Entercom Second Quarter Pro Forma Revenue Rises 5%. This second quarter report from Entercom includes the impact of last year’s acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media stations and the swap with Bonneville International. As such, net revenue for the second quarter of 2016 was up 20% on income of $120.5 million. On a pro forma basis, revenue was up 5%. President and CEO David Field states, “Entercom continues to deliver strong and consistent organic, top-line and bottom-line growth, driven by the great work of our talented programming and sales teams and our strategic investments in building powerful local brands and content and excellent customer marketing capabilities. Looking forward, we expect a strong second half of the year as we benefit from our excellent ratings performance, enhanced sales execution, multiple growth initiatives and election year political revenue.”
SiriusXM Reports Q2 Revenue Up 10%. The satellite radio service is reporting 2016 second quarter revenue of $1.2 billion, up 10% from the same quarter in 2015. CEO and director Jim Meyer notes that SiriusXM added 580,000 net new subscribers during the quarter, bringing the satcaster’s total subscriber base to 30.6 million. During yesterday’s investor conference call, Meyer spoke about the company’s efforts to continue advancing the service’s technology. He says they are investing in the new SiriusXM17 “next-generation platform” 360 L, short for 360-degree listening. Meyer says, “360 L is proceeding ahead and gaining traction with OEMs. I’m very pleased at the progress we are making building and deploying this platform. 360 L breaks down the big barrier we live with today as a one-way broadcaster by integrating satellite radio with two-way cellular connectivity. It lets us offer non-linear content to our subscribers, such as customized music playlists, on-demand content and personalized recommendations based on the tastes of our individual subscribers.” Meyer also outlined the company’s continuing work expanding its connected vehicle services.
Nielsen Revenue Up; Net Income Dips. Ratings giant Nielsen reported 2016 second quarter financial numbers yesterday and while revenue was up 2.4% during the period compared to the same period a year ago (4.5% in constant currency), net income was down 1.7% because of foreign exchange. Nielsen says audio revenue grew 1.7% on a reported and constant currency basis.
The Podcasting Session from TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Posted Today. One of the highlights of the recent TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention – The Podcasting Session – is posted today on Talkers.com. The panel discussion was part of the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention that took place May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Moderated by PodcastOne founder and CEO, Norm Pattiz, speakers include (in alphabetical order): Andy Bowers, chief content officer/co-founder, Panoply/The Slate Group; Tom Cuddy, program director, WOR, New York; Greg Strassell, SVP programming, Hubbard Radio; and Tom Webster, VP strategy, Edison Research. The session is introduced by Brad Shepard, general manager/host, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA. To view the panel discussion in its entirety, please click here. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more videos from Talkers 2016: Bridging the Generations that will be posted in the days and weeks to come.
The Presidential Race/Democratic National Convention, DNC Server Hack Case, South China Sea Tensions, Black Lives Matter Movement, ISIS Attack on French Church, NYC Trump Jr. vs Weiner Mayoral Tiff, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/26). The action at the Democratic National Convention and the activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the hack into the DNC’s server and speculation that Russia is behind it in order to help Trump win the presidency; military tensions between the U.S. and China in the South China Sea and the territorial dispute; controversy over the actions of the Black Lives Matter movement; the murder of a Catholic priest in Northern France by ISIS terrorists; Anthony Weiner’s statement he would come back to politics to challenge Donald Trump Jr. if he ran for NYC mayor; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. This year’s NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show will be hosted by WCBS-FM, New York morning personality Scott Shannon. The event will take place September 22 at the 2016 NAB Radio Show at the Omni Nashville Hotel…..NBC Sports Group announces it is making the entire NBC Sports Radio portfolio of programming available on-demand via podcast. It also announced the new program, “Tara and Johnny,” hosted by Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir. It debuts today (7/27) and will “touch on hot topics in sports, pop culture, and fashion.” Weir and Lipinski are serving as NBC Olympic correspondents during the Rio Games.
Radio Biz Figure Jim Carnegie Dies at 66. Radio pro and longtime publisher of the trades RBR and TVBR Jim Carnegie has died at the age of 66. Carnegie’s RBR/TVBR was acquired by Eric Rhoads’ Streamline Publications in 2013, a year after Carnegie’s wife and business partner Cathy unexpectedly passed away from complications due to a brain aneurysm.
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 email@example.com. 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.
iHeartMedia Reports Q2 Revenue Up 4%. The privately-owned iHeartMedia announces its Q2 financial numbers and reports revenue was $841 million – up 4% compared to the same quarter in 2014 – and stating that it saw “strength across the business (core local and national broadcast advertising revenue, traffic and weather business, syndication business and events).” The company says its expenses rose 5% year-over-year attributable to “event production costs, timing of barter and trade expenses, sales compensation expense and costs related to music licenses and performance royalties.” Chief operating officer and chief financial officer Rich Bressler says in a press release, “We’re pleased with the revenue and OIBDAN growth we achieved this quarter. We continue to invest in our capabilities across both iHeartMedia and outdoor to realize the full value of our multi-platform assets. With no significant debt maturities until 2018, we can continue focusing on growing the top and bottom lines across our business segments.” Total debt for the media giant is reported as just shy of $20.4 billion.
Stigall: The Importance of Talk Radio. WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall writes in a piece published in TALKERS today about recent events that have given him pause to reflect on the value of talk radio to the greater society. Stigall says that an important cog in the media machine would be missing if talk radio did not exist. He says, “Call talk radio propaganda if you’d like, but it can only thrive if it offers something consumers want to hear and delivers results to advertisers and sponsors. I know in our show’s case we’re blessed with both. Whether it’s Limbaugh’s leading voice of conservatism, Levin’s case for millennials to engage in their country’s political future, Hannity’s demands for more scrutiny of a taxpayer-funded entity, or simple assessments of current and future leaders’ character – talk radio is the only place it’s found consistently.” Read Stigall’s entire piece here.
iHeartMedia Charlotte Hikes Hotchkiss to Market President. Senior vice president of sales Keith Hotchkiss is elevated to market president of iHeartMedia‘s six-station Charlotte operation. Hotchkiss remarks that, “iHeartMedia Charlotte boasts some of the most talented on-air hosts, programmers, and sales professionals in the country. It is my goal to lead and expand, providing innovative solutions for our client partners across all our platforms, while also creating the best radio for our listeners. This is an exciting time to be in the radio industry. I could not be more proud to represent one of the world’s most enterprising media companies in one of the nation’s greatest cities.” Prior to being transferred to Charlotte, Hotchkiss spent more than 15 years at the company’s Cleveland cluster, where he ultimately became general sales manager. With (6+) Nielsen Audio June 2015 PPM market share and market rank in parentheses, iHeartMedia’s Charlotte cluster consists of country WKKT “The Kat” (7.3, #3); classic rock WRFX “The Fox” (6.5, #4); adult hits WLKO “The Lake” (6.3, #5); CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1” (5.3, #7); and WEND “New Rock 106.5 – The End” (3.1, #12 ). WRFX-HD2 “Fox Sports FM 98.7″ does not appear in Charlotte’s June sweep.
