Attention is currency. So short sentences rock. And sentence fragments. See?
On a normal day in Las Vegas (oxymoron), it’s already a wall of enticements:
- “100X odds craps!”
- A rib joint touts “The Best Rack on The Strip!”
- Guy Fieri’s restaurant serves up “In Your Face Food & Booze.”
- “Fire a Machine Gun!”
- “Girls! Girls! Girls!”
Now, fly-in 165,000 of us, for-whose-attention 20,000 new products compete, and you’re in the graduate school of messaging. Yours will drown in the din unless it’s “SQUIRREL!”
Radio has never had more competition for listeners’ attention, and advertisers’ do-re-mi.
So, as I navigate a Las Vegas Convention Center the size of FIFTY football fields, I am struck by how well exhibitors distill their messages, something radio hosts and commercial and promo copy should strive to do.
- BACtrack is “The World’s First Wearable Alcohol Monitor.”
- Mevo, The Live Event Camera, enables you to “Edit on the fly. Stream live or share later.”
- ThinOptics assures that you will “never be without your reading glasses again.” Their “stick anywhere, go everywhere” sleeve adheres to the back of your smartphone.
- Rem-Fit’s Zeeq Smart Pillow “Streams Music, Stops Snoring, Analyzes Sleep.”
- You’re “always connected, never apart” with Petcube’s “interactive cameras bringing pets and people closer than ever.”
- Tablo is “The DVR for Cord Cutters.”
- Assure Lock by Yale lets you “Lose your keys for good;” and “Answer your door. Anywhere. Anytime.”
- MightyPURSE “charges your phone.”
- Without a live demonstration in the booth, we’ll take Willow’s word that their “wearable breast pump” has “no external tubes, cords, or dangling bottles.”
Get the picture? Yes, we see.
“Make America Great Again.”
We just elected a most unlikely president whose gift of brevity plays Twitter like a Stradivarius. “Drain the swamp,” “Crooked Hillary,” “Jeb Bush is weak,” “Little Marco,” “Build a wall, and Mexico will pay for it,” and other bumpersticker-length catch-phrases were utterly digestible. Is your message?
Holland Cooke (www.HollandCooke.com) is a media consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet, and he covers industry conferences for Talkers. Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke; and look for his new TalkersTV video “Choose Your Words Carefully” next week at Talkers.com
SiriusXM Ends 2016 with More Than 31.3 Million Subscribers. Satellite broadcaster SiriusXM will release its 2016 fourth quarter financials early next month, but it announced yesterday that it beat its guidance on net subscriber additions by adding more than 1.7 million during the year to pass the 31.3 million mark. It also says it expects to meet or exceed its 2016 guidance for revenue, adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow. CEO Jim Meyer comments, “We continue to make substantial investments in new products, content and technologies, including investments in new satellites, our next-generation 360L platform, wideband chipsets, and new marketing capabilities. In 2017, we expect to continue our never-ending focus on bringing our customers the best content bundle available, and our strong record of delivering cost-effective growth and returning substantial capital to stockholders through stock buybacks and our recently introduced dividend.” SiriusXM also issued 2017 guidance for self-pay net subscriber additions (1.3 million), revenue ($5.3 billion), adjusted EBITDA ($2.025 billion) and free cash flow ($1.5 billion).
PodcastOne Debuts Laila Ali Show. Women’s boxing champ Laila Ali is launching a new show called “Laila Ali Lifestyle” on the PodcastOne platform. The daughter of the late boxing legend Muhammad Ali joins the Norm Pattiz-founded entertainment company to offer a show in which fans can join Ali “on her journey to holistic greatness, as she balances mind, body and soul, and shares her passion for helping people achieve their personal best in every aspect of life.” She will invite guests to appear each week, with new episodes every Thursday. Pattiz comments, “We’re happy to have someone of Laila’s esteem, experience and class on our network. She’s a legend in her own right, and it will be great for fans to see a different side of her through the podcast.”
Chris Mack to Host Pirates Pre-and Post-Game Shows. At CBS RADIO’s Pittsburgh sports talker KDKA-FM “Sports Radio 93-7 The Fan,” station personality Chris Mack will begin hosting the pre and post-game shows for Pittsburgh Pirates baseball beginning in the spring. Mack currently hosts the station’s weekly “Bucco Talk” program in addition to a number of shows. Jack Zduriencik, a former Pirates director of scouting and former Seattle Mariners general manager will work alongside Mack during the shows. ‘Fan’ program director Jim Graci comments, “Chris is a seasoned talk show host and well versed in the Pittsburgh sports scene. Elevating him to host our pre- and post-Pirates game broadcasts was a natural progression for him, ‘The Fan’ and our scores of loyal listeners. We’re excited to have Chris take on this expanded role and look forward to his color commentary and analysis this spring.”
Russian Hacking Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of January 2-6. The debate in Washington over whether Vladimir Putin’s Russia is responsible for hacking the DNC’s email was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Obama’s lame duck actions. Coming in at #3 was the GOP’s strategy to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, followed by the Chicago Facebook torture case at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Beasley’s WBRN, Tampa Goes AC; Chadd & Kristi Thomas Named Morning Hosts. The former “Bubba Radio Network”-branded rock station ditched that moniker last year and transitioned to the “No Rules Rock!” brand. Then, late last year, Beasley Media Group dropped the Bubba the Love Sponge show in anticipation of a format change. Yesterday, the company unveiled the new adult contemporary format for WBRN and its new brand “The New B98.7.” After a 10,000 songs-in-a-row launch, the station will feature Chadd and Kristi Thomas as its morning team, beginning Monday, February 6. The duo is well known in the market after years on Cox Media Group’s crosstown AC WWRM “Magic 94.9.” Kristi Thomas says, “Chadd and I are absolutely delighted to be part of creating a new radio station! We are excited about our new home for our special brand of radio in Tampa Bay, which is a place we cherish and where we have chosen to raise our family!” Beasley EVP of programming Justin Chase adds, “For nearly two decades, Chadd & Kristi have developed a deep relationship with the Tampa listening audience and we are thrilled they decided to join us in the process of building a new and great AC brand in the market.”
Johnnie D. Upped to PD of WGCI, Chicago. In Chicago, iHeartMedia promotes WGCI and WVAZ assistant program director Johnnie D. to program director for WGCI. iHeartMedia Chicago director of urban programming Derrick Brown says, “Johnnie has made a significant impact since joining WGCI in 2015. His passion and vision for our brand has enhanced our signature concert events like Big Jam and Summer Jam, plus his work in helping launch the city’s only live-and-local urban morning show has made the ‘Chicago Morning Takeover’ a dominant force in the market. It’s a pleasure to recognize Johnnie’s hard work with this promotion and it certainly comes with great expectations as he manages all facets of the 107.5 WGCI-FM brand.”
Radio One Jumps on CHR Opportunity in Houston. With CBS RADIO’s move away from CHR on KKHH to adult hits, Radio One’s only other CHR competition for KROI “92.1 RADIO NOW” will be Cumulus Media’s KRBE. A format change for KROI was not unexpected after Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins recently commented that classic hip hop and R&B is not a “sustainable format.” The station is being programmed by cluster operations manager Terri Thomas, who says, “The ‘New 92.1 Radio Now’ will reflect emerging music, trends and culture for the NOW generation of 18-34 year old millennials here in Houston.” Radio One senior vice president of programming Jay Stevens adds, “We’re excited about this opportunity to bring a fresh innovative approach to top 40 radio in H-Town.”
KBAY, San Jose Names Bruce Scott Morning Host. Former KOST, Los Angeles personality Bruce Scott joins Alpha Media as morning drive host for classic hits KBAY, San Jose, effective January 17. Alpha Media VP of programming and “Bay FM” program director Ronnie Stanton states, “It’s very exciting to add Bruce to the refreshed sound of ‘Bay FM.’ He brings years of experience and a great radio brain to create an upbeat and fun morning show with the greatest hits of all time for the Bay Area.”
Entercom Second Quarter Pro Forma Revenue Rises 5%. This second quarter report from Entercom includes the impact of last year’s acquisition of Lincoln Financial Media stations and the swap with Bonneville International. As such, net revenue for the second quarter of 2016 was up 20% on income of $120.5 million. On a pro forma basis, revenue was up 5%. President and CEO David Field states, “Entercom continues to deliver strong and consistent organic, top-line and bottom-line growth, driven by the great work of our talented programming and sales teams and our strategic investments in building powerful local brands and content and excellent customer marketing capabilities. Looking forward, we expect a strong second half of the year as we benefit from our excellent ratings performance, enhanced sales execution, multiple growth initiatives and election year political revenue.”
SiriusXM Reports Q2 Revenue Up 10%. The satellite radio service is reporting 2016 second quarter revenue of $1.2 billion, up 10% from the same quarter in 2015. CEO and director Jim Meyer notes that SiriusXM added 580,000 net new subscribers during the quarter, bringing the satcaster’s total subscriber base to 30.6 million. During yesterday’s investor conference call, Meyer spoke about the company’s efforts to continue advancing the service’s technology. He says they are investing in the new SiriusXM17 “next-generation platform” 360 L, short for 360-degree listening. Meyer says, “360 L is proceeding ahead and gaining traction with OEMs. I’m very pleased at the progress we are making building and deploying this platform. 360 L breaks down the big barrier we live with today as a one-way broadcaster by integrating satellite radio with two-way cellular connectivity. It lets us offer non-linear content to our subscribers, such as customized music playlists, on-demand content and personalized recommendations based on the tastes of our individual subscribers.” Meyer also outlined the company’s continuing work expanding its connected vehicle services.
Nielsen Revenue Up; Net Income Dips. Ratings giant Nielsen reported 2016 second quarter financial numbers yesterday and while revenue was up 2.4% during the period compared to the same period a year ago (4.5% in constant currency), net income was down 1.7% because of foreign exchange. Nielsen says audio revenue grew 1.7% on a reported and constant currency basis.
The Podcasting Session from TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations Posted Today. One of the highlights of the recent TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention – The Podcasting Session – is posted today on Talkers.com. The panel discussion was part of the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention that took place May 20 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Moderated by PodcastOne founder and CEO, Norm Pattiz, speakers include (in alphabetical order): Andy Bowers, chief content officer/co-founder, Panoply/The Slate Group; Tom Cuddy, program director, WOR, New York; Greg Strassell, SVP programming, Hubbard Radio; and Tom Webster, VP strategy, Edison Research. The session is introduced by Brad Shepard, general manager/host, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA. To view the panel discussion in its entirety, please click here. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for more videos from Talkers 2016: Bridging the Generations that will be posted in the days and weeks to come.
The Presidential Race/Democratic National Convention, DNC Server Hack Case, South China Sea Tensions, Black Lives Matter Movement, ISIS Attack on French Church, NYC Trump Jr. vs Weiner Mayoral Tiff, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/26). The action at the Democratic National Convention and the activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the hack into the DNC’s server and speculation that Russia is behind it in order to help Trump win the presidency; military tensions between the U.S. and China in the South China Sea and the territorial dispute; controversy over the actions of the Black Lives Matter movement; the murder of a Catholic priest in Northern France by ISIS terrorists; Anthony Weiner’s statement he would come back to politics to challenge Donald Trump Jr. if he ran for NYC mayor; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. This year’s NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show will be hosted by WCBS-FM, New York morning personality Scott Shannon. The event will take place September 22 at the 2016 NAB Radio Show at the Omni Nashville Hotel…..NBC Sports Group announces it is making the entire NBC Sports Radio portfolio of programming available on-demand via podcast. It also announced the new program, “Tara and Johnny,” hosted by Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir. It debuts today (7/27) and will “touch on hot topics in sports, pop culture, and fashion.” Weir and Lipinski are serving as NBC Olympic correspondents during the Rio Games.
Radio Biz Figure Jim Carnegie Dies at 66. Radio pro and longtime publisher of the trades RBR and TVBR Jim Carnegie has died at the age of 66. Carnegie’s RBR/TVBR was acquired by Eric Rhoads’ Streamline Publications in 2013, a year after Carnegie’s wife and business partner Cathy unexpectedly passed away from complications due to a brain aneurysm.
The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 3. Today (11/4), TALKERS magazine continues its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015. Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio? Today we explore the question: What does it take to make it? Obviously, there are women working successfully in the news/talk genre as lead or solo host or part of an equal team. Mandy Connell of KHOW, Denver and WHAS, Louisville says a lot of it is luck applying at stations with open-minded programmers. “I have been very fortunate to cross paths with great PDs who believed in my abilities and were not dissuaded by my gender. Jim Watkins hired me first, then Kelly Carls, Dan Mandis and Greg Foster — none of whom cared that I was female. They just cared that I was good at what I do. I think as more women work their way through the talk radio landscape, the programming issue will solve itself.” Susan Monday hosts the midday show at WXDE, Lewes, Delaware. She believes women who want to succeed at talk radio should be aware how they sound on the radio. “It’s also important — not fair, but important — that a woman’s voice is the right kind of voice. Shrill is not a woman-in-radio’s friend. Luckily years of cheerleading destroyed any hope of shrill for me, but I still counsel women to check their tone when they get upset. Shrill makes me turn the dial. Unless it’s Mark Levin, for whom shrill is a normal speaking voice.” Also in this installment, hear from Salem SVP Phil Boyce, consultant Valerie Geller, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale’s Joyce Kaufman, Greater Media’s Phil Zachary, and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. Read the entire piece here.
Nielsen’s October PPM Format Report Shows Big Months for News/Talk and Sports Talk. Reporting on the results of its October 2015 PPM survey, Nielsen Audio delivers some stats about listenership based on format, and it bodes well for news/talk and sports talk stations. According to the ratings giant, “news/talk posted its best overall month in nearly two years — a 9.4% share of all listening, which was last matched in November 2013.” For October, news/talk was the most-listened-to format (persons 6+ AQH share). Country was second with 7.9 %, CHR came in tied for third with AC with 7.4%. In the 25-54 demo, news/talk finished fifth with 6.3% of 6+ listeners. Sports talk celebrated a huge jump in listening. “Sports stole the show in October, jumping a full share-point among all listeners aged 6+ from 4.6% in September to 5.6%. This marks a new record for the format. In the 25-54 demographic, October’s 6% (up from 5.1% in September) tied the record set in October and November of 2014.” See the Nielsen story here.
CBS RADIO Division Revenue Dips 6% in Q3 Report. The 2015 third quarter financial report for CBS Corp. was delivered on Tuesday (11/3) and the CBS RADIO division – part of the company’s Local Broadcasting segment that also includes CBS television stations – was down 6% compared to the same period a year ago. What affected the radio division’s revenue from last year to this? CBS attributes the drop to the generally soft radio advertising marketplace, the fewer radio stations it owns this year and less political advertising after last year’s mid-term elections. Political and sports are also very important to the television sector. The company reports the 7% decline in television revenue stems from fewer sports events and the decrease in political.
‘Stuttering’ John Melendez Joins Stephanie Miller Program; Jim Ward Returns. The move of executive producer “Boy Toy” Chris Lavoie to a new career in Palm Springs opens the door for former longtime Howard Stern cast member and “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” announcer “Stuttering” John Melendez to join the Stephanie Miller program as executive producer and co-host. At the same time, Miller is pleased to welcome the return of Emmy award-winner Jim Ward – the man of 1,000 voices – as her new co-host, effective November 16. Ward is known for his impersonations of political figures, celebrities, and newsmakers. Melendez began his duties today (11/4).
Odds & Sods. WOR, New York talk host and NY 1 TV personality Mark Simone will be teaching a master class on Frank Sinatra on November 18 as part of Hofstra University’s two-week symposium on the legendary singer. Simone hosted a long-running Sinatra show on ABC Radio and he’s been the host of numerous Sinatra specials on PBS…..Joining the menu of shows available from PodcastOne is actress Heather Dubrow, a star of the show “OC Housewives.” The weekly program is called “Heather Dubrow’s World” and the first episode features her fellow “OC Housewives” stars Tamra Barney and Shannon Beador…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles is producing “A Sandwich Generation Forum & Resource Expo” on Saturday, November 14 at the Burbank Airport Marriott Convention Center. TV personality Leeza Gibbons, KNBC-TV weatherman Fritz Coleman, LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and prominent medical professionals, professors, attorneys, financial planners and authors are among the 25 speakers who will offer guidance for people facing the complex challenges of caregiving for aging parents and growing children.
