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Archive for April, 2020

Thursday, April 30, 2020

| April 30, 2020

Michael Harrison Programs Cleared on Podcast Radio, UK.  The recently launched Podcast Radio, UK that is taking Great Britain audio media fans by storm, has cleared the two Michael Harrison audio products – “The Michael Harrison Wrap” syndicated radio show (Talk Media Network) and “The Michael Harrison Interview” podcast (PodcastOne).  Podcast Radio, UK is a combination on-demand podcast website and on-air DAB streaming radio station that plays these podcasts (podcastradio.co.uk).  Harrison states, “It is really exciting to have our programs receive direct exposure in the UK where there is a tremendous interest in American news, views, and popular culture. I’m honored to be a part of Podcast Radio’s lineup of programming and to work with brilliant British broadcasters such as the platform’s founder Gerard Edwards and star show host Graham Mack.”  In welcoming him to the platform, Mack interviewed Harrison yesterday (4/29) in a deep dive conversation about radio, politics, and culture via Zoom For Podcast Radio, UK’s “The Pod 20” show and YouTube.  Watch it here.

Nielsen Holdings Reports Q1 Revenue Flat. The media ratings and consumer behavior/retail measurement giant reports first quarter 2020 revenue of $1.56 billion, roughly flat (-0.3%) compared to the same period in 2019.  Nielsen Holdings also reports that its Nielsen Global Media sector (ratings) was up 1.9% over the same period a year ago. The company is posting a net loss of $18 million for the first quarter compared to Q1 2019’s net income of $43 million.  On February 27, 2020, Nielsen announced its plan to complete the spinoff of Nielsen Global Connect (consumer behavior/retail measurement) by November 2020. The company continues to make operational progress towards separation but now expects the closing to take place in the first quarter of 2021, largely due to temporary shutdowns of government agencies that are necessary to move forward with the separation.

WRNW-FM, Milwaukee Names Former Packer John Kuhn Late Morning Host. Former Green Bay Packers fullback John Kuhn is joining iHeartMedia’s WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game” as host of the late morning “Nine 2 Noon with Kuhn” show, beginning May 4. Joining him as co-host of the program is former Wisconsin Badgers basketball star Brian Butch. Kuhn says, “I am excited and grateful for the opportunity to join the iHeartMedia team and to continue learning and growing in this industry.  I look forward to bringing the same energy to the studio that I brought on the playing field during my days as a football player.”

WGAN, Portland Weekend Host John McDonald Exits. According to a report in the Portland Press Herald, Saga Communications’ news/talk WGAN-AM, Portland has let weekend morning personality John McDonald go.  McDonald has worked at the station for the past 25 years.  He’d been on hiatus from the station due in part to trepidation about coming into the station during the COVID-19 crisis and tells the paper that he was given no reason for his dismissal.

Entercom’s RADIO.COM Available on Comcast’s Xfinity Platforms. This deal between Entercom and Comcast will make its RADIO.COM platform available to subscribers to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex.  X1 and Flex customers can enjoy RADIO.COM stations on their televisions by saying “RADIO.COM” into the Xfinity Voice Remote to launch the app. Entercom VP, corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “During this critical moment when listeners are dependent on reliable and familiar voices to inform and entertain them, we are especially pleased to expand the reach of RADIO.COM even further. Launching on Comcast’s Xfinity X1 and Flex allows us to bring RADIO.COM’s premier news, sports and music content to millions of listeners when they need it most.”

2020 ‘Rising Through the Ranks’ Course Canceled. The “Rising Through the Ranks” seminar that is a collaborative effort between the Radio Advertising Bureau, BMI, and the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group is canceled for this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organizations say that “due to the current travel restrictions and fluid situation of COVID-19, it made sense to look towards 2021 for the professional development course which is designed to foster and educate current and emerging female radio managers within broadcast radio.”  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “‘Rising Through the Ranks’ is by far one of my favorite initiatives produced by the RAB and I’m disappointed that we have to suspend it due to COVID-19. However, we’ve seen that knowledge sharing through intimate peer-to-peer discussions between both speakers and attendees is immeasurable, that we couldn’t replicate this experience in a virtual setting.”

