Tag: "Revenue"

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

| April 28, 2020

Hannity Attorneys Demand Retraction from New York Times. Attorneys for FOX News Channel and Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity have sent a request to The New York Times that it issue an apology to Hannity and retract its coverage of Hannity’s work at FOX covering the coronavirus pandemic.  Hannity’s lawyers are saying if the paper does not act within 24 hours, Hannity will have no choice but to file suit.  According to a FOX News story, at issue are “three separate pieces by columnist Ginia Bellafante, contributing writer Kara Swisher and media columnist Ben Smith which they said all showed ‘an outrageous disregard for the truth.’” The paper responded that its reporting is accurate and there is no need for an apology.  Hannity attorney Charles Harder says the issue is the Times’ “blatant and outrageous disregard for the truth in mischaracterizing Mr. Hannity’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and blaming him for the tragic death of Joe Joyce,” referring to a 74-year-old who contracted the coronavirus on a cruise. Joyce’s children warned him and his wife not to take the cruise but, according to Bellafante’s column, Joyce watched FOX News Channel and believed the virus was under control.

Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes Launch Sports Talk Show on SB Nation Radio on May 11. Sports talk personalities Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes are returning to terrestrial radio on May 11 as SB Nation Radio and JAKIB Media Partners announce the program “Into the Night” will be made available to radio stations via the SB Nation Radio network.  The program feeds to affiliates from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.  Bruno says, “I continue in amazement that at a time when there are no sports to talk about, my partner Harry and I keep getting hired to talk sports.”  Bruno and Mayes reunited — they worked together at WPEN-FM, Philadelphia — for a daily sports talk show on April 6 when they joined the Dan Patrick Radio channel on SiriusXM for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET daypart.  The “Into the Night” program SB Nation is presenting is mostly a re-broadcast of the SiriusXM show, however Bruno will customize some segments for the late-night show and there’s also the possibility that Bruno and Mayes will broadcast live for special events and remotes, according to SB Nation’s Brian Schaible.

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  The thirst for news during the coronavirus pandemic has lifted public radio news/talk stations as 79% of those on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares rise from the February 2020 survey.  KOPB-FM, Portland and KQED-FM, San Francisco led the group of gainers with increases of 1.7 shares and 1.5 shares, respectively.  Year-over-year comparisons were not quite as impressive with 59% of stations improving.  KNOW-FM, Minneapolis stands out as it added 3.4 shares from the March 2019 survey to the March 2020 survey and climbed from the #9 rank in the market to #1. In addition to KNOW-FM, four other public radio news/talk outlets ranked #1 in their markets in March: WAMU-FM, Washington; KCFR-FM, Denver; KOPB-FM, Portland; and KUT-FM, Austin.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

‘Bogey’ Exits WXYT-FM, Detroit. Evening sports talk personality Kyle Bogenschutz – a.k.a. Bogey, has exited Entercom’s Detroit sports talk outlet WXYT-FM where he co-hosted the evening show with Bob Wojnowski.  According to the Detroit Newsreport, Bogey’s exit was the result of stalled contract talks, not cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Bogey had been with the station since 2014 and had been co-hosting the evening show with Wojo since June of 2017.  His agent tells the News that he’s in conversations with “a couple of people” and believes Bogey will land somewhere soon.

States Begin ‘Re-Opening’ Economy, U.S. Coronavirus Statistics & Projections, Health Care System/Testing Capabilities, China’s Role in Pandemic, Presidential Race/Biden Accusation, and Kim Jong Un Health Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). A handful of states court controversy as they begin to ease social distancing restrictions; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll and projections for future cases; the state of the U.S. health care system and the capabilities for testing for COVID-19; the U.S. begins investigating China’s role in the pandemic; the November presidential election and the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden; and questions about the health status of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SiriusXM First Quarter Revenue Up 5% Pro Forma. Today (4/28), SiriusXM reported its first quarter 2020 operating and financial results.  It says revenue rose 5% (pro forma) to $2 billion.  Net income for the quarter was $293 million, up from $162 million in the first quarter of 2019.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “In the face of the economy hitting the brakes hard in March, SiriusXM’s first quarter results were very strong.  Auto sales, advertising, and customer responses to marketing campaigns all fell swiftly in the second half of March, yet we delivered increasing subscribers, solid revenue growth and 13% adjusted EBITDA growth to a first quarter record of $639 million.  Just as it was a little over a decade ago during the global financial crisis, SiriusXM’s subscriber-based business model is resilient.  We do not know what the shape of a recovery from this current crisis will look like, however, we are confident that our business will continue to generate substantial positive free cash flow.  Once we have a better view of how and when the economy will restart, we plan to resume providing guidance.”

TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix talk show host Larry Gaydos announced to his listeners on Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix yesterday that his mother – already suffering from cancer – succumbed to COVID-19 over the weekend.  Gaydos said she tested positive several weeks ago and suffered no effects until last week when she began to decline quickly…..The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand speculates about possible changes to take place at ESPN Radio in the near future in a column. In it, Marchand wonders about the futures of Dan LeBatard on the radio (his cable TV show is popular), Trey Wingo’s role on the Golic & Wingo morning show, and says Will Cain is all but destined to leave for a gig with FOX News very soon…..Yankees Radio Network play-by-play voice John Sterling is honored with the 2020 Governors’ Award, presented by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  The Governors’ Award recognizes Sterling’s 60th anniversary as a broadcaster and his 31 years as the radio voice of the New York Yankees.  Sterling says, “Whenever you get an award, it’s wonderful. But when you get an award from your peers, it is even better. I’m very humbled and appreciative to be the recipient of the 2020 Governors’ Award.  I’m thankful to the board for their recognition of my longtime work with the New York Yankees, which is nothing short of a labor of love for me.”…..Cumulus Media announces that it will hold its investors conference call to discuss first quarter 2020 operating results on May 11 at 4:30 pm ET.  Cumulus is the second publicly traded audio company to announce its Q1 call that is expected to address how the coronavirus pandemic – that had fully affected the country by mid-March – impacted its operations.  iHeartMedia will hold a Q1 conference call on May 7.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.   A new three-hour program starring Roula Christie is being launched by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One on May 2.  Titled, “Weekends with Roula,” it is designed for hot AC and CHR stations and targets women 25-54.  Westwood One says the show is “upbeat and motivational as she helps listeners find fun in the madness of juggling work and family.  Roula mixes pop culture and entertainment news with hilarious conversations between her kids and her mom.”  She comments, “I am over the moon at the opportunity to be nationally syndicated with Westwood One for ‘Weekends with Roula!’ I hope to connect with the rest of America the way I have been able to connect with my Greater Houston-area audience. I’m so grateful to my husband, Tasos, and children for providing me with material! I’m so excited!”…..Programming pro Scott Gaines is named operations manager for Alpha Media’s Amarillo, Texas cluster that includes country KGNC-FM, rhythmic CHR KVWE, classic hits KXGL “Eagle 100.5,” and news/talk KGNC-AM.  Gaines will also program KGNC-FM and serve as afternoon drive host.  He was most recently with Cumulus Media in Atlanta as APD and afternoon host at WKHX “New Country 101.5.”

Friday, March 13, 2020

| March 13, 2020

Craig Schwalb Joins WTOP, Washington as Director of Content Integration and Operations. Programming pro Craig Schwalb is named director of content integration and operations for Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington.  At the same time, Hubbard announces that Sarah Beth Hensley is assuming the digital news director position for WTOP.  That position opened after Julia Ziegler was promoted to director of news and programming.  Hensley is returning from maternity leave from her previous position as digital news manager.  Ziegler says, “The addition of our new director of content integration and operations was incredibly important to me in terms of being able to serve the newsroom most effectively.  An additional member on the leadership team helps ensure we meet our content evolution and quality control goals, as well as our goals for team training, development and growth.”  Schwalb was most recently program director for WABC, New York.  Prior to that, he was program director at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence.  He says, “For news and content, D.C. is the epicenter.  And if you are in D.C. you are listening to ‘TOP.  Joining this great station at this fascinating time is an absolute honor and a dream come true.  Thanks to Joel Oxley, Julia Ziegler, and Greg Strassell for this incredible opportunity.”  Ziegler says of Hensley, “In our roles as digital news director and digital news manager, respectively, I have had the opportunity to work very closely with Sarah Beth and am constantly reminded of her commitment to excellence and dedication to the WTOP mission and vision.”  Schwalb starts his new position Monday (3/16), and Hensley’s new role begins on April 14.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled “The Panic Is the Cure!” looks back at this past week of March 9-13, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSSid Rosenberg, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Charles Freedman, talk show host, KSCO, Santa Cruz; Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist, Psychcast MDEdge; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University / webmaster, Scamicide.com; William O’ Shaughnessy, chairman, Whitney Global Media; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Salem Media Group Q4 Revenue Dips 3.8%; Broadcast Down 1.2%.  In addition to reporting consolidated earnings, Salem Media Group breaks its operations into three segments: broadcasting, digital, and publishing.  For the fourth quarter of 2019, Salem’s broadcast segment reported net revenue of $50.5 million, down 1.2% from the same period in 2018.  Station Operating Income decreased 0.8% to $12.5 million; Same Station net broadcast revenue increased 1.2% to $49.4 million; and Same Station SOI decreased 0.5% to $12.8 million from $12.9 million.  For the quarter, digital and publishing were down 15% and 5.1%, respectively.  For the full year of 2019, total revenue was $253.9 million, down 3.4% from the full year of 2018.  For all of 2019, the broadcast segment’s net revenue was $193.3 million – a decline of 2.6%.  Same Station net broadcast revenue decreased 1.2% and Same Station SOI was off 12.1% to $44.8 million from $51.0 million.

CBS News Turns 82 Today. It was on March 13, 1938 at 8:00 pm ET that “World News Roundup” aired as a one-time special in response to growing tensions in Europe and specifically the Anschluss, during World War II when Adolf Hitler invaded Austria.”  CBS News was founded with the debut of that program that was thrown together with Edward R. Murrow in Austria and anchored by Robert Trout in New York.  In a note to his team (currently relocated in the Washington, DC bureau due to coronavirus cases in the New York studio building), CBS News Radio vice president and general manager Craig Swagler says, “Today we should all be extremely proud of the work we are doing with our outstanding journalists around the globe.  We at CBS News Radio continue the legacy of providing the best in news and information to our affiliated stations as it is needed now more than ever!  Good night and good luck to us all.”

