SiriusXM Reports Positive Q1 with Revenue Up 12%; Company Involved in Digital Dashboard Technology Rollout. That 12% percent increase over the same period a year ago is on revenue of $897 million. New permanent CEO Jim Meyer had every reason to be bubbly during his first investor conference call as official chief executive officer of the satcaster. He reports the company grew its subscriber base to a new record high on new subscriptions of 453,000 during the quarter. From a financial perspective he stated, “We are proud to have achieved the highest suggested EBITDA margin in the history of the company in the first quarter. We expect to achieve a 30% adjusted EBITDA margin this year, up from 27% last year and we continue to target 40% plus margins over time. You will see us move over the next few years to become one of the highest margin businesses among major media companies in the United States. Our ability to convert the bulk of that EBITDA in the free cash flow is also unmatched in the subscription media world.” He said the company is riding the “tailwind in the new car market as it recovers.” Meyer told investors the company is committed to having the best content, spoke about new channel additions as well as new talent joining the company and mentioned talk host Michael Smerconish. Addressing the specific question about GM’s plans for its future “digital dashboard,” Meyer said he couldn’t talk about any one manufacturer’s plans but was able to state, “I believe GM is on a leadership strategy in terms of where I believe the auto industry will go in general. And that is, I believe, over a mid and long period of time — you can define how many years that is — you will see automakers move to what I will call embedded connectivity that will be LTE-based that will give them lots of options for what they want to do for their customers and their vehicles. I think it’s very important that Sirius XM participates in that rollout of technology as it occurs over the next three to seven years and that’s exactly what we’re all about when we referred to our connected-car strategy. This is something that…I want to reiterate again today, that we’re moving and reprioritizing a lot of our technical resources and frankly now our commercial programming resources towards making that goal happen as we go out over time.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript. You can read the whole shebang here.
Tom Wheeler Gets Nod from Obama for FCC Chief. On the political side of things, many Democrats wanted to see President Obama select a woman for the post being vacated by Julius Genachowski, but the president nominated a man with a telecommunications background who was very helpful in getting him elected. Politico reports that managing director of Core Capital Partners, Tom Wheeler, (along with his wife) worked Iowa for six weeks straight during the president’s first campaign. Although Wheeler will get some grief from those who are suspicious of his past tenure as a lobbyist with both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the CTIA (Cellular Telephone Industry Association), he has experience in the industry having founded numerous cable and communications services businesses. National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith states, “NAB welcomes the nomination of Tom Wheeler as chairman of the FCC. He has the experience and temperament to serve the agency with distinction, and we look forward to working with him.”
Talkers New York 2013 Approaching Sellout Today. At the present rate of registration bookings, all available seats to the forthcoming Talkers New York 2013 will be sold out by the end of business today (5:00 pm ET). The 16th annual installment of the talk industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention has broken the record for reaching advance registration earlier than ever before. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “We are amazed and gratified that this conference has reached a sellout almost five weeks in advance of its actual date, which is a testimony to the vibrancy of the talk format and the enthusiasm of the industry that produces it.” The one-day, power-packed event takes place on Thursday, June 6 in New York City between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. It features a speaker roster of more than 50 industry leaders from programming, sales, talent, management, technology and ownership. Registration ($199 for all events and food services) is open exclusively to members of the working media and can only be booked by phone with credit card. Call 413-565-5413. For complete registration and sponsorship information including an up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.
Walton & Johnson Take Over Mornings on KPRC, Houston. Just four months after the Walton & Johnson [John Walton (left) and Steve Johnson (right)] morning show was dropped from Clear Channel’s classic rock KKRW, Houston “97.3 The Arrow,” the program is brought back to the Houston airwaves as the new morning program on the company’s news/talk KPRC. The duo was replaced on “The Arrow” by longtime St. Louis radio personality J.C. Corcoran. Clear Channel Houston director of AM programming Bryan Erickson says, “We are thrilled to have Walton & Johnson back on KPRC. They have a proven track record of great ratings and we look forward to them continuing that success on KPRC.” Walton & Johnson made KPRC their flagship beginning in 2007 but moved to “The Arrow” in 2009. Off KPRC as a result of the move is Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo who is based at Clear Channel’s WOAI, San Antonio and is heard there and on other Clear Channel news/talk stations.
