Red Sox-WEEI Streak Continues. While financial terms of the highly expected deal were not disclosed, Entercom Boston sports outlet WEEI will carry on its role as the radio flagship of the Boston Red Sox through (at minimum) the 2023 MLB season. WEEI and the Red Sox have been partners since 1995. Entercom chief operating officer David Field states, “WEEI and Entercom are delighted to be extending our outstanding relationship with the Boston Red Sox well into the future. It is a true privilege to be partnered with this extraordinary, iconic organization and their world-class team of professionals, both on and off the field. Red Sox fans across the country will continue to hear outstanding Sox play-by-play broadcasts and 24/7 team coverage on WEEI and WEEI.com, the home of Red Sox baseball.” Red Sox president Sam Kennedy comments, “We are pleased to extend our partnership with WEEI for another seven seasons. We look forward to this new phase of our partnership and sharing more winning baseball through the airwaves with our fans across New England.” The WEEI play-by-play crew consists of Red Sox Hall of Fame announcer Joe Castiglione and Tim Neverett, who this year succeeded Dave O’Brien (now doing Red Sox telecasts on NESN); Hamden, Connecticut native Castiglione is in his 34th year in the Red Sox radio booth. In addition to WEEI, the Red Sox Radio Network consists of 55 affiliates throughout the six New England states. To see how WEEI-FM and 28 other MLB radio flagships performed in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM sweep, please read today’s exclusive TALKERS special features piece which appears below.
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian introduces Major League Baseball‘s 2016 radio flagships with a ratings overview based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2016 PPM survey period. Highlighted are each key station’s 6+ share; 6+ market rank; month-to-month and year-to-year fluctuations; and a special breakout chart featuring the flagships by league/division. See the first of Mike’s exclusive special feature pieces about MLB flagships here.
TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Is Nearing a Sellout! If you haven’t made your reservations to attend the forthcoming 19th annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention, now is the time to do so. It is nearing an early sellout and there will be no registrations sold at the door. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place three weeks from now on Friday, May 20 on the fabulous campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY (on Long Island, just outside of NYC). Featuring a powerful lineup of more than 60 luminous speakers, panel discussions, presentations, breakfast, lunch, closing reception, techno exhibits, live broadcasts and more – this is shaping up to be the most exciting and productive industry networking events of its kind in years. Registration cost is $299 per person and can only be arranged with credit card over the phone. The event is only open to media professionals and communications students. Please call 413-565-5413 for registration, sponsorship, and hotel information. Complete up to date agenda info can be found by clicking here.
Knapp, KCMO-AM Cut Ties. After more than five years as KCMO-AM, Kansas City’s afternoon drive host, Greg Knapp departs the Cumulus Media talk outlet. Regarding his dismissal, Knapp writes on his Facebook page, “I was told repeatedly it was not about my performance. My general manager was very kind in telling me how much she appreciated my show and my work [but] corporate decided it was cheaper to run syndicated programming than it was to pay me a salary. I have consistently had the highest ratings on the station; everyone at Cumulus Kansas City has been very good to me. The good news is I learned a long time ago to always have more than one source of income. I am now ramping up my personal development business [but] I am also looking for new opportunities in radio.” Knapp previously did afternoon drive on KLIF, Dallas; was a syndicated Radio America talk talent; and owned a guest-hosting service. Down or flat for the fourth successive sweep (1.9 – 1.6 – 1.6 – 1.5 – 1.5, 6+), KCMO-AM ranks #21 in Nielsen Audio‘s March 2016 PPM report for Kansas City; Entercom hot AC KZPT “The Point” is the market leader (6.5, 6+).
Presidential Race Tops “Talkers Ten” for Week of April 25 – 29. Activities of the presidential candidates and the battle for delegates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the European terrorism investigations and the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, tied with the United States’ Syria military policy. Coming in at #3 was the controversy over state laws affecting public restroom use and gender identification, followed by North Korea’s recent missile tests at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
“Robbins & Markley” Becomes “Markley & van Camp.” Owing to health concerns that have sidelined Scott Robbins since late-August (2015), there is a title change for the weekday program on Alpha Media Portland’s KXL “FM News 101” and co-owned WMBD, Peoria (Illinois). David van Camp will permanently join Jamie Markley for the “Markley and van Camp Show,” which airs 9:00 am – 12:00 noon on KXL and from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm on WMBD. Alpha Media executive vice president of programming Scott Mahalick comments that, “David van Camp brings a unique perspective to the show and a great balance to Jamie Markley; together, they are magical.” The first official day of the newly-named “Markley and van Camp Show” will be next Monday (5/2).