Odds & Sods. The news/talk format airing on WMEL, Cocoa Beach, Florida and operated by John Harper’s Broadcast House LLC will move to Genesis Communications’ WIXC (licensed to Titusville, Florida) beginning Sunday, August 9. Rama Communications has been leasing the station to Broadcast House…..Matt Jones’ “Kentucky Sports Radio” will continue to be heard on stations in the Blue Grass State as Jones renews with the network. The show airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon on WKJK, Louisville; WLAP, Lexington; and other iHeartMedia stations across the state using the Kentucky News Network…..Christopher “Jack” Johansing is promoted to marketing director at Benztown. He’s been with the company for the past five years serving as coordinator, web, marketing & affiliate relations.
Cecil the Lion Case, 2016 Presidential Candidates-Trump Criticisms, Planned Parenthood Videos Scandal, Iran Nuclear Deal, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, Samuel DuBose Slaying, Lois Lerner-IRS Case, and the NFL’s Tom Brady Decision Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/29). The case of the Minnesota dentist who hunted a protected lion in Zimbabwe and the public outcry; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the intense scrutiny of Donald Trump; the aftermath of the release of videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price of body parts from abortions; the proposed nuclear deal with Iran; the rape allegations being leveled against Bill Cosby; the slaying of unarmed motorist Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati by a police officer; new allegations of Lois Lerner destroying evidence in the IRS scandal; and the NFL’s upholding of the four-game suspension of Tom Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
It’s Official: Dahl to PM Drive on WLS-AM, Chicago. This story was first tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder but now Cumulus Chicago announces that Windy City radio legend Steve Dahl will indeed return to over-the-air radio after a six-year hiatus and he will replace Roe Conn and Richard Roeper in afternoon drive. Dahl has been podcasting for the past five years on a subscription basis and part of this deal is that Cumulus will partner with Dahl to expand his podcasting network. WLS-AM operations manager Peter Bolger comments, “Chicago and WLS are known for great radio personalities. That’s why I’m proud and excited to have Steve Dahl back on ‘The Big 89.’” Dahl states, “I am ecstatic to not only be a part of the Cumulus radio family, but also a partner with them in the podcast network. This is an important new chapter in radio’s future.”
Mancow ‘Takes Break’ from Radio. Yesterday, TALKERS magazine reported that Erich “Mancow” Muller’s simulcast of his radio show on WPWR-TV, Chicago “My50Chicago” is ending. Today, Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that not only is Mancow’s TV simulcast ending but he’s “taking a break” from broadcasting and will be off radio and TV for a while.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano to Host Public Interview on Pending Victims’ Rights Bill. Tomorrow morning (10/10) WPHT, Philadelphia late morning host Dom Giordano will present a remote broadcast from Andy’s Diner in nearby Trevose, Pennsylvania during which he’ll interview Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Vereb about his controversial proposed PA House bill that would “stop ‘revictimizing’ by helping to block publicity-seeking criminals. Vereb claims it will increase victims’ rights by allowing the victim of a crime or prosecutors acting on the victim’s behalf to file a civil action to stop conduct by an offender that causes severe mental anguish. A judge would have the power to grant injunctive relief.” The station says the bill is a response to convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal’s recent delivery of a commencement address to about two dozen students at Goddard College. The bill will also will ban Mumia Abu-Jamal from hosting a radio show while in prison. The show takes place at 10:00 am ET.
Emmis Reports Q2 Revenue Dips 1.7%. The 2014 second fiscal quarter financial numbers for Emmis Communications are in and revenue during that period was up 15%, from $41.2 million to $47.6 million. This data includes revenue from WBLS and WLIB in New York, which Emmis began operating under an LMA on March 1, 2014. On a pro forma basis, radio net revenue was down 1.7%. President and CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “While the summer months were challenging for the radio industry, our employees once again delivered revenue share gains. In addition, our most recent ratings significantly outperformed during September, highlighted by ‘Power 106’ holding the top spot in LA with both 18-34 and 18-49 audiences. Pacings have improved, looking much stronger for the fall than the summer. Momentum is continuing to build for NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on smartphones and tablets, as we approach 1 million downloads. Average time spent listening per NextRadio session is 50% higher than the radio broadcasting industry average, and as we have gained significant broadcaster involvement and increased listener satisfaction, we are seeing increased interest from other carriers, handset makers and automakers.” Looking ahead, the company reports its pro forma radio net revenues are pacing up mid- to high-single digits for its third fiscal quarter.
Sam Sorbo Visits Important Affiliate. One of the rising stars of syndication, the extremely personable Sam Sorbo, walks the walk as well as doing the talk thing as she gets out there and visits her affiliate stations around the country. Pictured: the Talk Radio Network host is greeted by the legendary Les Lansing (l), owner of Sorbo’s Grand Rapids outlet WPNW-AM/FM (“The Pledge”). Talented hosts such as Sorbo and the venerable Jerry Doyle have been a significant part of the Mark Masters-owned TRN’s formidable “comeback” effort (after a high-profile financial and programming shake up) which appears to be gaining traction on a daily basis.
Salem’s Anderson Announces Retirement. Salem Radio Network president Greg Anderson is retiring at the end of this year. Salem Communications chief executive officer Edward Atsinger comments, “Launching a new national radio network to serve Christian and conservative audiences was no small undertaking [21 years ago]. When I appointed Greg Anderson to lead this effort, I had enormous confidence in his vision, experience, and determination. Today, I can say that Greg surpassed even my own high expectations. He is, without question, one of the finest radio professionals I have ever worked with.” Anderson remarks that he has been “incredibly blessed to work for great radio stations and great media companies including, for the past 21 years, Salem Communications. I am particularly indebted to Ed Atsinger and Stu Epperson who have supported me along the way in the creation and growth of our national businesses. Most of all, I am in awe of the Salem national team who stop at nothing to accomplish great things year after year. They are simply the best. It has been my privilege and pleasure to have worked with them.” Prior to his 21-year association with Salem, Anderson ran Multimedia Broadcasting‘s Radio Division. His past credits include managing/programming WFBC, Greenville, South Carolina. Other Salem senior executives will assume Anderson’s responsibilities.