2016 Presidential Race, Clinton Foundation Financial Questions, Russian Airliner Crash, U.S. and Russian Roles in Syrian Conflict, U.S. Immigration Policy, Troubled ObamaCare Co-ops, Chipotle E. Coli Outbreak, and Looming Paris Climate Summit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/3). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; scrutiny of the Clinton Foundation’s finances; the investigation into the crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai Desert; the Syrian civil war and the roles of the U.S. and Russian military; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S.; reports of troubled ObamaCare co-ops; the outbreak of E. coli poisoning at Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon; and escalating discussion about climate change as the Paris climate summit approaches were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. SiriusXM Satellite Radio is seeking a producer for the Patriot Channel in its Talk Programming division. The person in this producer position will be responsible for all aspects involved in producing a successful daily talk show on Sirius XM Patriot including studio/technical operations, promotion, production, guest booking, and research. Requirements include a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience. Previous production experience within radio and/or live studio environment preferred. For more about this position and to apply, click here.
Cumulus Creates New Vice President, Programming Partnerships Position; Names Aaron Roberts to Post. One week into Mary Berner’s Cumulus Media CEO tenure, a new multi-media programming position is created and the company’s Aaron Roberts is elevated to the new post. The official title is vice president, programming partnerships for Cumulus Media, Westwood One and NASH. Roberts has been Atlanta-based national director, special projects for the company for the past three years. He will continue to work in Atlanta. SVP of content and programming Mike McVay states, “Aaron has performed beautifully in the difficult position of serving two masters. What he does impacts both art and commerce. He will work closely with both SVP, brand partnerships Tommy Page and me.” Roberts adds, “It’s an exciting time at Cumulus Media as we continue to develop first-in-class original on-air, digital and event content. I look forward to working closely with our tremendous partners and the entire partnerships team in Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles and Nashville.”
ESPN to Cut Approximately 300 Staffers. Sports media giant ESPN is releasing statements confirming the reports that it will cut some 300 positions within the company over the next few days. ESPN chief John Skipper says in a memo to employees that the company carefully considered each job cut and that staffers will receive at least “60-days’ notice, a severance package reflective of their years of service, and outplacement benefits to help them find future employment.” Earlier, BloombergBusiness reported the rumored cuts and wrote that escalating programming costs and a drop in television viewers as two reasons for the 4% reduction in the workforce. It’s not clear how the cuts would affect the ESPN Audio division since changes to the slate of programs heard on ESPN Radio were finalized last month after the departure of Colin Cowherd for competitor FOX Sports. The Bloomberg piece notes that SNL Kagan reported that ESPN’s cable TV division has lost some 4 million subscribers over the past four years.
Nielsen Reports Q3 Revenue Up 5% on Constant Currency Basis. The third quarter of 2015 saw revenue of just over $1.5 billion for the global ratings giant. Nielsen reports revenue was down 2.6% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 5% on a constant currency basis, compared to the third quarter of 2014. Nielsen CEO Mitch Barns says in a press release, “Nielsen’s third quarter results exemplify our strong value-generating business model with revenue growth of 5%, consistent margin expansion across both our Watch and Buy businesses on a constant currency basis, and record quarterly free cash flow generation, up 19% over last year. Our growth was driven by many important competitive wins all over the world. Our Buy business, which grew 4.1%, had its fifth consecutive quarter of margin expansion, both on a constant currency basis. Our Watch segment grew 6.1% on a constant currency basis due to strength in Audience Measurement, as our clients embed our digital measurement and analytics into their day-to-day decision-making.” Barns also reports that it is closing in on completion of its goal of rating total audiences. “The initial release of Digital Content Ratings has gone smoothly and we’re pleased with the feedback we’ve received as it is the final piece of our Total Audience Measurement framework. We know how important the execution of our product roadmap and the subsequent industry adoption of our solutions are to our ability to drive value for our clients and we feel very confident about our progress here. As our products continue to gain traction, we’re having meaningful conversations with clients and major industry voices in order to move toward a new definition of the currency ratings.”
Mike McFeely Returns to WDAY, Fargo. Fargo talk show host and columnist Mike McFeely is returning to Forum Communications-owned news/talk WDAY after a six-year stint with crosstown competitor KFGO. The Forum reports McFeely’s return to the station and to Forum’s print division. He’ll host the 8:30 am to 11:00 am program and write a column for The Forum and inforum.com. McFeely says, “When I left The Forum in 2009, one of the quotes I gave a reporter was ‘I will always be an ink-stained wretch.’ I never lost that belief. I have had more people than you’d believe in the last six years tell me they miss my columns in the newspaper. I am excited to write for The Forum and its website again.” McFeely joined KFGO in 2009 to host the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm daypart.
2016 Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton to Testify on Benghazi, Russia’s Military Policy in Syria, Release of the Film Truth, Israel Violence, GOP House Speaker Post, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/20). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016; Thursday’s scheduled testimony from former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi attacks; the Russian military role in Syria’s civil war; the release of the film Truth, portraying CBS’ Dan Rather and Mary Mapes reporting on George W. Bush’s Texas National Guard service; the ongoing violence between Jews and Palestinians in Israel; the opening House Speaker position and the GOP’s process of filling the post; and the Major League Baseball playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
A Walk Down Progressive Rock Radio Memory Lane. In the third part of their loosely recurring series of conversations about their early careers working together in New York progressive rock radio posted today (10/20), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and WFAN, New York personality/best-selling author Richard Neer, continue their stream-of-consciousness reminiscences about the very early days of their careers working with the legends of progressive rock radio at the iconic WNEW-FM in the Big Apple. In the newest installment of the PodcastOne international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” the lifelong friends talk about their first two years at the historic Metromedia station, circa 1971-1972, where they worked with Scott Muni, Alison Steele, Jonathan Schwartz, John Zacherle and Pete Fornatale among others after being catapulted to the “big time” after the successful launch of progressive rocker WLIR-FM on Long Island. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page at Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com. Harrison (left) and Neer (right) are pictured at right in the WNEW-FM studios in 1971.
Nielsen Announces Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 4.4%. In announcing the numbers for the first quarter of 2015, Nielsen N.V. reports revenue was down 2.1% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 4.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2014. CEO Mitch Barns states, “Nielsen’s first quarter results again illustrate the consistency of our business model and strong execution, with 4.4% total company and 10.0% emerging markets revenue growth on a constant currency basis. These results reflect the 35th consecutive quarter of constant currency revenue growth. In addition, we were pleased to raise our quarterly dividend 12%, as we continue to deliver on our commitment to drive ongoing shareholder value.”
SSI’s Bob and Mary Carey Host Rudy Maxa’s World Travel Show from Iceland. Telling us that he guest hosts the program about every six weeks, Syndicated Solutions Inc. president Bob Carey says the latest show he co-hosted with his wife Mary was from the hot new destination – Iceland. Carey’s company syndicates the “Rudy Maxa’s World” weekly travel show. Among the things Carey discovered about the unlikely tourist destination of Iceland is that geothermal energy and technology make Iceland an ideal place to grow hothouse fruits and vegetables and that The Blue Lagoon geothermal health and wellness spa is becoming a popular destination for American and Canadian travelers who can get there in five hours from the East Coast of North America.
Odds & Sods. WTOP, Washington Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell was honored at the Capitol for his many decades of journalistic service. McConnell was recognized by Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton by being entered into the Congressional Record. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Mark Warner also delivered thank you speeches in his honor. McConnell recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with the station. McConnell can be heard live each weekday morning and afternoon, just steps from the House floor, in his hourly “Today on the Hill” segments…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles will present a special program on the high cost of housing in Southern California on Thursday (4/23). The station says that “not only can fewer people afford to buy a house, LA has become one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country. Add it up and it makes finding a place to live near your job unlikely and often prevents employers from attracting the most qualified candidates.” The show will feature special expert guests and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.
No Performance Bonuses for Cumulus Media Executives This Year. The Compensation Committee of Cumulus Media, Inc. awarded no annual incentive compensation nor long-term incentive awards to Cumulus executives in 2014, according to a Definitive Proxy Statement filed with the SEC. The filing notes that the Compensation Committee would have the discretion to grant the applicable target award if “Cumulus achieved budgeted EBITDA goals, and satisfied other objectives related to managing costs, developing content, achieving gains in market share, as well as successes in strategic planning and implementation and optimizing financial liquidity. In reviewing the performance and compensation levels of the executive officers for 2014 at the completion of that fiscal year, the Compensation Committee determined that the quantitative financial performance objectives were not met at the threshold level. As a result, no annual incentive compensation was paid for 2014.” The filing also reports that no equity incentive awards (stock) were granted either. “In light of the size and timing of equity award grants to the named executive officers in 2013, which awards were made in October of that year, as well as data provided by Meridian Compensation Partners LLC with respect to the compensation of the executive officers, general industry conditions and actual Company performance in 2014, the Compensation Committee did not grant any long-term incentive awards to the executive officers in 2014.” So, what did Cumulus officers make in 2014? Here are a few of the numbers: president and CEO Lew Dickey earned $1,456,000 in total compensation; SVP, treasurer and CFO Joseph Hanna earned $554,125; EVP of content and programming John Dickey earned $881,192; SVP secretary and general counsel Richard Denning earned $509,942; and recently retired EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch earned $757,851.
Raising Awareness for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) reports to TALKERS that she’s been assisting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with its spring campaign and was recently honored to work with six-year-old leukemia survivor Kennedy (left) as Dr. Wachs accompanied her to her first television interview on KSNV-TV.
Iran Nuclear Negotiations/Corker Bill, ObamaCare Subsidies Addressed by SCOTUS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Police Protests, Yemen Military Action, Ben Affleck ‘Roots’ Cover-Up Case, and Bryan Price Profanity-Laced Presser Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/21). The controversy over the Obama Administration’s role in negotiating a nuclear program with Iran and the bill drafted by Senator Bob Corker that would give Congress the ability to approve or disapprove the final deal; the case before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of health care subsidies as provided by the Affordable Care Act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the protests against the Baltimore police after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the ongoing Saudi strikes in Yemen and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; chatter about Ben Affleck’s plea to leave his ancestor’s history of slave ownership out of the “Finding Your Roots” program; and Reds manager Bryan Price’s dropping of 77 f-bombs in a post-game press conference were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rush Limbaugh Seeks Retraction and Apology from DCCC for ‘False and Defamatory’ Statement. Attorneys for Premiere Networks-syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh are seeking a retraction and apology from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for what is being termed a “false and defamatory” statement regarding Limbaugh’s on-air discussion about consent for sexual relations. Limbaugh attorney Patricia Glaser writes in a letter to the DCCC that the organization purposely took Limbaugh’s words in which he “condemns the notion that ‘no’ means ‘yes’” regarding sexual relations, and edited them to give the impression that the opposite was said. The DCCC then sent the message out via the internet. The question is, does Limbaugh’s attorney have a case? She cites legal precedent in her letter. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says it would appear that the comments of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee are way off base. “The email went so far as to ask people to contact Limbaugh’s advertisers to voice their disapproval. However, the same First Amendment that protected Rush Limbaugh when he called Sandra Fluke a ‘slut’ and a ‘prostitute’ may well protect the DCCC in their gross mischaracterization of Limbaugh’s remarks. Specifically, as a public figure, in order to be successful in a defamation action, Limbaugh would have to prove that the DCCC acted with malice – that is that they knew what they were saying was a lie or that they acted with a reckless disregard for its truth. Even more problematic for Limbaugh would be that he would have to prove that he was harmed by the comments. In order to be successful in his lawsuit he would have to show that he lost sponsors and/or listeners.” Limbaugh’s lawyer cites two cases that deal with the narrow issue of whether it is libelous if you use the exact words of someone out of context or edited. Weisman says that while the cases support Limbaugh’s position on the matter, he doesn’t think they are wholly determinative of the case. But he adds, “Ironically, merely by exercising his own First Amendment rights and making his threat of a lawsuit, Limbaugh may have already won the battle by presenting his case to the people without even entering a courtroom.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison comments, “Regardless of whether the DCCC apologizes or whatever the results of Rush’s subsequent lawsuit, Limbaugh is doing a service to our culture by bringing this general, nasty trend to the forefront of conversation by saying enough is enough – and that is the tendency by political types of all persuasions, left and right, these days to seek victory at the expense of truth.” Read the entire letter from Limbaugh’s attorney to the DCCC here.
Cumulus Media Reports Flat Q3. The third quarter of 2014 turned out to be flat on a pro forma basis for Cumulus Media. On an actual basis, net revenue was up $51.4 million – or 19.4% — but that was due primarily to the addition of the operations of Westwood One. Digging a little deeper, the company reports that “broadcast advertising revenue decreased by $12.5 million. Net broadcast advertising revenue was down due to ongoing weakness in several large local markets that began in the second quarter of 2014; however, we believe that weakness has now largely dissipated into the early portion of the current quarter. National spot advertising was generally flat as we continued to take share from small competitors. Network advertising continued to see disruption following the acquisition of Westwood One in December 2013. We believe that process of reorganizing our network sales verticals is also now completed. Digital advertising revenue increased by $6.7 million, primarily due to increased Rdio user generation activity and digital commerce generated by our Sweetjack platform. Political advertising revenue increased by $2.9 million due to additional activity associated with mid-term and gubernatorial elections and license fees and other revenue increased by $2.8 million.” For the first three quarters of 2014, Cumulus’ net revenue was up 1.8% on a pro forma basis.
KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Brings Jim Villanucci Aboard for Afternoon Drive. After suddenly exiting Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland where he was hosting middays, Jim Villanucci resurfaces at CBS RADIO’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas in the afternoon drive slot vacated by the departure of talk host Kevin Wall. Villanucci’s first day on the air was yesterday (11/10). Prior to his stint in Portland, he spent almost 14 years at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque enjoying high ratings in the afternoon drive slot, but exited that post in March of 2013. Villanucci says that although he misses the KXL staffers in Portland, he’s thrilled to be in Las Vegas working with CBS RADIO SVP/market manager Jerry McKenna and programmer Cat Thomas.
WRKO, Boston Helps Raise $115,000-plus for Fisher House. The personalities on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston spent Monday (11/10) broadcasting live from the Seaport Hotel as part of an effort to raise funds for the Fisher House in Boston. Pictured here are Barry Armstrong and Kim Carrigan hosting “The Financial Exchange.” Morning drive personality Jeff Kuhner also was on hand as the station brought in more than $115,000 for Fisher House. Kuhner says, “The WRKO listeners are the best in the country. Hands down. When we ask them to come through, they do. And they do it in a very big way.” The tally was at $98,000.00 just before 6:00pm, when Entercom CEO David Field donated the $2,000 it took to get over the six-figure mark. The Fisher House Boston is a home away from home where military families can stay while a loved one is receiving in-house treatment at one of the medical centers. The homes enable family members to be close to loved ones at the most stressful times.
Odds & Sods. The broadcast rights for Arkansas State play-by-play are re-upped for another five years by East Arkansas Broadcasters. The agreement allows EAB to continue to originate the broadcast of every Arkansas State game in football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball from the company’s flagship sports talker KFIN, Jonesboro…..SiriusXM signs PGA pro John Daly to host a six-part series on its PGA Tour channel. The show is called “Hit It Hard with John Daly” and will debut in December.
Eric Dickerson Joins Westwood One’s Jim Gray Aboard USS America. Pictured here is Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson speaking with troops aboard the USS America on Monday (11/10). As part of last night’s Westwood One Monday Night Football broadcast, pre-game and half-time host Jim Gray broadcast live from aboard the brand new naval ship USS America and he was joined by Dickerson during the programs. In honor of Veterans Day, both mingled with the sailors and fielded football questions for Monday Night Football weekly contributors Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald.