Parshall Steps Down from NRB Board Chair Position. Broadcaster Janet Parshall is resigning from her position as chairman of the board of the National Religious Broadcasters.  At the same time, her husband Craig Parshall has resigned from his post as general counsel for the organization.  The NRB says, “Both Janet and Craig have a long association with NRB. Janet served the NRB for nearly 20 years as board member, executive committee member, and most recently as chairman. Craig served two terms as NRB’s general counsel, where he effectively championed NRB’s public policy interests in Washington, D.C.”  Parshall was a longtime talk host on the Salem Radio Network.  SRN VP, news & talk programming Tom Tradup comments, “It is the passing of the torch at NRB, with veteran Christian broadcaster – and former Salem Radio Network talk host – Janet Parshall stepping down as board chairman. Janet’s talent – which always made SRN’s call-in lines ring so hard they were practically levitating – will be missed as the NRB moves into the future of Christian broadcasting.”

States Re-Opening Economies, Confirmed COVID-19 Cases/Projections, Remdesivir, Meat Processing Plants, Presidential Race/Biden Assault Accusation, Michael Flynn Case, U.S -China Relations, and Kim Jong Un Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/29). Almost half the country’s states begin opening up their economies; the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; reports that the drug Remdesivir is showing positive results helping people recover from COVID-19; President Trump orders meat processing plants to remain open; the presidential race and the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden; released FBI documents indicate investigators were trying to get former national security adviser Michael Flynn to lie; the U.S. and China spar over accusations that the other is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic; and speculation about the status of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Glenn Beck Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Nationally syndicated Premiere Networks talk radio star, Glenn Beck is this week’s guest on the award winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” His remarkable career includes groundbreaking stints as a host on both FOX News Channel and CNN’s Headline News, in addition to being a 13-time New York Times best-selling author and media industry entrepreneur.  An independent-minded conservative, Beck’s brand-new book is titled, Arguing with Socialists (Threshold Editions/Simon & Schuster, 2020).  Beck, a marvelous storyteller who brings a unique combination of intelligence, unpredictability and emotion to the microphone, is described by Harrison as “talk media’s leading performance artist.”  Harrison and Beck candidly discuss life during the coronavirus pandemic, the disturbing power wielded by Google and Facebook, and the burning issue of lives versus livelihood, plus more.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Los Angeles, morning drive personality Angie Fitzsimmons is out at Mt. Wilson Broadcasters’ country KKGO “Go Country.”  She’d been co-host with Tim Hurley since he joined the station last June.  During her career, Fitzsimmons has served as a producer for Carson Daly when he hosted the morning show at KAMP-FM, Los Angeles…..The Memphis Flyer reports that Memphis radio pro Drake Hall is no longer with Cumulus Media’s rock WXMX “98.1 The Max” where he’s been serving as morning host.  Hall issued the following statement, “As many of you have noticed, I’m not on the radio at the moment.  I’m very excited about our future plans and we’ll be letting you know what’s next, very soon. You can follow us on the Drake Hall Memphis Facebook page and at drakehallmemphis.com. I owe a debt of gratitude to all the good people I’ve worked with for the past 16 years, especially Wes Yahola and Syd Nabors and my late, great partner of 23 years, Zeke Logan. My main goal for now is not getting up at 3:00 am. Wishing you good health and peace until we meet again.”

March 2020 PPM Analysis: News/Talk

| April 29, 2020

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

LOS ANGELES — Our four-part series of March 2020 ratings recaps concludes with a detailed overview of news/talk.

Included in this thorough synopsis are all commercial, English-language news/talk outlets (including online streams, if applicable) that appeared in any of Nielsen Audio’s 48 PPM-markets during the March 2020 ratings period (February 27 – March 25).

