FCC Grants Approval of Entercom-CBS Merger. The Federal Communications Commission has issued its decision approving the merger of Entercom and CBS RADIO. “We have reviewed the proposed merger, the applications for its approval, and related comments. We conclude that the applicants are fully qualified and that grant of the Merger Applications and the Trust Applications, subject to the conditions set forth herein, will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity.” In the 20-page decision, the FCC explains its denial of the Petition to Deny filed by longtime Entercom adversary Edward R. Stolz II (and Deborah J. Niaman). It also reminds Entercom that CBS officers Leslie Moonves and Joseph Ianniello may serve as Temporary Directors for the new corporation for only six months.
Cumulus Media Reports Flat Net Revenue for Third Quarter; WW1 Up 5.5%. Net revenue for the third quarter of 2017 was up just a little over $1 million, resulting in a 0.4% increase from the same period a year ago. For the first nine months of 2017, Cumulus Media’s net revenue was flat at $841 million. President and CEO Mary Berner comments, “As we noted when we announced our preliminary results in October, our strong third quarter performance plainly demonstrates that our operational turnaround plan is working. The entire Cumulus team has shown great commitment to maintaining our momentum. By executing our foundational operating initiatives and continuing to develop growth opportunities, we are confident that we can build on our success despite the challenging industry environment. We are also focused on addressing our excessive debt load on a parallel track to our operational turnaround plan. As previously disclosed, we are working with our advisors to proactively explore a range of alternatives to restructure our balance sheet and we are continuing productive discussions with our creditors. Regardless of the path forward, we have ample cash to operate our business. Our goal remains to reduce our debt so we can focus our time and resources on investments in our people, key technologies, and initiatives that will ultimately drive sustainable, long-term growth.” Cumulus breaks its operations in to two segments, Radio Station Group and Westwood One. The Radio Station Group’s net revenue was down 1.6% while Westwood One was up 5.5% from the same period in 2016. For the first nine months of this year, the Radio Station Group was down 1.3% and Westwood One was up 3% compared to the first nine months of 2016.
Dave Ramsey’s ‘Smart Money’ Live Event in Phoenix. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey brought his “Smart Money” live event to Phoenix on Tuesday (11/7) where he presented at the sold-out Christ’s Church of the Valley. The program was also streamed live online to attendees across the country. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate KTAR “News 92.3 FM” to promote the event. Ryan Hatch, vice president of content and operations Bonneville Phoenix, says, “It is no surprise to us that both Dave’s radio show and his events continue to be in high demand. His passion and commitment in helping others is unmatched.” Pictured above (from l-r) are: Ilene Thompson, director of partner and community services; Dave Zadrozny, KTAR sales manager; Paul Ihander, KTAR news director; Ramsey; Becky Kaiser, “Arizona Sports” sales manager; and Connie Drushel, HR director.
PPM Analysis: NFL Flagships. Managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at station ratings (6+) based on the latest PPM data from Nielsen Audio for stations that serve as flagships for play-by-play for NFL clubs. Among the comparisons presented in this report are how stations fared from the September PPM survey to the October PPM survey. Kinosian says, “Slightly more than three of every four of these particular NFL flagships (76%) improve between September 2017 – October 2017, with one in 10 holding steady (10%) and the remaining 14% of the sample is down from September.” Looking at year-over-year comparisons, the sample of flagship stations was split about 50-50, with half seeing 6+ ratings increases and the other half seeing declines. Check out Kinosian’s entire report here.
Craig Carton Officially Pleads Not Guilty. Former WFAN, New York morning drive co-host Craig Carton was in federal court in Manhattan yesterday (11/8) at which time he pleaded not guilty to fraud charges. The feds allege that Carton and a partner committed securities and wire fraud when they solicited investors to contribute millions to their concert ticket re-sale business. The feds allege that those investments were made based on the belief that Carton had deals in place to acquire blocks of tickets but that no such deals existed. During a statement to reporters yesterday, Carton said, “The real fact is that my business was licensed by the State of New York to sell tickets. The real fact is that I bought and sold thousands of tickets at arenas no more than a few miles from where I stand right now and had pending deals in place to buy and sell many more. The real fact, that you guys couldn’t possibly know, is that about a week and a half ago the government conceded to my lawyers that I had a legitimate ticket-selling business, and that I’ve been selling tickets for a long time.” Carton resigned from his position with WFAN shortly after being indicted. Read the Bergen Record’s story here.