Lame Duck Congress, 2016 Presidential Prospects, President Obama in China/Russia-China Relationship, Fall of Berlin Wall Anniversary, U.S.-Iran Nukes Talks, Battle Against ISIS, Net Neutrality Issue, Early Cold and Snow, Veteran’s Day, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/10). What the lame duck congress may try to accomplish before the GOP majority takes over in January; a look ahead at the prospects for president in 2016; President Obama’s visit to China and the cozier relationship between Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China; the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall; the talks between the U.S. and Iran about the latter’s nuclear program; the fight against ISIS and reports the organization is considering a merger with al Qaeda; the net neutrality issue and President Obama’s weighing in on the matter; an early blast of cold and snow hit the Upper Midwest; the Veteran’s Day holiday and observances across the country; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
It’s Official: Dahl to PM Drive on WLS-AM, Chicago. This story was first tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder but now Cumulus Chicago announces that Windy City radio legend Steve Dahl will indeed return to over-the-air radio after a six-year hiatus and he will replace Roe Conn and Richard Roeper in afternoon drive. Dahl has been podcasting for the past five years on a subscription basis and part of this deal is that Cumulus will partner with Dahl to expand his podcasting network. WLS-AM operations manager Peter Bolger comments, “Chicago and WLS are known for great radio personalities. That’s why I’m proud and excited to have Steve Dahl back on ‘The Big 89.’” Dahl states, “I am ecstatic to not only be a part of the Cumulus radio family, but also a partner with them in the podcast network. This is an important new chapter in radio’s future.”
Mancow ‘Takes Break’ from Radio. Yesterday, TALKERS magazine reported that Erich “Mancow” Muller’s simulcast of his radio show on WPWR-TV, Chicago “My50Chicago” is ending. Today, Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that not only is Mancow’s TV simulcast ending but he’s “taking a break” from broadcasting and will be off radio and TV for a while.
WPHT, Philadelphia’s Dom Giordano to Host Public Interview on Pending Victims’ Rights Bill. Tomorrow morning (10/10) WPHT, Philadelphia late morning host Dom Giordano will present a remote broadcast from Andy’s Diner in nearby Trevose, Pennsylvania during which he’ll interview Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Vereb about his controversial proposed PA House bill that would “stop ‘revictimizing’ by helping to block publicity-seeking criminals. Vereb claims it will increase victims’ rights by allowing the victim of a crime or prosecutors acting on the victim’s behalf to file a civil action to stop conduct by an offender that causes severe mental anguish. A judge would have the power to grant injunctive relief.” The station says the bill is a response to convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal’s recent delivery of a commencement address to about two dozen students at Goddard College. The bill will also will ban Mumia Abu-Jamal from hosting a radio show while in prison. The show takes place at 10:00 am ET.
Emmis Reports Q2 Revenue Dips 1.7%. The 2014 second fiscal quarter financial numbers for Emmis Communications are in and revenue during that period was up 15%, from $41.2 million to $47.6 million. This data includes revenue from WBLS and WLIB in New York, which Emmis began operating under an LMA on March 1, 2014. On a pro forma basis, radio net revenue was down 1.7%. President and CEO Jeff Smulyan states, “While the summer months were challenging for the radio industry, our employees once again delivered revenue share gains. In addition, our most recent ratings significantly outperformed during September, highlighted by ‘Power 106’ holding the top spot in LA with both 18-34 and 18-49 audiences. Pacings have improved, looking much stronger for the fall than the summer. Momentum is continuing to build for NextRadio, the Emmis-led industry initiative to make FM broadcast radio available on smartphones and tablets, as we approach 1 million downloads. Average time spent listening per NextRadio session is 50% higher than the radio broadcasting industry average, and as we have gained significant broadcaster involvement and increased listener satisfaction, we are seeing increased interest from other carriers, handset makers and automakers.” Looking ahead, the company reports its pro forma radio net revenues are pacing up mid- to high-single digits for its third fiscal quarter.
Sam Sorbo Visits Important Affiliate. One of the rising stars of syndication, the extremely personable Sam Sorbo, walks the walk as well as doing the talk thing as she gets out there and visits her affiliate stations around the country. Pictured: the Talk Radio Network host is greeted by the legendary Les Lansing (l), owner of Sorbo’s Grand Rapids outlet WPNW-AM/FM (“The Pledge”). Talented hosts such as Sorbo and the venerable Jerry Doyle have been a significant part of the Mark Masters-owned TRN’s formidable “comeback” effort (after a high-profile financial and programming shake up) which appears to be gaining traction on a daily basis.
Salem’s Anderson Announces Retirement. Salem Radio Network president Greg Anderson is retiring at the end of this year. Salem Communications chief executive officer Edward Atsinger comments, “Launching a new national radio network to serve Christian and conservative audiences was no small undertaking [21 years ago]. When I appointed Greg Anderson to lead this effort, I had enormous confidence in his vision, experience, and determination. Today, I can say that Greg surpassed even my own high expectations. He is, without question, one of the finest radio professionals I have ever worked with.” Anderson remarks that he has been “incredibly blessed to work for great radio stations and great media companies including, for the past 21 years, Salem Communications. I am particularly indebted to Ed Atsinger and Stu Epperson who have supported me along the way in the creation and growth of our national businesses. Most of all, I am in awe of the Salem national team who stop at nothing to accomplish great things year after year. They are simply the best. It has been my privilege and pleasure to have worked with them.” Prior to his 21-year association with Salem, Anderson ran Multimedia Broadcasting‘s Radio Division. His past credits include managing/programming WFBC, Greenville, South Carolina. Other Salem senior executives will assume Anderson’s responsibilities.
Shazam, Sun Broadcast Group Form Digital Partnership. The venture will launch Shazam for Radio. Shazam chief executive officer Rich Riley states, “Shazam users are already ‘shazaming’ music on the radio millions of times each day. Our partnership with Sun Broadcast Group gives radio stations the opportunity to deliver customized content experiences to their audiences, while creating new revenue streams for the stations and their advertisers.” Sun chief executive officer Jason Bailey reflects that when he “started Sun six years ago,” his goal was “to truly make a difference in this industry. This partnership came out of the two most sincere questions we asked ourselves when we started Sun: What is best for listeners, and how do we secure the future of radio in this new digital world? Shazam’s 100 million monthly active users will be able to connect and interact with their favorite radio shows in the most incredible way ever.” Sun and Shazam will produce national countdown shows for multiple formats based on Shazam results in each station’s market. “The Shazam Top 40” will allow listeners to connect with the show on their phone and desktop.
Odds & Sods. A couple of career moves to report from America’s Talk Radio Network as Bob Appel and Lexi Lapp join the company as affiliate relations representatives. They are part of the team that includes Joe Sparra and David Reeder at ATRN…..Home improvement pro Danny Lipford announces he’s added a public relations manager to his Today’s Homeowner media operations. Stephanie Greenwood will “serve as the media liaison for the ‘Today’s Homeowner’ family of brands, working alongside current and veteran director of marketing and public relations, Tiffany Burtnett…..iHeartMedia will simulcast Cleveland Cavaliers games on rock WMMS, Cleveland in addition to news/talk WTAM, which serves as the NBA team’s flagship station.
Ebola Virus Pandemic Threat/Thomas Eric Duncan Death, Leon Panetta Book, U.S.-Led Anti-ISIS Campaign, North Korea Leadership Question, ObamaCare Policy Cancellations, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/8). The death of Ebola victim Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan in the U.S. and the threat of a global pandemic; Leon Panetta’s Worthy Fights tome critical of the Obama Administration; the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS and the controversy questioning Turkey’s commitment to the cause; questions about the whereabouts of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un; the uptick in health policy cancellations that don’t meet the Affordable Care Act criteria; the looming mid-term elections and speculation about possible candidates for president in 2016; and the MLB playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
CBS RADIO Revenue Up 2%. When CBS Corp. announces its financial numbers, the focus is generally on television, its bread and butter. The corporation as a whole was down for the first quarter of 2014 – revenue dipped 2.27% compared to the same quarter a year ago on revenue of $3.86 billion – mostly as a result of CBS TV having had the 2013 Super Bowl and having two less NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship tournament games this year. Underneath it all, radio – part of the Local Broadcasting division that includes CBS TV O&O stations – was up 2% compared to the first quarter of 2013. During yesterday’s conference call with investors, CEO Les Moonves said the radio division “had a good quarter with steady revenue growth in each month along the way and another strong performance by our CBS Sports Radio Network.”
Entercom Q1 2014 Net Revenue Flat. Revenue for the first quarter of 2014 was flat at $78.2 million compared to the same quarter in 2013 for Entercom Communications Corp. In a statement by CEO David Field, he says, “I am pleased to report that free cash flow increased 19% for the quarter. First quarter revenue was up excluding the effect of our non-renewal of Boston Celtics radio broadcasts, despite the unusually challenging winter weather that impacted many of our markets. We are increasingly enthusiastic about the radio industry’s future growth outlook based on a number of recent developments, most notably the release of the Nielsen Catalina study which showed radio generating outstanding ROI results across 10 major national brands, significantly outperforming other competitive media.”
Darryl Parks Named SVP of Simply Money Media. The Cincinnati-based financial advice firm Simply Money airs an hour-long talk radio show on Clear Channel’s WKRC, Cincinnati nightly from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and when Darryl Parks was still the PD there, he was instrumental in improving the quality of the show, writes the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter. Now, months after Parks’ VP of news talk operations position was eliminated by CC, Parks joins the financial firm founded by Nathan Bachrach and Ed Finke. Bachrach tells the paper Parks’ role is to “help us craft our message and work with all of our media partners – CNBC, The Enquirer, Fox 19 and Clear Channel.” Parks says, “While I had success doing radio in Cincinnati and other markets, future success will be defined by having expertise across all media. Simply Money Media allows me to use my skills in audio, but also the skills I had in television, digital and print.” Read Kiesewetter’s piece here.
Edison-Triton ‘Moms & Media 2014’ Spotlights Mobile Usage. The “Moms & Media 2014” data presented at the Thursday, May 8 webinar by Edison Research and Triton Digital was culled from the larger “Infinite Dial 2014” study presented by the firms in March. Much of what was presented was not surprising – but it put some hard numbers on what savvy media industry players already suspect. Primarily, it’s that “moms” – defined as a woman having a child under 18 living in her household – are very attached to their mobile devices and are relying on them more and more. Some stats: the majority of moms (59%) are 35+; 60% are employed either full or part time; and 69% own a smartphone (compared to 36% of moms who owned a smartphone in 2011). Some relevant stats for radio operators include: 30% of moms have ever listened to online radio (including AM/FM streams) using a smartphone through a car audio system; 56% have listened to online audio in the past month; and they averaged 12 hours and 4 minutes listening to online radio during the week previous to the study. Check out the slide presentation here.
Gender Analysis Study Released. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group (MIW) provides the data that is based on information from well over 11,000 AM and FM stations. According to the study, roughly 18% of those 11,000+ facilities had women general managers this past year, basically flat from 2012 (17.8% – 17.7%). By way of further comparison, it was 14.9% in 2004. Breaking it out by market size, 17.7% of managers in top 100 markets (virtually mirroring the entire sample) were female in 2013, versus 16.8% in 2012. Spokesperson Kay Olin notes that, “The MIWs have been analyzing and publishing gender numbers for the past 14 years. It is important to track the upward growth and impact of women’s leadership in radio. It is always encouraging to see the number of management opportunities grow. We all can make a difference through mentoring and nurturing future leadership.” For whatever reason, it is still easier to find female general managers than it is to locate women program directors. Figures from the past few years regarding women PDs remain fairly consistent – in the one in 10 range. The most recent numbers show females program 11% of all stations in the country; eight years ago, it was 10.7%. There is actually a bit of a year-to-year decline though when the numbers are separated in the top 100 markets only. Women in metros of that size could be found occupying programming chairs in 11% of cases in 2013, off from 11.8% in 2012.
McGavren Guild Names Quarm Dallas Region VP/DOS. Former Katz Radio Group senior account executive Julie Galley Quarm is appointed vice president/director of sales for McGavren Guild‘s Dallas office and will oversee all sales for the independent media rep firm’s clients in that part of the Lone Star State. President/chief executive officer Kevin Garrity declares, “This is a major hire for McGavren Guild and Genesis Media Holdings as we continue to build one of the strongest teams in radio sales. Julie is a very talented executive with great relationships and a stellar track record of developing new business. She will play an integral role in helping our client stations grow their revenue and share.” Quarm comments that, “Under the strong leadership of Kevin Garrity, McGavren Guild is a terrific company with a very bright future. It was an easy decision for me to be a part of the team that will grow key client relationships and develop new opportunities in the Dallas/Fort Worth region.” Prior to joining Katz Radio Group, Quarm was an Interep senior account executive; network account coordinator at Premiere Radio Networks; and senior scheduling coordinator at Nielsen Media Research.
McManus Seeing Major Fill-In Duty. San Antonio-based talk show host Adam McManus tells TALKERS he has been doing a ton of guest hosting lately. During spring break, he broadcast for Chris Krok on Cumulus-owned WBAP, Dallas in mid-March. Later that month he sat in for Joe Walsh on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago. In addition to a recent fill-in gig for KTSA, San Antonio’s Sean Rima, McManus has been hosting the morning drive show on KTSA after the tragic death of morning personality Trey Ware’s son Justin. Reach out to McManus at TalkRadioAdam@gmail.com.
Odds & Sods. WTAG, Worcester morning drive host Paul Westcott fills in this evening (5/9) on Premiere Networks‘ “America Now with Andy Dean.”…..At Rocking M Radio, Will Sterrett comes aboard to serve as corporate news director. He’ll work from home base country/farm KXXX, Colby, Kansas where he’ll also be news director. Sterrett was most recently an anchor at Cumulus Media’s news/talk KCMO, Kansas City…..The New York Daily News is reporting that Spero Dedes will not return as the voice of New York Knicks basketball on ESPN O&O WEPN-FM, New York. His contract was not renewed by MSG Network. He joined the Knicks in 2011 after working for the Los Angeles Lakers…..Joining the affiliate relations team at America’s Talk Radio Network is David Reeder. His previous experience includes managing the radio group Marsh Broadcasting and serving as VP/GM at USA Radio Network…..“America Tonight” personality Kate Delaney sits in for GCN-syndicated Jason Lewis on Monday, May 12.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the weekend program schedule at KMYC, Yuba City, California and KLID, Poplar Bluff, Missouri adds the weeknight edition of the program…..Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is added to the program schedule at WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina.
Boomer & Pals Celebrate NFL Draft. A big party was thrown by WestwoodOne at Boomer Esiason’s Stadium Grill at Bowlmor Lanes in Times Square, New York City on Thursday evening prior to the beginning of the 2014 NFL Draft. In addition to serving as analyst on WestwoodOne’s coverage of Monday Night Football, Esiason is also morning drive co-host on CBS RADIO’s WFAN-AM/FM, New York alongside Craig Carton. Pictured here are (from left to right): Esiason, WestwoodOne sports announcers Scott Graham and James Lofton.
Climate Change/New Power Plant Regulations Top News/Talk Stories for Week of May 5-9. Stiffer power plant emissions regulations and the controversy over climate change were the two stories that tied for most-talked-about on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the Monica Lewinsky Vanity Fair article. At #3 was the potential 2016 presidential candidates tied with mid-term election chatter and following at #4 was the Boko Haram kidnappings. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.