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel Calling for Action Related to COVID-19. Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel is calling on the FCC to take aggressive action in response to COVID-19.  Her statement reads: “The coronavirus is already exposing hard truths about the digital divide, but the Federal Communications Commission has the power to help.  Nationwide this crisis means that we are going to explore the expansion of telework, telehealth, and tele-education.  The FCC should immediately convene the country’s broadband providers to discuss what they are doing right now to provide service for Americans. We need to explore how we can facilitate public-private partnerships and consumer education campaigns to expand the reach of connectivity as quickly as possible at little or no-cost to Americans who are impacted by the coronavirus.  Where data caps are in place, we need to explore how those limitations can be eliminated.  We also need to understand how broadband providers will keep workers safe and keep their services running for Americans who will increasingly rely on broadband connectivity for work, healthcare, and education.  At the same time, the FCC should get to work to harness its universal service powers to meet this challenge. The FCC should work with health care providers to ensure connectivity for telehealth services are available for hospitals, doctors, and nurses treating coronavirus patients and those who are quarantined.  In addition, as classrooms move online, the FCC should identify how it can use its authority to provide wi-fi hotspots for loan for students whose schools have closed their doors.  We have an opportunity to confront this challenge head-on and we need to act with urgency.”

TALKERS News Notes. In an effort to assist broadcasters working from home or remote locations, AdLarge Media is offering QGoLive for free over the next two weeks.  QGoLive is an app that allows talent to broadcast remotely with studio-quality audio on iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, or Mac.  AdLarge VP of affiliate marketing Jessica Sherman says, “We know that broadcasters need to continue to provide information and entertainment to their communities, especially during times of crisis or disaster.  AdLarge wants to help keep every radio on-air talent as safe as possible while still broadcasting to their local market.  That’s why we’re offering QGoLive for free for the next two weeks.”  Broadcasters can get the free two-week trial of QGoLive here…..Westwood One and TM Studios are offering a free coronavirus sung music package for radio stations worldwide.  TM Studios GM/vice president of creative Greg Clancy states, “In times of crisis, people turn to local radio.  Radio provides valuable information during these rare, critical events.  This music package was created for stations to provide a focused, cohesive identity around the constant flow of reactions and responses to COVID-19 that are now being communicated to radio listeners.”  Stations can download the package for free, unlimited use here…..ABC Audio says that as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to unfold many may be experiencing a wide range of emotions including: anxiety, stress, and uncertainty.  For that reason, ABC Audio’s “Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris” podcast is posting a bonus episode today (3/13).  In it, Harris speaks with experts Dr. Luana Marques, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the senior clinical psychologist at the MGH Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders program, and Jay Michaelson, Daily Beast columnist and teacher and editor at Ten Percent Happier.  Ten Percent Happier is available for free on all podcast platforms…..The syndicated talk show “The Art of Living and Science of Life with Danielle Lin” is joining the program schedule at SNJ Today’s WSNJ, Bridgeton, New Jersey.  The station – owned by Ken Pustizzi – promotes itself as “Positive Talk” for the community…..Beasley Esports announces that Nathan Bender (left) and Ric ‘Weirdbeard’ Hogerheide (right) are hosts of CheckpointXP’s newest show, “All of Esports.”  Beasley says, “Nate and Weirdbeard have an opinion on everything and they’ll give it to you in two minutes or less!  When the bell sounds, it’s on to the next topic.  These two rarely agree on anything, but one thing they do agree on is their commitment to keeping fans in the know and engaged on everything esports!”

Coronavirus Pandemic Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 9-13, 2020. For the first time since TALKERS began tracking the stories discussed on news/talk radio in the early 1990s, aspects of a single news event occupy the top seven positions on the Talkers TenTM chart.  This week, the coronavirus pandemic as it’s affecting the human psyche, our health care system, the world economy, politics and the presidential race, the media, U.S-China relations, and our sports and entertainment industries were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio.  See the entire Talkers TenTM chart for this week, here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The new morning show co-host at Entercom’s classic hits WOMC, Detroit is Jim “JJ” Johnson.  He moves from middays to join JoAnne Purtan for the “JJ and JoAnne” show, taking over for Stephen Clark, who exited to pursue his country music career.  Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “Jim Johnson is one of the most well-known radio personalities in Detroit, with over 40 years of experience exclusively in the market.  Jim and JoAnne have great chemistry on air together and I look forward to Jim bringing his humor and passion for music to mornings on 104.3 WOMC.”…..In Monroe, Louisiana, Stephens Media Group names Doug Daniels, a.k.a. Doug Holzmeier, operations manager for the stations including adult contemporary KZRZ “Sunny 98.3,” rock KXRR, country KMYY “92.3 The Wolf,” and rhythmic CHR KNNW “Now 103.1.”  Daniels says, “I love these people!  I’ve had more fun in two weeks doing local radio than I’ve had in the previous decade.”  He was most recently with Big Horn Media’s nostalgia-formatted KUEZ, Reno “Easy 104.1.”…..Cumulus Media announces that CHR WPRO-FM, Providence program director Davey Morris is scheduled to be inducted into the Rhode Island Radio and Television Hall of Fame at the 2020 Rhode Island Radio and Television Hall of Fame Annual Induction Dinner on April 30.  Morris began his broadcasting career in 1990 at WPRO-FM as a college intern and was hired full time in March 1991 to host overnights.  Since that time, he has been heard in all dayparts on WPRO-FM and is the longest-running afternoon drive host in the history of the station.”

Friday, February 28, 2020

| February 28, 2020

iHeartMedia Posts Flat 2019 Q4 Revenue Figure; Full Year Revenue Up 2%. The financial data for iHeartMedia is a bit complex as the result of the company exiting bankruptcy protection in May of 2019.  But revenue of $1.03 billion in the fourth quarter of 2019, while flat compared to Q4 2018, was up 4.3% excluding political ad dollars.  For the full year of 2019, revenue was $3.7 billion, up 2.0% year-over-year and up 4.2%, excluding political revenue.  The company reports that digital revenue in the fourth quarter was $112.5 million – up 33.6% from the fourth quarter of 2018.  For the full year, digital revenue was $376 million, an increase of 32.2% over the full year of 2018.  iHeartMedia COO and CFO Rich Bressler states, “Our financial performance in 2019 was underpinned by the reach and resilience of our traditional business, profitable growth in our other platforms – including our digital businesses and proactive improvement of our capital structure.  Through our innovation and thought leadership in areas like podcasting and our SmartAudio suite of targeting, analysis and attribution services for advertisers, we are at the forefront of driving the audio revolution.  We will continue to work to build long-term shareholder value by maximizing our free cash flow and de-leveraging our balance sheet.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on all-news.  Coming off the Holiday 2019 survey 88% of all-news stations saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share go up.  Top performers here included Entercom’s KYW, Philadelphia (+1.4) and KCBS-AM, San Francisco (+0.7).  However, comparing January 2019 to January 2020, 70% of all-news stations were down, with Entercom’s WWJ, Detroit leading that group and absorbing a hit of -3.2 shares and dropping from the #1 rank in the market in January 2019 to #11 this year.  On the positive side, the company’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco was up 1.4 shares to post an 8.4 share and regain the #1 rank in the market.  iHeartMedia’s WBZ-AM, Boston was 0.7 shares better than the year before and rose to claim the #3 rank in January.  KCBS-AM, San Francisco was the only all-news station to rank #1 in January.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington ranked #2 in the January 2020 survey, despite falling three full shares from January 2019.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  The new episode titled “Brother, Can You Spare a Face Mask?” looks back at this past week of February 24-28, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Tom Sullivan; talk show host, KFBK, Sacramento/Talk Media NetworkKen Matthews, talk show host, WHP, Harrisburg, PA; Lee Abrams, consultant, MediaVisionDeborah Norville, anchor, “Inside Edition;” Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/webmaster, Scamicide.com; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. See the full story below.

‘The Michael Harrison Wrap’ Now Available in Syndication via Talk Media Network.  TALKERS is pleased to announce it has entered a strategic partnership with independent broadcasting firm Talk Media Network for the syndication and distribution of its weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap.”  The show, hosted by Michael Harrison, was launched in May 2019 on iHeartRadio’s WONK-FM in Washington, DC where it airs Fridays at 6:00 pm.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is a fast-paced roundup of the hottest news/talk media stories tracked by TALKERS and is described as “a weekly overview of the national conversation.”  Each installment features Harrison in conversation with several talk media hosts, pundits and experts from around the country representing a variety of popular ideologies. The show opens with a riveting countdown of the week’s most-discussed items with TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey.  Since its launch, several proactive radio stations around the country inquired about the show’s availability to which TALKERS complied – as best it could – on a market exclusive basis. According to Harrison, “We’re delighted that, in addition to our flagship WONK, excellent facilities such as WRKO, KSCO, WVOX, KFNX, KBDT, KQSP, KBKW, WIQO, WGMN, and the Virginia Talk Radio Network among others showed enough interest in the program during its developmental phase to request it for their rosters before it was even officially available for national distribution.”  Harrison continues, “However, we are not a syndication company, nor have any intention of becoming one, and it just became too unwieldy to service more stations efficiently, so we began looking for an appropriate network partner. Talk Media Network is a perfect fit.  TMN is moderately sized, independent, and run by one of the brightest young executives in the network business, Josh Leng.”  Leng states, “We’re honored TALKERS has entrusted the syndication and growth of ‘The Michael Harrison Wrap’ with Talk Media Network.  It is a pleasure to be working with a professional of Michael’s stature who has dedicated so much of his career to the betterment of the radio industry.”  Leng continues, “What program directors will notice immediately when they listen to ‘The Michael Harrison Wrap,’ is the amount of preparation that goes into each and every episode.  It is amazing how much compelling content is packed into one hour!  Combine that with the ‘best in the business’ talk radio hosts who contribute to Michael’s timely and topical news discussions, and you have an on-air product that features a great group of broadcasters who bring their ‘A’ game for the audience to enjoy.”  Stations interested in affiliating with “The Michael Harrison Wrap” should visit talkmedianetwork.com for more information, and can call Talk Media Network at (616) 884-8616.