Scott Fitzgerald MIA from WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. The 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk host at Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is missing from his show and his bio has been scrubbed from the station website. Today (11/9), former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory sat in with WBT morning host Bo Thompson for the 9:00 am to 10:00 am hour, then weekend host Vince Coakley hosted the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. There’s no official word from Entercom on permanent plans for the daypart.
TALKERS News Notes. Affiliates of FOX News Radio have Thanksgiving programming in the form of a special show hosted by Brian Kilmeade. The “FOX & Friends” and “Brian Kilmeade Show” host recently published “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny (Sentinel, 2017) and the program addresses that story. FOX says, “Brian, along with the top experts in history and politics, will give you the play-by-play into how, against all odds, General Andrew Jackson defeated the British from capturing New Orleans in a pivotal battle that helped make America into what she is today.” The special will be available for download on the FOX News Radio affiliate website the week of November 19th…..Entercom Buffalo promotes account executive Adam Haker to the local sales manager position for the cluster that includes news/talk WBEN-AM, sports talker WGR and WWKB, as well as hot AC WTSS “Star 102.5,” CHR WKSE “Kiss 98.5,” alternative WLKK “Alt Buffalo,” and rhythmic oldies WWWS…..Salem Radio Network talk star Hugh Hewitt is pictured at left addressing the Indiana Hospital Association – a gathering of doctors and administrators – at their annual conference on the future of healthcare and the role of hospitals in infrastructure spending. Hewitt originated his SRN show from Indianapolis, then returned to Washington to tape his weekly, Saturday morning program that airs on MSNBC…..This Saturday, CBS RADIO launches the “Eye on Veterans” radio program that aims to provide military veterans and their families with “relevant and useful information about finance, healthcare, and transitioning back into civilian life.” The weekly, two-hour program is produced by CBS RADIO’s ConnectingVets.com, a national, multi-media resource linking military veterans and their families to relevant information, resources, solutions and, most importantly, each other. It will air on CBS News Radio affiliates, including CBS RADIO all-news and news/talk stations WCBS-AM, New York; KNX-AM, Los Angeles; WCCO-AM, Minneapolis; and WTIC-AM, Hartford.
Trump in China, North Korea Nuclear Threats, GOP Tax Reform Plan, Virginia and New Jersey Democrat Governor Victories, Mueller Trump-Russia Investigation, Donna Brazile Clinton Campaign Critique, Texas Church Massacre Aftermath, Twitter’s 280 Character Limit, CMA Awards, Sexual Assault Cases Fallout, Roy Halladay Death, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8). The presidential trip to China; the rhetoric between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program; the GOP tax reform plan; Democrat victories in the Virginia and New Jersey governor races; Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the blowback from Democrats against Donna Brazile for her criticism of the Clinton campaign; the aftermath of the Texas church massacre; Twitter ups its character limit to 280; last night’s Country Music Association awards; the expanding number of sexual assault accusations and the effects on careers; former star pitcher Roy Halladay dies in a plane crash; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At iHeartMedia’s Phoenix cluster, Lady La moves from her evening show on hot AC KMXP “MIX 96.9” to the company’s CHR KZZP “104.7 KISS FM” to host the afternoon drive program. Taking over the evening show at KMXP is Reid Spivey, who continues to host weekends on KZZP and serve as music director for both stations…..Premiere Networks announces that Suzette Rodriguez joins “The Johnjay & Rich Show” as a co-host, effective immediately. The syndicated program – hosted by Johnjay Van Es and Rich Berra – is based at KZZP, Phoenix. Rodriguez says, “When I was asked to be a fourth member on ‘The Johnjay and Rich Show,’ I freaked out! I’ve always listened to the show, and everyone I know listens to the show. I’m beyond grateful and excited to join an amazing team. I’m ready to learn from the best and start a new journey.”…..Tomorrow (11/10) at 7:00 pm ET on SiriusXM’s Hits 1 channel, Taylor Swift will perform an exclusive acoustic performance in front of a select group of SiriusXM subscribers in celebration of the release of her sixth studio album, reputation. SiriusXM chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We are delighted to welcome Taylor Swift back to SiriusXM on the day of reputation’s release. A true, one-of-a-kind artist, Taylor will be performing to a special group of SiriusXM listeners in a wonderfully intimate setting. We can’t wait to hear songs from her new album reputation and share this experience with our lucky subscribers.”…..Next Thursday (11/16), iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated urban morning show “The Breakfast Club” – hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God – will present an all-day radiothon called #Change4Change to benefit The Gathering for Justice, a charity that sponsors movements such as The Women’s March, Justice League NYC and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.