Shazam, Sun Broadcast Group Form Digital Partnership. The venture will launch Shazam for Radio. Shazam chief executive officer Rich Riley states, “Shazam users are already ‘shazaming’ music on the radio millions of times each day. Our partnership with Sun Broadcast Group gives radio stations the opportunity to deliver customized content experiences to their audiences, while creating new revenue streams for the stations and their advertisers.” Sun chief executive officer Jason Bailey reflects that when he “started Sun six years ago,” his goal was “to truly make a difference in this industry. This partnership came out of the two most sincere questions we asked ourselves when we started Sun: What is best for listeners, and how do we secure the future of radio in this new digital world? Shazam’s 100 million monthly active users will be able to connect and interact with their favorite radio shows in the most incredible way ever.” Sun and Shazam will produce national countdown shows for multiple formats based on Shazam results in each station’s market. “The Shazam Top 40” will allow listeners to connect with the show on their phone and desktop.
Odds & Sods. A couple of career moves to report from America’s Talk Radio Network as Bob Appel and Lexi Lapp join the company as affiliate relations representatives. They are part of the team that includes Joe Sparra and David Reeder at ATRN…..Home improvement pro Danny Lipford announces he’s added a public relations manager to his Today’s Homeowner media operations. Stephanie Greenwood will “serve as the media liaison for the ‘Today’s Homeowner’ family of brands, working alongside current and veteran director of marketing and public relations, Tiffany Burtnett…..iHeartMedia will simulcast Cleveland Cavaliers games on rock WMMS, Cleveland in addition to news/talk WTAM, which serves as the NBA team’s flagship station.
Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat/Thomas Eric Duncan Death, Leon Panetta Book, U.S.-Led Anti-ISIS Campaign, North Korea Leadership Question, ObamaCare Policy Cancellations, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/8). The death of Ebola victim Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan in the U.S. and the threat of a global pandemic; Leon Panetta’s Worthy Fights tome critical of the Obama Administration; the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS and the controversy questioning Turkey’s commitment to the cause; questions about the whereabouts of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un; the uptick in health policy cancellations that don’t meet the Affordable Care Act criteria; the looming mid-term elections and speculation about possible candidates for president in 2016; and the MLB playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
ABC News Radio to Expand Radio Operations with New Programming, New Relationship with Skyview Networks. As the relationship between ABC News Radio and Cumulus Media comes to an end in December, ABC News president James Goldston says the news organization is preparing to “expand its operations to invest in new programming, take control of distributing and marketing our content and deepen our affiliate relationships.” ABC News Radio will, beginning in January, enter into a new relationship with Skyview Networks to help it deliver the content and handle ad sales. Vice president and general manager of ABC News Radio, Steve Jones, tells TALKERS that when the organization became aware the relationship with Cumulus Media was coming to an end, Disney/ABC took the opportunity to really examine its place in the broadcast radio business. As a result, Jones says today’s announcement is about commitment to the radio business. “As we were looking at the landscape we decided we wanted to have a different route to serve our radio stations and we wanted to ensure that we were going to be connected with them at all times, 24/7, and the only way to be able to do that would be to own the last mile of distribution to them.” Jones says ABC is buying receivers for hundreds of affiliate radio stations. He says that by controlling that part of the operation, it will allow ABC to grow the business significantly. Jones says this new relationship and system of operation will allow ABC to capitalize on the entertainment opportunities that are available to it via ABC and parent company Walt Disney, and bring them to broadcast radio. Jones says ABC did more than 20,000 live, one-on-one two-ways with radio stations last year – over and above the scheduled newscasts. He says, “In the course of having those conversations with stations about what it is they want every day from us, we would get more and more feedback about where they felt we could serve them and we weren’t really able to do it as fully as we wanted to and that’s what this new relationship is going to allow us to do. We’re going to be in control of the relationship with the stations and we think we can grow the business and better serve the radio community.” Skyview Networks, says Jones, has incredible technical proficiency, and has a technical solution that will allow ABC to not only manage the programming but also sell radio advertising. The news ad sales relationship will be important says Jones. “It’s going to be a much more integrated relationship. I have the responsibility for the P&L for the business and am very heavily engaged with them on how, strategically, we’re going to be approaching the sales community. We really want to use the power of the ABC brand to let the ad community know that we’re committed to radio and we will be here next year and into the future.” Jones says Skyview will be hiring radio sales people and ABC is adding staffers as well. Beginning today, Heidi Oringer joins the company as director of affiliate solutions; Amy Bolton is named specialist, affiliate solutions; and Mary McCarthy is now manager of affiliate solutions. Not all of the changes will happen in January, ABC News Radio re-launched its new website today (8/7).
Townsquare Media Q2 Net Revenue Up 7.8%. This is the first quarterly report for Townsquare Media as a publicly traded company and although the news is positive – pro forma net revenue for Q2 was $106.3 million – an increase of 7.8%, local advertising pro forma net revenue decreased $0.2 million, or 0.3%. The real upside was digital as the company reports “other media and entertainment pro forma net revenue increased $7.9 million, or 39.3%, to $28.2 million, primarily attributable to growth across our live events, digital marketing services and national digital assets.” Townsquare’s actual net revenue was up 46.6% due to the Cumulus Media and Peak Broadcasting II acquisitions. Chairman and CEO Steven Price says in a statement, “We are pleased to be reporting solid second quarter results, following the successful completion of our initial public offering in July. We delivered a 7.8% increase in pro forma net revenue. Our results continue to demonstrate the strength of our diversified revenue strategy. We enjoyed solid performance in most of our local advertising markets together with strong performance across our live event, digital marketing service and national digital assets. These more than offset advertising revenue softness in certain markets within our local advertising segment.”
Round Three of July PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of July 2014 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 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.
Stephen A. Smith to SiriusXM Move Confirmed. The rumor that ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith would be leaving his daily show on WEPN-FM, New York for SiriusXM – specifically the Mad Dog Radio channel – is confirmed by ESPN and SiriusXM. But Smith’s new gig is a cooperative effort by the two companies and Smith will still make appearances on WEPN-FM. The Stephen A. Smith show will air on SiriusXM from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and will lead into Chris “Mad Dog” Russo’s afternoon drive show. The show will be produced and broadcast from ESPN Audio’s headquarters in Bristol. Smith comments, “Words can’t express how excited I am to be going to SiriusXM. I’ve waited a long time for this. All I’m going to say is September 2 can’t arrive soon enough.” ESPN has not announced whether Smith’s co-host Ryan Ruocco will get a new partner for the WEPN-FM midday show or continue to host solo.