SiriusXM Q1 Revenue Rises 11%. The increase is to a record $1.2 billion, with SiriusXM net income up 62% to $171 million; adjusted EBITDA improves 11% to $441 million. The satcaster adds nearly one-half million new subscribers, ending with almost 30.1 million. First quarter results exceeded expectations of chief executive officer Jim Meyer who comments, “I am especially pleased we were able to add 465,000 net new subscribers, leading to an 8% increase in subscribers over the prior year. With excellent subscriber growth so early in the year, we are raising our guidance for full year net subscriber additions to 1.6 million. We set first quarter records for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and free cash flow, and we are on track to achieve all of our financial goals this year. With a new full-time music channel from Kenny Chesney, live broadcasts from major music festivals, special popup channels for David Bowie, and Billy Joel, as well as new talk shows, and unmatched coverage of the presidential primaries, SiriusXM continues to be the leader in audio entertainment. We are always looking to deliver new, compelling content to our subscribers.” Chief financial officer David Frear notes that during the first quarter, “We reduced our outstanding share count by about 3%, spending $588 million to repurchase 159 million shares of our common stock. Our debt to adjusted EBITDA remained low at just 3.4 times, leaving plenty of flexibility to continue capital returns to our stockholders or make acquisitions while also making investments in our technology, content, and new satellite infrastructure.”
State of the New York Market Report Released. Among the findings from a New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD) overview is that several industries expanded their footprint in the New York area contributing to a strong first-quarter start. NYMRAD executive director Debbie Beagan remarks, “With luxury retailers and department stores opening locations across the Tri-State area, radio offers high-end businesses an engaging environment for reaching consumers with household incomes of $250,000 and higher. New York market radio reaches 91% of high-income households, $250,000+, [as well as] over 90% of those who own a second home; those planning on buying a luxury car; dined in upscale restaurants; purchased fine jewelry in excess of $500; and vacations in excess of $10,000.” The report addresses latest information about New York’s economy, commuting information, radio and politics, and national radio advertising/usage. Analysis of the New York marketplace is designed to help advertisers understand radio’s impact on consumers and its role in the local advertising landscape. NYMRAD’s “State of the Market Report” provides business trends as well as local information from a variety of sources including Nielsen Audio, Media Monitors, and The New York Times.”
Execs Named to Build Digital Content Network for TheBlaze. Three digital media industry veterans have been added to TheBlaze‘s leadership team. Former Core Media Group chief marketing officer Chris Gannett joins as senior vice president of marketing; previously with CNN and the weekend edition of ABC-TV‘s “Good Morning America,” Matt Frucci is appointed senior vice president of content & programming; and Lisa Fowler – from BET Networks – joins as vice president of talent and culture. TheBlaze president Stewart Padveen notes, “TheBlaze is investing heavily in our mission to redefine the way digital media is delivered and consumed. Chris, Matt, and Lisa are a significant part of a new high-performing culture and a diverse lineup of superstar talent.” Ironically, the additions at Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze come after cuts across offices in New York, Los Angeles, Washington (D.C.), and Columbus, where a documentary group had been based. Sources tell TVNewser, between 35-45 staffers have been pinkslipped. These layoffs follow what a source calls a “brain drain” of talent over the last year. Chief executive officer Betsy Morgan left the company last summer and her interim replacement, former Premiere Networks chief operating officer, Kraig Kitchen, exited earlier this year. According to The Daily Beast, the latest cuts are meant to “satisfy the requirements of a multi-million dollar bank loan taken out recently to keep Beck’s revenue-challenged enterprise running.” TheBlaze is consolidating the company’s operations to its Irving, Texas headquarters.
Entercom Promotes Pat Paxton to President of Programming. Fifteen-year programming staffer Pat Paxton is promoted to president of programming for Entercom Communications Corp. Paxton has served as senior vice president of programming since 2001. He began his work with the company in 1999 as OM at the old AC WQSX “Star 93.7.” Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “Pat has played a vital role in Entercom’s growth and development over his 15 years with the company. He is an energizing leader, a terrific strategist and a deeply knowledgeable programmer. We are truly fortunate to have him on our team.” Paxton says of the promotion, “The past 15 years with Entercom have been tremendously rewarding, both personally and professionally. Our entire Entercom team has worked tirelessly to create one of today’s most admired media companies, which has not happened accidentally. I am proud to have been part of this team and I look forward to continuing to help create the very best audio brands in the industry. Huge thanks to David Field for his vision and leadership that has allowed all of us at Entercom to thrive.”