Coronavirus-Related Impact: Based on analysis of stations meeting our ratings criteria, there is absolutely no doubt that – among all-news; news/talk; and public radio news/talk – all-news is the clear-cut (6+) February 2020 – March 2020 winner.

Every all-news station in our sample registers a (6+) month-to-month uptick, with the average increase a healthy +.92 (6+), and the typical all-news outlet ranks eighth (#8.0, 6+).

While essentially three of every four news/talk outlets improved (54%) or remained even (20%) month-to-month, that was the lowest success rate among the three aforementioned spoken-word formats.

At the same time, however, it should be noted that the news/talk panel is 6.5 times greater than its all-news counterpart and just over twice the size of public radio news/talk.

As far as year-to-year results are concerned, nearly four of every five (78%) all-news operations gained or held steady, versus 71% (news/talk) and 61% (public radio news/talk).

Albeit that March 2019 – March 2020 combined up and flat totals aren’t as lofty as those for February 2020 – March 2020, typical year-to-year increases are especially noteworthy. Specifically, they are +1.40 (all-news) and +1.06 (both news/talk and public radio news/talk). Furthermore, nearly half the news/talk year-to-year bumps (48.5%) are by at least one full-share.

Unless otherwise noted, information for each news/talk station and stream was factored into all of our highlighted charts.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

| April 29, 2020

iHeartMedia Orders Employees to Take Two Unpaid Weeks of Vacation. Audio giant iHeartMedia is taking another step to help reduce the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on on its business by requiring certain staffers to take two week’s unpaid vacation this year.  Here’s an excerpt from the memo sent to all company employees by CEO Bob Pittman and CFO/COO Rich Bressler: “We’re sure you have seen news stories about states’ extended stay-at-home orders and questions about the continuing impact of COVID-19 on businesses across the country, and that includes our business as well. We’ve had to make some difficult decisions which you’re aware of to address the economic impact on our company, and we have done our best to find ways to reduce that impact while avoiding layoffs. Unfortunately, the longer than anticipated shutdown of businesses means that we must do more, with the goal of keeping our business healthy while still avoiding permanent layoffs. Therefore, after reviewing all of our options, we are taking a difficult step but one that we hope will be our last action impacting employee compensation: Requiring that employees who make over $50,000 a year in base compensation – excluding bonuses, overtime or commissions — and who have not already volunteered to take a salary reduction of 5% or more, to take two weeks of unpaid vacation in calendar year 2020, with the first vacation week taking place between now and June 30 and the second vacation week taking place between July 1 and September 30. These two unpaid vacation weeks in total are the equivalent of an approximately 4% salary reduction for the year and must be scheduled with your manager to ensure appropriate staffing at all times.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the news/talk format. As its cousins all-news and public radio news/talk have done, commercial news/talk stations have for the most part earned more listening credit due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fifty-four percent of news/talk stations on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares go up and 20% were unchanged compared to the February 2020 survey. Big gainers included: iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento up 1.9 shares for a 10.3 share and the #1 rank in the market; Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland up 1.8 shares for a 6.7 share and the #3 rank; and iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati up 1.8 shares for a 10.1 share and the #1 rank. Looking at year-over-year changes, 64% of news/talk stations were up from March 2019 with a number of outlets making huge gains.  They include: Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta adding 5.8 shares to finish March 2020 with a 12.9 share; KFBK, Sacramento rising 4.1 shares for a 10.3 share; iHeartMedia’s WTVN, Columbus climbing 3.9 shares for a 9.4 share in March 2020; and Entercom’s KFTK-FM, St. Louis going up 3.3 shares to a 5.5 share. There were five news/talk stations that ranked #1 in their PPM markets in March, see which ones in Mike Kinosian’s report here.