WCCO to Hold Gubernatorial Debate. This evening (8/7), CBS RADIO news/talker WCCO, Minneapolis is hosting a live GOP primary election debate at its WCCO Radio Cambria Gallery in downtown Minneapolis. The program takes place from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm and will be broadcast on the station in addition to being open to the public and to the press. The station says the debate will be hosted by talk personality John Williams and political commentator Blois Olson. Participants include leading GOP candidates Scott Honour, Marty Seifert, and Kurt Zellers. Topics will include medicinal marijuana, Sunday liquor sales, taxes, and other hot-button issues.
Premiere Networks to Unveil Online Platform for ‘Dr. Dave’s Ultimate Prep.’ On the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the relationship between Premiere Networks and Dr. Dave Creative Entertainment, Premiere announces it will launch an “innovative, user-developed online platform for Dr. Dave’s Ultimate Prep. The latest in an exciting group of new services to be launched, Ultimate Prep provides on-air and online content, viral videos, ‘thought starters’ for text and audio, and the hottest lifestyle prep. Beginning this fall, users will be provided with a sophisticated, interactive online experience allowing them to easily navigate and customize their prep.” Dr. Dave Creative Entertainment provides a suite of multimedia morning show prep, comedy and production services for radio, television and digital platforms. EVP/chief content officer David “Dr. Dave” Kolin says, “The opportunities at Premiere Networks and Clear Channel are truly limitless – it’s been a dream come true. The group we have assembled is composed of talent I’ve worked with for 20-plus years in radio and television. Combined with Dan Brassem in affiliate relations, Premiere’s Julie Talbott and Jennifer Leimgruber, and many others throughout the company, we are a formidable, winning team. I look forward to a path of continued genuine innovation.”
Jason Lewis Promoting Galt.io Venture. The news of Minneapolis-based talk show host Jason Lewis quitting his nationally syndicated talk show in dramatic fashion last week and announcing his intent to pursue a digital venture called galt.io is now followed by Lewis’ fully promoting this next step in his career. Lewis calls Galt.io an online social platform that’s based on the philosophy of Ayn Rand. He says his new venture is designed to cater to Americans “going Galt.” In a press release, Lewis cites examples of this movement, including: The “tax inversion” merger craze, where American corporations such as Medtronic are relocating overseas to avoid punitive federal and state corporate income taxes, even though the initial costs of large mergers can be quite expensive; expatriate Americans renouncing their citizenship in order to avoid US taxes has reached record proportions, due in part to the bizarre notion that the U.S. government taxes citizens abroad on their foreign income; trillions of dollars sitting idly in corporate coffers, as well as excess reserves at the Federal Reserve now totals a whopping $2.5 trillion. These trillions of dollars could be put to work if only federal policies rewarded risk and profit instead of penalizing them; and an economy, which despite a strong second quarter in 2014, has grown at an anemic 2.1% annual rate since the recession ended in 2009 and a labor participation rate stuck at record lows.
Cool Job Opportunity. Greater Media’s news/talk WBT and hot AC WLNK in Charlotte seek a promotions and events coordinator. The company is looking for a fun, outgoing, hands-on and dedicated individual with entry-level event planning experience for a full-time position in our marketing and promotions department. This position works to ensure the timely and successful execution of promotional events through teamwork and coordination with other departments and staff. This position reports directly to the marketing director. Responsibilities include daily event planning from inception to completion and working the station sponsored events. Other responsibilities include meetings with clients and community partners, maintaining event equipment, upkeep of station calendars, and working with the promotions team to plan and execute station promotions. Excellent organization, communication and time management skills required. Knowledge of Microsoft Office and other promotional based software a plus. This position requires an individual who exhibits great interpersonal communication skills, is an enthusiastic and dynamic team player, is interested in demanding projects and enjoys working in a fast paced environment. Availability to work weekends, evenings and holidays is a must. Please send your cover letter and resume to: Greater Media Charlotte Operations Director Matt DuBois at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Greater Media Charlotte, WBT/WLNK Human Resources, One Julian Price Place, Charlotte, NC 28208. No phone calls please. Greater Media Charlotte is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Potential Ebola Crisis, Low Obama Approval Ratings, Congressional ObamaCare Report, Gaza Violence, Immigration Policy/Southwest Border Crisis, Russia vs West, and Obama Executive Actions Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6). Concern and debate over the Ebola outbreak in Africa and a possible treatment; newly released approval ratings for President Obama the lowest of his presidency; the Congressional ObamaCare report highlighting millions of exemptions from the federal law; the violence between Israel and Gaza-based Hamas; the state of the U.S. immigration policy and the border crisis in the Southwest; Russia’s response to the West’s sanctions over its aggression in Ukraine; and the ongoing controversy over President Obama’s use of executive actions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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 Posts 2% Revenue Increase in Q2. That’s for the Media and Entertainment division – the radio stations, Premiere Networks and Total Traffic Network – on revenue of $805.6 million for the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During yesterday’s investors’ conference call, chairman and CEO Bob Pittman spoke positively about the growth of iHeartRadio and SVP of investor relations Gregory Lundberg noted that it has 34 million registered users and that represents growth of 162% year-over-year. Regarding the makeup of the company’s revenue, he stated, “National sales for the stations grew 5%, with local up 1%. Excluding the impact of political advertising, in both quarters, national sales rose 7% and local was up 2%. Our strongest performing ad categories remained financial services, retail and telecom. Digital sales continue to grow in the double digits as we monetize our station’s online presence and keep growing iHeartRadio, where total listening hours were up to 36% in the second quarter. We also saw good year-over-year growth at Premiere Networks. Partially offsetting this growth rate were revenue declines in the traffic business from lost contracts and from lower sales resulting from integration activities. Operating expenses increased $42 million or 9%, reflecting a $21 million expense credit from one of our performance rights organizations, which we received in the second quarter of last year.” He stated pacing for the third quarter for the stations was up 3% and up 1% for the division as a whole. Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read it all here.
Clear Channel Sells Its SiriusXM Interests for $135.5 Million. Way back in 1999 when XM Radio was gearing up its operations, Clear Channel was an initial investor putting in $83.1 million and getting the right to program some of the satcaster’s music and talk channels. Now, CC sells its interest in the company for $135.5 million – the value of the stock – and that means most of the CC-programmed content will disappear from the XM Radio platform. That’ll include some of the company’s music FMs such as hip hop WGCI, Chicago; country signal WSIX, Nashville and hot AC WLIT, Chicago. But two of the CC-radio channels are expected to stay on the XM platform – WHTZ, New York and KIIS, Los Angeles. It also means the talk radio channel on the XM platform will see talent like Glenn Beck, Bob & Tom, Todd Schnitt as well as Fox Sports Radio programming go away.
