Entercom Q1 Net Revenue Up 1.4%. Net revenue was $97.5 million – an increase of 1.4% over the same period in 2016 – for Entercom Communications for the first quarter of 2017. The company reports that station expenses increased 5% to $75.4 million, and station operating income decreased 10% to $22.0 million. Entercom president and CEO David Field says in a press release, “I am very pleased with our progress on all fronts as we continue to plan and prepare for our transformational merger with CBS Radio. This will truly be a game-changing event for Entercom as we will achieve a number of scale-related benefits, including the ability to compete far more effectively against other media for a larger share of advertising spending. First quarter revenues increased 1.4%, down about 1% on a same-station basis ex-political. We experienced a highly unusual degree of large one-time only expenses during the quarter (including the return of a station license in Sacramento, CBS transaction costs and our CFO transition), that drove expenses significantly higher. Looking ahead to the completion of the merger with CBS, we expect synergies that will drive margin expansion.”
Salem Media Group First Quarter Revenue Flat; Broadcast Revenue Dips 1.9%. Both the broadcast revenue ($47.8 million, down 1.9%) and digital revenue ($10.7 million, down 2.9%) were in negative territory for Salem Media Group during the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2016. It was the publishing division – up 34.6% on revenue of $6.5 million – that prevented a companywide dip in total revenue for the quarter. As it stands, total revenue for Salem’s 2017 Q1 was $65 million, an increase of 0.6%. The company reports that total operating expenses increased 2.9% to $60.2 million from $58.5 million and net income increased to $1.1 million, or $0.04 net income per diluted share from $0.4 million, or $0.01 net income per diluted share.
Sinclair Broadcast Group to Buy Tribune Media for $3.9 Billion. This deal is mostly about television stations, but it will include Tribune Media’s lone radio property as Sinclair Broadcast Group will acquire WGN-AM, Chicago in the deal. Several years ago, Tribune split its newspaper and television divisions, with the former taking on the Tronc moniker and the broadcast division remaining under the Tribune Media banner. Sinclair owns only four other radio stations. They are all-news KOMO-AM/FM, talk KVI-AM, and hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5.”
WKNR, Cleveland’s Premium Subscription Effort Creates Controversy. As illustrated in the Crain’s Business Cleveland piece written by Kevin Kleps, sports fans in Cleveland seem to be split over station owner Good Karma’s decision to offer commercial-free podcasts of its regular programming to those willing to pay $8.50 per month (or $85 for a year) for the content. WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” VP and general manager Keith Williams says, “We know the way fans are consuming media in an on-demand world. They don’t have the time or resources they once had. We’re providing them what they asked for.” Quoted throughout the piece is TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison. Read the story here.
French Presidential Election, GOP Health Care Plan, North Korea Threats, Russia-U.S. Election Investigation/Yates Testimony, Sanctuary Cities Issue, New Orleans Confederate Monuments Removal, MLB, NBA and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The presidential election in France that saw Emmanuel Macron defeat Marine Le Pen; the GOP plan to replace Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act with its own health care system; North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and its threats against the U.S.; the investigation into allegations Russia attempted to influence the U.S. presidential election and former Attorney General Sally Yates’ testimony on the matter; debate over the Trump Administration’s actions against sanctuary cities and the larger issue of immigration policy; the controversy over New Orleans’ removal of Confederate monuments; and MLB, NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Milwaukee news/talk WTMJ (and sister country outlet WKTI) were honored with 2017 Wisconsin Broadcasters Association awards over the weekend. WTMJ was named Large Market Radio News & Talk Station of the Year and recognized as Best News Operation of the Year in the Large Market Radio News & Talk category. Between the two stations, they took home 17 awards, including: Best News/Talk Morning Show: Wisconsin’s Morning News with Gene Mueller; Best Spot News Reporting: Milwaukee Riots; and Best Newscast. Scripps Milwaukee Radio Operations vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer states, “We’re humbled to be honored by our peers in the industry.”…..According to a report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, CBS RADIO has cut four staffers from news/talk KRLD-AM, Dallas. Those ousted include: “Texas Overnight” host Charley Jones, air personality J.D. Ryan, sports anchor-reporter Roger Emrich, and reporter and assistant news director Matt Thomas…..At the Times-Shamrock Communications operations in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Tom Ferguson exits the brand manager role there where he was responsible for sports talk WEJL and alternative WFUZ “ALT 92.1.”…..San Diego State University and FOX Sports College Properties announce a multi-year agreement with iHeartMedia San Diego to broadcast SDSU football and men’s basketball games beginning with the 2017 football season. Games will be broadcasts locally on classic rock KGB-FM, KLSD “XTRA 1360 AM” in San Diego and on KTDD, Riverside “Fox Sports 1350.”