Beasley Net Revenue Down 2.4% in Q1. Stating that the dip in net revenue comes primarily from “lower advertising revenue at the company’s Miami-Fort Lauderdale and Philadelphia market clusters,” Beasley Broadcast Group announces a Q1 figure down 2.4% on revenue of $24.2 million. But the taxman also bit Beasley as the company reports that a “$0.8 million, or 40.2% year-over-year reduction in first quarter 2014 interest expense related to lower borrowing costs and reduced amounts outstanding, was more than offset by a $1.3 million, or 128.8%, rise in income tax expense primarily due to a change to the company’s federal income tax rate. In addition, the tax rate in the comparable year ago period benefited from a change to the company’s effective state tax rate. As a result, net income and net income per diluted share for the 2014 first quarter of $0.7 million and $0.03, respectively, compared with $2.4 million, and $0.11, respectively, in the comparable year ago period.” Beasley chairman and CEO Geroge Beasley comments, “The first quarter decline in net revenue reflects several factors that primarily impacted our three largest markets, including the severe winter weather which had a negative effect on our operations in the Northeast. Overall, for our five markets that report to Miller Kaplan – which represent approximately 77% of total first quarter revenue – Beasley station cluster revenue declined by 4.3%, while the total revenue for all reporting radio stations in these markets decreased by 0.3% for the quarter. In Philadelphia, our cluster underperformed the market for the first time since mid-2012 as business was significantly impacted by the severe winter weather that pressured billings, particularly among our local customers, and caused our stations to close for the equivalent of approximately three business weeks during the first quarter. In Miami, the first quarter underperformance largely relates to the revenue decline at our AM sports talk station following the departure of a popular afternoon host (Jorge Sedano). On April 1, we addressed this situation directly by re-launching our afternoon drive programming with the addition of another highly rated Miami sports talk show host from a direct competitor in the market (Marc Hochman). Notwithstanding the challenges endured in the first quarter, our ratings and market position in both Philadelphia and Miami remain strong. A final factor which negatively impacted first quarter revenue results was the completion of comprehensive training for our sales team regarding our new digital and NTR initiatives. While this training took our sales teams away from customers for several days, we believe it was essential to drive growth in these areas of our business going forward. Our planned investments in sales and programming and the expansion of our digital offerings, combined with the revenue decline, led to a 12.2% decline in first quarter 2014 SOI compared to year-ago levels.”
Journal Radio Division Revenue Down 4%. While the company as a whole sees revenue climb 3.7% on the strength of TV and retrans, the radio division of Journal Communications was down 4% on revenue of $15.2 million. The company reports that “local advertising revenue, excluding political, decreased 3.2%, primarily due to a decrease in restaurant and financial advertising. Digital revenue, which is reported in local revenue, was $0.6 million, up 7.8%. National advertising revenue, excluding political, decreased 18.0%, primarily due to a decrease in automotive and financial advertising. Total revenue, excluding political revenue, was $15.1 million, down 4.2%. Operating earnings from radio were $2.1 million compared to $2.4 million, a decrease of 11.9%. Radio operating expenses decreased 2.6%, or 0.8% excluding a $0.2 million non-cash building impairment charge recorded in 2013, primarily due to lower programming rights fees.”
Lew Dickey Sounds Pleased with Cumulus Media’s Progress. During yesterday’s investor’s conference call on 2014 first quarter numbers, CEO Lew Dickey explained that Cumulus Media is well-positioned in the broadcast arena but is also heading in the desired direction of broadening its revenue streams and reaching beyond “just the advertiser.” Dickey said, “We’ve now become a very diverse national audio advertising and content platform. Our base is fueled by our strong core broadcast advertising category, anchored by our 460 owned-and-operated stations and again, amplified by now more than 10,000 broadcast radio affiliates throughout the U.S. Moreover, we are developing an emerging growth stream in digital advertising that is gaining real traction to our audio through our Rdio digital audio platform. Licensing also provides the company with a significant second stream of non-advertising-based revenue and should continue to grow nicely as we develop ‘NASH’ and other original content into multimedia brands with multiple revenue streams. Additionally, our content initiatives will provide us with new revenue streams originating from monetizing the consumer, as opposed to just the advertiser, through subscription services.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript, members can check out the entire conference call here.
DirecTV Cancels Artie Lange Show. With three months left on his contract with DirecTV, Artie Lange’s radio talk show is canceled. Lange told listeners to his Monday evening (4/28) show that it would be his last for DirecTV. The program was initially co-hosted by both Lange and fellow comic Nick DiPaolo but DiPaolo left the show last year. During his good-bye to listeners and viewers, Lange said DirecTV was very good to him and the parting, though unfortunate, was amicable. The program was simulcast on DirecTV’s Audience channel in addition to being syndicated on the radio.
Barry Farber’s Language Club Celebrates 30 Years. Talk radio legend Barry Farber’s “Language Club” celebrates its 30-year anniversary with a gathering on Monday, May 28, in New York City. Farber, who founded the club, will also be honored at the celebration, that begins at 6:00 pm at My Place Restaurant, 242 East 79th Street in Manhattan. Farber is currently syndicated nationally via CRN Digital Talk Radio. His program airs weeknights at 8:00 p.m. ET. A press release from CRN states, “Farber, who has been on the airwaves since the mid-1950s, nearly failed Latin in 9th grade. Since then, he has studied 28 languages. He created the Language Club so students and speakers of foreign languages could congregate in a pleasant, social environment and enjoy conversing with each other.” He is also the author of several books, including How to Learn Any Language – Quickly, Easily, Inexpensively, Enjoyably and On Your Own. Club members periodically meet for dinner and conversation at ethnic restaurants throughout New York City. Some members give basic language lessons to each other. CRN president and CEO Michael Horn says, “All of us have so much to learn from Barry Farber. Usually, it’s his takes on politics and life. But I hear he also gives good courses in Dutch, Mandarin, and Hebrew.”
Evans Broadcast Company Stations to Observe D-Day Anniversary Live from Normandy. This June 6, news/talk KKFT Reno, “99.1 FM Talk’ and sister country simulcast KCMY and K273AF “Cowboy Country 102.5” will broadcast live from Normandy in France to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Evans Broadcast president and CEO Jerry Evans tells TALKERS this year will be the last recognized by the Normandy Veteran’s Association.
Six Receive NY Hall Call. The 2014 New York State Broadcasters Association‘s Hall of Fame class includes capital region/Syracuse broadcaster John Cooper; Syracuse TV reporter Nancy Duffy; WFAN, New York sports talk host Mike Francesa; renowned sportscaster Marty Glickman; Buffalo television manager Chris Musial; and New York City TV journalist Marvin Scott. Cooper has been with Clear Channel since 2000, and is currently regional program manager for the company’s stations in Albany, Poughkeepsie, and Sussex, New Jersey. Duffy received the Syracuse Press Club‘s Lifetime Achievement Award; she passed away in 2006. All-American football player Marty Glickman had brief careers in professional football and basketball. He was the NBA‘s first TV announcer and the first broadcaster for the New York Nets before the ABA – NBA merger. In the 1960s, Glickman was the sports director of WCBS-AM, New York; he is a member of the Curt Gowdy wing of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Glickman – the voice of the NY football Giants for 23 years and the NY Jets for 11 years – was 83 years old when he died in 2001. While Musial was news director and president/general manager of Buffalo’s WIVB-TV, it was the highest-overall rated television station in the country from sign-on to sign-off. WPIX-TV, New York senior correspondent Marvin Scott is the recipient of seven Emmy awards. Before joining WPIX, he held positions as anchor, correspondent, and producer at CNN, Mutual Broadcasting System, and New York City’s WABC-TV. Regarding his selection to the Hall, Francesa comments, “I am humbled and excited to be recognized by the New York State Broadcasters Association; it is a great honor. Anything with ‘New York’ attached to it means all the more to me.” The afternoon drive (1:00 pm – 6:30 pm) talent recently agreed to a long-term contract extension with WFAN. CBS Radio president and chief executive officer Dan Mason states, “Mike has earned his place in radio history as a great broadcaster. We are thrilled to continue our relationship with sports radio’s most celebrated host.” From 1989 to 2008, Francesa co-hosted the “Mike & Mad Dog Show” with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and has been overseeing “Mike’s On” since 2008. Francesa occupies the #1 position on TALKERS’ 2013 “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio. The June 13 induction ceremony will take place during the Association’s summer conference in New York City.
Donald Sterling Case, Tepid Economy Data, John Kerry Israel ‘Apartheid’ Comment, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, and Chicago Gun Violence Epidemic Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29). The lifetime ban and fine levied against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling in the wake of his racist comments recorded by a former mistress; weak economic news and the impact on the Obama Administration’s policies; the aftermath of Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement that Israel is in danger of becoming an apartheid state; Vladimir Putin’s continued military aggression in Ukraine; and the huge uptick in gun deaths in Chicago and the call for more gun laws were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Nielsen to Present Radio ROI Study to Group Heads. Using phrases such as “they’ve finally cracked the code” and “radio’s ability to deliver sales lift of more than $6, for every dollar spent,” Clear Channel president and CFO Rich Bressler spoke during yesterday’s investor conference call glowingly about the recent Catalina Solutions group study that shows excellent return on investment for consumer packaged goods (CPG) advertisers using radio. He announced that on Monday (4/28), radio group heads will gather for a conference at CC’s New York offices to see a presentation by Nielsen’s Catalina Solutions group that Bressler also called “the first-ever, single source ROI study in the radio sector…Finally, we have the definitive proof of radio’s value.” If you remember, the study in which Nielsen worked with Clear Channel measured the sales impact for the specific media buys of 10 brands, each of which had different combinations of radio networks. Nielsen says that this group of 10 brands, which included eight CPG and two retailer brands, provided the foundation for the first normative database for radio effectiveness. Another key finding was that radio delivers a strong consumer sales response close to the time of purchase. The closer the exposure is to purchase, the higher the response. On another note, Bressler did not respond directly to the recent cuts in the sales departments at Clear Channel but made reference to them in describing the state of the company’s executive structure. “From an organizational standpoint, we create a new major market structure under which four of our senior operating executives are reporting directly to Bob Pittman and myself. This major markets operating group will collaborate directly with our local market management to oversee our operations in our largest and highest revenue generating markets from our core broadcast radio stations to our digital mobile and events business as well as a more expanded coordination with Clear Channel Outdoor.”
SiriusXM Q1 Revenue Up 11%. It was another good quarterly report for satcaster SiriusXM as CEO Jim Meyer reported that his company’s subscription total is up to 25.8 million – an increase during the quarter of 267,000. The all-important free cash flow figure was up 56% on $223 million. Meyer told analysts on Thursday, “Our solid subscriber growth, even faster revenue growth and high contribution margins have produced dramatic growth in adjusted EBTIDA and free cash flow — exactly what you would expect from SiriusXM’s highly scalable business model. We are the world leader in monetizing audio entertainment, and the way this monetization translates in cash flow is also unmatched. Our radios today are only in about 20% to 26% of the cars on the road today. So we believe the opportunity for long term growth remains significant.”
Post Piece Highlights Smerconish’s Drive to Capture Center. In a feature piece by Manuel Roig-Franzia in the Washington Post, media personality Michael Smerconish is profiled and his quest to find a political center that is hot to talk about the issues of the day is front-and-center. The story details Smerconish’s entrance into the media world, his syndicated radio career, his cable TV gigs and his decision to leave AM/FM radio for SiriusXM last year. In discussing this move and critics’ assertions that there is no centrist audience to be found in talk radio, he tells the Post, “I’m the referendum, aren’t I?…I’ve put my livelihood on the line to prove that you can.”
Indianapolis Welcomes Dave Ramsey. Talk radio superstar and best-selling author Dave Ramsey visited Indianapolis yesterday (4/24) as he presented his Legacy Journey LIVE! event at Traders Point Christian Church to a packed house. The event was promoted by Ramsey’s Indy affiliate WFDM “Freedom 95 Radio.” Pilgrim Communications VP and general manager Randy Tipmore says, “As usual when Dave Ramsey comes to Indianapolis, excitement and enthusiasm go up in the entire area as do station sales. Every time Dave comes to town we sell out in record time for record amounts. The Dave Ramsey show is the number-one selling tool we have at ‘Freedom 95.’ Dave Ramsey is pictured here (second from right) with members of the “Freedom 95 Radio” team.
‘ESPN Upstate’ Adds Local Evening Show. Sports media personality Mark Sturgis is tapped to host a live and local evening program on the Entercom-owned multi-cast serving northern South Carolina (the signals include WORD-AM, Spartanburg; WYRD-AM, Greenville; W246BU, Spartanburg on 97.1 FM and WFNC-HD3, Fayetteville, North Carolina). Sturgis moves from his two-hour show on Byrne Acquisition Group-owned sports talk WCCP-FM, Clemson to a 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly show on “ESPN Upstate.” He follows the new “In The Huddle” show with Greg McKinney that airs in afternoon drive. Entercom VP and market manager Steve Sinicropi states, “Our sports coverage in terms of talent, teams and signal coverage continues to get stronger and stronger. ‘ESPN Upstate’ has become the most dominant sports network in the market. Mark has a great live and local show right now, he has a network of sports contacts and he brings a passion for sports, strong knowledge and tremendous energy to the fast-growing ‘EPSN Upstate’ audience. When you have a powerful brand like ESPN and the largest portfolio of radio stations in the Upstate to cross promote, it’s no wonder listeners and talent are coming to ‘ESPN Upstate.’”
Stephanie Miller’s ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour’ Hits Chicago Tomorrow; Albuquerque and Minneapolis Next. Talk show host and comic Stephanie Miller’s comedy roadshow – the Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour lands in Chicago tomorrow and there are still a limited number of VIP tickets available for the event. The show – featuring Miller, John Fugelsang, Carlos Alazraqui, and Stephanie Miller show family members Chris Lavoie and voice deity Jim Ward – is also traveling to Albuquerque on May 10 and rolls into Minneapolis on June 7.
Premiere Networks President Julie Talbott Named Woman of the Year. The editorial board of TALKERS has named Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott as the 2014 recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Talk Radio Industry by a Woman. The honor, also known as “Woman of the Year,” will be presented to Talbott by last year’s recipient, Heather Cohen, EVP of The Weiss Agency, at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2014 conference on Friday, June 20 as one of the highlights of an awards ceremony at which presentations will also be made for “Lifetime Achievement,” Humanitarian of the Year,” and Freedom of Speech (the recipients of which have yet to be announced). In addition to Cohen, past recipients of this prestigious award include Robin Bertolucci, Stephanie Miller, Laurie Cantillo, Grace Blazer, Kim Komando, Laura Ingraham, Randi Rhodes, Lynn Distler, Adriane Gaines, Ellen Ratner, Gloria Allred, Lisa Evers and its namesake Judy Jarvis, the late independent talk radio syndication pioneer for whom it was first presented posthumously. Upon announcing the board’s choice of Julie Talbott, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We all look forward to the day that a special award to a female member of the talk radio community is no longer relevant or necessary – but if you look at the breakdown of the numbers of men versus women in the business, it is clear that we have not yet reached that day.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “We couldn’t be more delighted having the opportunity to honor Ms. Talbott for her achievements and contributions to not just talk but the entire spectrum of popular radio over the years. She is a bright, creative, dignified and extremely inspirational role model for young women looking to build a career in the radio broadcasting industry.” Julie Talbott started her career in advertising at BBDO, where she spent five years as supervisor of media planning and buying. Her love of radio took her to MJI Broadcasting, where she spent 19 years. As COO of MJI Broadcasting, Talbott was instrumental in growing the company from five people to more than 150. In 1999, Premiere Networks acquired MJI Broadcasting. At that time, Talbott joined Premiere as senior vice president of integrated marketing solutions, focusing on advertising sponsorships. In 2003, she was promoted to executive vice president, affiliate relations. In that role, she oversaw a staff that increased affiliations for programs hosted by Jim Rome, Glenn Beck, George Noory, Bob and Tom, Steve Harvey, Keith Sweat, Elvis Duran, Fox Sports Radio and others. In 2009, Talbott was named VP, content and affiliate relations for Premiere Networks and then promoted in September 2012 to extend that title to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s National Media Groups. In January of this year, she was promoted to president of Premiere Networks. In her current role, Talbott continues to oversee the operation of Premiere Networks radio programs and services and manages business partnerships with talent, while leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic & Weather Network and iHeartRadio. A native of Kentucky, Talbott received her B.A. from the University of Kentucky and attended the Business Strategy Program at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business in 1996. Talbott lives with her husband and three children in New York. For information about registering for Talkers New York 2014 please call 413-565-5413.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” is added to the program lineup at the following stations: KAOK, Lake Charles, Louisiana; KFIV, Modesto, California; KWSX, Stockton, California; WCHS, Charleston, West Virginia; and WBBA, Pittsfield, Illinois…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is picked up by new affiliates KQAM, Wichita; WBKV, West Bend, Wisconsin; WHIR, Danville, Kentucky; and WRMN, Elgin, Illinois…..“Into Tomorrow” with Dave Graveline’s weekly program is picked up by KNOX-AM/FM, Fargo.