Arbitron Reports Q2 Revenue Rises 2.9%. As it prepares to be acquired by ratings giant Nielsen, Arbitron issues its 2013 second quarter financial reports and states that on revenue of $107.4 million dollars it is reporting net revenue of $7.1 million or $0.26 per share. The cost of the potential Nielsen deal ate into the company’s earnings before interest and income tax expense (EBIT) as it shelled out $6.1 million during the quarter in preparation for the acquisition. President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the second quarter, we maintained focus on our long-term priorities: investing in and growing our core radio services, evaluating and implementing quality initiatives to enhance the value and utility of our offerings, and exploring emerging opportunities with an emphasis on those that allow us to highlight the power and advantages of radio. As the media and advertising marketplaces continue to evolve and new technologies permit consumers to consume content virtually anytime and anywhere, it is important we keep pace with these changes to ensure radio gets full credit for its audience – regardless of the delivery platform. Radio is growing and vibrant – and we are committed to helping the radio industry tell and validate its complete and compelling story.”
The Job of the Program Director in Five Years. According to noted consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo, if you want to know which way the job of PD is heading in radio, just take a look at what has happened to the same titled position at television stations. In a new column posted today (8/2) Sabo writes “As more on-air content decisions are made at the corporate level and delivered from a central source, the program director job will morph to meet the demands of the tasks that must be completed. Smart companies will evolve the position to one that has been desperately needed: ‘Program and Public Relations Director.'” Sabo goes on to list other combinations of tasks and responsibilities that will be added to the title “Program Director” on the radio station level. To read his entire column, please click here.
KBME, Houston Ousts Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson from AM Drive; Adds Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr to Middays. In a realignment of programming at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s sports talk KBME, Houston, Adam Wexler and Matt Jackson have been let go from the station and their morning drive gig and Lance Zierlein and Adam Clanton take over the AM show. Zierlein co-hosted the afternoon show with Charlie Pallilo but, as the Houston Chronicle notes, had also worked on the morning drive show alongside Wexler and Jackson in the past. Adam Clanton has hosted sports talk radio in the market at CBS Radio’s crosstown KILT as well as having worked at KPRC-TV. The addition of Fox Sports Radio’s nationally syndicated Jay Mohr to the lineup from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm forces some other changes. Greg Koch and N.D. Kalu now air from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Charlie Pallilo hosts solo from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm; and Matt Thomas is on the air from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Michael Harrison to Speak at NAB Radio Show. In what promises to be a riveting and inspirational hour, TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will address the forthcoming NAB Radio Show in Orlando (September 18-20) on “Radio’s Evolving Role in Popular Culture.” Harrison, fresh off a rousing keynote speech at the Conclave, will further elaborate on the theme of the challenges facing radio in its quest to remain societally iconic in the digital age of the 21st century at a specially scheduled Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS. Harrison says that for radio to remain competitive with all the emerging “exotic” competition of this “wildly new era,” it must maintain “ownership” of the scenes it addresses whether they are music, politics, news, sports or any other expression of the human condition. He says radio should maintain a foreground, active position that protects it from being marginalized as a passive delivery system and discusses options and opportunities to carry out the mission. (To see a brief clip of Michael Harrison’s Conclave keynote speech addressing these subjects please click here. The full speech will be posted to both RadioInfoTV and TalkersTV shortly, stay tuned.) Consultant Holland Cooke introduces this popular annual NAB Radio Show session featuring the venerable programmer, air personality, entrepreneur and trade magazine publisher who has been accurately describing radio and popular media’s road ahead for the past 45 years. The Info-Session is scheduled on Thursday, September 19 between 1:30 pm and 2:30 pm and is open to all attendees of the NAB Radio Show.
Clear Channel Makes Morning Changes at KTCN, Minneapolis. Morning drive talk show host Bob Davis and Clear Channel Minneapolis part company and the station fills the morning drive slot with former evening hosts Jack Tomczak and Ben Kruse, at least for now. Bob Davis had been paired up with Tom Emmer for mornings but Emmer exited the station in June to make a run for the congressional seat being vacated by Michele Bachmann. Davis made national news when, during a discussion about gun control, he said on the air he would tell the Newtown families to “go to hell” for their role in shaping the gun debate. He later apologized for the tenor of his comments.
Radiate Media Promotes Ivan Shulman to President. Seven months after joining Radiate Media as executive vice president of sales and chief revenue officer, the company promotes Ivan Shulman to president. CEO Chris Rothey states, “Ivan has a deep background in sales, marketing and media, and his leadership experience makes him a great fit for us. Since joining us in November of 2012, we have experienced quarter-over-quarter revenue growth, including the launch of Radiate360 – our integrated marketing platform to drive hyper-local business. Ivan will continue to lead that initiative as well as overseeing the day-to -day activities of our broadcast radio, TV and digital lines of business.” The company is bullish on its new product Radiate360 which it describes as “an easy-to-use, online platform that empowers businesses to expand their reach and connect with their customers. With Radiate360’s revolutionary suite of tools, businesses can establish an online presence, engage customers through social and mobile media, and promote to the local audience that matters most.” Shulman says of his promotion, “I joined Radiate because I was excited about future opportunities. Our growth on both the broadcast and digital side has been phenomenal and I look forward to working with broadcasters to help bridge the gap between digital and traditional media.”
Dan Sileo Takes Over Midday Program at WMEN, West Palm Beach. Florida sports talk personality Dan Sileo – most recently midday host at WQAM, Miami – moves into the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm slot at JCE Licenses’ WMEN, West Palm Beach “640 Sports” effective Tuesday, August 6. Sileo – who worked for years at WDAE, Tampa prior to his stint with WQAM – is filling in for Travis Rodgers on KLAA, Los Angeles today and on August 5. Sileo is, by his own admission, an edgy personality whose willingness to push the envelope has gotten him fired from his last two radio gigs. He maintains he achieved excellent ratings while with Clear Channel at WDAE and that the station pulled in a lot of revenue from his program.
Eric Deggans to Leave the Tampa Bay Times for Gig at NPR. Journalist Eric Deggans has covered first music, then media for the Tampa Bay Times for the past 18 years. Now, he exits the Times to become a TV critic and correspondent for NPR News. Deggans has been a contributor to NPR in the past but joins the organization full time. He states in a press release, “For many years, I have been a fan of NPR’s super-smart journalism and I often fantasized of what it might be like to join their ranks as a contributor. A position like this one is beyond my wildest dreams; I’m honored and excited by the opportunity to help shape NPR’s coverage of television and pop culture.” Deggans has been an excellent reporter covering the Tampa Bay media scene over the years but also could be viewed as a polarizing writer. He’s been a critic of talk radio on a number of levels as indicated in his recent book Race-Baiter: How the Media Wields Dangerous Words to Divide a Nation (Palgrave Macmillan 2012). Photo by Carrie Pratt.