Armstrong & Getty to Join KFMB, San Diego in June. Morning show duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty will be heard in the San Diego market beginning June 3 as their program bumps current morning host Mike Slater to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Armstrong & Getty are based at Clear Channel’s KSTE, Sacramento and heard in other markets in Northern California including San Francisco on KKSF. This is a big move for the duo as they are added to a non-Clear Channel station – Midwest TV’s KFMB. Program director Dave Sniff states, “Like any great radio morning show, Armstrong and Getty have that unique ability to not only connect with the listener but to become their companions. They fit in amazingly well among the great storytellers that are part of 760 KFMB’s character and lineage. They’re not so much a ‘talk show’ as a ‘mock show.’”
Cox Media’s WOKV, Jacksonville Adds 104.5 FM Signal. Market news/talk powerhouse WOKV got a little more powerful as Cox Media Group gives the 104.5 FM signal long-occupied by now-defunct rock station WFYV to the station to boost its coverage of the region. WOKV program director Mike Dorwart says, “Our listeners told us loud and clear that we needed more power. Moving to 104.5 FM means that, for the first time, our listeners can hear us crystal clear, everywhere in northeast Florida, both day and night. The most noticeable improvement will be heard by listeners in Baker, Clay, St. Johns, and Nassau counties. They now have full coverage from WOKV, 24/7, on 104.5 FM. Duval residents will also hear a big difference, especially those who listen at work. Our new signal also gives reliable coverage to listeners in Flagler, Putnam, Bradford, Union and Columbia counties in Florida, as well as Camden and Charlton counties in Georgia.” The station has been simulcast on the 106.5 FM frequency but that class A FM is much smaller. WOKV will continue to be heard on 106.5 as the company directs listeners to the new 104.5 frequency.
Five Critical Steps for Radio to Achieve Success with Online Video. Noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo outlines five crucial pointers that radio broadcasters should keep in mind when utilizing video in their digital initiatives. In a column posted today (5/1) he suggests: 1) bad equipment is usually the best; 2) online video is NOT television (TV); 3) 80% of all videos are watched within 72 hours of posting; 4) most of the biggest stars of the internet (“webstars”) are self-cast; and 5) late evening is the best time to post. To read the entirety of this timely and informative article, click here.
The End of an Era for Knoxville News/Talk; Country to Take Over 100.3 Frequency. With Journal Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Oak Ridge FM’s news/talk WNOX, Knoxville about to close, the company is preparing to move the country format currently heard on its WCYQ to the much stronger 100.3 signal currently occupied by news/talk on WNOX. A country simulcast will begin tomorrow on the two FMs (5/2) and the news/talk programming now on WNOX will move to Blount Broadcasting’s WKVL, a daytime AM at 850.
KTRS, St. Louis Newest Affiliate for Envision’s ‘America Weekend.’ The weekend news/talk radio program being nationally syndicated by Envision Radio Networks announces CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis is the latest station to add the programming to its weekend offerings. Envision calls “America Weekend” “the winning antidote to bad brokered programming and tiresome ‘Best-of’ shows. Hosted by Paul Harris, Rick Roberts, and Turi Ryder, ‘America Weekend’ is designed to increase ratings while providing an innovative system for maintaining or even increasing revenue from brokered programs. The flexible ‘America Weekend’ system provides the perfect platform to break away for sports and other special programming as needed. Since ‘America Weekend’ is broadcast live via satellite, it is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen. The program airs live each Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.”