TALKERS News Notes. On Super Tuesday (3/4), FOX News Radio is offering affiliates live national network coverage beginning at 7:00 pm ET anchored by national correspondent Jared Halpern, with key insights from FNR political analyst Josh Kraushaar and FNR reporters around the country.  FNR is also offering hourly “Democracy 2020” updates on Amazon’s smart speaker.  FOX News Podcasts is presenting special editions of the daily morning podcast “FOX News Rundown,” as well as new episodes of Bret Baier’s “The Campaign” and “I’ll Tell You What” with Dana Perino and Chris Stirewalt.  Additionally, FOXNews.com will carry multiple livestreams from candidate headquarters across the country…..iHeartMedia’s NBC News Radio brings talk and news radio pro Michael Castner aboard to serve as national news anchor.  Castner was most recently morning drive personality at Entercom’s news/talk KXNT, Las Vegas…..iHeartMedia announces it is presenting a new companion podcast for the three-part Hulu series “Your Attention Please” that celebrates the achievements and creativity of Black visionaries.  The “Your Attention Please” podcast is using this medium to continue the conversation past Black History Month, diving deeper into the stories that were highlighted in the show.  The first guests in the series are Jon Boogz and Lil Buck, founders of MAI (Movement Art Is).

The Coronavirus, the Stock Market, and the Economy Top News/Talk Stories for the Week of February 24-28. The status of the coronavirus epidemic, its effect on the world’s financial markets and the global economy came together to make up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the presidential race and this week’s Democratic debate in Charleston, SC.  Coming in at #3 was healthcare reform, climate change, and race relations, followed by the deadly Milwaukee brewery shooting and gun control at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Happy Retirement to Pete Spriggs. Current and former Cox Media Group Atlanta staffers gathered last night (2/27) for a retirement bash for WSB-AM/WSBB-FM program director Pete Spriggs who is leaving the company after 27 years with Cox and 19 years at WSB.  Above right is a group shot that includes such guests as Cox Media Group CEO Kim Guthrie, WSB VP/market manager Rob Babin, WSB legend Neal Boortz, syndicated star Clark Howard, and Cox DC bureau reporter Jamie Dupree.  Above left is (from l-r) Spriggs, consultant and former WSB PD Greg Moceri, and incoming program director Drew Anderssen.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A surprise move in national syndication as Ty Bentli leaves his eponymous, Westwood One morning country radio show for an unnamed gig outside of the radio biz.  For now, co-hosts Chuck Wicks and Tricia “TJ” Jenkins will handle hosting duties.  The Nashville-based show has undergone numerous changes over the past few years.  Blair Garner was the original host when it was called “America’s Morning Show.”  Then it was “Ty, Kelly, and Chuck” with Kelly Ford in the mix and, after her departure in late 2018 (she’s now hosting AMs on Entercom‘s WNSH, New York), was renamed the “Ty Bentli Show.”  TJ joined the program last spring…..A big shakeup at Entercom’s Los Angeles cluster as longtime alternative KROQ program director (and SVP of programming) Kevin Weatherly exits.  Taking over at KROQ is Mike Kaplan, who adds brand manager duties at the station in addition to his alternative format captain position and brand manager post at WNYL, New York “ALT 92.3.”  At the same time, Ralph Stewart is handed the brand manager keys for adult hits KCBS-FM “93.1 JACK FM.”  He’s been operations manager for the station in addition to his brand manager role at urban contemporary KTWV “94.7 The Wave.”  Finally, KRTH “K-Earth 101” brand manager Chris Ebbott and CHR KAMP-FM music director and afternoon host Yesi Ortiz will serve as interim programming leaders for “97.1 AMP Radio” while a national search is conducted.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “Mike’s name is synonymous with alternative music and I’m delighted to welcome him back to Los Angeles.  Along with Ralph, Chris, and Yesi, this dynamic team will usher in the future of our brands in this important music market.  I’d like to thank Kevin for his years of dedicated contributions to our premier collection of brands and our company.  He has certainly made his mark here and we wish him the absolute best in his new role.”…..Buddy Shula’s Radio One Buffalo has entered into a strategic alliance with Burlington, Ontario-based Byrnes Communications “to serve radio listeners in Buffalo and Southern Ontario.”  Shula says, “I am very excited to add ‘MORE 101.1FM’ (adult hits CFLZ, Fort Erie) and ‘105.1FM THE RIVER’ (hot AC CJED, Niagara Falls) to our radio station portfolio. ‘MORE 101.1FM’ has a very large 50,000-watt regional signal that barrels though Buffalo and Southern Ontario.  The music on the station are the ‘biggest hits from the 70s, 80s, and 90s’ which target listeners in the 35-64-year-old age group.  ‘105.1FM THE RIVER’ plays ‘Todays Best Hits.’ aiming to please women 25-54 years old… With this cluster of radio stations, it increases our potential to reach listeners of every age group and attract more advertisers who can pick and choose which station is appropriate for their advertising needs.”…..Pictured below is the new “Nikki and Laura” morning show at NRG Media’s hot AC KQKQ, Omaha “Sweet 98.5” on its first live remote at Le Peep restaurant.  From left to right are: Nikki Oswald, station program director Jay Michaels, and Laura Blenkush.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

| February 5, 2020

Trump Honors Rush Limbaugh with Presidential Medal of Freedom.  During Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address, President Trump surprised Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Rush Limbaugh by announcing him as the recipient of the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  This came the day after Limbaugh announced to his radio audience that he’s battling advanced lung cancer and would be missing some time on his radio show for treatment.  First Lady Melania Trump placed the medal around Limbaugh’s neck.  The president said, “Here tonight is a special man, someone beloved by millions of Americans who just received a stage 4 advanced cancer diagnosis.  This is not good news, but what is good news is that he is the greatest fighter and winner that you will ever meet.  Rush Limbaugh, thank you for your decades of tireless devotion to our country.  And, Rush, in recognition of all that you have done for our nation, the millions of people a day that you speak to and that you inspire, and all of the incredible work that you have done for charity, I am proud to announce tonight that you will be receiving our country’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Buck Sexton to Host Evening Show on WOR, New York. Nationally syndicated talk host – and former CIA officer and NYPD counter-terrorism expert – Buck Sexton is joining the “710 WOR, The Voice of New York” program schedule as host of a new, local show airing from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, beginning February 10.  He hosts a daily Premiere Networks program that feeds live from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Sexton says, “I’m thrilled at this opportunity to speak to my fellow New Yorkers in drive time on the airwaves of the legendary WOR.  I grew up in this city and worked to defend it as part of NYPD Intelligence.  I love this town, it’s my true home – and that’s the passion and experience I’ll bring on air every night to WOR.”  Sexton also appears frequently on FOX News Channel and other outlets as a political commentator and national security analyst.  Pictured above are (from l-r): WOR APD Scott Lakefield, Sexton, and WOR PD Tom Cuddy.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the commercial news/talk format.  This survey period, when listening shifts to Christmas music for so many people, is always tough for news/talk and this year was no different.  About 60% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly 6+ AQH share go down from the December 2019 survey to the Holiday survey.  However, iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston led the 16% pack that went up with a five-tenths increase for a 4.6 share.  Comparing Holiday 2018 to Holiday 2019, 46% of news/talk stations in PPM markets were up, with iHeartMedia’s WREC, Memphis up 1.8 shares for a 4.4 share and both KTRH, Houston and WOAI, San Antonio up 1.7 shares for a 4.6 share and 5.3 share, respectively.  Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was the lone news/talk station ranking #1 in its market during the Holiday 2019 survey.  See all the data here.

RAB and Borrell: Radio Breaks $1 Billion Digital Ad Threshold. According to the latest research released by the Radio Advertising Bureau and Borrell Associates, the radio industry’s digital ad revenue passed the $1 billion mark in 2019 and now accounts for 10% of total advertising revenue.  The report indicates local radio stations grew revenue by 25% in 2019 and are forecast to see growth of 29% this year and that digital revenue is now growing faster for the radio industry than it is for any other media segment that is also selling digital advertising.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “As radio continues to gain renewed interest by advertisers and the media buying community, they are recognizing radio’s assets beyond broadcast.  This report underscores the importance of being a well-trained and knowledgeable radio professional and the RAB continues to deliver the digital training and professional development required for radio sellers to best serve their clients.”  The annual report showed that the average station made $299,213 in digital revenue in 2019, and the average market cluster made $1.3 million.  The average revenue for the top five performers ranged from $664,651 for top performing clusters in the smallest of markets to $17.1 million in the largest. The findings are a part of the RAB and Borrell’s 8th annual report, “Digital Sales Skyrocket, Hitting $1 Billion.”  It is being released today to RAB members.  It analyzes online ad revenue from 3,488 radio stations, as well as survey responses from 1,006 local radio buyers and a survey of 208 radio managers.

SiriusXM Pro Forma Q4 Revenue Up 6%. That figure is for SiriusXM Holdings Inc – the company that includes SiriusXM Satellite Radio and Pandora Media.  The company also provides figures from the fourth quarter of 2019 and 2019 full-year data in its filing.  Fourth quarter revenue was $2.1 billion – up 38% from Q4 2018.  2019 full-year revenue was $7.8 billion, an increase of 35% over 2018.  Revenue was boosted by the acquisition of Pandora Media on February 1, 2019.  The Company’s net income declined 3% to $243 million in the fourth quarter, while full-year net income totaled $914 million, down from $1.2 billion in 2018 due to higher acquisition, refinancing, and depreciation and amortization expenses in 2019.  On a pro forma basis, fourth quarter revenue grew 6% from $1.9 billion and full-year revenue climbed 8% from $7.3 billion in the prior year periods.  Pro forma figures assume the Pandora acquisition closed on January 1, 2018.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer states, “I am so proud of SiriusXM’s milestone performance last year.  Not only did we achieve our 10th consecutive year of one million-plus self-pay net additions, but we successfully completed the acquisition of Pandora Media and drove each business to record-high financial performance.  Looking forward to 2020, we’re excited about a new decade of opportunity before us and confident in reiterating our guidance for the year.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Correspondent and teen influencer for Radio Disney Sammy Jaye – is the star of the new iHeartMedia podcast titled, “Let’s Be Real with Sammy Jaye.”  iHeartMedia says the podcast addresses “a range of topics from mental health, political activism and the pressures of social media to lighter topics like friendships, dating and pop culture.”  It’ll feature interviews with celebs including Meghan Trainor, Kesha, FINNEAS, Julia Michaels, Liza Koshy, activist Nadya Okamoto, and many more…..Cadence13 unveils a new podcast available on the RADIO.COM platform starring Dell and Sonya Curry, parents of NBA star Steph Curry.  The show is titled, “Raising Fame: Sports Edition,” and features “the raw and unfiltered stories, unique perspectives, and personal memories from those who raised icons” in the sports sphere…..The Piscataquis Observer reports that Dale Duff exits Townsquare Media’s sports talk WEBQ-FM, Bangor, Maine “The Ticket” where he was brand manager to return to his hometown of Houlton, Maine and Northern Maine Media’s WHOU-FM.  Duff will work on the company’s WHOU.live video streaming service headlining its sports coverage…..Earlier today (2/5), listeners tuning in to Westwood One’s “First Light” morning program heard program host Michael Toscano (pictured below) interview astronaut Christina Koch from the International Space Station.  The interview was recorded yesterday (2/4) while Koch was in orbit, just 48 hours before she returns to earth after 328 days in space.  Koch talked about her 139 million miles of orbit, her six spacewalks that took her outside the orbiting laboratory for more than 42 hours, and the experiments she was involved with.