Odds & Sods. Dial Global announces it has signed an exclusive terrestrial, three-season deal with London-based talkSPORT to broadcast live coverage of Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and Capital One Cup. The partnership includes play-by-play commentary of nearly 400 soccer matches per year, in both English and Spanish….. “The Black Sphere” talk show host Kevin Jackson joins the advisory board of the Steamboat Institute, an institution that “defends freedom and advocates for liberty.” Jackson says, “Witnessing the progress of the organization first hand, I am overjoyed to be part of the advisory board and play a role in the future direction of the Steamboat Institute, an organization that will undoubtedly mold political discussions and policy in the future.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Update. Statewide syndicated sports talk host Bill Michaels is added to the lineup at WOZN, Madison, Wisconsin…..Kevin Jackson’s “Black Sphere Radio” show is now airing on WEZO, Augusta, Georgia…..Talk Media Network announces affiliate additions for three of its programs: “Fat Guys At The Movies with Kevin Carr & Kristin Dreyer Kramer” joins WKVL, Knoxville; “The Financial Fitness Show with Chip Cummings & Tony Rubleski” is added to WRSB, Rochester, New York; and “Frontlines of Freedom with Lt. Col. Denny Gillem” joins the lineup at WZFG, Fargo.
ObamaCare Implementation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of July 29 – August 2. The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the cost of the program was the top news/talk topic during the week. Following at #2 was the Anthony Weiner sexting case and the political fallout. At #3 was the 2016 presidential race followed by the Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity contracts flap 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. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Rush Limbaugh Celebrates 25 Years in Syndication Today. It was 25 years ago today that Rush Limbaugh began his national syndication based at WABC, New York. When Ed McLaughlin’s EFM Media Management began producing and distributing the Rush Limbaugh program in August of 1988 on 56 affiliate stations, many in the industry thought the idea of a midday national talk radio program was absurd and would fail. But Limbaugh’s EIB Network flourished and the rest is history. Of course, Premiere Networks now syndicates the show that’s heard on close to 600 radio stations. In a statement, Limbaugh says, “The relationship we’ve established here – between the audience and myself – is everything. It’s meant more to me than I’ll ever be able to fully describe. It’s the best three hours of the day! We’re going to do this for a long time to come.” Premiere Networks notes, “Mr. Limbaugh also pioneered an entirely new model for talk radio. Defying industry convention, he does not book guests on his program. Centered on the news of the day, he describes his unique approach as ‘a serious discussion of issues, combined with irreverent humor.’ He has enjoyed uninterrupted status since the early 1990s as the leading talk radio host in the U.S., and the program continues to expand its reach. In the past year alone, ‘The Rush Limbaugh Show’ has experienced an 11% audience increase (Source: Arbitron, Nationwide).
Media Biz Buzzing About Newspaper-Online Radio Ventures. Pictured here is Sabo Media (r) CEO Walter Sabo appearing on Fox Business with “Markets Now” host Dennis Kneale (l) discussing the Boston Herald’s online talk radio station project, “Boston Herald Radio.” Kneale quizzed longtime radio executive and consultant Sabo about what the two media bring to the table in joint ventures such as these. Sabo stated that the talk radio programs can help deliver a younger and more engaged audience to the newspaper world (which has suffered circulation and revenue declines) and the radio shows benefit from working with an experienced news gathering organization. “It allows them to bring those stories to life instantly, which has always been their (the newspaper’s) biggest challenge.” Watch Sabo’s appearance on Fox Business here.
CBS Reports Q2 Revenue for Radio ‘Even.’ CBS quarterly investors’ conference calls have always been pretty much about television and yesterday’s 2013 Q2 call was no different. It’s not that CBS doesn’t care about radio. President and CEO Les Moonves has stated in previous calls that they like radio. He doesn’t gush about it like he does about TV but CBS has no debt on the radio side and therefore it’s a cash business for the company. During yesterday’s call CBS COO Joseph Ianiello termed radio “even” during the second quarter compared to the same period a year ago and told investors the division is pacing flat for Q3. For CBS, total revenue was up 11% year-to-year due mostly to fees paid by television operators to carry CBS TV stations as well as international syndication deals and digital streaming revenue.
Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Division Up 2.3% in Q2. Journal Communications announced 2013 second quarter financials yesterday and the Journal Broadcast Group breaks out the radio division from the television segment. It reports that, compared to the same quarter a year ago, revenue from radio stations increased 2.3% to $19.9 million, or 4.7% excluding political revenue. Radio political advertising revenue was $0.1 million, compared to $0.5 million. Local advertising revenue — excluding political — increased 5%, primarily due to an increase in retail advertising. National advertising revenue — excluding political — decreased 4.9% to $1.8 million, primarily due to a decrease in media advertising. Operating earnings from radio stations were $3.8 million compared to $4.4 million, a decrease of 13.8% or a decrease of 19.0% excluding acquisition costs in both years. Radio operating expenses increased 7.1%, or 9.3% excluding acquisition costs in both years, primarily due to employee-related expense increases and the impact of credits received from an industry-wide music licensing fee settlement in 2012.
TALKERS Magazine’s Frontier Fifty 2013 Will Be Posted on Wednesday, August 7. The new installment of one of the most popular and certainly important TALKERS magazine annual features — “The Frontier Fifty” — is set to be unveiled this coming Wednesday, August 7. The Frontier Fifty is officially described as a Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters. This year’s format will depart somewhat from the features’ early approaches by including executives who have built valuable platforms for internet talk broadcasting as well as talent who do talk shows and/or podcasts on the web. In addition it will be a numbered list in which designees are ranked according to importance as determined by the TALKERS editorial board. As followers of this feature know, TALKERS did not publish a 2012 installment of the feature because as the publication’s VP/executive editor Kevin Casey puts it, “This arena has evolved and grown at such a dizzying speed, we wanted to be sure that we presented this important snapshot of the state of the internet talk radio’s movers and shakers as accurately and relevantly as possible. We took an extra year off to study the scene and get it as close to being right as possible…no easy task.” This year’s Frontier Fifty is being sponsored by Broadcasters General Store.