Dean Cain Visits ABC News Radio. Actor Dean Cain goofs with ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent Joi Marie McKenzie during a visit to ABC News Radio studios to promote the new season of his VH1 series “Hit the Floor” that returns on May 26 at 9:00 pm ET.
Russian Aggression in Ukraine/U.S. Troops in Poland Top News/Talk Stories During Week of April 21-25. The turbulent political state in Ukraine, Russia’s aggression in the region and the arrival of U.S. troops in Poland were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was the 2016 presidential race tied with Chelsea Clinton’s pregnancy and at #4 was the deadly attack on Americans at an Afghanistan hospital tied with drone strikes on suspected al Qaeda in Yemen. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Clear Channel Releases Q1 Financials: CCM+E Up 2%. This morning Clear Channel released financial data for the first quarter of 2014 and the Clear Channel Media + Entertainment group – radio stations, Premiere Networks, Total Traffic + Weather, iHeartRadio and related live events – saw income rise 2% compared to the same quarter a year ago. The company says “Media + Entertainment revenue rose $14 million, or 2% compared to the same period of 2013, driven primarily by higher revenues at our traffic and weather business reflecting new product offerings and the impact of strategic sales initiatives, as well as higher national sales fueled by growth in the telecommunications, healthcare and automotive categories, and higher digital advertising revenue benefitting from an increase in total listening hours on our iHeartRadio platform. Partially offsetting these revenue gains was a decline in our local revenues. Operating expenses were up $26 million during the first quarter of 2014 versus the same period in 2013, due primarily to higher compensation expenses driven by investments in our national and digital sales forces, and increased production costs for events such as the iHeartRadio Country Music Festival, as well as greater digital streaming and performance rights expenses driven by increased total listening hours and revenues. OIBDAN decreased $13 million, or 6%, to $200 million in the first quarter of 2014.”
WPHT Personalities to Debate GOP Party, Conservative Movement Future. The WPHT, Philadelphia “Talk Radio 1210” air staff will be together on the same stage for the very first time today (Thursday, 4/24) at 5:00 pm to participate in “Super Talk Debate” at Victory Beer Hall’s XFinity Live in South Philadelphia. Personalities Dom Giordano, Dick Morris, Gary R’nel, Chris Stigall, and Rich Zeoli will discuss/debate subjects such as the future of social issues in American politics; foreign policy intervention; the GOP’s view on marijuana legalization; and how Republicans can win the Senate in 2014 and the White House in 2016. The format will be presidential debate style. Each participant will be at a podium, make opening and closing statements, and answer questions from the audience and moderator Larry Kane. Rick Grimaldi and Dr. Anthony Mazzarelli will host the post-debate show at 6:30 pm. By voting online, listeners will decide the winner. Voting will continue until next Monday (4/28) at 5:00 pm when Morris and R’Nel will announce the results.
Wilkes-Barre Radio Personality Bud Brown Retires from WILK. Longtime Wilkes-Barre radio pro Bud Brown calls it a career after signing off from Entercom’s news/talk WILK-AM/FM yesterday morning (4/23) after 40 years on the air. PAHomepage.com reports Brown is a native whose career began in New Jersey before he returned home to work at WBRE and then WILK. Brown tells the site, “I got along with all my coworkers. I respected them. I felt mutual respect returning and I think that more than anything else is what I treasure most about all the things about all the days on the air.”
Nielsen Reports Positive First Quarter; Revenue Up 12.9%. That figure is compared to the same period a year ago on revenue of $1.49 billion. Nielsen Holdings N.V. chief executive officer Mitch Barns says, “Nielsen delivered a solid first quarter. Our underlying business performance, which was marked by broad-based revenue growth and strong profitability, was enhanced by the ongoing successful integration of Arbitron. Our clear focus on the key business priorities of our diverse global client base continues to produce steady and consistent results while delivering long-term value for our shareholders.” The company reports that free cash flow for the first quarter of 2014 increased to $13 million from -$15 million in the first quarter of 2013 and cash flow from operations increased to $90 million in the first quarter of 2014 from $54 million in first quarter of 2013. The increases were driven by stronger operating performance and favorable interest payments.
Rover’s Legal Team to Call Howard Stern as Witness in Cleveland Case. When WMMS, Cleveland morning show host Shane “Rover” French appears in court on May 20 to defend himself against 13 charges – including attempted felonious assault, inducing panic and resisting arrest – his lawyer is calling Howard Stern as a witness, according to Fox 8 Cleveland. It’s not clear why Stern would be a relevant witness or if he’ll even appear. Co-host Michael Toomey, a.k.a. Chocolate Charlie, was arrested along with French during the incident that took place over the 2013 Fourth of July holiday weekend in which an off-duty police officer claims French and Toomey shot off illegal fireworks, refused requests to stop, assaulted him and more.
Media World A-Twitter Over FFC ‘Net Neutrality’ Plans. The chatter got so intense over reports about what today’s announcement by the FCC regarding its new open Internet rules will be that FCC chairman Tom Wheeler issued the following statement to counter speculation. “There are reports that the FCC is gutting the Open Internet rule. They are flat out wrong. Tomorrow we will circulate to the Commission a new Open Internet proposal that will restore the concepts of net neutrality consistent with the court’s ruling in January. There is no ‘turnaround in policy.’ The same rules will apply to all Internet content. As with the original Open Internet rules, and consistent with the court’s decision, behavior that harms consumers or competition will not be permitted.” What got people so uptight? Numerous sources – including the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, Fox News and others – say today’s announcement will propose that content companies be allowed to pay for faster delivery over the so-called “last mile” connection to people’s homes. The Associated Press writes, “The new rules are meant to replace the FCC’s open Internet order from 2010, which was struck down by a federal appeals court in January. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed that the FCC had the authority to create open-access rules but said it failed to establish that its 2010 regulations didn’t overreach. While the older rules technically allowed for paid priority treatment, it was discouraged. The new rules spell out standards that such deals would have to meet to be considered ‘commercially reasonable’ and are designed to survive a court challenge in the future. Under the proposed rules, if such a deal for priority access were challenged, the commission would look at its impact on competition, on consumers, on free speech and civic engagement, and whether a broadband provider was acting in good faith.”
The Next Generation(s). At the Cox Media Group Houston office, the sound of the pitter-patter of little feet could be heard as staffers brought their progeny to work for the annual “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.” Altogether, 18 young people (pictured here with some of the parents), ranging from 2 ½ to 13 years of age came to work on Thursday (4/24) to follow their parents on a typical day. Well, a mostly typical day, as activities were planned for every age group. The kids will learn to record a commercial, use their voices for station on-air promotions, participate in social media postings, and see inside the studio as the DJs broadcast live. The daylong activities will be mixed in with some fun as well, including a pizza party for lunch, a dance-off with the digital department, and if activities are too much, “Frozen” will be shown in the afternoon so everyone can take a break from it all. Cox Houston VP and market manager Mark Krieschen says, “This is our first year to implement the program in Houston. I can already feel the excitement in the air as the kids are making themselves right at home.”
Russian Aggression in Ukraine/Obama vs Putin, 2016 Presidential Race-Mid Term Elections, the FCC and Net Neutrality, President Obama’s Asia Visit, and U.S. Drone Strikes in Yemen Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/23). Russia’s involvement in the unrest in Ukraine and analysis of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; speculation about candidates in the 2016 presidential election and the looming mid-term elections this year; controversy over the FCC’s “open internet” policy to be announced today; President Obama’s visit to Asian nations excluding China; and the state of al Qaeda after U.S. drone strikes on terrorist targets in Yemen were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
SCBA Reports 2014 Starting Off Positive. Calling it “solid, steady revenue growth that sets the stage for a strong first quarter for Southern California radio,” Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan reports the results of the Miller Kaplan Arase Market Summary report for January 2014 indicating total market revenue for Los Angeles radio grew by 1.7% in January. Callahan adds, “The 1.7% growth rate for January is, of course, good news for our industry here in Southern California, however, a closer look at what made up that growth reveals a market and region that is healthy and growing.” The Miller Kaplan Arase X-Ray report for Los Angeles radio further describes both strong category growth and exceptional new business development in the first month of the New Year. That growth includes: insurance companies – up 152.1%, education – up 61.5%, concerts/theatre/movies – up 54.6%, communications/cellular/public utilities – up 22.7%, and both the auto category – up at 6.3% and health care – up at 6.4%. Callahan says, “New business development was a significant revenue driver for Southern California radio in January and showcases how new advertisers are rediscovering radio and its effectiveness in building brands and market share for their business. With 297 new advertisers spending $7,408,878 in new business in January alone, it’s clear our SCBA member stations are fully engaged in new business development.”
Journal Communications Reports Q4 2013 Numbers; Radio Down 7.2%. That radio figure does include the loss of political advertising and a quirk of the bookkeeping calendar that took a week away in 2013. Accounting for those issues, Journal reports that on a same-station basis, radio revenue was up 0.7% in the fourth quarter and for the whole of 2013 same-station revenue was up 3.7%. The news for national revenue continues to be negative as Journal’s radio stations saw national drop 22.8% in Q4 and dive 8.9% for the entire year. In a statement, chairman and CEO Steven Smith says, “Journal Communications delivered a solid fourth quarter in a non-political year, driven by gains in core revenue in our broadcast group and improving advertising revenue trends in publishing…Consolidated revenue of $107.4 million was up 11% compared to 2012, excluding the extra week and political revenue in 2012.”
WGWG-LP, Chicago Adds Jarrett Payton to Air Staff. The new sports talk outlet Tribune’s WGN, Chicago is building on the leased WGWG-LP signal announces the addition of Jarrett Payton – son of Bears great and NFL Hall-of-Famer Walter Payton – to the afternoon drive show with Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton. “The Game 87.7” vice president of creative content Todd Manley tells Chicago media writer Robert Feder, “I think Jarrett is way more than sports royalty in this town. He’s the sort of creative, inventive mind that will help us define the future of this brand.” As Feder reports, Payton’s radio experience includes serving as host of Chicago Bears post-game shows on ESPN O&O WMPV, Chicago.
Talk Host Tom Becka Launches Web-based Podcast Series. Talk radio pro Tom Becka holds down the afternoon program at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha. Now, Becka is debuting his latest venture – a podcast series available at his website TomBecka.com titled, “Tom Becka Podcast.” Becka has a specific goal with regard to the podcast’s subject matter: letting interesting, everyday people tell stories about themselves – things you might never know unless you asked. Some of the fascinating subjects Becka has covered with his podcast project include: a woman named Kaylee talking openly about what it’s like to live with bi-polar disorder; a local man who’s taken his passion for film and started a new career making films; a conversation with a tattoo artist about the tattoo phenomenon; a man with terminal cancer relating his inspirational thoughts about living and dying; a local man who lives every day with Asperger’s syndrome; and many more. Becka says, “Tom Becka.com is a place where every day people are going to be telling their stories…inspirational stories, life lessons, stories about overcoming adversity.” All the subjects for this project are from the local Omaha area, as Becka says, people who may be your friends, relatives or neighbors. Becka is posting a new episode every Sunday. Check it out here.
Michael Harrison on the Road – Next Big Stop: Jerry Del Colliano’s “Media Solutions Conference” in Philly March 26. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will be one of three special guest speakers at noted industry observer and analyst Jerry Del Colliano’s fifth annual Media Solutions Conference set for Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 26. Along with WBEB, Philadelphia (“More FM”) owner Jerry Lee and nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity, Harrison will participate in the intensive day-long workshop that will focus on a wide variety of digital-era issues currently facing and challenging radio. These include coming to a better understanding of the Millennial generation, learning to disrupt radio itself before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, effectively using video to generate significant amounts of revenue and much more. Harrison states, “I am really looking forward to participating in this conference and tackling these crucial issues with a bunch of smart people from all ends of the business. Jerry Lee has so much to share about running an independent station in an aggressive, winning way – we could sure use more Jerry Lees in this industry – and Sean Hannity is the very definition of brains and class. One of the things Sean brings to the table is the ability to attract younger listeners to traditional news/talk – he has done quite alright in an area of the field to which most people are actively seeking answers.” The event takes place at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel. For more information click here.
Odds & Sods. Nationally syndicated progressive talk show host Leslie Marshall does double duty on Thursday (3/6) as she sits in for Thom Hartmann on his nationally syndicated program…..ESPN O&O WMPV, Chicago adds a weekly program covering Major League Soccer and the local Chicago Fire. The show is dubbed “Chicago Fire Weekly” and it’s being hosted by Fred Heubner and will feature contributions from Kevin Egan, analyst for the Chicago Fire’s television broadcasts…..News/talk WNTX, Fredericksburg, Virginia is again being heard on translator W243BS, Fredericksburg after the latter signal carried the “Fred FM” format for the past 11 months. WNTX is owned by Free Lance-Star, currently going through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization…..Kevin Calabro re-ups with ESPN where he serves as the lead play-by-play voice on the NBA on ESPN Radio. He’ll continue working with lead NBA analyst Jon Barry, as well as PJ Carlesimo and Stan Van Gundy.
Former Nebraska Radio Owner Mitchell Dies at 89. In Nebraska, John C. Mitchell was a decorated broadcaster who was honored with a Pioneer Award from the Nebraska Broadcasters Association and is a member of the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Trained as an attorney who practiced law until he retired in 2001, Mitchell began acquiring radio stations in 1953 with the purchase of KGFW, Kearney – the station at which he worked in high school. Eventually his Mitchell Broadcasting Corporation would own some 14 stations across the state. Mitchell is pictured here at the mic on KGFW.
Crimea-Ukraine Tensions/Obama vs. Putin, ObamaCare Criticism, Israel-Palestinian Talks, The Oscars, Hillary in 2016, and Marijuana Policy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/3). The military incursions into Ukraine and Crimea by Russia and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; U.S. pressure on Netanyahu to convene Palestinian peace talks; Sunday evening’s Academy Awards show; speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; and marijuana policy in the U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Salem Communications Posts Q4 2013 Revenue Increase of 3.4%; Broadcast Up 1%. Digital was the key to Salem Communications’ 2013 fourth quarter revenue increase of 3.4% for the company as a whole. The broadcast sector was up 1% on revenue of $47.4 million and broadcast makes up about 60% of the company’s revenue. The company’s publishing sector was flat while internet and e-commerce was up 16.6%. Salem’s outlook for the first quarter of 2014 projects “total revenue to increase 9% to 11% over the first quarter 2013 total revenue of $55.6 million. The company is also projecting operating expenses before gains or losses on the sale or disposal of assets, impairments and stock-based compensation expense to increase 13% to 16% as compared to the first quarter of 2013 operating expenses of $48.2 million. This guidance includes the impact of the hiring of two new senior executives and the financial performance for the recent acquisition of Eagle Publishing. The guidance for the first quarter contemplates a loss of $0.4 million due to the assumption of some unfavorable contracts that will rapidly unwind and the fact that the first quarter is always a soft quarter in the book publishing business with the big titles being released in the spring and in the fall.”
Nielsen Study Ties Station Choice to Buying Behavior. In a release from Nielsen about its recent major market pilot test, the company says that “for the first time, a connection can be drawn between what consumers listen to on the radio and how they spend. This solidifies radio’s place as a valuable marketing platform for advertisers and media planners. The major market pilot test combined proprietary Nielsen data with anonymized panelist credit and debit card purchasing behavior covering more than 24 billion transactions and $2 trillion in annual sales primarily from the retail, travel, digital, restaurant, entertainment, financial services and telecom categories.” Results from the Dallas market, for example, show that listeners to pop radio spend more per buyer annually on casual dining than those listeners who prefer other formats. In the same market, rock and alternative listeners spend more per buyer annually in retail locations than listeners who prefer other formats. News/talk listeners, the study showed, go to the movies more each year that do listeners of other formats. Nielsen SVP of local media product leadership Farshad Family says, “The ability to determine how radio listeners among different formats like pop, news or rock are spending their dollars creates a unique opportunity for radio broadcasters to make a case for the value of their audience. We are just beginning to tell the story about the value of radio’s audience. As we make progress on conducting more links between listening data and purchase data, we will continue to share more insights with the marketplace.”