Radio Talent Institute at University of Georgia Begins Today. Today begins the fourth annual Georgia Association of Broadcasters Radio Talent Institute at the University of Georgia. Cumulus Media VP of programming John Dimick begins the 10-day institute with the opening session and, over the course of the Institute, some 40 broadcasters from companies including Cox Media Group, iHeartMedia, CBS RADIO, Beasley Broadcast Group, Radio One, Entercom, Alpha Media, and others will conduct sessions. Georgia Association of Broadcasters president Bob Houghton says, “I knew we needed this, but even then didn’t realize how special it is until going through the experience of the Institute. Broadcasters from all over the state come and give their time and expertise. These students will be the leaders in our business 10, 20, 30 years from now. We have a great deal of pride in what we are accomplishing.”
WMAL, DC Afternoon Drive Host Larry O’ Connor Guests on Harrison Podcast. On the afternoon of Thursday, April 24 at 5:00 pm, President Trump addressed a select group of invited conservative media journalists, commentators and reps to a special “background only” briefing in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. The attendees were mostly comprised of representatives from newspapers and online news sites – however there were several talk radio personalities in attendance: Laura Ingraham of Courtside Entertainment, Mike Gallagher and Cal Thomas of Salem Radio Network, John Fredericks (independently syndicated across Virginia) and Larry O’ Connor of WMAL, Washington, DC. During the course of the meeting, Trump decided to remove the “background only” restriction and allow all statements at the event to be for the record. The next morning (4/25) Larry O’ Connor granted TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison an exclusive interview discussing his experience at the meeting and some of the things said by the president. The result was a fascinating conversation about the relationship between talk radio and politics that provides the basis for this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” Harrison stated, “Larry O’ Connor is one of the most significant rising stars in talk radio today. He is intelligent, articulate, independent, funny and fair. I am delighted to have him as this week’s guest on the podcast.” O’ Connor will be delivering the welcoming remarks at the forthcoming TALKERS 2017: A New Era on Friday, June 2 in New York City. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Todd Starnes at Liberty University Convocation. Pictured above is Fox News Radio personality Todd Starnes addressing more than 14,000 students at convocation at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. Starnes – who produces a daily, short-form feature distributed by Fox News Radio – discussed current events during his speech. He also led a seminar for students majoring in journalism.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the Oklahoma City market, iHeartMedia and evening radio personality Brad Boyington part ways. Boyington had been the night DJ at CHR KJYO “KJ 103” for the past three years…..KYSR, Los Angeles “ALT 98.7” announces the lineup for its annual Summer Camp concert event. The show – taking place at The Queen Mary Events Park in Long Beach on August 19, will feature: Foster The People, The Head and The Heart, HAIM, Bleachers, Sir Sly, Vance Joy, Magic Giant, Youngr and Beth Ditto.
iHeartCountry Festival Rocks Austin’s Frank Erwin Center. On Saturday (5/6), the fourth annual iHeartCountry Festival took place at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas –hosted by syndicated personality Bobby Bones – and featuring performances from: Jason Aldean, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Brantley Gilbert, Rascal Flatts, Old Dominion, Jake Owen, Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini, and Kip Moore. Pictured above are (from l-r): “Bobby Bones Show” personality Lunchbox, singer Karen Fairchild, “Bobby Bones Show” personality Amy; and Kimberly Schlapman and Phillip Sweet of Little Big Town. Photo: Getty Images for iHeartMedia.