Fargo Stations Sales Close: Fargo-Moorhead Radio Cluster to Midwest Communications; Triad Broadcasting Group to Larry Wilson’s L&L. The sales of both of these Fargo market station groups were announced last year and were approved by the FCC months ago. Now the transactions close with Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications taking ownership of the former Fargo-Moorhead Radio cluster that includes: news/talk KFGO, sports KVOX, CHR WDAY “Y-94,” country KBVB “Bob FM,” talk KRWK “101.9 Talk FM,” and adult hits KMJO “Popster FM.” Midwest Communications vice president of programming Jeff McCarthy tells the Forum of Fargo Moorhead he doesn’t anticipate any immediate programming changes. Larry Wilson, whose Alpha Broadcasting operates stations in Portland, Oregon, also is a principal in L&L Broadcasting and his company is closing on Triad Broadcasting’s stations that include: oldies KQWB “True Oldies,” classic rock KPFX “The Fox,” hot AC KLTA, country KVOX “Froggy 99.9,” full service KBMW, and rock KQWB “Q98.” Triad vice president and market manager Michael Brooks also tells the paper he does not anticipate any immediate changes.
WEEI Names John Ryder to Red Sox Broadcast Team; Grande and Merloni to Handle Fill-In Role. In announcing John Ryder’s ascension to a permanent role on Red Sox broadcasts as host of pre- and post-game coverage, the company says, “Ryder has been with WEEI since 1998 and is a regular contributor to the ‘Planet Mikey’ show, in addition to hosting ‘Red Sox Review’ and ‘Celtics Rewind’ after Sox and Celtics games.” The company is also announcing that Sean Grande and Lou Merloni will join the broadcasts filling in for Dave O’Brien, who will miss Monday night games during the season due to his responsibilities for ESPN. Grande has been the voice of the Boston Celtics since 2001, after having served as the TV voice of the Minnesota Timberwolves for three years. Merloni is currently co-host of the “Mut and Merloni” show on WEEI 93.7 FM. Merloni also enjoyed a nine-year professional career in Major League Baseball, the first five with the Red Sox. Entercom Boston vice president of programming Jason Wolfe says, “John has done a stellar job in every role we’ve had for him and has absolutely earned this promotion. He’s hosted the pre- and post-game shows for the Sox many times before and was a natural choice for us to fill this important job. Sean’s play-by-play experience speaks for itself. He’s one of the greats in the industry right now, and Lou’s expertise is second to none. There’s no baseball man in Boston who knows the Sox better than Lou.”
Odds & Sods. Result Radio’s Christian contemporary KJJK, Fargo will flip to sports talk on Monday, May 6 using programming from Fox Sports Radio Network including Dan Patrick, Jay Mohr and the “Loose Cannons” with Pat O’Brien and Steve Hartman. The station will continue to serve as a Minnesota Twins affiliate…..Personality J.D. Hayworth – co-host of the “Hacksaw & Hayworth” show on sports talk XEPRS, San Diego – does some news/talk fill-in work this week when he sits in for Cumulus Media Networks host Michael Savage tonight through Friday from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. He’ll also sit in for the company’s Mike Huckabee tomorrow from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET…..Bouyed by coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Texas fertilizer warehouse explosion, cable news/talk channel CNN has improved in the ratings compared to the same period a year ago. Based on April Nielsen numbers as reported in Deadline.com, CNN saw its total day viewers number rise 79% compared to April 2012. CNN was also up in prime time, achieving an 81% increase in total viewers over the same period a year ago. The network was able to climb over MSNBC into second place behind Fox News Channel in both ratings categories.