Impeachment Trial, Iowa Caucus Snafu, State of the Union, Coronavirus, Financial Markets Activity, and Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the technical problems dogging the Iowa Democratic Caucuses; Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Trump; concerns about a global pandemic of the coronavirus; the financial markets activity in response to the coronavirus; and this Sunday evening’s Academy Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Twin Cities radio star Tom Barnard signs a multi-year contract extension with Cumulus Media to continue hosting mornings on KQRS, Minneapolis where he’s been a fixture since 1986.  In 2017, Barnard was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and in 2018 entered the Pavek Museum, honoring Minnesota broadcasters.  Barnard says, “I’m so grateful to the listeners and advertisers for supporting the ‘KQ Morning Show’ for the past 34 years.  Thanks to them, all my years as a morning host will be spent at the legendary KQRS. Thanks to Shelly for the support system she provides me.  I’m so honored to continue to do what I love in my hometown.  I can’t ask for anything more.”…..Entercom announces the addition of AJ Gibson to the morning show for CHANNEL Q on RADIO.COM’s LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network.  Gibson will join co-host Mikalah Gordon on “The Morning Beat” airing weekdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET, effective immediately.  Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “AJ is a talented on-air personality with a great work ethic and commitment to excellence.  We’re excited to welcome him to ‘The Morning Beat’ alongside Mikalah.  AJ is a fixture on Hollywood red carpets and top-selling author who inspires audiences with his story and perspective on a myriad of topics.  We’re looking forward to waking up with him on CHANNEL Q.”…..Portland, Maine salsa maker Kelly Towle is joining morning host Blake Hayes on Saga Communications’ hot AC WMGX, Portland “Coast 93.1” after winning the auditions to take over for co-host Eva Matteson, who is leaving morning radio after 15 years on the WMGX AM show.  Towle works marketing and selling for her Plucked Fresh Foods company and sings in a local funk band…..WHTS-FM, Grand Rapids “105.3 HOT FM” morning program “The Gray and Green Show” – starring Rachael Gray and Jackie Green – is honored by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters with two MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards in the Commercial & Network Radio category: Best Morning Show Broadcast Personality or Team and Best Feature/Use of Medium.  MAB’s Broadcast Excellence Awards will be presented on March 4, 2020, at the conclusion of the Great Lakes Media Show at the Lansing Center in Lansing.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

| November 13, 2019

Salem Third Quarter Revenue Down 2.2%. Total revenue for the third quarter of 2019 for Salem Media Group, Inc. was $64.1 million, down 2.2% from the same period in 2018.  It also posted an operating loss of $14.5 million in Q3 compared to operating income of $6.3 million a year ago.  Salem is reporting a net loss of $20 million, or $0.75 net loss per share, “impacted by a $17.5 million loss on the disposition of assets and a $1.9 million impairment of indefinite-lived long-term assets other than goodwill, compared to net income of $1.2 million, or $0.05 net income per diluted share in Q3 of 2018.  Salem breaks its divisions down into three segments: Broadcast, Digital and Publishing.  In the third quarter, net broadcast revenue decreased 2.3% to $47.7 million from $48.8 million.  Same station net broadcast revenue decreased 1.4% to $46.5 million from $47.2 million and same station SOI decreased 11.4% to $10.6 million from $12.0 million.  Digital was also down 12% for Salem to $9.1 million.   However, publishing revenue increased 15.3% to $7.3 million from $6.3 million.  Salem also reports a $17.5 million ($13.0 million, net of tax, or $0.49 per share) net loss on the disposition of assets which includes a $9.9 million estimated pre-tax loss for the pending sale of radio stations WAFS-AM in Atlanta, Georgia, WWDJ-AM in Boston, Massachusetts, WHKZ-AM in Cleveland, Ohio, KEXB-AM (formerly KTNO-AM) in Dallas, Texas, KDMT-AM in Denver, Colorado, KTEK-AM in Houston, Texas, KRDY-AM in San Antonio, Texas and KXFN-AM and WSDZ-AM in St. Louis, Missouri, a $4.7 million pre-tax loss from the sale of radio stations WWMI-AM and WLCC-AM in Tampa, Florida and WZAB-AM and WOCN-AM (formerly WKAT-AM) in Miami, Florida, a $1.6 million pre-tax loss from the sale of radio station WDYZ-AM (formerly WORL-AM) in Orlando, Florida and a $1.3 million pre-tax loss on the exchange of radio station KKOL-AM in Seattle, Washington for KPAM-AM in Portland, Oregon.

DeMann Named Director of Programming for JVC’s Florida Stations. Programming pro Stevie DeMann joins JVC Broadcasting as director of programming for the company’s Florida radio station group that includes talk WDYZ-AM, Orlando and WYGC-FM, Gainesville “Florida Man Radio 660AM/105.5FM” and five music brands.  DeMann was most recently operations manager for Cox Media Group’s Orlando cluster.  DeMann says, “I wanted to find the right situation before getting back into the business.  The team at JVC Florida is the best.  From management to programming, sales and promotions, they are all pros that love working together to create successful local content, events, and promotions.  I am thrilled and thankful to CEO John Caracciolo and EVP Shane Reeve for trusting me to ensure our on-air product is the best.”  Caracciolo comments, “Our company is in rapid-growth mode and we require someone with a significant and successful programming background to show that live and local radio is what listeners and clients want and can be done well.  Stevie’s history and background in Orlando allows JVC such a leg up on the competition in that market.  His experience in big markets like Boston, Orlando, and others will lend a tremendous hand with our already successful team in Gainesville-Ocala.  I am very excited about the future of JVC in Florida and across the country!”

TALKERS News Notes. In Miami, sports radio personality Brian “The Beast” London exits his position with Entercom’s sports talk WAXY-AM, Miami “790 The Ticket” where he was a cast member on the “Tobin & Leroy” morning show and assistant program director for the station…..Today, Lexington, Kentucky news talk WVLK “97.3FM/590 AM” is airing a nine-hour broadcast dedicated to addressing the opioid crisis and how it impacts Central Kentucky and the Commonwealth.  Titled, “Enough: Opioid Awareness Day,” the Cumulus Media station is partnering with Lexington city government, local organizations, and businesses to present the personal stories of addiction and recovery, city and state programs designed to help, the physical and physiological effects that lead to addiction, and alternatives to pain medications…..Envision Networks’ “GeekOut” celebrated the airing of its 500th episode this past weekend.  The daily audio and video vignettes are hosted by Peter Welpton, formerly managing director and resident technology “guru” for longtime, syndicated hosts “Lex and Terry.”  Envision says, “‘GeekOut’ is a daily vignette highlighting everything techies love.  Each episode covers a variety of topics including technology, movies, video games and all things geeky.”…..Lemonada is announcing its third original podcast, “Good Kids: How Not to Raise an A**hole,” is premiering on November 26 with five episodes.   Lemonada co-founders Jessica Cordova Kramer and Stephanie Wittels Wachs say the new series “is a podcast for anyone in the trenches of parenting or anyone with an opinion on parenting (see: everyone).  For 15 minutes each week, a diverse set of parents, teachers, policy makers, and world shapers grab the mic and offer relevant advice, rants, and reflections on child-rearing today. It’s funny, touching, helpful, and exactly what the world needs right now.”  Earlier this year, Lemonada Media partnered with Cumulus Media’s Westwood One to distribute, sell, and build audiences across the Lemonada network…..There’s a new iHeartRadio Original podcast launching titled, “The Women.”  It’s hosted by Rose Reid and features “personal and candid interviews with some of today’s female changemakers – including artists, politicians, amateur kickboxers, mothers, and lovers – who didn’t back down in the face of resistance.”  Episode one features former CIA agent and current New Mexico congressional candidate Valerie Plame.  Plame revisits the year 2003, when she says the Bush administration blew her cover in retaliation for a critical op-ed written by her husband…..PodcastOne announces the debut of the “Adulting Like A Mother Father” podcast in partnership with The Direct Message Network.  New episodes each Tuesday feature actress and entrepreneur Daniella Monet and her fiancé Andrew Gardner navigating parenthood and defining what it truly means to “adult.”

Impeachment Process/Ukraine Affair, 2020 Presidential Race, SCOTUS Hears DACA Arguments, Trump-Erdogan Meeting, Bitter Cold U.S. Weather, Hong Kong Violence, and the NFL’s Kaepernick Workout Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/12). The impeachment process against President Trump and allegations against him in the Ukraine affair; the Supreme Court hears arguments about the status of the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act; the controversy surrounding President Trump’s scheduled meeting today (11/13) with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; the unseasonably cold weather affecting the U.S. north and east; the violent protests in Hong Kong; and the NFL-organized workout for quarterback Colin Kaepernick were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Westwood One: AM/FM Radio Gets Out the Vote. The latest installment of the Westwood One blog uses Nielsen Scarborough data and Nielsen Media Impact to show that AM/FM radio is a consistently effective tool “for political campaigns needing to cut through the clutter.”  Some of the conclusions drawn include: AM/FM radio has mass reach: according to Nielsen Scarborough data, AM/FM radio reaches 88% of likely voters, more than the Internet (85%), TV (83%), and Facebook (62%). AM/FM radio also has significantly greater reach among likely voters than SiriusXM(18%), Pandora (17%), and Spotify (10%); AM/FM radio reaches Twitter users: with the recent announcement that Twitter will no longer take political ads leading up to the 2020 election, AM/FM radio steps in to fill the void. According to Scarborough, AM/FM radio (88%) outreaches Twitter (18%) among likely voters. Among likely voters, 90% of Twitter users are reached by AM/FM radio. By investing in AM/FM radio, political campaigns get virtually the entire Twitter audience for free; AM/FM radio reaches every key voting segment: 88% of Democrats, Republicans, and swing voters are reached weekly by AM/FM radio; and AM/FM radio makes your TV better: according to an actual U.S. Senate campaign run in Nielsen Media Impact for an October 2018 media buy, a TV-only media plan achieves a 79% reach. Reallocating 20% of the media budget to AM/FM radio boosts reach to 90%, a +14% increase in incremental reach versus just TV alone for the same budget.  Read the blog here.