Red Zebra Shucks Two Signals in Norfolk-Virginia Beach for $1.2 Million. Dan Snyder-owned Red Zebra sells sports radio combo WXTG-AM/FM “The Game” to local operator Local Voice Media which will flip the duo to a triple A format soon. The price of the stations and seven acres of property in Hampton is $1.2 million and according to the Daily Press, the stations will continue to air Washington Nationals baseball through the rest of the season and will be Washington Redskins affiliates during the 2013 season. Additionally, the paper reports that two staffers – AE and air talent Greg Bicouvaris and production director Brock Briggs will remain employed with the new owners. Local Voice Media also operates triple A WTYD, Williamsburg, Virginia “92.3 The Tide.” The Daily Press notes Richmond, Virginia investment firm Blue Heron Capital recently completed a $3 million investment in Local Voice Media, formerly known as Davis Media. The firm began investing in the company two years ago and has helped it expand into Columbia, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina.
Quick-and-Dirty Three-Minute Sound Conditioning. Large corporations and government bureaucrats will often spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on soundproofing and sound conditioning for an audio studio. They’ll even spend tens of thousands of dollars simply on the consultants to tell them how to soundproof and sound condition a studio. That may make sense to you if you’ve got venture capital money to burn and don’t mind being out of business in a few years. It may also make sense if you’re working for the government because the money is someone else’s and you think you’ll never go out of business. But according to syndicated talk show host Michael W. Dean, co-host of GCN‘s “The Freedom Feens,” “The rest of us have to make do with what we have.” In a new column posted today (8/1), Dean writes, “The advent of ip hardware codecs has allowed talk radio hosts to produce nationally syndicated shows from our homes. And people working for corporate radio are often called to do remotes in a variety of environments. You can buy portable devices that acoustically isolate a microphone, but using one is basically like sticking your head in a small box. That is not conducive to doing a good show, especially if you’re doing on-the-spot interviews with a variety of guests. Today I’ll show you how to temporarily sound condition a room in three minutes at no cost. This will vastly improve the audio reaching your microphone, and thus, your audience. First, you have to understand the difference between soundproofing and sound conditioning. Many people use these two terms interchangeably. However, they are not the same thing. Soundproofing keeps outside sounds out and inside sounds in. Sound conditioning dampens native reverberation in a room. Effective soundproofing is a lot more expensive and complicated than sound conditioning.” To read Michael W. Dean’s entire column, please click here.
PodcastOne Adds Sports USA Programs to Offerings. Yesterday, TALKERS reported that NFL Hall-of-Famer Joe Namath would begin producing podcasts for Sports USA throughout the 2013 football season. Now, Norm Pattiz-founded PodcastOne and Sports USA announce the Namath podcast as well as “Conversations with Joe Morgan,” “The Ross Tucker Football Show” and “Against the Grain with Dave Miller” will be available via PodcastOne. Pattiz states, “Joe Namath invented the sports media icon as we know it. He knows what it means to break new ground and likes to do things his way. We’re a guaranteed perfect fit. I am looking forward to working with Bob Moore and the talented team at Sports USA as we create great experiences for listeners and opportunities for advertisers.”
MLB Great Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez to Contribute to ‘ESPN Dallas 103.3.’ “Pudge” Rodriguez played for the hometown Texas Rangers twice during his MLB career (he won a World Series ring with the Florida Marlins in 2003) and he and his family are putting down roots in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. ESPN O&O KESN and sister Spanish sports talk “ESPN Deportes Dallas” (KZMP-AM) have brought Rodriguez aboard to serve as a baseball contributor through the rest of the 2013 season. ESPN says Rodriguez will serve in several capacities for both stations including a bi-weekly call-in segment, the voice of featured “Pudge’s Eye” vignettes, as well as personal appearances. ESPN Dallas VP/GM Pete Dits states, “We are extremely excited and proud to have one of the greatest catchers in MLB history as a part of our team. As the radio flagship of the Texas Rangers in English and Spanish, this only solidifies our commitment to bringing the best Rangers and baseball coverage to the sports fans in DFW.”
Journal’s Sports Talk KXSP, Omaha Adds New PM Drive Show. Joe Quinn and Nick Handley are the new afternoon drive sports talk team at Journal Broadcast Group’s Omaha sports talker “590 ESPN Radio” (KXSP). Quinn was producer and co-host for the past three years on Des Moines’ KXNO. Handley, a 14-year sports veteran who most recently co-hosted the “Hail Varsity Radio Show” airing in Lincoln and Columbus, Nebraska was the sports director for the Three Eagles cluster of stations in Columbus. KXSP program director Kurt Owens says, “The new show will be called ‘The Drive’ and will bring a fresh new approach to afternoon sports talk in Omaha. Joe and Nick’s combined experience of covering sports in Nebraska and Iowa mirrors our huge AM 590 signal. AM 590 listeners will really enjoy these two young-yet-experienced broadcasters bringing their perspective to sports each afternoon.”
NBC Sports Radio Network Passes 300-Affililate Mark. The nationally syndicated sports talk radio programming initiative NBC Sports Radio Network – a cooperative effort of Dial Global and NBC Sports – announces it has passed the 300-affiliate mark. Dial Global Sports EVP and general manager Chris Corcoran says, “Signing more than 300 affiliates so quickly is a true testament to the mass appeal of our talent and programming, creativity of our producers, and hard work of our exceptional sales and affiliate teams. We are especially honored to partner with such great radio stations across the country as we work together to connect avid sports fans, consumers, and advertisers. We continue to be motivated to reach more audiences by the amazing feedback we regularly receive from our local station owners, program directors and listeners.”
WEEI-FM, Boston Staffers Take Part in Pan-Mass Challenge. “93.7 FM WEEI” morning drive co-host Gerry Callahan (r) and Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Jeff Brown (l) will take part in the Pan-Mass Challenge – a two-day bike ride across Massachusetts that can be as long as 190 miles – to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. WEEI will help recognize and celebrate this year’s event with a live broadcast of the Salk & Holley show on Friday, August 2 from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. from the PMC’s opening ceremonies in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Billy Starr, founder and executive director of the Pan-Mass Challenge says, “Entercom and WEEI have both been fabulous friends and partners. They have ensured that the PMC message is heard – and understood – far, wide and often.” Jeff Brown comments, “I am proud to continue Entercom’s support of the Pan-Mass Challenge and we are also proud to be raising additional money through our dedicated team of riders and virtual riders. Our own Gerry Callahan will be taking part in his sixth ride and it is such an honor, both for WEEI and for all of us at Entercom Boston, to be a part of this dynamic cause and help the dedicated Dana-Farber doctors and researchers discover cures for cancer.”