WTAR, Norfolk Drops Comedy for News/Talk/Sports. The Sinclair-owned AM signal WTAR, Norfolk will drop the comedy format it is currently airing and flip to a hybrid talk/sports format that will feature “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; FSN’s “Jay Mohr Sports” 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; and Cumulus Media Networks’ Michael Savage from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Tony Macrini, morning host at sister talk station WNIS made the announcement on January 20. General manager Lisa Sinclair says, “There’s always something new to talk about and AM 850 WTAR keeps you engaged, informed and always entertained.”
SiriusXM Opens Howard Stern Birthday Bash to Non-Subscribers. When the “Howard Stern Birthday Bash” begins at 4:00 pm ET on January 31 live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, the world will be invited to the party as SiriusXM is opening its internet service at siriusxm.com to non-subscribers. The company says that this unprecedented access to Howard Stern’s live broadcast is a first for SiriusXM and Howard Stern. In addition to SiriusXM subscribers, anyone can stream “Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash,” an evening of unforgettable performances and special appearances from the biggest names in entertainment. The free stream will be available on compatible mobile devices as well as online through simple one-click listening; no need to download an app or enter credentials. Stern comments on the approaching broadcast to celebrate his 60th birthday. “I am honored by the number of performers who want to join me on stage, and the number of fans who want to get in. Now, thanks to SiriusXM, I can give the world access to this event for free through this special internet audio stream in addition to my fans listening on their satellite radios.” The event is being hosted by Jimmy Kimmel with guests including Louis C.K., David Letterman and Sarah Silverman, with musical performances by Jon Bon Jovi, John Fogerty, Steven Tyler and many others.
Hartel to Head Up L&L’s Columbia, South Carolina Group. The new SVP and market manager for L&L Broadcasting’s Columbia South Carolina cluster is Mike Hartel – who most recently served as vice president and general manager of Curtis Media Group’s WBBB, Raleigh. L&L CEO Bob Proffitt says of the move, “We had the huge benefit of having Bill McElveen step up as not only an in-market radio veteran, but to help us in the recruitment process to get the very best fit and talent to manage Columbia. Mike Hartel is a great fit for our Columbia cluster with his excellent track record, interactive focus, and competitive nature – a perfect addition to our growing company.” Hartel comments, “I love what Larry and Bob are creating and I’m thrilled to be a part of their team. There is no place I would rather be than with a company that is hyper-focused on using live and local radio to serve our community, our clients, and our employees.” The L&L Columbia cluster includes sports talk WOIC “ESPN Columbia 1230.”
NYMRAD Announces New Executive Committee. At the New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD), the executive committee of the board of directors has some new additions and changes in titles: Felix Perez, general manager, Univision Radio New York, moves into the chairman slot replacing Clear Channel Music + Entertainment’s Joe Puglise who remains on the board of directors. Jennifer Donohue, director of sales, CBS RADIO New York, replaces Don Bouloukos as vice chairperson and Alex Cameron, SVP and market manager, Emmis New York, remains on the committee as secretary. NYMRAD executive director Deborah Beagan says, “I am very excited about working with Felix during this seamless transition of the executive committee. Felix has infused energy in his contributions to board meetings and under his leadership we will continue to develop initiatives that will advance radio in the vibrant New York marketplace.” Perez adds, “I welcome the opportunity to work with Deborah and our radio colleagues to advance the value of NYMRAD to its members and aggressively increasing the profile and revenue share of New York radio.”
Holiday 2013 PPM Data Released. The ratings for the Holiday 2013 PPM survey period are being released by Nielsen Audio. The first 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 are out and that data can be found at our sister publication RadioInfo.com right here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the first round of the Holiday PPM here.