NPR and Edison Research: Spoken-Word Audio Consumption Up 20% in the Last Five Years. During yesterday’s webinar, NPR and Edison Research revealed data from The Spoken Word Audio Report that examines listener behaviors and preferences related to spoken word audio – podcasts, news, sports, talk radio, and audiobooks – and includes five years of previously unreleased data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear study.  Among the findings of the report are: The share of time spent listening to spoken word audio has increased 20% since 2014, while time spent with music across the same period decreased 5%.  This shift is led by a dramatic increase in spoken-word audio consumption on mobile devices across age groups and increases in spoken word share among those ages 13-34.  Other findings include: 121 million Americans listen to spoken-word audio each day, an increase of 16 million people in the last five years; growth in spoken-word listening has been greatest among young people: those age 13-34 now spend 19% of their audio time with spoken-word audio (up 58% from 2014); mobile technology use is driving growth in spoken-word audio category: 22% of listening to spoken-word audio in 2019 is now on a mobile device, compared to 9% five years ago; and spoken-word audio yields deep connections and involvement from its consumers, with large percentages of consumers reporting they turn to spoken-word audio content for information, inspiration, entertainment, and companionship.  See the study here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Dylan Salisbury is appointed program director for Cumulus Media’s CHR KKMG, Colorado Springs “98.9 MAGIC FM.”  He moves west from the company’s Indianapolis CHR WZPL where he was serving as assistant PD and music director…..Envision Networks’ “Full Metal Jackie Radio” starring Jackie Kajzer adds Beasley Media Group’s rock WRXK-FM, Ft. Myers “96K-Rock” to its affiliate list as the station adds the program to its Saturday night program schedule. Kajzer is the KILPOP 2018 Metal Programmer of the Year and a four-time FMQB “Metal Host of the Year” recipient for her work on “Full Metal Jackie Radio.”…..Another round of on-air staff reductions at an Entercom cluster, this time in Miami as on-air pro Todd Durkin exits the morning show at country WKIS “99.9 Kiss Country,” classic hits WMXJ “102.7 The Beach” midday host Jade Alexander Mia leaves, and adult contemporary WLYF “101.5 LITE-FM” afternoon personality and APD Kimba is out…..In Madison, three on-air personalities are gone from the airwaves at Midwest Communications stations.  Julie Jacobs is gone from the midday gig at adult contemporary WMGN “Magic 98.”  Dave Ogden exits the middays/APD role at country WWQM “Q106,” and Jason Ryan loses his evening host/traffic reporter gig on “Q106.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One offers a four-hour, Thanksgiving country radio special hosted by CMA and ACM award-winning, multi-platinum artist Luke Combs.  Luke and his friends are going to talk food and traditions with a side of gratitude and a lot of music. Guests joining Combs on the show include: Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Old Dominion, and Kelsea Ballerini.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

| October 31, 2019

Round Three of October PPM Ratings Released. The third of four rounds of October 2019 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. The October 2019 rating period covered September 12 to October 9.  Here are some of the ratings gains (6+) of note from this group of markets: Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City puts up an astonishing 2.4 share increase from last month to finish at a 6.4 share and a #3 rank in the market; Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland adds 0.4 to its September number for a 5.1 share and a rise to the #5 rank in the market; iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio adds to its four-sweep, upward trend to finish the October survey at a 5.7 share and a #2 rank in the market; in Pittsburgh, Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM adds 0.4 tenths to finish at a 4.1 share and the #10 rank while sports talk sister KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” increases 0.8 for 7.1 share and remains ranked #4; and Entercom’s sports talk WKRK, Cleveland adds 0.9 tenths to its four-month upward trend to finish with a 5.3 share, good for a #8 rank in the market.  TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, as he does each month, presents his “Takeaways” from the performances of each market’s spoken-word and music stations.  See his “Takeaways” from this first round here.  You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Cumulus Names Robert Berju Vice President of Finance and Strategy. Media finance pro Robert Berju joins Cumulus Media in the newly created position VP, finance and strategy. In this role, Cumulus says Berju “will lead financial planning and analysis, budgeting and forecasting, capital management, and modeling of strategic initiatives, while having financial oversight of Westwood One.”  Berju is based in New York City.  Berju was most recently with Clever Devices as SVP, finance and accounting.  He previously served with iHeartMedia as VP, corporate finance and as VP, finance and operations for AMC Networks.  Cumulus Media EVP, marketing and president, Westwood One, Suzanne Grimes says, “Robert is a highly accomplished media veteran with over two decades of finance, accounting, and strategic planning experience.  He will play an important role in building upon the success of Westwood One and propelling the organization to new heights in 2020 and beyond.”

SiriusXM Reports Third Quarter Pro Forma Revenue Up 7%. Reporting 2019 third quarter financial data, SiriusXM says revenue jumped 36.7% to $2.01 billion due to the impact of the February acquisition of Pandora.  Revenue was up 7% on a pro forma basis.  However, net income was $246 million – down from $343 million during the same period a year ago – due largely to expenses tied to redeeming its 6% senior notes due 2024 alongside prior-year non-recurring tax benefits.  Still, the satellite/internet radio business added 210,000 net subscribers, pushing the service’s total to 34.6 million.  Self-pay subscribers now total 29.6 million.  Pandora’s ad revenue rose 8% to $315 million, an all-time high for the service.

TALKERS News Notes. As the wildfires in California continue to create havoc, ABC News Radio says that it is providing extensive coverage with correspondent Alex Stone having spent two days on the fire lines in Northern California covering the Kincaid Fire and correspondent Jason Nathanson on the fire lines in Southern California.  Stone will also host the ‘Start Here’ podcast on Thursday and Friday morning from Los Angeles with a heavy focus on the wildfires…..The content creators at public media organization WHYY-FM in Philadelphia voted overwhelmingly to recognize SAG-AFTRA as their union with 99% voting in support.  The election was conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.  The move allows the unit to proceed with negotiating a first contract.  The new bargaining unit will cover the public media professionals who create content for all areas of the station, including radio, television and digital.  It also covers those working in the news department, on the digital team, on podcasts, in the production departments and on “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” “The Pulse,” “Billy Penn,” “PlanPhilly,” and “Radio Times.”…..iHeartMedia announces the premiere of “Second Oil Age,” a new, scripted sci-fi podcast set in a deep-sea adventure in a post-energy crisis world.  The first three episodes are available on the iHeartPodcast Network and new episodes debut every Tuesday and Thursday.  The podcast is written by host Robert Lamb and follows Synøve Pan, voiced by Angèle Masters, a specially conditioned agent of the UDEX Oil Corporation as she investigates the disappearance of an oil executive on the deep-sea Atlas Station.  iHM says, “The 10-episode scripted podcast will have true sci-fi fans not only hooked but left with their blood pumping.”

Al Herskovitz Honored by the Media Roundtable in Sarasota.  TALKERS marketing director Al Herskovitz was honored yesterday (10/30) at the monthly luncheon gathering of the Media Roundtable, a Sarasota, FL-based, 300-plus member organization of active and retired media professionals.  Herskovitz (right) pictured with the organization’s chairman Dick Miller (left) was honored for his “years of success in the media and great service to the Media Roundtable.”  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “We are so proud of Al and indeed lucky to have his knowledge and wisdom to draw upon.  At 88, he is still going strong and brings a wealth of career experience to our ‘table’ that spans the decades and centuries.  He is indeed an industry treasure and we love him.”

Impeachment Inquiry, California Wildfires, Twitter Bans Political Ads, 2020 Presidential Race, APEC Summit Canceled/U.S.-China Trade Deal, and Nationals Win World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/30). The testimony for the impeachment inquiry against President Trump; the millions affected by the California wildfires and the PG&E power blackouts; social media platform Twitter announces a ban on political ads; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; Chile cancels the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit due to civil unrest and the related U.S.-China trade deal; and the Washington Nationals upset the Houston Astros to win the World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Jake Thomson rises to program director at Dick Broadcasting’s country WUBB, Savannah-Hilton Head “BOB 106.9,” taking over for Hunter Meyer, who exited the station back in May.  Thomson will continue to host the PM drive daypart…..Air personality Isaac Wenzel exits iHeartMedia’s Madison country outlet WMAD “96.3 Star Country.  He was also in charge of promotions for the company’s Madison station group.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

| May 9, 2019

Emmis Revenue Down 4% in Fiscal Q4.  Radio revenue in the fourth fiscal quarter of 2018 for Emmis Communications was $22.2 million, down 4% pro forma for the sale of its Los Angeles and St. Louis radio stations.  For the full fiscal year of 2018, pro forma revenue was $108 million, down 2% in markets that were down 1%, according to Miller Kaplan data.  Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “While the fourth quarter didn’t finish as strongly as we would have liked, we are seeing significant strength as we commence the new fiscal year.  Emmis’ first fiscal quarter is pacing up 5%, and ticket and sponsorship sales for Hot 97’s Summer Jam, Emmis’ largest event which occurs in June, are pacing well ahead of last year.  Our renewed focus on digital is bearing immediate fruit, with Q1 digital revenues pacing up 50%.  Ratings remain strong across all our brands and I’m confident that our ratings success will allow us to sustain this growth.  With the scaling down of NextRadio that occurred last year, coupled with the company’s recent refinancing, Emmis has one of the best balance sheets in the radio industry, which has been enhanced by our strong operational start to this fiscal year.”  In the report, Emmis noted that it completed a refinancing of its credit facility on April 12.  The refinancing lowered the company’s cost of capital from 10.5% to 5.8%.

Urban One Q1 Broadcast and Digital Net Revenue Up 6.1%. First quarter financial data from Urban One, Inc. shows the company as a whole posted net revenue of approximately $98.4 million, a decrease of 1.2% from the same period in 2018.  However, the broadcast and digital sector’s operating income was approximately $34.5 million, an increase of 6.1% over Q1 in 2018. Operating income during 2019’s first quarter was approximately $16.1 million compared to approximately $7.3 million for the same period in 2018.  Net loss was approximately $6.7 compared to net loss of approximately $22.6 million for the same period in 2018.  Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III comments, “While our radio division finished the quarter a little softer than expected, the Q2 pacings show a strong rebound, with April up mid-teens and Q2 overall pacing up high single-digits.  TV One advertising revenues performed nicely, with ratings remaining relatively stable, and subscriber churn was largely offset by contractual rate increases. Our digital segment was impacted by the timing of a tent-pole event, which caused some revenue to spill over into Q2, however the reorganization of expenses that occurred at the end of 2018 meant that the division delivered a much-improved EBITDA performance. Our investment in MGM National Harbor continues to perform well, with first quarter net gaming revenues up by 5.6% year-over-year. We remain focused on deleveraging, and during the first quarter we reduced indebtedness by $21.8 million.”