Benghazi Cover-up Investigation, ObamaCare Effects, Boston Marathon Bombing Aftermath, Slow Job Growth Reports, and Immigration Legislation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). New inquiries into the Benghazi attack; the effects of the Affordable Care Act; the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and the search for possible co-conspirators; newly released reports indicating slow job growth in the United States; and debate over immigration legislation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Norm Pattiz’s Launchpad Digital Media Announces Debut of PodcastOne.com. Calling it “a single, online destination that makes it easier than ever to discover, download and enjoy the most popular podcasts,” Launchpad Digital Media debuts PodcastOne.com. In a statement, the company says the site is “already home to more than 200 major podcasts including those from some of the biggest names in radio, news and entertainment, such as: Adam Carolla, CBS News, Dr. Drew, Tom Green, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Laura Ingraham, Penn Jillette, Maria Menounos and more.” Chairman of Launchpad Digital Media and Courtside Entertainment Group, Norm Pattiz, states, “What others have done with music, we are doing with the spoken word – helping listeners discover new programming based on their listening habits. This is a powerful promotional vehicle for any program looking to grow audience in a big way. In addition, by delivering talk, comedy, news, sports and entertainment radio as on-demand podcasts accessible via the internet, Podcast One expands the reach of national radio programs to every listener in the country – eliminating void and uncleared markets, while helping radio grow its audience and receive fair value for it.” Users go to PodcastOne.com, pick their favorite podcasts and add them to their listen list. Podcast One suggests new shows based on what they already enjoy and the list is continuously updated with the freshest episodes and users can listen online or download and take their favorite shows with them. Launchpad Digital Media president Kit Gray says, “Podcast One helps people spend less time searching for great content and more time discovering and enjoying it. The site’s discovery feature and easy-to-use social network interface allow Podcast One to provide programs with unprecedented exposure to a previously untapped audience.”
Jim Bohannon to Receive the TALKERS magazine Lifetime Achievement Award. Veteran Dial Global radio talk personality Jim Bohannon has been named by the TALKERS editorial board as the 2013 recipient of the publication’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Bohannon began his illustrious on-air career in 1960 at KLWT in Lebanon, Missouri. He began working as a reporter at Mutual Broadcasting System in 1983 and went on to become the fill-in host for that network’s pioneering Larry King Show. In 1993 he took over the hosting reigns of that program which he maintained through its ownership by Westwood One to its present incarnation as a Dial Global property. Bohannon also hosts Dial Global’s “America in the Morning.” The recipient of numerous industry awards and honors, Jim Bohannon has been a member of TALKERS magazine’s Heavy Hundred every year since its inception in 1995 and is an inductee in the National Radio Hall of Fame. He will be presented the TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award at the forthcoming national convention, Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6 in New York City.
Clear Channel Brings Bloomberg Radio to WXKS-AM, Boston. The comedy format currently airing on Clear Channel’s WXKS-AM, Boston – formerly Talk 1200 – will move to WXKS-FM’s HD-2 channel and Friday will see the debut of a full-time business news station. Bloomberg Radio programmer Al Mayers – who programmed news/talk WRKO, Boston almost 20 years ago – tells the Boston Herald, “There’s been a retrenchment in business coverage and we hope to come in there and fill that void. Boston’s a great center for the things that our customers are very interested in.” Mayers says there are 26 Bloomberg journalists stationed in Boston who will contribute to program content. He says there will be eight hosts and that programming will be guest-driven. The new venture will also include a relationship with Bentley University to use its faculty for content and commentary.
Alan Colmes Show Moves to Earlier Air Time on Fox News Radio. The late-night talk radio show hosted by Fox News personality Alan Colmes will begin airing live at an earlier time – 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm – starting on Monday, March 4. The network announces that it will continue to offer a re-feed from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am and that Colmes will do live programming during the later hours during times when there is major breaking news.
Melissa Etheridge Wins Gracie Award for Syndicated Radio Show. Musician and radio program host Melissa Etheridge will take home a 2013 Gracie Award for Outstanding Talk Show in the Entertainment/Information category for her Benztown Radio Networks-produced and syndicated radio program. The 38th Annual Gracie Awards will be presented on May 21, 2013, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Etheridge says in a statement, “I have won Grammys and an Oscar, but there is something especially meaningful about being recognized with a Gracie. I love radio, and it’s important to me to bring the voices of women to our audiences, as they share their respective truths about life, love and family — and as I share the same with them. It’s also a great pleasure to provide a forum where we can connect with each other about the music that moves us. I’m honored that people are responding to the show across the country and I thank the AWM Foundation for this award.”