NRG Media’s Omaha Stations Presenting Live COVID-19 Town Hall. News/talk KOIL-AM and sister sports talk stations KOZN “1620 The Zone” and KZOT “1180 Zone 2” are presenting a COVID-19 town hall broadcast titled, “Omaha – The New Normal,” this evening (4/29) from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  The program will feature key figures in politics, education, athletics, the medical field, and the non-profit industry.  NRG Media says company personalities Mike’l Severe and Matt Tompkins “will take a deep dive into the new normal with Nebraska Congressman Don Bacon; Governor of Nebraska Pete Ricketts; Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert; Omaha Public Schools superintendent Cheryl Logan; University of Nebraska Medicine chief of internal medicine Dr. Mark Rupp, director of athletics at Creighton University, Bruce Rasmussen; and more.” NRG Media Omaha general manager Mark Shecterle says, “As broadcasters, it’s our job to keep our listeners and the community informed. Our town hall guests did not hesitate when to participate and we are so appreciative. Providing the answers to the questions we are all asking is very much needed in Omaha. I’m just thankful we were able to put this together.”

‘Radio Cares: Feeding America Emergency Radiothon Takes Place Tomorrow.  Radio stations wishing to take part in tomorrow’s radiothon can do so by visiting RadioCares.org here. It’s being organized by Cumulus Media and Westwood One.  The “Radio Cares: Feeding America Emergency Radiothon” will benefit Feeding America and its 200-member network of food banks.  It will air across Cumulus’ 424 stations as well as on Westwood One’s programming.  Cumulus EVP, content & audience Brian Philips and Adams Radio Group president Ron Stone spearheaded the organization of the event.

U.S. Coronavirus Statistics & Projections, States Begin ‘Re-Opening,’ Health Care System/Testing Capabilities, Pence at Mayo Clinic, China’s Role in Pandemic, Presidential Race/Biden Accusation, and Trump Orders Meat Plants to Stay Open Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). The tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections for future cases; several states begin “re-opening” their economies; the preparedness of the health care system to deal with the pandemic and the country’s testing capabilities; Vice President Mike Pence is criticized for not wearing a mask during a visit to the Mayo Clinic; questions about China’s role in the coronavirus becoming a pandemic; the November presidential election and the accusation of sexual assault by Joe Biden’s former senate staffer; and President Trump’s ordering meat processing plants to remain open were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Cox Media Group Unveils New Employee-Designed Logo. The new corporate logo for Cox Media Group that you see here is the result of the company’s Design Our Logo Challenge. Hundreds of entries were submitted by employees, before the field was narrowed to three. The finalists were thoroughly vetted through a rigorous series of internal and external research studies, before the winning logo designed by CMG-TV Jacksonville art director Kim Colombero.  CMG president and CEO Kim Guthrie says, “The Design Our Logo Challenge was a great success and we were amazed at the level of participation from our people.  While we had hoped to launch our new logo in a bigger, public celebration – we simply could not wait any longer to unveil it and share the news with our winning designer.”  Colombero adds, “I was both thrilled and humbled to learn that my submission had made it to the final three, let alone that it had been chosen as the winning logo.  I am so proud to work for a company that is so inclusive and actively celebrates employees and their work.”