ObamaCare Implementation Battle, Anthony Weiner Scandal, NSA Surveillance Program, Chris Christie-Rand Paul Feud, and Looming MLB Suspensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/31). The fight in Washington over the implementation and funding for the Affordable Care Act; the political fallout from the Anthony Weiner scandal; reports of the vast nature of the NSA surveillance program, Republican in-fighting over policy and the Chris Christie–Rand Paul feud; and the expected suspensions of numerous MLB players were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey Joins the iHeartRadio Platform. Nationally syndicated personal finance talk radio host Dave Ramsey becomes part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio digital platform beginning today becoming the first independently syndicated personality channel available on the platform. Ramsey’s show won’t air live though. The service will provide fans 24/7 access to the previous day’s content of the Dave Ramsey show and it will be updated daily on weekdays at 5:00 pm ET. Ramsey VP of broadcast Brian Mayfield states, “We are very proud of what the Dave Ramsey show has achieved with the help of our 500-plus existing radio affiliates. This new partnership with iHeartRadio provides the perfect platform to expose Dave’s straight talk on life and money to a new audience that now consumes media through mobile and online applications.”
Entercom Reports Q2 Revenue Flat. The second quarter of 2012 saw revenue flat at $104.6 million compared to the same quarter a year ago for Entercom. But the reduction in expenses of 5% produced a 10% rise in station operating income.
Entercom’s WEEI to Split AM and FM Signals; AM to Become ESPN Outlet. In a story from the Boston Globe, Entercom’s Boston sports talk brand WEEI will soon split the current simulcast of the radio station and make the 850 AM signal a full-time ESPN Radio outlet. WEEI has had a relationship with ESPN Radio for almost three years now with the station airing some ESPN programming and ESPN personalities such as Buster Olney making appearances on WEEI programs. It’s expected the regular national lineup of ESPN Radio shows will air on the signal when the split takes place in the early fall.
Mike Costa to Co-Host PM Drive at Xtra Sports 1360 in San Diego. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s San Diego cluster moves Mike Costa from his position as host of “The Show “ on rock KIOZ to co-host of the PM drive show on sports talk KLSD – Xtra Sports 1360 effective today. Costa is partnered up with Judson Richards for the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Costa, who’s been a sideline reporter for San Diego Chargers football for radio broadcasts, will continue in that role.
Award-Winning Journalist. WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta assistant program director Condace Pressley (c) accepts the 2012 Pioneer Journalist Award from actor Malcolm Jamal Warner (l) and Atlanta Association of Black Journalists president Tenisha Bell of CNN (r). Pressley received the honor during the 30th Pioneer Black Journalists Awards on July 29. The awards ceremony is a presentation of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists. Tenisha Bell says of Pressley, “Condace has spent her career mentoring and supporting young journalists who aspire to walk in her footsteps. She has always been an avid supporter of AABJ and its mission and I am thrilled that our membership has chosen her for this well-deserved award.”
Half-Hour Weekend Talk Show’s Success Inspires Music Show Syndicator to Eyeball More Spoken Word Offerings. Los Angeles-based MannGroup Radio, headed by radio vet and co-founder of Premiere Radio Networks, Ed Mann, has avoided talk radio for almost the entire 14 years of its existence as an independent syndicator of such fare as GrooveWorx Imaging and music libraries, CPR consulting with Paige Nienaber, She Prep with Beth Bacall and other products geared to music stations. In early 2011, MG took on the marketing of a short 30 minute-per-weekend program for talk stations called “Issues Today with Bob Gourley,” the success of which has obviously meant a great deal to Mann. The fast-paced half hour, hosted by veteran broadcaster and Southern California-based journalist Bob Gourley, chronicles topical subjects from health to the economy. It began at KPPC where Gourley served as public affairs director. In a recent extremely candid conversation with the TALKERS editors, Mann reveals, “Extreme polarized talk has always left a sour taste in my mouth, particularly the very far right and left issues that never resolve on a broadcast forum, yet, as an avid listener of talk radio, I’ve always been starved for an intelligent, entertaining approach to issues for the day. As we’ve taken on this relatively small but meaningful program, Bob Gourley’s ‘Issues Today,’ and watched how it’s grown and how the affiliates and listeners embrace it, I’m more encouraged than ever to hear from producers, stations and hosts in the hope of developing and marketing other like-minded programs for national distribution that can cut a swath in talk radio without sitting on either side of the seesaw and sticking their tongues out at each other. Some have already come my way, and I sense a shift in the marketplace. Our company is jazzed at the notion of collaborating with producers, hosts and radio stations who can see the need on the listener level for level-headed broadcasting.” Independent hosts and producers can contact Mann at 310-346-4991 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Fourth Station Joins the “Sports Animal Network.” KITO, Vinita, Oklahoma drops country and becomes the fourth station to join Oklahoma’s “Sports Animal Network.” The station is airing content from the Tulsa version of the network from KYAL, Muskogee/Tulsa. The programming includes shows from Cumulus Media’s WWLS, Oklahoma City as well as Yahoo! Sports Radio. The station will also broadcast Oklahoma University, Oklahoma State University and Tulsa football.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel’s WHAM and WHTK, Rochester will be the local radio home of the 95th PGA Championship to be played next summer – August 5 – 11, 2013 – at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester…..The NFL’s San Francisco 49ers will air on heritage news/talk KGO, San Francisco this season after airing on Cumulus Media’s sports KNBR and rock KSAN…..Stephen Giuttari becomes the operations manager for Townsquare Media’s Albany cluster that includes sports talk WTMM…..WXKS, Boston – Talk 1200 – morning drive host Jeff Katz is subbing for Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated personality Todd Schnitt today and Friday…..Account manager Cody Hicks announces his exit from Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talk 790 The Zone — WQXI, Atlanta — where he worked his way up from promotions assistant to marketing director to account manager in eight years…..WFED, Washington morning drive host Francis Rose will be a regular substitute for Cumulus Media Networks’ John Batchelor live from New York once per month. Rose will also be a stand by fill-in host as needed for the program working from Cumulus’ studios at WMAL, Washington…..The NBA’s Portland Trailblazers jump across town as the team’s new radio flagship is Clear Channel’s KEX, Portland. Games had been heard on Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL for the past 12 seasons.
Katz and West Catch Up. Old friends Jeff Katz, host of the morning drive show at Clear Channel’s Talk 1200 – WXKS, Boston – and Congressman Alan West, representing Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, pose for a photo on a recent Sunday during which the two participated in a series of speaking events around the Greater Boston area. Katz got to know West while the congressman was running for office and Katz was working at South Florida talk station WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale.