Michael Harrison Interviews Television Historian Jim Benson, Host of Radio’s Syndicated ‘TV Time Machine.’ In a wide-ranging conversation that covers everything from “What’s My Line?” to the future of television and time travel, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison discusses the role and impact of television in our society with historian Jim Benson. Benson is the host of the long-running KCBQ, San Diego radio show “TV Time Machine” that has just gone into national syndication. Since 2003, Benson has been exploring TV’s past, present and future on radio and has tremendous insights into how the medium has impacted generations of Americans and how each generation – from the Boomers to the Millennials – approach it differently. To hear this conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
2015 a ‘Remarkable Year’ for SiriusXM. Those were the words of SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer from yesterday’s investor conference call on the satcaster’s fourth quarter financial report. Meyer said, “2015 was an incredible year for SiriusXM. We exceeded all of our original operational and financial goals, and we are predicting continued growth in subscribers and all of our financial metrics this year. Last January, we told you to expect 1.2 million net new subscribers. We actually delivered 2.3 million, taking our paying subscriber base to an all-time high of approximately 29.6 million. Lower-than-expected churn and higher auto sales were the primary drivers, and both new and used car conversions set new records for the fourth quarter and the full year. We told you that we would do approximately $4.4 billion of revenue in 2015, and we actually reached nearly $4.6 billion. We told you we would attain $1.6 billion of adjusted EBITDA and our final result was $1.66 billion. And we told you we would deliver $1.25 billion of free cash flow, and we exceeded that, too, with $1.3 billion. Quite frankly, 2015 was a remarkable year, and we did what we said we would do and more. And this year, you should expect more of the same. We expect continued growth, even as we make substantial investments across many areas of our business. We expect to end 2016 with about 31 million subscribers and about $4.9 billion of revenue.” Though Meyer didn’t offer how much SiriusXM is paying for Howard Stern or the recently re-signed NFL deal, he noted that those – along with Major League Baseball, the NBA, and FOX News – are now secured at “a fixed rate” for years to come. Meyer also talked up the company’s SiriusXM17 platform with investors. “Some of you may have seen our demonstration in Las Vegas at CES…For those of you who don’t know, SiriusXM17 is our next-generation platform for audio services that combines the benefit of satellite radio with two-way LTE connectivity in future cars. It enables the seamless mixing and matching of satellite and IP-delivered content. It allows us to obtain usage data from the radio in the car and let the users have a more personalized experience, including search and recommendations. All of this will make our world-class content more discoverable and accessible in the car while maintaining ease of use. Today, we’re doing significant in-field user testing and working with the engineering teams at various OEMs to implement SiriusXM17. Believe me, we know better than anyone the changes in the OEM world take a long, long time and to build up meaningful numbers in the fleet of enabled vehicles for SiriusXM17 will take many years.”
The Iowa Caucus Results/Presidential Race, Zika Virus Threat, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, European Refugee Troubles, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2). The results of the Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president; ongoing concerns about the potential spread of Zika virus; the low price of crude oil and the volatility of the world’s financial markets; the controversy over reports of violence perpetrated by Syrian refugees in European host nations; and the run-up to this Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Chad Benson Show Adds Hours for Primary and Debate Coverage. The nationally syndicated Chad Benson show is adding two extra hours of live programming on three days this month for coverage of the upcoming Democratic debate and the New Hampshire primary. Benson’s Radio America-syndicated program airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET daily, but on February 4, 9, and 11, the show will air live until 11:00 pm ET for expanded coverage of the debate and primary. Radio America says stations that currently do not carry the show but would like to air debate or primary programming can reach out for information about carriage at 800-807-4703 ext. 250.
New Wayne Allyn Root Show Debuts on KBET, Las Vegas. National talk media personality Wayne Allyn Root’s new daily radio show, “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show,” premieres on Monday (2/8) on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas “790 AM Talk Radio” at 6:00 pm. Silver State CEO Ed Stolz comments, “2016 has become the year of the DC outsider and ‘power to the people.’ Wayne Allyn Root speaks to those trends. He is the anti-politician, the anti-Obama and a champion of the forgotten middle class. Wayne has enjoyed a remarkable career as a candidate, author, commentator, international business speaker and businessman, while arguing persuasively for a more limited federal government. He is a perfect fiery, dynamic, charismatic and high-energy personality and patriot with a popular agenda for our country’s future.”
Odds & Sods. Re-tooled evening shows launch on ESPN Radio next week. The “Jorge & Izzy” will air from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET featuring Jorge Sedano and Israel Gutierrez. Sedano’s been with ESPN hosting a solo show and co-hosting with Mark “Stink” Schlereth. Gutierrez currently hosts a Sunday ESPN Radio show with fellow ESPN NBA reporter Amin El-Hassan. Also on February 8, ESPN Radio reporter and host Ian Fitzsimmons will join the nightly Freddie Coleman show from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am…..Westwood One is presenting an exclusive simulcast of tonight’s “CNN Democratic Town Hall” from Derry, New Hampshire with Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. CNN’s Anderson Cooper moderates the event that airs from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET…..At the Athens, Georgia cluster of Cox Media Group’s radio properties, Kisha Hardwick is named the new digital sales manager. The company says she’ll work with the leadership team to “deliver integrated marketing solutions to valued clients while developing new profitable revenue opportunities for the” cluster that includes CHR WPUP “Power 100.1,” adult hits WXKT “103.7 Chuck FM,” sports talk WRFC “960 AM The Ref,” adult contemporary WGMG “Magic 102.1 FM,” news/talk WGAU, and country WNGC…..Beasley Media Group welcomes promotions pro Jeff Hickcox back to its Southwest Florida cluster where he is serving as director of promotions and special events. Beasley Southwest Florida market manager Brad Beasley states, “With more than 25 years of radio experience in our dynamic Southwest Florida cluster, Jeff knows how to pitch, promote and host our events like a pro!”
Cumulus Flips WFAS-AM, White Plains to Sports. Using CBS Sports Radio content, the Cumulus Media news/talk station goes all-sports. Exiting as a result of the change is morning drive personality Bob Marrone. He writes on his NewRochelleTalk.com site that he plans to continue the program and expects to make an announcement about the show’s new home in the very near future. There’s no comment from Cumulus on the change, but usually format flips such as this are budget related.