewal for Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM, Washington – disagreements with the opinions of talk show hosts are not valid reasons for non-renewal. As it wrote in the recent WMAL case, the FCC states, “The Commission is prohibited from exercising any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions. A licensee has broad discretion – based on its right to free speech – to choose the programming that it believes serves the needs and interests of the members of its audience.”
Programmer and Consultant Greg Moceri’s Son Tony Writes New Hannity Theme Music. Tony Moceri is the 13-year-old son of talk radio programmer and consultant Greg Moceri and resides in Ada, Michigan. Tony has been playing piano since he was five and currently is a percussionist in his middle school’s band. Greg Moceri tells Mlive.com that, though he’s worked with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity in the past, his connection didn’t influence the use of his son’s work. He says Hannity’s staff was seeking new music, “They wanted a change and asked for something upbeat and lively for the show opening. I wasn’t thrilled with what I was finding and then I remembered Tony’s piece and sent it to some people that I work with. They all thought it was perfect and so I sent it to Sean. I didn’t tell him where it came from; I didn’t want him to feel obligated. But he loved it and now they are using it.” Hannity told Mlive.com, “Isn’t this a great story? When Greg sent me the music, I thought it was a pop song and wondered why I had never heard it. I have a son about the same age…and I listen to a lot of kids music. I love music and this is spectacular.”
Odds & Sods. Hockey is back and so is WGN, Chicago’s broadcast series, “Chicago Blackhawks Live,” a number of one-hour radio remotes during the 2013-2014 season that take place over dinner and feature current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives. It’s hosted by Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray and the season premiere will feature Blackhawks forwards Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw. It takes place on November 11 at 7:00 pm at Old Town Pour House in Chicago…..Cuts at Rogers Communications are affecting some of the company’s spoken-word outlets. The Ottawa Citizen reports that CIWW, Ottawa is losing seven staffers as the station will simulcast sister CJCL, Toronto “Sportsnet 590” for weekends and part of the weekday programming. In all, Rogers is reportedly laying off 94 staffers…..MLB‘s Miami Marlins games will be heard on Clear Channel‘s sports talk WINZ, Miami beginning with the 2014 season. This past season, Marlins play-by-play was heard on Lincoln Financial Media‘s WAXY, Miami.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Dori Monson to Take on Governor Inslee in Hoops Challenge. KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dori Monson gets to face off with Washington Governor Jay Inslee in a charity basketball game tonight that will be broadcast live on KIRO-FM. The “Clash on the Court” will benefit Food Lifeline and Sports in Schools. The program consists of a five-on-five co-ed game between local youth, coached by Monson and Inslee, followed by a five-on-five game featuring show hosts from KIRO Radio and “710 ESPN Seattle” up against local politicians handpicked by Jay Inslee. The event will conclude with a one-on-one game between Monson and Inslee. Monson jokes, “This may be my first and only opportunity to force a local politician to go right! This proves that, for us aging basketball players, we check our politics at the gym door. I’m thrilled Governor Inslee and I – along with our colleagues – are able to get together to raise money for two great organizations.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Presidential Approval Polls, Election Day, Toronto Mayor Crack Case and NFL Bullying Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5). Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; new lower numbers for President Obama’s approval ratings; the high-profile races in Tuesday’s elections, including gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey; the admission by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford that he’s used crack cocaine in the past; and the accusations of bullying within the Miami Dolphins organization were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Bill White Named PD at Journal’s ‘104.1 The Truth’ and ‘ESPN Tucson.’ Programming pro Bill White is the new program director at Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk KQTH, Tucson “104.1 The Truth” and sports talk duo KFFN-AM/FM “ESPN Tucson.” Journal Tucson operations manager Shaun Holly says, “I am pleased to announce, after a long and exhaustive search, we have found the perfect program director for ‘104.1 The Truth’ KQTH and ‘ESPN Tucson’ 1490/1049fm KFFN-AM/FM and we are fortunate to add a team member with his talent and background of success.” Bill White comments, “I am thrilled to be joining Shaun Holly, vice president and general manager Jim Arnold and the talented team at ‘The Truth,’ ‘ESPN Tucson’ and Journal Broadcast Group/Tucson. Journal is a company committed to creating great local content through all media platforms: radio, TV, digital, and publishing. ‘The Truth’ and ESPN are strong brands and I am very excited to work with their talented lineup.” Bill White fills the programming slot left vacant when Ryan McCredden left to join CBS Radio Houston’s sports talk outlets KILT and KIKK. Upon learning of White’s appointment to this position, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison stated, “Journal has made a brilliant move landing Bill White for this position and the Tucson market, which is a wonderful place to live and work, as well all of radio, will be better off for it. In my opinion, Bill White is one of the finest programmers and individuals in radio today.”
Beasley 2013 Q2 Net Revenue Up 8.3%. A good quarter for Beasley Broadcast Group as the company announces second quarter net revenue was up 8.3% on revenue of $26.9 million (compared to $24.8 million during the same period a year ago) and same station net revenue rose 4.2%. Beasley notes that the increase “reflects strength in the company’s Philadelphia, Fayetteville and Las Vegas market clusters, including the acquisition of KOAS-FM in Las Vegas during the 2012 third quarter.” In a statement chairman and CEO George Beasley says, “Beasley Broadcast Group generated its fourth consecutive period of top line growth as second quarter net revenue rose 8.3% and same station net revenue increased 4.2%. The increase in second quarter revenue reflects strong national and digital revenue growth which contributed to strength in several market clusters including Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Ft. Myers and Augusta. Overall, for our five markets that report to Miller Kaplan — which represent approximately 75% of our total second quarter revenue – Beasley station clusters grew revenue by 8.4% while the total revenue for all reporting radio stations in these markets declined by 2.4% for the quarter. We attribute our out-performance to our organization-wide focus on strong core programming and targeted localism, both of which are contributing to the Company’s ratings strength in its markets. Notwithstanding the solid revenue growth, comparisons of our other financial metrics with the year-ago period are clouded due to the operating expense credit in last year’s second quarter, and certain charges in the 2013 second quarter including a loss on the early extinguishment of debt and a prepayment fee incurred in connection with the refinancing of our second lien debt. In addition, recent initiatives in the areas of sales, programming and the further expansion of our digital offerings are expected to drive long-term revenue growth, but are resulting in higher operating expenses on a short-term basis.”
KSCO, Santa Cruz Talk Host Ethan Bearman Gets Huge Visibility from Needle Exchange Controversy. Local talk show host Ethan Bearman raised his already skyrocketing profile in the Santa Cruz market even further after local TV station KION, Salinas (and other traditional news organizations) picked up on his efforts to get a better grasp of how the community feels about a controversial needle exchange program. Bearman, (pictured here during the KION news segment) says he believes there is a disconnect between the community and the authorities on the newest needle exchange program designed to deal with the large number of used needles being found throughout the community left by intravenous drug users. Bearman initiated his own unofficial Santa Cruz needle exchange survey online asking 10 questions of the public about the problem and the program. The Health Services Agency and the citizens group Take Back Santa Cruz both put Bearman’s survey on their websites to try to feel the public’s mood. Bearman says he’ll deliver the results to the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors as well as the Santa Cruz City Council. The survey is closed and Bearman says he’ll have the results today (7/26). See the KION segment here.
Mark Panetta Launches Clear Riffles Marketing and Research Agency. Former DMR Interactive senior vice president of marketing strategy Mark Panetta (who spent 17 years with the Cincinnati-based strategic marketing consultancy) announces the launch of Clear Riffles – a new marketing and research agency. Panetta says the reason for building his new venture is that “companies who specialize in direct marketing for radio have been more focused on the vehicle and the destination than on the content they deliver. That is, they spend all their time on WHERE and HOW to advertise and little on WHAT TO SAY. Yet, in the most successful advertising campaigns of the recent decade – Apple vs. PC, The Geico Gecko, Target Stores rebranding, etc. – it’s the perfectly executed message that mattered most. Success is the result of developing a solid strategy based on understanding consumer perceptions and needs. When you get that right, powerful creative can follow. Where and how you advertise is then a matter of mechanics.” Panetta says Clear Riffles was founded to fill the creative void by designing radio marketing campaigns that truly connect radio stations with today’s listeners. He states this is accomplished with more emphasis on the creative process starting with proprietary research that illuminates current consumer views and attitudes. And he adds, “It’s the hard work others in our field are not set up or qualified to do.” Panetta can be reached at 470-239-3583 or emailed at Mark@ClearRiffles.com.
SiriusXM Reports Q2 2013 Numbers; Net Subscribers and Revenue Both Up. Satcaster SiriusXM reported second quarter figures for 2013 on Thursday, July 25 and CEO Jim Meyer said the company delivered more than 715,000 in net subscriber additions during the quarter to bring the company’s total paid subscriber tally over the 25 million threshold. Meyer also said the revenue for the quarter — $940 million – was up double digits. The company reports that factory-installed SiriusXM radios are now in 54.5 million automobiles and Meyer says he expects that figure to hit 100 million by the end of 2017. Regarding developing technology, Meyers stated, “We also continue to make significant progress in developing our next generation connected-car platform and in driving our Telematics business. During the second quarter we launched an in-car IP streaming app with Ford on the same platform. This feature enables Ford customers to have two-way services such as Sirius XM on-demand and personalized music through MyXM. It is a first step in creating an in-vehicle experience that harnesses both satellite and IT. Our effort with Ford is just the beginning and we are holding discussions with all of the major OEMs about including their app on their platforms. Ultimately, we believe that merging satellite and IP connectivity in the car will provide a superior service for subscribers.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. You can check out the entire call here.
Odds & Sods. NBC Sports Radio weekend personality Jason Page will broadcast from the 2013 Ahmad Rashad Celebrity Classic at Mohegan Sun Country Club in Pautipaug, Connecticut tomorrow (7/27) from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am on Sunday. The golf event has raised more than $500,000 for charity since its inception…..ESPN Radio’s popular podcast “His & Hers” featuring Michael Smith and Jemele Hill expands to a twice-per-week production with episodes now made available at ESPNRadio.com on Mondays and Thursdays…..Fox Sports Radio simulcasts “UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Moraga” on Saturday, July 27 from Key Arena in Seattle. Following the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe will host a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET.
Filling In. Boston-based talk show host Jeff Katz sits in at Clear Channel’s WHAS, Louisville for a day when he guest hosts the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program on Monday, July 29…..WFED, Washington afternoon drive host Francis Rose fills in for Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated personality John Batchelor on his Sunday evening program on July 28.
Cool Job Opportunities. WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment’s Kim Komando show has two job opportunities available. First, the program is searching for seasoned National Sales Reps with experience in selling broadcast (radio and television) and digital online advertising. All interested candidates should send their resume to email@example.com. Second, The Kim Komando show is seeking an Experienced Television Producer. This is a new position being created. Candidate shall have a passion for broadcast programming plus a minimum of 5 years as a television show producer and /or assistant producer. To learn about this position and more you can send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. For all open positions you can check out http://www.komando.com/careers.
Cool Job Opportunity. Southwest Broadcasting is seeking a station manager for news/talk KYCA and beautiful music KAHM in Prescott, Arizona. Owner Lou Silverstein can be phoned at 928-445-7800 or emailed at email@example.com.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Radio America-syndicated “Behind the Curtain with Jack Burkman” announces the addition of KABC, Los Angeles; WTNT, Washington, DC; WFFG, Marathon, Florida; KTPA, and KXAR in Hope, Arkansas; KLEY, and KKLE in Wellington, Kansas; KSET, Beaumont, Texas; and WTIM-FM, Taylorville, Illinois begin carrying the program…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” featuring Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program lineup at WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi…..MMG Radio Network’s “The Pet Show” with Warren Eckstein adds affiliates: WFYL, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania; KWAM, Memphis; KBTK, Flagstaff, Arizona; and WRHI, Charlotte.
Anthony Weiner Saga Tops Talkers TenTM. The trials and tribulations of New York City mayoral candidate and former congressman Anthony Weiner after new allegations of sexting and extramarital relationships were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 22-26. Coming in at #2 on the Talkers TenTM was the George Zimmerman verdict aftermath. At #3 was the implementation and promotion of the Affordable Care Act followed by the Detroit bankruptcy declaration at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. 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.