Ordway’s ‘Big Show Unfiltered’ to Begin Next Month. Longtime Boston sports talk radio host Glenn Ordway is returning with a daily, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program (“Big Show Unfiltered”), which will be heard via his SportstalkBoston.com website and on mobile devices. “I am so thrilled to once again be talking local sports in my hometown with the best fans in America,” comments Ordway, who presided over “The Big Show” for 27 years on Entercom-owned Boston sports outlet WEEI. “I look forward to presenting an alternative in the market that will feature the best of the past with some new, innovative elements and voices. There is no reason to hold anything back anymore – it is all unfiltered.” The renamed “Big Show Unfiltered” is set to begin in about two weeks (Monday, March 17) and it will include similar components from his WEEI program, such as “The Whiner Line.” It is believed that down the road, Ordway is planning to have his program air on a terrestrial radio network comprised of New England affiliates. Boston native Mike Salk, who co-hosted a program on Seattle’s KIRO-AM since 2009, replaced Ordway in afternoon drive on WEEI-FM alongside Michael Holley. Ordway’s final show on WEEI-FM was in mid-February of last year.
Logan Exits Shane Media. Stating on his Facebook page that he thought he’d “spend the rest of my working days in this chair at Shane Media,” Lee Logan says the fiscal realities of the industry have him exiting the consulting company and looking for his next great opportunity. Logan had been with Shane for the past seven years and was instrumental in assisting Radio One put its all-news format on KROI, Houston “News 92 FM.”
Freedom’s Voice Broadcasting to Purchase Dark KPTO, Pocatello for $75K. The principal of Freedom’s Voice Broadcasting is Tim Aalders who hosts the “Freedom’s Voice” talk show heard on United Broadcasting Company’s KTKK, Salt Lake City. Ted Austin’s Main Street Broadcasting is the seller for the signal that is currently dark. Aalders plans to expand the reach of his programming into the southeastern Idaho market. This is no announced timetable for KPTO going back on the air.
If Weekends Were Weekdays? Hey, They Are! That so many talk-formatted stations air infomercials on weekends is not news – nor is the programming-versus-sales paradigm so prevalent at many of these stations. Media consultant Walter Sabo says a little-known truth in the business is that Saturday midday is an indicative daypart and the second highest Homes Using Radio daypart. What could this mean to your talk station? Read Walter Sabo’s latest column here to find out.
Odds & Sods. The New York Festivals World’s Best Radio Programs announces the appointment of Michael Freedman, senior vice president and professor at University of Maryland University College to the New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Advisory Board and GrandJury panel. NYF executive director Rose Anderson comments, “Michael Freedman brings over 35 years of broadcast journalism experience to his role as Advisory Board and GrandJury member. His creative vision and reputation within the industry will be a tremendous asset.”…..ESPN O&O WEPN-AM, New York “ESPN Deportes Nueva York” will continue to air New York Mets play-by-play in Spanish as the team and rights owner Clear Channel (English-language games will be heard on WOR) agree to continue the broadcasts through the 2016 season…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington announces the addition of an entertainment section to its WTOP.com site with WTOP.com staffer Alicia Lozano named editor for the section. Director of digital media John Meyer comments, “As WTOP evolves into a digital news operation, we are continuing to dedicate resources to original digital content that will feed not only our website but also our radio and mobile platforms. The Washington area is rife with local stories concerning the arts, music, movies and more. Our entertainment section will bring these stories to life online and on-air.”…..Media consultant Holland Cooke (pictured above at left in the WABC, New York studios with host Laura Smith) is appearing on WABC, New York this weekend on “Saturday Café with Laura Smith.” Cooke, who also blogs at his SurvivalSpeech.com, will offer “9 Tips For YOUR Academy Awards Acceptance Speech.”
The Media Roundtable. TALKERS and RadioInfo sales and marketing specialist Al Herskovitz (standing) was a recent speaker at the Media Roundtable in Sarasota, Florida. His subject was “The Current State of Radio Broadcasting.” The Media Roundtable conducts a monthly meeting that brings together media executives and active participants from all types of media: radio, TV, cable, internet, newspapers, magazines, publishing, motion pictures, theatre arts. The purpose of the group is to review current and future news and developments in the media with an interchange of opinions and questions by those in attendance. The Media Roundtable originated in 1950 in New York City and moved to Florida in 1991 and is unique in the United States. It currently is chaired and managed by longtime TV executive Irwin Starr. While there are some 300+ active members, the luncheon sessions are limited to the first 50 who make reservations. Pictured here with Herskovitz are Starr at far left and media broker Burt Sherwood, second from left.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. The Envision Networks-syndicated “America Weekend” talk show featuring Paul Harris, Turi Ryder, Rob Carson and other personalities, is added to the program schedule at Ohana Media Group’s KAST, Astoria, Oregon.
‘Religious Rights’ Legislation Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 24-28. The story of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s veto of a “religious rights” bill that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against customers based on religious beliefs was the most-talked-about issue of the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act. Following at #3 was the political unrest in Crimea and Ukraine and the U.S.-Russia tensions accompanying it. And at #4 was the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton’s prospects and the looming mid-term elections this fall. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
CBS Reports Radio Segment Down 4% in Q4 2013; Company Up 6%. While CBS Corporation CEO, president and director Les Moonves spoke glowingly about the performance of CBS Corporation as a whole during yesterday’s Q4 conference call, the radio segment was not part of the celebration and loss of political advertising was given the lion’s share of the blame. The company’s report indicates that after taking political out of the picture, CBS RADIO was flat compared to the same quarter in 2012. Moonves was upbeat about the radio division saying, “In radio, we continue to put an emphasis on great, local programming, which is leading to bigger audiences. During the most recent ratings period, we had double-digit ranking gains in the highly coveted 25- to 54-year-old demo in many of our major markets, and non-traditional revenue from special events was up double digits over one year ago. Our strategy to combine the company’s local TV and radio websites into a single online presence in every market also continues to pay off. In 2013, revenue was up 21% over the year before, and the momentum is continuing here in ’14, including a new record of nearly 57 million unique users in January. I’m also very pleased with the success of our CBS Interactive business. Revenue was up 14% during the quarter, and we continue to see very rapid growth in mobile ad revenue, which was up 118%, and it helped to increase profit substantially.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole conference call here.
Nielsen Q4 Revenue Up 11.8%; Rises 5.5% for 2013. Media ratings giant Nielsen Holdings N.V. issues its fourth quarter 2013 and full-year financial reports and states that Q4 revenue was $1.6 billion, an increase of 11.8% over the same period in 2012. For the full year of 2013, the company says its revenue was $5.7 billion, a jump of 5.5% over the full year of 2012. The company reports its free cash flow for 2013 increased 34.5% to $573 million from $426 million in 2012 while cash flow from operations increased 14.9% to $901 million in 2013 from $784 million in 2012. The result is the adjusted net income per share on a diluted basis for 2013 was $2.02, up 19.5% compared to $1.69 in the full year 2012. Nielsen acquired radio ratings firm Arbitron during 2013 and the move paid off. The Arbitron business helped add 9.3% to Nielsen’s Q4 revenue and 2.5% to its 2013 revenue.
CBS RADIO Dallas Ups Paul Mann to KRLD-AM PD. At CBS RADIO’s Dallas cluster, news director Paul Mann is promoted to program director for KRLD-AM “NewsRadio 1080 KRLD” and the Texas State Networks (TSN), effective immediately. Mann has served as news director for KRLD-AM and TSN since June 2006 and in this new role he will be primarily responsible for all programming and talent and will report to Gavin Spittle, vice president of news/talk/sports for CBS RADIO Dallas-Fort Worth. Spittle comments, “Paul has shown tremendous leadership as news director with the sole focus on serving the North Texas community. He’s helped put together a tremendous team which shares a great pride in this heritage station.” Under Mann’s leadership, KRLD-AM has been honored with two national Edward R. Murrow Awards, in 2008 (spot news) and 2013 (newscast).
Stella Prado Kuipers Lands at Salem Los Angeles. The successful, former KOST, Los Angeles program director joins Salem Communications to serve in the sales department working on multi-media marketing for Christian talk KKLA, Los Angeles. Stella Prado Kuipers made her announcement on her Facebook page where she wrote: “A new chapter in my life has begun and I’m proud to announce as of March 3rd I am an employee of Salem Communications Radio Broadcasting company! My position is multi-media marketing and I am thrilled to be a part of this company! I’m sooooo excited!” Kuipers had been with Clear Channel’s AC KOST for 20 years – eight as program director – before she was let go in December of 2012.
Programming Changes at WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey. A shuffle in afternoons at Greater Media-owned news/talk WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey sees current 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality Tommy G move to the afternoon drive slot replacing Newsmax-syndicated host Steve Malzberg. Into the early afternoon slot goes WestwoodOne’s Dennis Miller program. WCTC program director Bert Baron states, “We’re excited to welcome Dennis Miller to the WCTC weekday lineup. He’ll have Central Jersey laughing, thinking, and engaged on a daily basis. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have doing PM drive on WCTC than Tommy G, one of the most passionate and hard-working people I’ve ever known. This is a BIG WIN for WCTC and for Central Jersey.”
Is Nielsen “Lying” About Millennial Audiences? Noted industry observer Jerry Del Colliano thinks so. Del Colliano published a scathing indictment of the ratings research giant in his daily industry blog Inside Music Media (www.insidemusicmedia.com) this morning (2/12) referring to the Nielsen Audio (formerly Arbitron) report released earlier this week stating that “Millennials” (also known as “Generation Y”) are big fans of AM/FM radio and listen to it on average of 11.5 hours per week. This, of course, flies in the face of what has to this point been conventional industry wisdom strongly suggesting that over-the-air radio is rapidly losing ground as a medium of choice for the millions of 20-something children born to Baby Boomers in the 1980s-90s and now coming of age in the millions – a widespread perception that broadcast business leaders openly fear threatens the future of what is increasingly being marginalized as “terrestrial radio.” Del Colliano writes, “The company that now does PPM ratings which records listening that occurs by accident when meters randomly pick up an encoded radio signal is now weighing in on Millennials…an audience that clearly has no use for what consolidators put on the radio these days.” He accuses the major corporate consolidators in radio of “paying hundreds of millions of dollars to report audience estimates that the company [Nielsen] itself admits in a legal statement are not reliable.” Del Colliano is a veteran program director and radio personality who rose to prominence as the founder and publisher of the trade publication Inside Radio which he built to formidability as an independent journal prior to it being acquired by Clear Channel, which still publishes it. Del Colliano has subsequently served a number of years as a member of the music department faculty at the University of Southern California (USC) teaching and writing courses on “Generational Media” specifically documenting and understanding the traits and habits of the rapidly maturing Millennial generation – a subject that he regularly shares with radio industry leaders via his blog and annual conference.
Speaking of Jerry Del Colliano… TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently interviewed Jerry Del Colliano on the TALKERS magazine “experimental” talk radio station, TalkersRadio, (www.talkers.com/talkersradio) as a complete installment of the one-hour, media-discussion program he hosts. The program, recorded two-weeks ago (prior to today’s provocative Del Colliano blog), presents the two industry observers in an in-depth discussion about the very subject of the delicate relationship AM/FM radio and Gen-Y. In it, Del Colliano discusses such issues as Gen-Y’s obsession with authenticity as well as its consumer interest in non-over-the-air digital media. To listen directly to the entire 58:00 installment of this first-time public conversation between Michael Harrison and Jerry Del Colliano, please click
Talk Host Joe Crummey Publishes Non-Fiction Book. Talk radio pro Joe Crummey has just published his first non-fiction book titled, Planking on Headstones: Your Future Outside of Time (School of Eddiness 2013). The veteran of such historic signals as WABC, New York; KFI, Los Angeles; WNBC, New York; KABC, Los Angeles and KFYI, Phoenix penned this new book that “takes the reader on a journey through space-time that’s rich in love, loss, fear and contemplation. With notes of his on-air, quick-wit persona, Planking on Headstones distills complex issues of religion and science into memorable anecdotes that elicit laughter, tears and a sense of connection. Crummey openly shares about his life, from his brain tumor to the death of his parents, as he explains his theories, such as the ‘Fonzie Principle,’ the ‘Boston Market Revelation’ and the ‘Jesus Burger.’ He also explains why he believes the Big Bang is the most evil thing that has ever happened.” Crummy states, “Throughout my career, I often discussed and challenged religious tenets on air with my audience. But after going through the brain tumor experience, my quest for meaning in this life and beyond intensified. I began to understand the importance of thinking outside of time and allowed myself to imagine the impossible while I explored this subject matter.”
Clear Channel Renews Promotional Deal with Relativity. In a statement, Clear Channel says that the renewed cross-media marketing collaboration between it and media company Relativity will include one-of-a-kind campaigns promoting upcoming movies on the part of Clear Channel and Relativity will provide exclusive content created by its filmmakers and talent that will be shared with listeners and viewers through various Clear Channel platforms. “The programs will also include organic promotional support from popular radio personalities such as Ryan Seacrest, Elvis Duran, Dan Patrick and Steve Harvey; naturally integrated film imaging across local stations and iHeartRadio’s national digital and mobile ad units; homepage website takeovers; and national and local on-air commercial inventory.” Clear Channel says previous successful collaborations between the companies included campaigns for the films “Limitless,” “Immortals,” “Act of Valor,” “Safe Haven” and “Free Birds.”
Odds & Sods. Talk media personality David Webb signs on to write a column for DC political publication The Hill. His column will be available every other Wednesday in The Hill’s print edition, online at thehill.com and on The Hill’s app. In addition to his daily SiriusXM talk show, Webb also appears frequently on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity” and “The Five.”…..Sports USA adds a podcast featuring former NFL star and TV personality Fred Dryer to its programming. Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “Fred Dryer is a true NFL legend and a major TV star. We are excited to add Fred’s show to our growing list of digital audio programs…..WNYC, New York names David Lewis its new metro editor. Lewis taught journalism at CUNY for the past seven years.
NAB to Feature RAB Sales and Marketing Sessions. The Radio Advertising Bureau will present five revenue- and growth-oriented presentations at this year’s NAB Show. RAB president and chief executive officer Erica Farber explains that, “The RAB is in the business of helping sellers on the street close deals and help drive revenue for the radio industry. These sessions will drive home key lessons and tools of the trade. NAB Show attendees will find these sessions invaluable to their future success in the broadcast business.” Specifically, the Radio Advertising Bureau’s focus will be “Lunch and Learn – A Discussion on Radio’s Four Significant Issues;” “Concentrating on Core Radio Revenues;” “Creative Radio Commercial Production and Imaging;” and “Rapid-Fire Revenue Generators for Small and Medium Market Radio.” The NAB Show will be held April 5 – 10 in Las Vegas.
WDVI-FM and WHAM in Rochester Hold Radiothon to Benefit Children’s Hospital. Today and tomorrow Clear Channel Rochester stations hot AC WDVI “100.5 The Drive” and news/talk WHAM are broadcasting the annual “Drive For Miracles Radiothon” to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital live from the lobby of Strong Hospital. Throughout the event, on-air personalities from each station will talk with current and former patients, their families, and the hard-working hospital staff that “creates miracles” every day. Personalities including WHAM’s Chet Walker, Bob Lonsberry, Shari Smith, Joe Lomonaco, and Bob Matthews and WDVI’s Bill Moran, Julie, JP, and “The Mayor” Pete Kennedy will broadcast from the hospital.
BFoA Names 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards Recipients. This year’s recipients of the 2014 Ward L. Quaal Leadership Awards have been announced by the Broadcasters Foundation of America. They will be presented at the Foundation’s annual breakfast on Wednesday, April 9, at the Wynn Hotel during the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas. This year’s recipients are: Jim Beloyianis, past president, Katz TV; Dan Mason, president & CEO, CBS RADIO; Deborah Norville, host, “Inside Edition”; Mary Quass, president & CEO, NRG Media; Perry Sook, chairman/president & CEO, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc.; and Nick Verbitsky, chairman, United Stations Radio Networks. The Leadership Awards are given annually by the Broadcasters Foundation in recognition of career contributions to the broadcast industry and the community at large, and are named in honor of iconic broadcaster Ward L. Quaal.
