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By Chris Miller
Chris Miller Digital
SHAKER HEIGHTS — Those of us in digital media know that our world will continue to change drastically, over and over again. We also know that we will be bigger and better three years … five years … 10 years from now. Plus, we hear how radio compares itself to online listening choices, and we see how you use your digital platforms.
And here’s what we think.
We Have Transmitter Envy
SiriusXM Moves Past 25 Million Subscriber Mark. SiriusXM Radio announces it has added 715,000 net new subscribers in the second quarter, and that brings its total subscriber number to more than 25 million. The satcaster cites strong automotive sales for helping drive 15% growth in net additions over the second quarter of 2012 and setting “a post-merger record for quarterly net subscriber additions.” As a result, SiriusXM is raising full-year guidance for total net subscriber additions to 1.5 million from its previous guidance of 1.4 million. Company CEO Jim Meyer states, “The new subscriber additions in the quarter have helped SiriusXM reach an exciting new milestone that reflects the popularity and reach of SiriusXM programming and services. The quarterly results bolster SiriusXM’s leadership position in a dynamic audio entertainment marketplace as we continue our trend of strong, profitable growth. Additionally, we are raising 2013 subscriber guidance to 1.5 million net additions based on our record performance in the quarter.” Also, the company reiterated its existing 2013 guidance for 1.6 million self-pay net subscriber additions.
Clear Channel’s WOR, New York Bidding on Yankees Broadcast Rights. According to a report by Phil Mushnick and Don Burke in the New York Post, Clear Channel-owned WOR, New York is entering the bidding war over rights to New York Yankees baseball play-by-play. The reporters cite inside sources that say the company has offered a figure surpassing the current $14 million CBS Radio pays to air games on its all-news WCBS. CBS Radio has held the rights for the past 11 years and bidding (contracts for both the Yankees and the Mets expire after this season) was expected to be hot with WFAN’s addition of an FM signal in the market and ESPN-owned WEPN also gaining an FM signal. Whether Clear Channel really wants the Yankees or not is up for speculation – it’s not unusual for companies to enter into the bidding process to drive up the cost for its competition. It’s a pretty good bet that CBS Radio wants to keep the Yankees but if the price gets too steep will the company let the games go to WOR? Time will tell. Meanwhile, unlike Buckley Broadcasting (WOR’s previous owner) Clear Channel has a lot of experience owning flagship baseball signals at its other stations across the country.
Tribune to Split Broadcast and Publishing Entities into Two Companies. Tribune Company is reporting that it is beginning the process of dividing its assets into two distinctive companies: Tribune Company will contain WGN-AM, Chicago and all of the television stations and TV production units while Tribune Publishing will be the parent of its newspapers including the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant and others. Like similarly structured companies, Tribune is focusing on its entertainment properties and the recent plan to acquire Local TV Holdings’ 19 TV stations is proof of that. During its long bankruptcy proceedings, Tribune had its newspapers on the market but was unable to execute a deal. News Corp. just announced it would execute a similar move and is splitting its TV and entertainment holdings (including Fox News Channel) into one company – 21st Century Fox – while keeping its publishing assets in the entity called News Corp.
Rachel Baribeau Exits ’92.9 The Game’ in Atlanta. One of the cast members of CBS Radio sports talk WZGC, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” exits for a gig with Raycom Sports. Rachel Baribeau leaves the PM drive show where she appeared alongside Kordell Stewart and Carl Dukes to join the company that owns the television rights to ACC basketball and football and, through a sublicense with ESPN, is the syndicator of ACC football and basketball. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Dukes and Stewart mentioned her departure on the air with Dukes stating, “We love Rachel and we’ll stay in contact with her. She’s moving on to a great opportunity for herself.”
Nationally Syndicated Financial Talk Host Ray Lucia Fined Over Investment Strategy Claims. Ray Lucia and his Raymond J. Lucia Cos. Inc. were fined by administrative-law judge Cameron Elliot after the judge agreed with the original SEC complaint that Lucia’s “Buckets of Money” investment strategy – which claimed it had back-testing to support the success of its strategy – had “scant, if any, actual back-tests.” According to a report in Investment News, Lucia was fined $50,000 and his company was fined $250,000. Additionally, his advisor registration was revoked by the judge. Investment News reports that Elliot ruled Lucia “misrepresented for years ‘the validity of purported back-testing in seminars for prospective investors’ interested in his Buckets of Money strategy for retirement savings.” Lucia and his company have 21 days in which to appeal the decision.
Radio One and TV One Bring Roland Martin to Radio and TV with “News One Now.” Radio One president and CEO and TV One chairman Alfred Liggins announces to Multichannel.com that his companies are developing a new program featuring former CNN journalist Roland Martin to be called “News One Now” that will debut in the fall prior to the Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference. Liggins says, “This is a further evolution of TV One’s commitment to better and more important television for African-Americans, and is also an extension of Radio One’s history and philosophy of making sure we inform, entertain and advocate for the African-American community. This is the first time a network has approached African-American news on this type of commitment level.” Liggins adds, “About 50% of African Americans get their news from cable news networks so we now have the opportunity to set the table on a daily basis. The show will serve as the nexus of black thought – when you talk about what’s happening politically, socially, culturally in our communities, this is the place where people will be able to have those discussions.” The three-hour radio show will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am with the last hour simulcast on television via TV One and will “offer news and analysis of politics, entertainment, sports and culture from an African American perspective.” Martin has been hosting TV One’s Sunday program “Washington Watch” but with the new venture, that show will not return in the fall.