Odds & Sods. KNX, Los Angeles announces the return of the “Ask the Mayor” program to its airwaves on January 29. The CBS RADIO all-newser states that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be in the studio at 10:00 am when the show will be hosted by KNX 1070 news anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman and will “give Angelinos the opportunity to put the mayor in the hot seat.”…..Not so fast, KCAA, Lorma Linda, “Free Talk Live” has been accepting Bitcoins as payment for airtime since 2011. Yesterday, TALKERS reported the Fred Lundgren-owned SoCal station claims to be the first it knows of in the U.S. to accept the cryptocurrency for ad time, but Mark Edge of the independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” program tells TALKERS he and co-host Ian Freeman have been accepting Bitcoins for more than two years. He adds, “We take Litecoin, too.”…..Hoops fanatic and filmmaker Spike Lee is hosting the bi-weekly, “Spike Lee’s Best Seat in the House” program on SiriusXM’s NBA channel. The first show will air on January 30 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
Eastern Freeze/Western Drought, Sochi Olympics Security Concerns, Chris Christie Scandals Aftermath, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Andrew Cuomo Anti-Conservative Remarks, and Roe v. Wade Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21). The snow and cold weather affecting the East and the dry rainy season in the West leading to drought conditions there; concerns about security at the looming Sochi Winter Games; the effects of the recent scandals plaguing the administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie; scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; reaction to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s comments about conservative beliefs; and the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Terrible News: Clear Channel Managers Slashing Another 5%. Numerous reliable sources throughout the radio industry are saying Clear Channel Media + Entertainment market managers are under the gun to find another 5% of their budgets they can trim to come into compliance with the corporate dictate. What was rumored just a week or so ago appears to be true and as positions at CC-owned stations are eliminated over the coming weeks and months we’ll see what departments are going to feel it the most. Regular readers of TALKERS are aware of the on-air positions that have been cut and industry watchers say some of the most obvious solutions in the programming departments at stations are: double-duty for talk hosts (two shows per day), voice tracking multiple dayparts for jocks, and the importation of national shows such as Bobby Bones for country outlets and Elvis Duran for CHR stations, which greatly reduces the money spent on morning shows.
Bubba the (Country) Love Sponge? No name change is impending but Florida-based hot talk star Bubba the Love Sponge is reporting success as morning show host at Asterisk Communication’s country duo WTRS-FM, Dunnellon and WYGC, High Springs “My Country” in the Ocala and Gainesville markets, respectively. Bubba reports he’s thankful to station management for taking a chance on his show on a country outlet. His Bubba Radio Network reports “WTRS-FM moved from 12th to 4th place with Men age 25-54, an all-time high for the station. Bubba was very excited and thankful that women have taken to his program so well. ‘You ladies get what’s hot and new and we love you for that.’ The Bubba the Love Sponge syndicated morning show also proudly reports it currently ranks top three Men 25-54 and top five Persons 25-54 in all markets it currently airs. Bubba expresses interest in working with additional program directors to bring his program to country and urban format stations.”
SCBA Reports 6.3% Revenue Surge in December. The latest figures from Miller Kaplan Arase are giving the Southern California Broadcasters Association reason to cheer and the organization announces the Los Angeles radio market “enjoyed a robust 6.3% growth rate for the month of December 2013.” SCBA president Thom Callahan states, “December was a great month for our region as we were finally out from under the political comps from 2012 and the market flexed its true revenue muscles as only Southern California Radio can. All key revenue segments posted impressive gains: local and national spot combined was up 3.6%; digital posted an impressive 20.7% gain; and NTR/network was up 19.6%.” For the 12 months ending December 2013, total market revenue growth was 1%, according to Miller Kaplan Arase. Callahan says he’s more optimistic about the region than the 1% hike indicates. “In our view, our real growth rate for 2013 was 4.4%, when factoring out 2012’s huge political revenue of $20.5 million. It’s more than fair to deduct those comps, which are never a true indicator of market growth or the health of our business. Political revenue on a YTD basis is not an apples to apples comparison. As any station will tell you, it’s impossible to replace $20.5 million in 12 months, yet these incomplete YTD revenue comparisons continue. These lopsided revenue reports help feed the misguided narrative that radio is a legacy medium, and nothing, I repeat nothing, is further from the truth.”
New York Market Boasts 6% Revenue Hike in 2013; 5% in December. On the Right Coast, the New York Market Radio Association reports that not only was its December up – 5.3% for all revenue – the year was way up over 2012 notching a 6% increase in total revenue. The NYMRAD says for the month of December 2013, total revenues, including total spot, digital, and network/NTR/other, were up 5.3%. For the 12 months ending December 2013, market growth was up across all sectors: +5.6% for local spot, +5.1% for national spot, +5.5% for total spot and +6.0% for grand total market revenue. NYMRAD executive director Debbie Beagan comments, “New York radio is healthy, vibrant, and strong. Advertisers and their agencies are investing in our medium and utilizing radio’s audio, online, mobile, and social platforms to reach engaged and loyal listeners. The robust revenue results for the 2013 and December position the market well as we head into 2014.”
Sabo: HD Radio Is Going to Explode. In a new opinion column posted today (1/16) in TALKERS, noted consultant Walter Sabo makes eight predictions pertaining to the radio industry for 2014. They include his prognostication that it will be a good year for HD based on iBiquity’s claim of 16 million automobile installs, stating “HD is radio’s best real estate grab for the connected dash.” He also comments on the immediate future of websites and social media as well as the difference between corporate debt and personal debt. To read Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.