Winter Weather Hits South and Northeast, ObamaCare Rollout Criticism, Afghanistan Prisoner Release, Paul NSA Suit, Debt Ceiling Raised, the Sochi Olympics and Gay NFL Prospect Comes Out Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12). The unusually severe winter weather bearing down on the South and the Northeast; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s unilateral delay of the employer mandate; Afghanistan’s release of numerous “dangerous” inmates and the state of the U.S.’s relationship with Hamid Karzai; Senator Rand Paul’s suit against the NSA; the GOP’s signing on with Democrats to raise the debt ceiling; the Sochi Winter Olympic Games; and the coming out of NFL prospect Michael Sam were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Entercom Revenue Down 2% in Q4; Dips 3% for 2013. The 2013 fourth quarter numbers for Entercom are in and the company reports net revenue was down 2% on $99.6 million though adjusted net income per share was basically flat. Also free cash flow increased by 2%. For the full year of 2013, net revenue dipped 3%. Though station expenses decreased slightly during the year, station operating income decreased by 8% to $125.8 million. Entercom will hold a conference call with investors and analysts at 12:00 noon ET today (2/11). President and CEO David Field says in a statement, “Entercom’s fourth quarter revenues declined 2% while revenues excluding political advertising posted a 2% increase. 2014 began on a solid note with January revenues up moderately over the prior year. We are optimistic about 2014 performance based on improving sales capabilities and execution, strong ratings and meaningful local growth opportunities.”
Beasley Broadcast Group to Work with Propel Marketing for Online Marketing. In an effort to expand its online marketing, Beasley Broadcast Group announces it is engaging Propel Marketing to “assist Beasley’s local clients in building and expanding their online marketing opportunities and solutions.” In a statement, Beasley says that Propel’s products and services include website and mobile site design, search engine optimization, lists and local directories, social media services and online reputation management. It further states that the “agreement affords Beasley’s local account executives access to a robust portfolio of online marketing services. Beasley’s relationship with Propel Marketing enhances the on-air and online advertising opportunities already available to existing and future clients, especially small businesses that typically do not have in-house resources to create and implement successful online marketing campaigns. Propel Marketing will not only create and deliver online marketing solutions, but also provide a dedicated team of specialists to ensure that Beasley’s clients are fully leveraging Propel Marketing products.” Beasley EVP and CFO Caroline Beasley states, “We are extremely excited by this relationship. It gives us the ability to respond to any request a local advertiser may have that involves exploring a digital component. The ability to combine radio’s powerful reach with Propel Marketing’s wide assortment of online products and services will greatly enhance a local advertising campaign.” Newly appointed vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook adds, “By integrating online marketing with their current radio marketing efforts our clients are able to both extend their audience reach and more efficiently target their messaging. Beasley sales professionals remain the primary contact for our advertising customers. Our goal remains helping local businesses build their brands and grow their revenue. We can now offer integrated marketing solutions under the Beasley Broadcast brand allowing advertisers to streamline their marketing efforts with a trusted local partner.”
TALKERS Posts Part-Two Today of Three-Part Special (2/10-12) Spotlighting Danno Wolkoff and Envision Networks. Like many people who go to college with a plan for what they want to do when they graduate, Danno Wolkoff went to Syracuse University with a goal of winding up in television production. Fate, and the prodding from senior management at MJI Broadcasting instead sent him in the direction of sales and affiliate relations. Wolkoff discovered he had a gift for sales, and doubled his income in one year. It was through sales and affiliate relations work that he climbed the corporate ladder at MJI, expanding and growing their sales offices nationwide. When Clear Channel acquired MJI and merged it into Premiere Radio Networks (now simply “Premiere Networks”), he became VP of affiliate relations. However, it wasn’t long before he began to realize that the hands-on and creative approach he had at MJI wasn’t translating to the growth concepts and business model of Premiere and Clear Channel. Wolkoff faced a career crossroads and would make a decision that would change his life and become an important source of programming and services for radio. His vision was Envision Radio Networks — a highly successful and forward-thinking company that creates over four-dozen content products and services for radio stations and media outlets nationwide, customizing solutions for clients, producers and affiliates. It is a company literally founded after another syndication and programming company decided they had a good product that despite making money, didn’t make enough money for their bottom line. What Wolkoff has accomplished in the span of just 10 years is inspiring and a textbook example of creating a force for productivity and jobs in an industry. He took the biggest gamble of his life, grabbing a program and three people laid off by an established firm that would become his largest competitor, and growing an independent syndication empire serving over 1,500 radio stations with everything from prep services to music shows, local news and information to weekend talk shows. His staff has grown over 20-fold in a decade to include an array of producers, salespeople and contract staffers researching, producing, creating and selling more than four-dozen products to radio stations in both the largest and smallest markets. Now known simply as Envision Networks (they dropped the word “Radio” this past week – more on that later) continues to not only grow, embracing new technology and catering to those needs, but in the process has become an independent force in syndication. In today’s installment, Wolkoff discusses exactly what it takes to build a formidable syndication firm from scratch and shares his view of the changing nature of the syndication business as well as radio in general. In the words of Michael Harrison, “The emergence of special individuals like Danno Wolkoff is the force that propels an industry such as ours forward. I’ve seen this movie many times before. Danno is the kind of guy who has the makings of being a true giant 10 years down the pike, taking his place among the biggest of the big.” To read part two of TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay’s extensive profile “The Vision of Envision: The Rise of Radio Syndication Entrepreneur Danno Wolkoff and an Emerging Independent Powerhouse” please click here. And if you missed part one published yesterday, read that here.
Max Krasny Joins CBS RADIO as VP/Sales and Strategic Alliances. The former WestwoodOne EVP takes on the vice president, sales and strategic partnerships position with CBS RADIO’s Altitude Group division which focuses on helping brands connect with consumers using CBS RADIO stations, along with CBS Television stations and their digital properties, as well as CBS’s outdoor assets. Max Krasny reports to the executive leadership of the Altitude Group: Rich Lobel, executive vice president and CMO, and Sue McNamara, senior vice president, sales. Lobel states, “Max is a seasoned pro who brings a marketing acumen to a client’s business, and knows how to deliver creative excellence that makes brands stand out and get noticed. No one has a better portfolio of local assets under one roof than CBS including: radio, television, out-of-home, live events, websites, mobile and social apps.”
FCC Socks WLS-AM, Chicago with $44,000 Fine. The Forfeiture Order comes from the station failing to identify the sponsor of programming that aired back in 2009. The content was in the form of long-form shows – two two-hour programs, a one-hour show – plus 90-second and 15-second spots and promotional announcements paid for by Workers Independent News. During the two-week period in question, the FCC determined that 11 announcements were aired without proper sponsor identification and issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for $44,000 – 11 violations at $4,000 per. Cumulus argued that the commission had in the past reduced fines to a one-time violation amount and that it should just have to pay $4,000. But the commission ruled that no such precedent had been set and that the forfeiture amounts in failure to identify sponsorships cases reflect the unique aspects of each case and thus the commission considers this case to be comprised of 11 violations, not one.
Former MLB Slugger and Talk Host Jack Clark Apologizes to Albert Pujols. During a discussion on WGNU, St. Louis, sports talk host and former MLB slugger Jack Clark alleged that former Cardinals player Albert Pujols used performance enhancing drugs during his time in St. Louis. Pujols threatened to sue and the station ended the contract between Clark’s co-host Kevin Slaten and Clark, cancelling their show. The station also issued an apology to Pujols. But for a time Clark maintained his assertion about Pujols and even challenged Pujols to a live debate – an invitation Pujols’ attorney refused. Now, Clark issues the aforementioned apology and Pujols agrees to withdraw his lawsuit.
“Market Rally” Readies for March Launch. What is said to be the first-ever, long-form agricultural commodity markets-focused national radio program will debut next month (3/10). That is when Farm Journal Media launches Chip Flory-hosted “Market Rally.” The one-hour weekday program will air at 2:00 pm (CT), immediately following the close of major commodity markets. Farm Journal Broadcast Division senior vice president Brian Conrady remarks that a “really solid group of stations” is already committed to air “Market Rally” and he anticipates “several more” before the program debuts. “The show fills a programming void for many stations,” Conrady comments. “It wraps their day’s farm coverage with a new, information-packed, entertaining program. It is all about markets, which everyone knows farmers cannot get enough of.” Flory notes, “We have a long list of guest analysts anxious to share their market perspective with the audience each day. We will take listener questions/comments via phone, text, and social media. Our goal is to remove as much confusion as possible from this increasingly volatile marketing environment.” Flory remains editorial director of Farm Journal’s “Pro Farmer” newsletter and he will host “Market Rally” from FJB’s new studio in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
The Beatles Played in Washington, Too! As America remembers The Beatles’ arrival in this country 50 years ago this week, much of the attention is focused on the New York-based national broadcast on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” But Cumulus Media’s WMAL, Washington knows that the group’s first public concert was in Washington, DC. Pictured here in the WMAL studios are Fox News Channel chief Washington correspondent – and noted Beatles expert – James Rosen (center) and “Mornings on the Mall” co-hosts Brian Wilson (left) and Larry O’Connor (right) after being on the air for Tuesday’s celebration of The Beatles’ first concert on U.S. soil – in the Nation’s Capital. Among other guests remembering The Beatles on the program were: The Beach Boys’ Mike Love, Rolling Stone Magazine’s David Wild, Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone, and local Fox 5 anchor (and former “Good Morning America” weather anchor) Tony Perkins, who discussed his love for the Beatles as an African-American youth growing up in D.C.
Odds & Sods. Baltimore Orioles broadcaster Jim Hunter recently visited his alma mater Seton Hall University and spoke with student staffers at his old college radio station – WSOU-FM – about making it in sports broadcasting today. Hunter, pictured here (third from the right) surrounded by students, stressed to them the importance of preparation, noting that the need to do your homework doesn’t end when you graduate from college. He also shared tips on improving on-air performance and how to tell listeners a good story…..New York City broadcasting legend John Gambling returned to the radio recently, if only briefly, to speak on WABC, New York with Frank Morano on his Sunday “Morning with Morano” program. Morano and Gambling talked about the state of radio today, the tradition of the Gamblings and covering weather events…..For the 18th consecutive year, ESPN Radio is providing comprehensive coverage of NBA All-Star 2014, culminating with an exclusive radio broadcast of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, February 16. Kevin Calabro will describe the action throughout the weekend with analyst Jon Barry. They will be joined by studio analysts Marc Kestecher and P.J. Carlesimo and reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith.
Brent & Meg Honored for Keeping Studio City, California Free of Dog Poop. Although they are heard all over the world on TalkersRadio (weekdays 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm PT), the experimental talk station that lives on this website, the dynamic husband/wife radio duo of Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) believe in the concept of cleaning up your own backyard as well as tackling the issues of greater humanity. This past Saturday evening (2/8) they were honored by some of LA’s top movers and shakers for their community volunteer work in regularly picking up dog poop (no kidding) found on the streets of LA’s Studio City – the neighborhood from which their daily show emanates (as well as their home). The gala appreciation dinner took place at Carla’s Café on the CBS Studio Center lot. Pictured here are (from l-r): State Assemblymember, 46th District, Adrin Nazarian; Los Angeles City Councilmember, 2nd District, Paul Krekorian; Meg McDonald (Brent & Meg Show on TalkersRadio); Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; and Brent Seltzer (Brent & Meg Show on Talkers Radio). Upon learning of Brent & Meg receiving this honor, TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo’s music editor/director Duane Doobie issued the statement: “I seldom listen to talk radio, but when I do, I prefer Brent & Meg. True, like most talk show hosts, they are full of sh*t… but in a helpful, solutions-oriented way.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Hillary Clinton in 2016, Immigration Reform, Winter Olympics, Winter Weather, and Shirley Temple Black Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). Scrutiny of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the release of new documents about the Clintons and Hillary’s possible run for president in 2016; the move in Washington to pass immigration reform legislation; the Winter Olympics games in Sochi, Russia; a new winter storm reportedly heading for the South and East this week; and the death of former child star and U.S. Ambassador Shirley Temple Black were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Still Pioneering After All These Years – 74-Year-Old Alex Bennett Is Building New Platform and Inventing “New” Talk Format. Some view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams. To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions. It would have been quite easy and understandable for radio legend Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73-years-old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago). Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take on talk radio. Bennett is innovatively and opportunistically using Skype to create “citizen panels” of up to 10 callers per clip interacting with him in on-air conversation at a time. To learn more about this creative venture and the ongoing adventures of one of radio’s truly cooler characters, read TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian’s feature piece posted today (2/5) in its entirety by clicking here.
SiriusXM Reports Revenue Up 12% in 2013. During yesterday’s Q4 conference call, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer told investors and analysts that the company delivered on all of its guidance for 2013 and enjoyed a revenue spike of 12% for the year plus saw its subscriber base rise to 25.5 million. Meyer, like Mel Karmazin before him, is touting the company’s dedication to increasing free cash flow and, to that end, Meyer reports free cash flow was up 31% to $927 million for the year. Looking back on 2013 Meyer underscored the importance of deals that get SiriusXM radios into new cars and stated the satellite service is now available in 71% of cars sold in the United States. Meyer also spoke about the company’s strategy with regard to the “connected vehicle,” saying, “We’ve acquired a smart team of technology engineers who are accelerating development of our overall connected car architecture, including the combination of satellite receivers with LTE hardware, a strategy that should also yield benefits to our existing audio business…We expect connected vehicle services to deliver close to $100 million of revenue this year, and we expect to grow this at strong double-digit rates over the next many years. We are in the process of fully integrating the CV business into SiriusXM, and its financial results are embedded in our guidance today.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can check out the entire conference here.
Greater Media Suspends WPEN, Philadelphia’s Mike Missanelli for Gay Slurs. This story goes to show how even a seasoned pro like Philadelphia sports talk host Mike Missanelli can make the mistake of engaging with a critic online. Greater Media has suspended afternoon personality Mike Missanelli after he called a critic a “latent homosexual” in an email exchange. The station issued the following statement, “We are aware of the email communications between Mike and one of his listeners. This individual has been harassing Mike by email for several years, which is cause for concern, and we are working with Mike to try to identify this person and stop the abuse. However, that does not excuse Mike’s conduct. The content of his emails is unacceptable and does not reflect our values as a company. Mike has been suspended and understands that future similar conduct will not be tolerated.” The story broke after the email exchange was posted on Deadspin.com.
Beasley Broadcast Group Beefs Up Digital Division. In announcing the hiring of three new regional digital directors, Beasley reveals its dedication to digital sales efforts. In a statement, vice president of digital Stacey Sedbrook speaks about the expectations after bringing Eddie Thorpe, Adam Meltzer and Carolyn Cope aboard. “The formation of this team will surely be the foundation of our success. Having the right people on my team is as important to me as having the right products and services to sell. Eddie, Adam and Carolyn were hand selected for their talents, capabilities and, most importantly, their nimble thinking. Our objective is to drive revenues for our advertisers, especially those smaller businesses and growing brands in the communities we serve. To achieve this goal, our regional digital directors will assist Beasley’s local market sales teams in creating enhanced advertising campaigns that include digital products and services tailored to the specific needs of our existing and new clients.” Eddie Thorpe comes to Beasley from the Tampa Bay Times where he was senior digital director. He’s responsible for the Miami and Fort Myers-Naples markets. Adam Meltzer is responsible for the Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware markets. He most recently was multimedia sales manager for Wicked Local. Carolyn Cope also served with Wicked Local as senior digital account executive of major accounts and is now overseeing the Augusta, Georgia; Fayetteville, North Carolina; and Eastern North Carolina markets (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville). Sedbrook is responsible for the company’s Las Vegas group.