Heavy Hundred to be Published Next Week. Hang in there talk radio enthusiasts. It’s almost here! The 2013 installment of TALKERS magazine’s signature annual feature, The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America – otherwise known as “The Heavy Hundred” — is being readied for publication next week. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This feature is always a painstaking task for our editorial board to compile because it takes into account so many variables from the quantitative to the qualitative and plays such an important role in the lives and careers of so many established and rising stars of the industry.” Casey adds, “It also offers a snapshot impression to industry watchers outside the business of just what makes ‘talk radio’ tick. It defines its parameters, dispelling the widespread notion that spoken-word radio is any one single slice of a much bigger pie.”
Urban Talk/Music Hybrid WMCS, Milwaukee to Flip Formats. The All Pro Broadcasting–Times Shamrock venture called Milwaukee Radio Alliance that operates urban talk and music outlet WMCS, Milwaukee says it will flip the station’s format after 20 years targeting the African American community in the market. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Duane Dudek writes that Milwaukee Radio Alliance vice president Bill Hurwitz says the station has been losing money for the past 10 years and that the move is a business decision. He’s quoted saying, “Stations like this, basically super-serving the African American community — especially on AM — don’t exist in this country.” All Pro Broadcasting is operated by Green Bay Packers great Willie Davis and Hurwitz says if not for Davis, the station would have disappeared long ago. The move is affecting 15 full- and part-time employees including morning host Eric Von and PM drive talk host Earl Ingram.
The Conclave Names 2013 Rockwell Award Winners: Jaye Albright and Tom Kay. The Conclave Learning Conference announces country consultant Jaye Albright and Conclave executive director emeritus Tom Kay are this year’s recipients of the Rockwell Award for 2013. Executive director Bob Shannon says of this year’s honorees, “Jaye Albright represents the best broadcasting has to offer. Always a student of radio, she’s also one of our best teachers and her influence on country radio is unmatched.” Regarding Tom Kay, Shannon says, “This is recognition for a job well done. If it weren’t for Tom, the Conclave wouldn’t exist today. Giving him the Rockwell Award makes all the sense in the world. I can’t tell you how pleased I am.” On her receiving the honor, Albright states, “As I think about the past Rockwell honorees, and how much I respect what each of them has given to our business over many, many years, I remain a bit stunned that The Conclave feels that I belong among them. I’m humbled, surprised, flattered and honored.” Albright and Kay will receive the Rockwell Award and be honored during “Conclave 38: The Learning Conference” in Minneapolis July 17, 18 and 19.
FCC Approves Journal Broadcast Group’s Purchase of WNOX, Knoxville. When the sale of Oak Ridge FM-owned news/talk WNOX, Knoxville to Milwaukee-based Journal Broadcast Group was announced late last year, M&M Broadcasting said it intended to sue Oak Ridge for breach of contract implying it had a deal to buy the signal. Now, the FCC has approved the transfer of the license from Oak Ridge to Journal and the speculation about the station’s future format gets more intense. Based on a scan of recent domain registrations, it appears Journal is considering moving its country WCYQ “Q93” to WNOX’s 100.3 signal and may be prepping a launch of a classic hits format for the 93.1 signal, thereby eliminating news/talk from the mix. Domain registrations can be intentionally misleading so only time will tell for sure what Journal’s intentions really are.
Phil Grande’s “Phil’s Gang” Show to Be Distributed on Business TalkRadio Network. The independently produced and syndicated financial talk show “Phil’s Gang” – hosted by Phil Grande – will be available to Business TalkRadio Network affiliates beginning March 11.
Sequestration Battle, John Kerry in Germany, ObamaCare, Iran/North Korea Nuke Threats, Michelle Obama ‘Automatic Weapon’ Gaffe, and Winter Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26). The looming March 1 sequester; Secretary of State John Kerry’s European tour; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; nuclear weapons threats from Iran and North Korea; Michelle Obama’s “automatic weapons” gaffe; and the winter weather affecting large parts of the nation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.