Beasley Ups Heidi Raphael to Chief Communications Officer. Corporate communications pro Heidi Raphael is promoted to chief communications officer at Beasley Media Group.  Raphael had been VP of corporate communications. She joined Beasley in 2017, coming over from Greater Media – where she’d been for two decades – after Beasley acquired its assets.  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Heidi has proven time and time again that she is most deserving of being promoted to the position of chief communications officer. While she’s only been at our company for two years, she’s accomplished more than others would in five!  We are so very proud and lucky to have her in our Beasley Media Group family.”  Raphael currently serves on the boards of the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation, the Broadcast Education Association and the Florida Association of Broadcasters.  In addition, she is a member of the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group executive committee.

Chelsey Waddell Named Director of Marketing for iHeartMedia Raleigh. Marketing pro Chelsey Waddell is appointed director of marketing and promotions at iHeartMedia’s Raleigh station group that includes WTKK-FM “106.1 FM Talk” and four music-formatted stations.  Waddell previously served in marketing and promotions positions with Radio One in St. Louis and Cumulus Media in Melbourne, Florida.  In this position she’ll work closely with the promotions, events, sales, and programming teams in developing and executing marketing for the Raleigh market’s iconic brands and franchises and will be responsible for developing and creating marketing strategies to increase brand awareness, enhance business relationships, and will assist with increasing revenue growth for the market. She says, “I’m excited to join the iHeartMedia market-leading team in Raleigh.  I’m looking forward to growing brand engagement among our audiences while driving continued revenue for the stations.”

Shosh Abromovich to Lead iHeartMedia Toledo. Radio sales pro Shosh Abromovich is promoted from SVP of sales for iHeartMedia’s Toledo operations to market president.  iHeartMedia region president Paul Corvino says, “Shosh has done an excellent job at leading our sales teams in the Toledo market.  She truly understands the value of iHeart’s full spectrum of services and unmatched assets, including radio, podcast, digital streaming, social media and mobile as well as OTT in relation to creating effective branding and results-driven marketing programs.”  The Toledo cluster includes news/talk WSPD-AM/W225AM and sports talk WCWA-AM “FOX Sports Toledo” in addition to five music brands.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated Chad Benson show announces it adds a number of affiliate stations to its roster.  Recently adding the Radio America-syndicated show to their program schedules are: Hubbard Radio’s WFTL-AM, West Palm Beach and KSLM-AM/FM, Portland and Townsquare Media’s KKAM-AM, Lubbock, Texas; KTPI-AM/FM, Lancaster, California; and WNWF-AM, Evergreen, Alabama…..SiriusXM is presenting comprehensive play-by-play and talk coverage of the PGA Championship taking place next week at Bethpage Black Course on Long Island. Live hole-by-hole coverage, which SiriusXM will co-produce with Westwood One, will air starting at 12:00 pm ET all four days of Championship play. The broadcast will be hosted by Brian Katrek and Taylor Zarzour who will handle the play-by-play.

The Mueller Report/Trump’s Executive Privilege, NYTimes Trump Piece, 2020 Presidential Politics, U.S.-China Trade War, Facebook Bans; Gaza-Israel Violence, and the Royal Baby Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/8).  The claim by President Trump that the release of the unredacted Mueller Report is up to him; the New York Times piece on Trump’s business losses from 1985 to 1994; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; the trade war between the U.S. and China and the reactions of the world’s financial markets; Facebook’s ban of “dangerous individuals and organizations”; the violence between Gaza and Israel; and the birth of the royal baby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio programming pro Dustin Kross joins Radio One to serve as CHR format director in charge of the company’s WNOW-FM, Indianapolis “RadioNOW 100.9” and KROI-FM, Houston “RadioNOW 92.1.”  Kross comes to Radio One from his most recent position as program director and morning host for Cumulus Media’s CHR KLIF-FM, Dallas “HOT 93.3.”  Radio One vice president of programming Colby Tyner says, “We are excited to be working with Dustin, his expertise and passion for the top 40 format is just what we need in Houston and Indy.”…..The WHQC, Charlotte-based, regionally syndicated “Ace & TJ Show” announces it has officially named Laura Vinson, a.k.a. Intern Sass, a permanent member of The Ace & TJ Show.  She began her career with The Ace & TJ Show as an intern in January 2018.  Vinson says, “I’m excited and honored to be the newest member of ‘The Ace and TJ Show.’  I’m thankful for the overwhelming amount of support.  I can’t wait to bring more sass and continue this journey with our radio family.”…..United Stations Radio Networks is distributing “The Summer of 1969,” produced and hosted by Dick Bartley, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the summer of 1969.   The radio special will be available for air this summer and is perfect for classic hits/oldies-formatted stations.  Music in the special will include many of the biggest songs of that summer, including major hits from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, Creedence Clearwater RevivalBlood, Sweat and Tears, and Crosby, Stills and Nash, as well as great novelty hits like “Sugar Sugar” from The Archies.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

| April 25, 2019

Hubbard Radio’s All-News WTOP, Washington Takes 2018 Revenue Crown. The 2019 edition of the annual BIA Advisory Services Investing in Radio Market Report is released and accompanying that is the ranking of radio’s top revenue-earning stations from 2018. Once again, Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington was #1, earning $69 million in ad revenue.  As seen in the graphic above, iHeartMedia music-formatted stations in Los Angeles and New York take the next four slots.  But Entercom’s all-newsers in New York and Chicago – along with sports talk WFAN, New York – show their earning power consistency with return appearances at the same spots in the top 10.  One news/talk station – iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles – makes the list in the #10 spot as it did last year.  BIA notes that over-the-air advertising remained relatively flat at $13.3 billion (down 1.6% from $13.5 billion in 2017).  It was digital advertising platforms at local radio stations that saw revenue growth across the industry.   The report indicates digital income rose 8.1% to $923 million.  Putting over-the-air advertising together with digital revenue gave radio a 2018 revenue figure of $14.2 billion and, BIA says, “positioned radio as the fifth most significant local advertising platform, behind direct mail, mobile, online/digital, and local television.”  BIA Advisory Services SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik states, “Although local radio stations are still important players in their markets and are managing to maintain their position in the top five advertising platforms, we do expect the OTA advertising revenue of U.S. radio stations to decrease this year by 1% to 2% and through the next few years.”  He adds that combined radio revenues will remain relatively flat for at least the next five years, while digital platforms will hit $1 billion by 2020.  See more about the report here.

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his analysis of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2019 PPM survey, today zeroing in on public radio news/talk. A slight dip in weekly 6+ AQH share affects the format as 53% of stations go down and just 38% see a ratings increase from the February 2019 to the March 2019 survey.  The same situation applies to the year-over-year comparison – 53% of stations saw their 6+ number decrease from the March 2018 survey. There were four public radio news/talk stations that ranked #1 in their respective markets in March: KQED, San Francisco; KUOW, Seattle; KPBS, San Diego; and KUT, Austin.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

iHeartMedia Q1 Radio Biz Revenue Up 2.9%.  In a 10-Q filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, iHeartMedia releases financial data from the first quarter of 2019 that indicates the company’s radio and streaming revenue was $766 million, up almost 3% compared to the same period in 2018.  The company as a whole reports first quarter revenue of $1.38 billion, an increase of slightly less than 1% compared to the first quarter of 2018.  Consolidated operating income dropped from $60.9 million in Q1 2018 to $28.3 million this year due to impairment charges of $91.4 million.

SiriusXM First Quarter Pro Forma Revenue Up 10%. The acquisition of Pandora by SiriusXM adds a little wrinkle to the company’s 2019 first quarter financial report.  The company reports total revenue of $1.7 billion, an increase of 27% over the same period in 2018, that was driven by bringing Pandora into the fold.  On a pro forma basis, revenue increased 10%, hitting $1.9 billion in the first quarter.  But the Pandora acquisition impacted the company’s bottom line as net income was $162 million in Q1 of 2019, down from $289 million during the same period a year ago. During the quarter, SiriusXM added 131,000 net new self-pay subscribers, bringing its total above the 29 million mark.

TALKERS News Notes. Another major national award for Westwood One News comes on the heels of its recent National Headliner honor from the Press Club of Atlantic City. Now, the Society of Professional Journalists is bestowing its Sigma Delta Chi award upon Westwood One News for “Radio Breaking News Reporting” for the network’s coverage of the Parkland Florida School shooting and aftermath in February of 2018.  The award recognizes “resourceful and complete coverage of a major breaking news event, emphasizing both deadline reporting and continuing coverage as the story develops over succeeding days.”  Last year, Westwood One News won the honor for its coverage of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting…..Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson is joining the WBAL-AM and WIYY-FM-based Ravens Radio Network as color analyst alongside play-by-play voice Gerry Sandusky for this season.  Johnson worked on game broadcasts during the past two seasons and earns the promotion to the booth.  Cary Pahigian manages the Hearst radio stations and says, “Jarret’s NFL experience, unique insight, and enthusiasm is a major component of our superb Ravens broadcast team.”…..Bay Area public media corporation KQED announces that DeLinda Mrowka is promoted to the newly created position of chief audience officer.  In this executive role, Mrowka is “responsible for extending brand, deepening audience engagement and growth, and strengthening the membership and corporate sponsorship programs for one of the largest stations in public media.”  Mrowka started her KQED career in 2013 as the station’s executive director of marketing and communications before being promoted to vice president of corporate sponsorship in 2015.  In 2017 she was again promoted to vice president of marketing, with broad responsibilities overseeing the audience development, marketing, digital fundraising and corporate sponsorship teams.

PodcastOne Issues Request to Luminary. The subscription podcast start-up Luminary is facing the issue of a number of content creators requesting their shows be removed from its service for various reasons.  PodcastOne is one of those companies.  It made the move when it became aware that Luminary was carrying PodcastOne’s podcasts without permission.  PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Since Luminary’s focus has been promoted solely as a paid subscription model, we were surprised to see them also use the free model which they have spoken negatively about and compete against.  If they want to reach our audience to promote their site, then they should do the ‘unthinkable’ and advertise in our podcasts as hundreds of other advertisers do.”