Klatt Yields the Winning Run. In this case, that is a good thing as The Winning Run is the name of the full-service consultancy that Len Klatt is opening. The former Premiere Networks senior vice president/director of research is gearing the new undertaking – which will have Los Angeles and New York City offices – to national media companies and talent, programming services and advertisers. Among his clients are Sound Mind, Compass Media Marketing, Big Shoes Productions, Reel World, and The Blaze Radio Network. “Len continues to do the best job industry wide in both interpreting audience numbers and explaining them to clients interested in exploring the value premise of audience engagement on radio, online, and in digital media,” comments Sound Mind president Kraig Kitchin, Premiere’s former president/chief operating officer. “We are fortunate to have his talents for the benefit of our sponsors.” Klatt remarks, “It is not just about columns and numbers, it’s about how they can be used to shape the story in such a way to advance my clients’ vision. With The Winning Run, I want to cover all the bases.” Before the nearly two decades he spent at Premiere, Klatt was Westwood One‘s New York City-based director of research. He began his media research career at Media Buying Services International.
Learfield Adds to Footprint with Nelligan Acquisition. One of the leaders in college sports play-by-play rights is adding 41 schools to its roster with the acquisition of Nelligan Sports Marketing. Learfield Sports will now hold the multi-media rights to 92 schools, which puts its total above that of its fiercest competitor – IMG Sports, which holds the rights to 79 schools. Learfield president and CEO Greg Brown tells SportsBusinessDaily, “In some cases, this will open up new markets for us. In other cases, it will further fortify what we’re doing…Early on in our discussions with Providence [Learfield owner Providence Equity Partners], we identified some strategic opportunities that would be productive for our business. Nelligan is consistent with the business we’re already in. This was right down the middle of the fairway for us.” Nelligan Sports founder T.J. Nelligan will remain with the new company in a leadership role. He comments that he doesn’t expect attrition with this merger.
Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is helping the National Multiple Sclerosis Society by naming it the station’s WTOP Charity of the Month recipient for February 2014. Through the program the MS Society will receive more than $20,000 worth of in-kind contributions to support Multiple Sclerosis awareness and programs, including 64 promotional announcements on WTOP and sister station Federal News Radio. Additional content and exposure for MS Society will be included on WTOP.com and FederalNewsRadio.com throughout the entire month of February…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago announces the next in its “Blackhawks Live” series when forwards Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad take part in the live event at the Old Town Pour House in suburban Oakbrook on February 24. The event includes a photo op with the players, an autographed photo and dinner, tax and tip. “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests…..The New Jersey Broadcasters Association has created PSAs for member stations reminding drivers in the Garden State that it’s illegal to drive a vehicle that hasn’t had the snow and ice properly cleared off it. Interested stations can visit www.njba.com for information…..The Radio Television Digital News Association names WBIR-TV, Knoxville news director Christy Moreno to its board of directors, representing Region 8, which includes Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia.
WestwoodOne to Present Exclusive Coverage of Winter Olympics. When the 2014 Olympic Winter Games commence in Sochi, Russia on Friday, WestwoodOne will be the exclusive network for audio coverage. WestwoodOne’s programing will include: shortform coverage Olympic updates three times an hour, 24/7, from February 7- February 23; longform coverage – “Today in Sochi” including two hours of longform coverage for 17 consecutive nights; coverage of all U.S. Olympic Hockey (Men’s and Women’s) plus the gold medal games in Men’s and Women’s hockey regardless of who is playing.
Dana Loesch Visits ‘The View.’ Conservative talk media figure Dana Loesch – who just entered national syndication for her daily talk radio show via Radio America – appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” on Monday in her stead as a host on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze where she hosts a daily, 5:00 pm program. Pictured here (center) between the program’s Jenny McCarthy (left) and Sherri Shepherd (right), Loesch spoke about her conversion from a progressive liberal to her current conservative philosophy and fielded questions from the four co-hosts.
Obama Administration Splits with Some Democrats, Philip Seymour Hoffman Death/Heroin Use in America, Hillary in 2016, Immigration Legislation/Amnesty Component, ObamaCare Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Sochi Olympics Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/4). The reported rift between Democrats on Capitol Hill and the Obama Administration on some issues; the aftermath of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and the light it’s shed on heroin abuse in America; the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016; the proposed immigration legislation working its way through Congress and the possibility of amnesty for current illegals; ongoing scrutiny of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; activity on the U.S. and world financial markets; and reports of the problems Russia is facing getting Sochi ready for the Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Reports Q3 Revenue Down 4%. Bucking the trend of recent third quarter reports from other broadcasters showing generally moderate revenue growth, Entercom’s Q3 2013 financial statement indicated revenue down 4% on $98.4 million. President and CEO David Field stated that station expenses increased 5% and the resulting adjusted EBITDA was down 22% to $26.2 million. Field did tell investors during yesterday’s conference call that the company has been paying down debt, “We also continued to direct our substantial free cash flow towards debt reduction. During the third quarter alone, we cut our net debt by $20 million, and have now lowered our net debt by nearly $450 million over the past six years.” Field reported that local sales were down 5% and national revenue was basically flat. Field admitted the company’s sales effort was the problem, stating that in the markets in which the company operates, total radio revenue was up 1%. “Plain and simple, our sales performance in the third quarter was poor. We failed to get the job done and that is unacceptable. We lagged our radio peers by a significant margin, and failed to capitalize on our strong brands, ratings and marketing capabilities.” Field reminded investors that the company anticipated a down third quarter due to recently enacted changes in the company’s sales strategies and practices and that the changes will make the company stronger in the long run.
Saga Communications Inches Up 1.6% in Net Revenue. For the third quarter of 2013, Saga Communications says the $35.8 million (ex political) resulted in a net revenue increase of 1.6%. CEO Ed Christian told investors during yesterday’s conference call that considering how much the company is down from the loss of political from last year to this, the results are not bad though he had hoped to be up 2%. Christian can be downright chatty during these conference calls and he took the time to reference a Barron’s article indicating America may be at the beginning of decades of slow growth and suggested radio’s prescription for adapting to such an economy is to focus on rebuilding radio’s image. He says research shows people like radio but there needs to be more trust and respect. “If we blend the community – and you can define community any way that you like it – if we blend the community and we blend radio into one, we’ll continue to survive and prosper, even in a 2% GDP world.”
Salem Communications’ Broadcast Division Announces Flat Q3 Numbers. The broadcasting division of Salem Communications was up just a hair – 0.3% on $46 million dollars for the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period a year ago. During yesterday’s conference call, CFO Evan Masyr broke down the company’s performance by format, reporting, “Thirty-nine of our radio stations are programmed in what we call our foundational format Christian Teaching and Talk, these stations contributed 45% of total broadcast revenue and increased 1% for the quarter. Block programming increased 2.3%, while infomercials were down 29.7% as we continue to reduce the infomercials on our radio stations to improve the overall programming on the stations. Our 26 news/talk stations had a decrease of 6% in revenue for the quarter. Overall, these stations contributed 14% of total broadcast revenue. The revenue from the 12 contemporary Christian music stations contributed 24% of total broadcast revenue and had an increase of 5% for the quarter. Again, we continue to see strong results from many of our music stations, most notably in this quarter Los Angeles and Dallas. The seven stations that we have programmed in Spanish language, Christian Teaching and Talk grew by 26%, and these stations comprised 2% of our broadcast revenue. Finally, with respect to the formats that we focus on the 10 stations in a business talk format, and that format contributed 3% of our broadcast revenue and had a decrease of 2% in revenue.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. Members can read the entire call here.
Nielsen Promotes Mitch Barns to CEO. The ratings giant – which recently brought radio ratings into its fold with the acquisition of Arbitron – announces that Dwight M. “Mitch” Barns will succeed David L. Calhoun as chief executive officer effective Jaunary 1, 2014. Barns has been with Nielsen for the past 16 years, currently serving as president, global client service, which oversees $5.5 billion in revenue and leads the efforts of Nielsen’s Watch and Buy client service teams worldwide. Upon Barns’ succession, David Calhoun will become executive chairman of the board of directors, at which time Nielsen’s current Chairman of the Board, James M. Kilts, will step down as chairman, but will remain a board member. Calhoun states, “Nielsen is successfully implementing its global strategy, and the time is right to name the next leader to take the company to its next phase of growth. Mitch’s strong track record at the helm of a number of key Nielsen business units around the world – combined with his vision and commitment to our strategic plan – puts the company on solid footing for continued global expansion and value creation. I will continue to remain invested in Mitch’s success in my new role.” Barns adds, “I am honored by this opportunity to serve Nielsen as its chief executive officer, and I am thankful for the board’s vote of confidence. Throughout my 16 years at this company, I’ve been privileged to work side-by-side with talented leaders and associates in Nielsen businesses across the world. I look forward to continuing our work together to anticipate client needs with ongoing innovation and expand our footprint in developing markets, while consistently delivering growth and enhancing shareholder value.”
KFI, Los Angeles Critic Files Petition to Deny License Renewal. It’s probably not surprising to anyone at Clear Channel’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles that Alex Nogales, representing the National Hispanic Media Coalition, has filed a Petition to Deny the station’s license renewal application. Nogales has long been a critic of the station’s programming. It’s hard to say whether Nogales actually believes the FCC would act on his assertions that because hosts such as John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou speak against illegal immigration that their show is “harmful and dangerous” and this could qualify as actionable or whether he just wants to get some publicity by announcing the filing of the Petition. Regardless, as we’ve seen countless times before – and most recently with the Commission’s refusal to deny license renewal for Cumulus’ WMAL-AM/FM, Washington – disagreements with the opinions of talk show hosts are not valid reasons for non-renewal. As it wrote in the recent WMAL case, the FCC states, “The Commission is prohibited from exercising any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions. A licensee has broad discretion – based on its right to free speech – to choose the programming that it believes serves the needs and interests of the members of its audience.”
Programmer and Consultant Greg Moceri’s Son Tony Writes New Hannity Theme Music. Tony Moceri is the 13-year-old son of talk radio programmer and consultant Greg Moceri and resides in Ada, Michigan. Tony has been playing piano since he was five and currently is a percussionist in his middle school’s band. Greg Moceri tells Mlive.com that, though he’s worked with Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity in the past, his connection didn’t influence the use of his son’s work. He says Hannity’s staff was seeking new music, “They wanted a change and asked for something upbeat and lively for the show opening. I wasn’t thrilled with what I was finding and then I remembered Tony’s piece and sent it to some people that I work with. They all thought it was perfect and so I sent it to Sean. I didn’t tell him where it came from; I didn’t want him to feel obligated. But he loved it and now they are using it.” Hannity told Mlive.com, “Isn’t this a great story? When Greg sent me the music, I thought it was a pop song and wondered why I had never heard it. I have a son about the same age…and I listen to a lot of kids music. I love music and this is spectacular.”
Odds & Sods. Hockey is back and so is WGN, Chicago’s broadcast series, “Chicago Blackhawks Live,” a number of one-hour radio remotes during the 2013-2014 season that take place over dinner and feature current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives. It’s hosted by Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray and the season premiere will feature Blackhawks forwards Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw. It takes place on November 11 at 7:00 pm at Old Town Pour House in Chicago…..Cuts at Rogers Communications are affecting some of the company’s spoken-word outlets. The Ottawa Citizen reports that CIWW, Ottawa is losing seven staffers as the station will simulcast sister CJCL, Toronto “Sportsnet 590” for weekends and part of the weekday programming. In all, Rogers is reportedly laying off 94 staffers…..MLB‘s Miami Marlins games will be heard on Clear Channel‘s sports talk WINZ, Miami beginning with the 2014 season. This past season, Marlins play-by-play was heard on Lincoln Financial Media‘s WAXY, Miami.
KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Dori Monson to Take on Governor Inslee in Hoops Challenge. KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dori Monson gets to face off with Washington Governor Jay Inslee in a charity basketball game tonight that will be broadcast live on KIRO-FM. The “Clash on the Court” will benefit Food Lifeline and Sports in Schools. The program consists of a five-on-five co-ed game between local youth, coached by Monson and Inslee, followed by a five-on-five game featuring show hosts from KIRO Radio and “710 ESPN Seattle” up against local politicians handpicked by Jay Inslee. The event will conclude with a one-on-one game between Monson and Inslee. Monson jokes, “This may be my first and only opportunity to force a local politician to go right! This proves that, for us aging basketball players, we check our politics at the gym door. I’m thrilled Governor Inslee and I – along with our colleagues – are able to get together to raise money for two great organizations.”
ObamaCare Criticism, Presidential Approval Polls, Election Day, Toronto Mayor Crack Case and NFL Bullying Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/5). Criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; new lower numbers for President Obama’s approval ratings; the high-profile races in Tuesday’s elections, including gubernatorial contests in Virginia and New Jersey; the admission by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford that he’s used crack cocaine in the past; and the accusations of bullying within the Miami Dolphins organization were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Division Posts 3.5% Revenue Gain in Q3. Milwaukee-based Journal Communications issued its 2013 third quarter numbers yesterday and the radio division reports revenue was up 3.5% on $20.5 million compared to the same period a year ago. The company adds, “Local advertising revenue increased 4.3%, primarily due to increases in professional services, retail and medical advertising. National advertising revenue decreased 4.9%, mostly due to declines in media, professional services and restaurant advertising. Operating earnings from radio stations were $3.5 million compared to $3.0 million, an increase of 16.3%. Radio operating expenses increased 1.3% driven by higher employee-related costs and higher broadcast rights fees.”
FCC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Revitalization of AM Radio Service. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued yesterday (10/31) by the Federal Communications Commission addressing the revitalization of AM radio service can be found in its entirety here. The six-pronged proposal consists of: opening an FM translator filing window exclusively for AM station owners; modifying the daytime community coverage standards for existing AM stations; modifying the nighttime community coverage standards for existing AM stations; eliminating the AM ‘rachet rule’; permitting wider implementation of modulation dependent carrier level control technologies; and modifying AM antenna efficiency standards. NAB CEO Gordon Smith says the organization supports the move. “NAB salutes the leadership of Acting Chair Mignon Clyburn and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai for taking a strong interest in revitalizing AM radio, which has a long and storied history of providing America’s hometowns with news, entertainment, sports and community affairs information. AM radio is a cultural touchstone and jobs generator in cities large and small; many of the top revenue-generating stations are on the AM band. We strongly endorse the revitalization proceeding and stand ready to work with the FCC to develop meaningful solutions.”
FCC Denies Virginia Man’s Objection to Renewal of WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s License. From time to time, the FCC receives objections to the renewal of the license of a radio station and, also occasionally, that is based on the notion that the station’s programming is biased and that it is not serving the public. That is roughly what Kevin M. Raymond of Woodbridge, Virginia claimed when he objected to the renewal of WMAL’s license. Raymond argued that the station has an “incessant bias” against the government throughout all its programs and the station broadcasts “blatant lies on each program” that cannot be considered protected by the right to free speech. On Thursday, the FCC announce its denial of Raymond’s objection. Stating in part, the Commission wrote, “The Objection also questions whether the Station is funded anonymously for political propaganda purposes. The Objection provides no support for this speculative comment. Accordingly, this argument requires no further discussion here…There have been no other violations which, taken together, constitute a pattern of abuse…We have examined the Objection and find that it does not raise a substantial and material question of fact calling for further inquiry or otherwise persuade us that granting the Application would contravene the public interest, convenience, and necessity. The Commission is prohibited from exercising any power of censorship over broadcast stations with respect to content-based programming decisions. A licensee has broad discretion – based on its right to free speech – to choose the programming that it believes serves the needs and interests of the members of its audience.
New Comedy Album Getting Noticed by Talk Show Hosts and Producers. Before the days of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, when it came to politics, some of the most interesting political comments came from music parodies and comedians. Older industry professionals might remember the radio phenomenon of their childhoods called “The First Family” – a comedy album created by talented impersonator Vaughn Meader and a cast of characters parodying the newly elected President John F. Kennedy and his family/administration. After the assassination of the young president, the album disappeared as quickly as it rose to prominence. You don’t really hear much pre-recorded political satire on the radio these days…but that may change. A longtime radio host/producer has joined forces with a longtime entertainment industry executive to put together a political comedy CD that has hit the top of the comedy CD charts in just the initial two weeks of release. For Michael Hardeman (a recurring contributor to the Stephanie Miller radio show) and Marshall Blonstein (a veteran LA record executive), being politically correct means being “Politically Incoherent.” Read all about this exciting project in a new article posted today (11/1) by TALKERS special features correspondent Jeff McKay by clicking here.