Creative Advisory Council Scholarship Winner Announced. The Berlin School of Creative Leadership and Clear Channel Media + Entertainment are announcing Sam Bergen, SVP and creative director of Deutsch Inc., is the winner of the Berlin School’s “Clear Channel Scholarship for Leadership in Audio Innovation” program. Bergen will receive a full-tuition scholarship (worth 53,000 Euro) to attend the Berlin School’s prestigious Global Executive MBA in Creative Leadership Program starting in March of this year. The Berlin School and Clear Channel’s recently formed Creative Advisory Council (CAC), featuring advertising thought leaders who focus on the development of innovative approaches to the audio and out-of-home media landscape, reviewed over 40 entrants from more than 20 countries around the world, based on their professional and academic profile, as well as their response to a special essay question about innovative audio strategies. Berlin School of Creative Leadership founding president Michael Conrad states, “We are pleased to welcome Sam Bergen into our Executive MBA program. Focused on leading radio and audio commerce to the forefront of media thinking, the Berlin School-Clear Channel scholarship drew an amazing amount of high-quality applications from around the world. We were extremely impressed by the caliber of applications as well as the many compliments applicants had of our young school. We thank Clear Channel for this exciting and collaborative opportunity.” CC’s Bob Pittman adds, “Driving education and awareness on the value audio advertising offers is a key initiative for us. We are proud to work with the Berlin School and our new Creative Council to award this scholarship to the audio industry’s next creative innovator. Sam Bergen distinguished himself among a very elite group of applicants and I am confident that with his continued development at the Berlin School, Sam will be a trailblazer on the media landscape for both audio and out-of-home.”
Digital Pure Play Radioio Takes RDIO Stock Ticker in Post-Merger Organization. The digital music service Radioio – operated by Radioio Inc. – is being traded under the new stock ticker RDIO on the OTC market. The merger resulted in the company’s name being changed from ioWorldMedia, Incorporated to Radioio, Inc. In a statement, the company’s board of directors says it believes that the name change is consistent with the direction of the company. President and CEO Zach McAdoo says, “Radioio is a marquee name and brand of great distinction.” He added that RDIO is a fitting ticker symbol for the company’s new name.
Deadline for Newhouse School’s ’14 Mirror Awards is February 14. The Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University’s ’14 Mirror Awards is accepting entries through February 14. The Mirror Awards competition for “media covering media” – established in 2006 by the Newhouse School – “honor the reporters, editors and teams of writers who ‘hold a mirror to their own industry’ for the public’s benefit. They are the most important awards for recognizing excellence in media industry reporting.” The competition is open to anyone who conducts reporting, commentary or criticism of the media industries in a format intended for a mass audience. Eligible work includes print, broadcast and online editorial content focusing on the development or distribution of news and entertainment. All entries must have been published or broadcast between January 1 and December 31, 2013. Entries are evaluated based on three criteria: Excellence of craft; framing of the issue; and appropriateness for the intended audience. Winners are chosen by a group of journalists and journalism educators. An awards ceremony will be held in June 2014 in New York City. For more information, click here.
Chris “Mad Dog” Russo to Host History of New York NFL Championship Games Special. For those who are critical of the NFL’s decision to locate the Super Bowl in chilly New York (okay, New Jersey) this year, some may not be aware that this will not be the first championship that ever took place in the New York area. SiriusXM’s Chris “Mad Dog” Russo will host “Deep Freeze: A History of NFL Championship Games in New York,” a special broadcast to air first on Tuesday, January 21 with encore airings to follow. Special guests on the program will include NFL greats Frank Gifford, Paul Hornung, Jerry Kramer, Raymond Berry, plus more. The three-hour special will focus in-depth on four of the most memorable championships in NFL history – played in 1934, 1956, 1958 and 1962.
Obama Executive Order Threat, Chris Christie Scandal, ObamaCare Criticism, GOP IRS Investigation Push, New Mexico School Shooting/Indiana Grocery Slayings, and ‘Duck Dynasty’ Returns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/15). The statement from President Obama about using executive orders to accomplish his administration’s goals; the aftermath of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s lane closure scandal; criticism of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the effort by GOP members of Congress to investigate the process by which the IRS is being scrutinized for allegedly targeting conservative organizations; the school shooting in New Mexico and the double murder at a grocery store in Indiana; and the debut of the new season of “Duck Dynasty” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.