WPG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley to Receive Inaugural Broadcaster of the Year Award from NJBA. Atlantic City morning drive personality Harry Hurley – heard daily on Townsquare Media’s news/talk WPGG-AM – is being honored by the New Jersey Broadcasters Association at its 71st Conference and Gala this summer with the first-ever “Broadcaster of the Year” award.  NJBA president and CEO Paul S. Rotella, Esq. says Hurley meets all of the criteria for this award “with a high degree of professionalism and a passionate dedication to his craft and the NJBA is very proud of our inaugural ‘Broadcaster of the Year’ recipient!”

Mueller Report Aftermath/Impeachment Talk, Trump vs Subpoenas, 2020 Presidential Politics/Biden Enters Race, Financial Markets Rally, Southern Border Crisis, Sri Lanka Bombings Aftermath, Putin-Kim Meeting, ‘Jeopardy!’ Record Breaker, Avengers: Endgame Film, NBA Playoffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/24). The response to the release of the redacted version of the Mueller Report and Democrats’ debate over impeachment possibilities; President Trump’s rejection of subpoenas from the U.S. House; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020, including Joe Biden’s entry into the race; U.S. financial markets hit records in latest rally; the state of the migrant influx at the U.S.-Mexico border; ISIS claims responsibility for Sri Lanka bombings; Russia’s Vladimir Putin meets with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un; the record-breaking “Jeopardy!” streak by James Holzhauer; the new Marvel Comics film Avengers: Endgame; the NBA playoffs; 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.

TALKERS CONVENTION SPOTLIGHT:  Panel Discussion to Address the Challenges Facing Talk Radio by Heightened Political Correctness.  One of the many highlights planned for the forthcoming Talkers 2019: Telling the Story on Friday, June 7 in New York City will be an extremely timely and pertinent panel discussion focusing on the challenges being faced by talk radio during the current era of heightened political correctness.  Titled “Talk Radio in the Era of ‘Watch What You Say,’” the session will feature panelists Michael Berry, host, “The Michael Berry Show”; Grace Blazer, national brand coordinator, news/talk/sports programming and director of AM programming Miami/Fort Lauderdale, iHeart MediaBrett Winterble, host KFMB-AM, San Diego; Larry Young, host, WOLB-AM, Baltimore; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO-AM, Providence. The session will be moderated by Bill Hess, VP of news/talk, Cumulus Media and program director, WMAL, Washington, DC.  Talk radio depends on the free-wheeling exchange of ideas, tolerance for controversy, and, most important, a healthy understanding of and respect for the First Amendment in order to operate effectively. These tenets are clearly under assault in the age of advertiser boycotts, righteous indignation and widespread hypocrisy.  This session will earnestly attempt to identify the issues at play and offer solutions to overcome the challenges and obstacles they present. Don’t miss this session!  The TALKERS convention is rapidly heading toward being an early sellout.  To see the entire up-to-the-minute agenda and registration/hotel information, please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Phoenix classic hits outlet KOOL-FM adds market radio personality Dee Garcia to its morning drive “The Niko Show” with host Nicholaus “Niko” Petrou.  She joins the Entercom station after having worked in the Valley at such stations as hot AC KMVA-FM and hip hop KKFR.  She says of her new gig, “I am honored to join Niko on ‘The Niko Show’ on KOOL.  Niko and [producer Abe] are positive, fun, and hardworking.  They are exactly the kind of people that you want to share your mornings with.”…..Alpha Media’s hot AC KEEZ, Mankato, Minnesota “Mix 99.1” names Zannie Kaye program director and morning drive personality.  Cluster operations manager Jeff Spence says, “We are more than excited to add Zannie Kaye to our Alpha Mankato team as our new host for the ‘Mix 99.1’ morning show and PD duties.  Zannie has a lot of experience and has had a terrific career in lots of different markets, including Minneapolis.  His energy is contagious and his warm and funny nature will win fans over immediately.”…..SummitMedia appoints sales pro Larry Jennings general sales manager for its Birmingham, Alabama stations that include: urban contemporary WBHK “98.7 KISS FM,” hip hop WBHJ “95.7 JAMZ,” and Gospel WAGG-AM “HEAVEN 610.” SummitMedia market president John Walker says, “Larry is exactly the professional we were looking for to lead our outstanding team. He has a proven track record of team building, talent development, client relations, community involvement, and revenue performance.”…..Beasley Media Group’s Philadelphia rock station WMMR-FM signs morning team “Preston and Steve” – Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison – to a new, multiyear contract extension.  The duo joined WMMR in May of 2005 and Beasley says the show has “maintained the top-rated morning show position in Philadelphia” since it launched.  The company says the show has “led the way in embracing innovative multi-platform initiatives, including creating daily, full-show and highlight episode podcasts, inventing their own ringtone service, producing daily/weekly video programs, and cultivating a formidable social media audience.”  Pictured below (from l-r) are: agent Glenn Goldstein, BBGI president Bruce Beasley, Beasley Media Group CEO Caroline Beasley, Elliot, Morrison, Beasley Philly market manager Joe Bell, Beasley EVP of strategy and innovation Buzz Knight, and Beasley rock format brand manager Bill WestonPhoto: BP Miller/Chorus Photography

Monday, April 1, 2019

| April 1, 2019

Monday Memo: “Here’s What’s Happening…” In today’s Monday Memo, consultant Holland Cooke reminds radio news people that “local information is something radio’s non-local, new-tech competitors just can’t deliver.  And if recent cutbacks have competing stations mailing-it-in yours will be conspicuous by comparison.  And if you’re relevant and user-friendly to those busy in-car listeners advertisers want to meet, you’re gold.”  Read HC’s Monday Memo here.

iHeartMedia Revenue Rises 6% from January to February.  Those following iHeartMedia’s Chapter 11 reorganization process are aware the company has been filing monthly revenue reports since April of last year – a month after it declared Chapter 11.  The most recent report filed with U.S Bankruptcy Court in Houston on March 28 shows revenue of $246.2 million for the month of February, up 6% from January.  Most of the figures in the report – revenue, operating income, net income (loss) – have bounced around a lot since April 2018.  Although revenue was up in February, that followed a drop in revenue of almost $100 million from December to January.  Net income in February was $14.3 million, a turnaround from January’s loss of $9.5 million.  Operating income was $24.1 million in February, a bounceback from January’s $7.6 million figure, the lowest reported number since April of 2018.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk.  Half of the news/talk stations on our panel improved (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the January survey to the February survey, led by Entercom’s KMBZ-FM, Kansas City (+1.0).  Comparing February 2018 to February 2019, about half the stations showed improvement with Emmis’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis leading the pack (+2.2) and Cumulus’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington (+2.0) close behind.  Three stations ranked #1 in their markets in February: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5”; and CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

2019 Radio Mercury Awards Deadline Is Now April 19. The deadline for submitting entries for the RAB’s 2019 Radio Mercury Awards is being extended to April 19.  The “biggest creative awards show for radio and audio” will honor broadcasters’ efforts in numerous categories.  They include: Radio station produced commercials and campaigns; radio station produced promotional spots; creative use of audio: podcasts, branded content and activations, interactive audio, and more; creative use of sound/music: sonic branding, jingles, songs and music, etc.; integrated campaigns with radio/audio; PSA spots/campaigns; and Spanish-language spots/campaigns.  You can listen to last year’s winners, learn about the prize money, get more information, and enter by clicking here.

TALKERS News Notes.  Washington, DC all-news station WTOP is celebrating 50 years as an all-news radio station and features a nice, historical piece on its website that chronicles the station’s evolution.  The idea for making the station a news-intensive one came from Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham who’d been listening to suburban AM WAVA present an all-news format and instructed WTOP’s managers to focus on news.  WTOP was owned by the Post at the time…..A piece published at NJ.com speculates about whether former WFAN, New York morning personality Craig Carton could pop back up at the Entercom-owned sports talk station if Carton avoids jail time at his sentencing on Friday (4/5).  Citing a comment by WFAN program director Mark Chernoff in Newsday in which he said the station would welcome a discussion about a chance to return if he avoids prison, writer James Kratch reports Carton’s attorneys suggest Carton would be able to pay restitution if he’s allowed to work.  However, Newsday also reports that the judge is unlikely to be so lenient about such serious fraud crimes.  According to a story in the New York Daily News, prosecutors are seeking six to seven years in prison…..As per Chicago media maven Robert Feder’s reportErich Mancow Muller’s morning drive show on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM is starting a bit earlier as the station makes a minor schedule change.  Instead of starting at 6:00 am, the Mancow show starts at 5:30, effective today (4/1)…..Sports talk radio host Dan Sileo – who hosts the morning drive show at Entercom’s San Diego sports talk station KWFN “97.3 The Fan” – is also hosting a new, two-hour weekend show at the company’s WEEI-FM, Boston. Sileo’s show – airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm – debuted over the weekend.  Sileo is a Connecticut native who played college football at Miami and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1987.    

Podcasting Is Now Mainstream (or Is It?).  According to a new study by Edison Research, podcasting continues to permeate and gain ground within the general public’s media usage.  Media consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke sited these latest stats on his RT America “The Big Picture” TV show (3/29) and examined their implications by interviewing TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs.  To view the segment in its entirety, please click here.

Central American Aid Cuts, Joe Biden Inappropriateness Allegation, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Border Wall/Immigration Issues, Mueller Report Aftermath, AOC FDR Snafu, Trump vs Obamacare, NCAA Tourney, and NBA and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Trump administration plans aid cuts to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras; allegation about inappropriate touching by Joe Biden; the Democrats vying to face President Trump in 2020; the status of the U.S.-Mexico border wall and the flow of migrants to the border; the aftermath of the Trump-Russia investigation report from Robert Mueller; Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s statement that Republicans engineered the 22nd Amendment to force FDR from office; the Trump administration’s effort to repeal Obamacare; the NCAA tournament action; and NBA and MLB action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio pro Danita Maldonado is named afternoon personality and web/social media manager for Cumulus Media’s country KXKC, Lafayette, Louisiana “NASH FM 99.1.”  She previously served on air at country KMRK-FM, Odessa, Texas and country KFTX, Corpus Christi, Texas as well as with production companies and ad agencies in New York City…..Swick Broadcasting adds the “O’Reilly In The Morning” program with Phil O’Reilly to WLKI-FM, Angola, Indiana. This is a move of flagships for O’Reilly who most recently broadcast his syndicated show from Midwest Communications’ WNWN-FM, Battle Creek, Michigan.   O’Reilly says, “I am very excited to be part of the teams at Swick Broadcasting and Local Radio Networks.  My family and I reside just up the road in Battle Creek, Michigan and we are very happy to stay right here and continue to have fun on the radio!”…..Programming pro Brian Stephenson is named operations manager for Townsquare Media’s six-station Yakima, Washington cluster that includes rock KATS-FM, CHR KFFM-FM, and country KDBL-FM…..Resonate Hawaii LLC is buying adult hits KBGX-FM, Keaau and country KKOA, Volcano from Mahalo Multimedia LLC for $550,000.  Susan Patrick and Jason James of Patrick Communications were the exclusive brokers for this transaction…..Westwood One’s new urban AC morning stars Rick Party (left) and Sasha the Diva (center), attended the NAACP Image Awards this weekend.  Below, they pose for a pic with “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah (right).