Compass Media Networks’ ‘Free Beer & Hot Wings’ Morning Show Renews with Flagship WGRD, Grand Rapids. Townsquare Media’s rock WGRD, Grand Rapids announces it has struck a new deal with the nationally syndicated young male-targeted “Free Beer & Hot Wings” morning drive show hosted by Gregg “Free Beer” Daniels, Chris “Hot Wings” Michels, and Eric Zane. The new deal keeps the program on the station through 2018. Townsquare Grand Rapids vice president/general manager Russ Hines tells MLive.com, “Gregg, Chris and Eric continue to entertain and grow their audience every day and amuse their listeners with quality humorous content. Their decision to stay in West Michigan and continue to raise their families here is another indication of what makes Grand Rapids special.”
KQNT, Spokane Adds Sean Hannity for Middays. Clear Channel-owned news/talk KQNT, Spokane adds Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity program to the schedule to air in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm following Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh. KQNT program director Bob Castle states, “Sean Hannity is a media superstar and his addition to our lineup now provides our listeners and advertisers with the most popular talk show hosts in the country, all on one station.”
Gary Landis Named Director of Client Relations at Fifty & Five. Former Westwood One vice president and longtime media consultant Gary Landis joins Fifty & Five as director of client relations. Based in Redondo Beach, California, Fifty & Five is a four-year-old firm that specializes in social media marketing for brands, products and services including the radio industry. Speaking about his new opportunity, Landis states, “With over 40 years of national broadcasting experience behind me, I am looking forward to working with CEO Lucas Vandenberg and EVP of client relations Peter Evans, plus the most incredible team of social media talent on the planet. This is not your mother’s social media agency. Beyond what is being done by every radio station today, there are new ways to employ social media that can profoundly impact the bottom line.” Peter Evans says, “With Gary’s diverse experience and expertise in the broadcast media, we can only anticipate great things from him in the coming months and years.” Landis can be reached at 612-581-7581 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Doug Stephan’s ‘Dream Big America’ Kicked Off This Week. Nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan – heard around the country on his “Good Day” morning program – debuted the “Dream Big America” first-ever live radio show that pits new entrepreneur ideas against each other. The inaugural lineup of contestants appeared on Tuesday, July 9, at 9:00 am on “Doug Stephan’s Good Day.” Three entrepreneurs each pitched their business ideas. Then a panel of noted business executive/celebrities cross-examined each contestant. Next, listeners were invited to call special voting numbers to select a weekly winner. Weekly winners will be invited back to face off in the “Finals Show” on the last Tuesday of the month. The final winner will receive cash, support and valuable resources for their business, according to Stephan. The first three entrepreneurs were: Conscious Box, which enables customers to discover healthier, environmentally focused products by sending a monthly sample box of 10-20 products to a subscriber’s front door, presented by CEO Patrick Kelly, Jr.; myEDmatch, a job-matching site for educators that connects schools and teachers with shared missions, beliefs, and goals, presented by CEO Alicia Herald; and Stemulation, the first luxury skin-care product that uses adult mesenchymal stem cells to rejuvenate the skin, presented by president and CEO Laurie Nicoll. Speaking about the debut program, Doug Stephan says, “What a powerhouse group of entrepreneurs for the ‘Dream Big America’ inaugural show. We are coming out of the box with a bang! Each one of these new ventures is very impressive in their own right. I can’t wait to see how America will vote between these three companies.” The “Dream Big America” program is a collaboration between Stephan’s “Good Day,” the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and its 1 Million Cups start-up education program, and the San Diego-based Nutritional Capital Network.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck to Join Fox News Channel’s ‘Fox & Friends’ Morning Show. Longtime cast member of ABC TV’s “The View,” conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck, will become part of Fox News Channel’s morning show, replacing current co-host Gretchen Carlson who is going to be anchoring her own daytime show on the cable news/talker beginning in September. In a statement, FNC chairman and CEO Roger Ailes says, “Elisabeth’s warm and engaging personality made her a star on ‘The View.’ She has proven to be an excellent conversationalist and I am certain she will make a great addition to our already successful morning franchise.”
Odds & Sods. Salem Radio Network announces a month-long, multi-platform initiative in August designed to highlight what it calls “the battle over America’s culture wars” and reporting that SRN’s nationally syndicated talk hosts – as well as the network’s 24/7 Washington, D.C.-based SRN News service – will all focus interviews and special features on “the current challenges to traditional American values.”…..WTOP, Washington’s “Best of Washington” kicks off this week with new and returning “Top 10” categories. Hubbard’s broadcast and digital news operation says it wants to know the best things in the Washington area. This week on WTOP.com listeners can nominate their favorites in these ten categories: pizza, local charity, food truck, burger, wings, fries, local brewery, happy hour, farmer’s market, and shopping mall. During the week of July 15 -19 the finalists will be announced and voting will begin. The winners of WTOP’s “Best of Washington” will be unveiled weekdays July 22 through August 2…..ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike — Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic – will describe the action over the Citi Field PA system for those at the stadium during the 2013 Chevrolet Home Run Derby, Monday, July 15, at 8:00 pm at the MLB All Star Game festivities. Greeny and Golic will be positioned on the field to provide commentary and player interviews during this year’s event.
Illegal Immigration Legislation/Amnesty Program, ObamaCare Implementation, George Zimmerman Trial, Egypt Turmoil, Aaron Hernandez Case, NSA Surveillance Program, Texas Abortion Bill, and Mexico Grabs Obesity Crown Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9). The debate over new immigration legislation and the proposed amnesty policy; implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; new details linking Aaron Hernandez to the shooting death of Odin Lloyd; debate over the National Security Agency’s surveillance program; the Texas House’s passing of new abortion legislation; and Mexico’s rise to the most obese nation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.