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

| March 13, 2019

Entercom Renews Limbaugh for 15 News/Talk Stations. The Premiere Networks-syndicated Rush Limbaugh show will continue to air on 15 Entercom-owned news/talk stations after the two companies agreed to a long-term contract extension.  Stations that will continue to air the Rush Limbaugh show include WPHT, Philadelphia; WBT, Charlotte; KXNT, Las Vegas; WBEN-AM, Buffalo; and WTIC, Hartford. Entercom president of programming Pat Paxton states, “Listeners nationwide across Entercom’s talk stations continue to engage with Rush’s signature take on the media and political landscape.  For over 30 years, Rush Limbaugh has been a driving force on air and we look forward to our continued partnership.”

Salem Media Group Q4 2018 Total Revenue Flat; Same Station Net Revenue Up 2%.  Reporting fourth quarter 2018 and full year 2018 financial data, Salem Media Group says its Q4 total revenue was consistent at $67.2 million.  In the broadcast division, net broadcast revenue was basically flat at $51.1 million, however same station net broadcast revenue increased 1.9% to $50.3 million. For the full year of 2018, total revenue decreased 0.4% to $262.8 million from $263.7 million in 2017.  In the broadcast division, net broadcast revenue increased 1.2% and same station net broadcast revenue was up 1.8% to $195.2 million from $191.7 million in 2017.

iHeartMedia December 2018 Revenue Dips 5.3%.  In its most recent 8-K filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, iHeartMedia reports revenue of $326 million for the month of December 2018, down 5.3% from the November figure of $343.7 million.  In November 2018, the company claimed $104.2 million in net income.  That category was flat in December, with no net income nor loss posted.  The company has been filing the monthly statements since the petition for Chapter 11 reorganization was filed last spring.

iHeartMedia Launches ‘Podcast Channel’ on WSAN-AM, Allentown. The Allentown, Pennsylvania AM signal flips from Spanish sports to a new podcast format.  iHeartMedia Allentown is calling it “The iHeartPodcast Channel on AM 1470,” using it to showcase “today’s most popular podcasts” and “allow listeners to discover them through the radio.  The new station will be a one-stop shop for a variety of podcasts including trendy shows such as the fan-favorites ‘Stuff You Should Know,’ ‘Part Time Genius,’ ‘Broken Harts,’ and many more.  iHeartMedia Allentown SVP of programming Craig Stevens says, “The iHeartPodcast Channel is a carefully curated experience that brings you the most creative stories from over 25,000 podcasts available on our free iHeartRadio app.  From true crime to history, comedy to food, we’ll cover dozens of topics every week.”

iHeartMedia Executives Named UJA-Federation’s Music Visionaries of the Year. Four of iHeartMedia’s leaders – Bob Pittman, Rich Bressler, John Sykes, and Tom Poleman – have been named UJA-Federation of New York’s Music Visionaries of the Year.  They will be honored for their outstanding professional and philanthropic achievements at the annual Music Visionary of the Year Award Luncheon on June 11, 2019 in New York City.  Daniel Glass, president & founder of Glassnote Entertainment Group and vice chair of UJA’s Entertainment, Media & Communications Division, says, “Bob, Rich, John, and Tom are true powerhouses who are reshaping the entertainment industry through ingenuity and innovation.  While devoted to redefining the way millions of people consume music, they are equally committed to social responsibility and improving millions of lives – and it’s why they’re so deserving of this honor.” The Music Visionary Luncheon attracts more than 600 of the most respected and well-regarded executives and an A-list roster of talent.  Past performers include: Eddie Vedder and Stone Gossard, Leon Bridges, Alessia Cara, Alicia Keys, Bruno MarsJustin Timberlake, Adele, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, The Weeknd, Jennifer Hudson, and many more. Funds raised at the event are shared across various UJA efforts, ranging from its Music for Youth initiative, which enables and supports quality children’s music education programming, to its annual campaign, which supports the most vulnerable in our community.

Tips on Podcast Advertising from Westwood One’s Tim Sabean. In this week’s Westwood One blog, senior vice president of digital content Tim Sabean offers pointers for achieving podcast advertising success.  He says the following tips will lead to greater effectiveness of the podcast read. First, be transparent.  Start at the beginning and explain why the ad is being done in the first place.  Hosts should share their backstory on why they wanted to promote the company in the ad.  Giving context will help the listener follow the host’s journey and will magnify credibility and connection.  Second, be real.  Personalize the relationship with the brand.  Don’t solely rely on copy points.  Hosts should use the product or service and then talk about what the experience is like.  Including real-life reactions make ads more believable and prevent them from sounding soulless.  And third, be direct.  Make the call to action clear and memorable.  For specific information like call to action, podcasts hosts should be sure that the verbiage is strong and direct.  They should be repetitive so there is no room for error.  Read the blog here.

iHeartMedia Names Region SVP’s of Programming. The company announces the promotion of two of its programmers to regional senior vice president of programming positions. First, Meg Stevens moves from her post as RSVP of programming for the Virginia-Carolina region (as well as PD for country WKKT, Charlotte) to region SVP of programming for the Atlanta region.  In this new role, Stevens will also serve as program director for country WUBL, Atlanta. She says, “I’m very excited to join the incredible programming team in the Atlanta region.  I look forward to the continued growth of their powerful brands. ‘94.9 The Bull’ is one of the premiere country stations in the nation and I couldn’t be more excited to wake up every day and say, ‘HORNS UP!’  Taking over the RSVP of programming for the Virginia-Carolina region is Chadwick “A.J.” Hausknecht.  He was most recently program director at iHeartMedia’s CHR WHQC “HITS 96.1” and adult hits WLKO “102.9 The Lake” in Charlotte.  iHeartMedia Virginia-Carolina region president Dave Carwile says, “We are extremely pleased to have A.J. lead as region senior vice president of programming for the Virginia-Carolina region.  A.J. has the experience and passion for talent coaching and developing extraordinary teams.  I’ve worked with A.J. in this capacity before and he is a game changer.  I am confident that he will make a strong impact and contribution to the Virginia-Carolina region’s ongoing success.”

TALKERS News Notes. Talk radio legend Howard Stern and publisher Simon & Schuster are releasing his third autobiographical book, titled, Howard Stern Comes Again, on May 14.  The Sirius XM personality made the announcement on his show, saying, “For the last two years of my life, I’ve been involved in a project that has taken up almost every weekend, every vacation that we’ve been on.  This is about my evolution and this is about my interviews.  I started talking about the process and I started talking about my life and some of the things that have happened.”…..In Boston, afternoon news personality Josh Binswanger exits iHeartMedia’s all-news WBZ-AM where he was co-anchor. He’d been with the station – his second tour with the news outlet – since September of 2017…..The Arkansas Broadcasters Association is celebrating its 70th anniversary as the leading trade association for Arkansas Broadcasters. ABA executive director Luke Story says, “ABA has experienced exceptional growth and successes over the years.  Moving forward, our focus will remain on offering the broadcasters of Arkansas the resources and education they need to stay at the forefront of the industry.  We are excited to celebrate ‘70 years of Broadcasting Naturally’ at our convention, ARKCON this July.”…..Tribune Media shareholders voted on Tuesday (3/12) to accept the bid by Nexstar Media Group to acquire the television group with stations in 42 markets – that also owns news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago – for $6.4 billion.  Tribune Media CEO Peter Kern states, “We’re extremely pleased with today’s vote.  It confirms that our stockholders clearly recognize the significant value we expect to be delivered by this merger.  We look forward to continuing our work with Nexstar to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals that will enable us to close this transaction later this year.”  Nexstar owns no radio stations.

Raising a Talk Host’s Profile.  Public relations pro Ryan McCormick offers some advice to talk radio hosts who want to raise their profile – whether in a local market or nationally.  Check out his 10-point prescription that includes such tactics as charity involvement, use of PR pros, building media alliances, and more right here.

College Bribery Scandal, Trump-Russia Probe Status/Manafort Sentencing, NY State Trump Business Investigation, House Impeachment Chatter, Boeing 737 Max 8 Concerns, Clinton Email Matter Testimony, UK Brexit Chaos, Call for Google Breakup, NFL ‘Legal Tampering’ Activity, and NBA/NCAA Hoops Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12). The story of the college admissions bribery and test cheating scandal involving actresses Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin, and others; the status of the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related sentencing of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort; the investigation into Trump businesses by the State of New York; the talk of impeachment being batted down by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; the flying public’s concern over the safety of the Boeing 737 Max 8; just-revealed testimony from former FBI attorney Lisa Page that the agency was directed by the Obama DOJ not to charge Hillary Clinton in the email server investigation; the political chaos in England after Theresa Mays’ latest Brexit plan is shot down; News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch calls for anti-trust action against Google; the signings reported during the NFL’s “legal tampering” period; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Morgan Prue is named assistant program director and music director at Beasley Media Group’s classic hits WROR-FM, Boston. She was most recently APD at Entercom’s crosstown adult contemporary WMJX “Magic 106.7.”  Beasely notes that Prue has also served with iHeartMedia’s WLTW-FM, New York; programmed classic hits in her native Ottawa, Canada; and served with WPLJ-FM, New York.  She says, “To say I’m thrilled to be working with [PD] Cadillac [Jack] again is an understatement.  I’m looking forward to kicking some serious you know what in Boston with the Beasley team led by Mary Menna!”…..Travis Hill announces he’s exiting his role as marketing director at iHeartMedia’s Dallas station group to enter the real estate business full time.  Taking over his role is Lili Villarreal, currently promotions director for KDMX and KDGE.  Hill says that Taylor Ybarra will handle day-to-day promotions for KHKS and Vanessa Alvarado is handling day-to-day promotions for KEGL and KZPS.

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