TALKERS News Notes. Research firm Jacobs Media announces it is doing a second national tracking study the week of May 11 on how the ongoing COVID-19 crisis is impacting Americans’ lives, “from the way they shop, to how they are working (or not), to how they consume media.”  The first such study took place in mid-March. Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs comments, “The impact of COVID-19 has disrupted broadcast radio, but timely data is key to the industry understanding the new landscape and adapting to it. This second tracking study will provide broadcasters with the quantitative ‘radar’ they need to shape their tactics and strategies.”…..The Society of Professional Journalists is sponsoring a “Day of Giving Back” tomorrow (4/30) in which it is soliciting donations to its fund to support journalists affected by the coronavirus pandemic.  The SPJ says, “In these days of COVID-19 exacerbating an already volatile time for the news industry, many journalists are finding themselves furloughed, laid off and left to wonder how they will make ends meet and what will be left of their careers. This is at a time when the news they provide not only informs our lives but saves lives as well.”  The Journalists Emergency Fund will provide assistance of up to $500 to help with bills and other living expenses and as this fund is supported through generous donations, these grants do not have to be paid back. You can donate here.…..The Connecticut stations owned by iHeartMedia have launched a website with dedicated resources to help residents navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. WeAreConnecticutStrong.com provides community resources, a listing for local businesses and their hours, hiring and job postings, exclusive interviews with Connecticut leaders, as well as a listing of local nonprofits and charitable causes.  The portal is available across all 11 radio station websites.  iHeartMedia president for the Hartford region Steve Honeycomb says, “We want to be as accessible as possible to help convey local business messaging through our local radio stations.  Small businesses across Connecticut are the cornerstone of the state’s economy and we want to be able to help spotlight them on WeAreConnecticutStrong.com as well as on our airwaves.”…..Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago was honored with four 2019 Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association Contest awards.  The station won the following: Outstanding News Operation; First Place for Best Spot News for “Chicago Public School Teachers Strike”; First Place for Best Sports Report for “69 Cubs”; and First Place for Best Newscast…..iHeartMedia announces it is holding its Annual Meeting of Stockholders on Monday, June 15, 2020, at 2:30 pm ET virtually via live webcast.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Buffalo oldies outlet WECK-AM adds another FM frequency to its multicast.  Radio One Buffalo says translator W261EB at 100.1 FM joins the feeder signal 1230 AM and fellow translators W263DC, Tonawanda at 100.5 FM and W275BB, Cheektowaga at 102.9 FM.  WECK president and CEO Buddy Shula says, “WECK has always been a stand-alone AM radio station, and as we all know, AM radios have had issues with static and interference over the past decade with more electronic devices vying for frequency space. Our third FM signal in metro Buffalo is truly unique.  I am not aware of any AM station in the U.S. that has three FM translator frequencies in the metro, along with the main AM station. It is our chance to provide Buffalo’s #1 oldies station on FM just about everywhere in the Buffalo DMA.”

March 2020 PPM Analysis:
Public Radio News/Talk

| April 28, 2020

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

LOS ANGELES —  A detailed look at public radio news/talk stations continues our comprehensive four-part March 2020 ratings summary.

Breakouts shown here consist of data from public radio news/talk facilities that rank in the top 20 (6+) in any PPM-market during the March 2020 sweep (February 27 – March 25).

Coronavirus-Related Note: Whereas six of seven of our qualifying panelists either improve (79%) or remain steady (7%) month-to-month, two of every five are down (41%) year-to-year.

Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for stations subscribing to its services.

As a result, ratings stats in this analysis are limited to facilities paying that company for its information.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

| April 28, 2020

Hannity Attorneys Demand Retraction from New York Times. Attorneys for FOX News Channel and Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity have sent a request to The New York Times that it issue an apology to Hannity and retract its coverage of Hannity’s work at FOX covering the coronavirus pandemic.  Hannity’s lawyers are saying if the paper does not act within 24 hours, Hannity will have no choice but to file suit.  According to a FOX News story, at issue are “three separate pieces by columnist Ginia Bellafante, contributing writer Kara Swisher and media columnist Ben Smith which they said all showed ‘an outrageous disregard for the truth.’” The paper responded that its reporting is accurate and there is no need for an apology.  Hannity attorney Charles Harder says the issue is the Times’ “blatant and outrageous disregard for the truth in mischaracterizing Mr. Hannity’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and blaming him for the tragic death of Joe Joyce,” referring to a 74-year-old who contracted the coronavirus on a cruise. Joyce’s children warned him and his wife not to take the cruise but, according to Bellafante’s column, Joyce watched FOX News Channel and believed the virus was under control.

Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes Launch Sports Talk Show on SB Nation Radio on May 11. Sports talk personalities Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes are returning to terrestrial radio on May 11 as SB Nation Radio and JAKIB Media Partners announce the program “Into the Night” will be made available to radio stations via the SB Nation Radio network.  The program feeds to affiliates from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.  Bruno says, “I continue in amazement that at a time when there are no sports to talk about, my partner Harry and I keep getting hired to talk sports.”  Bruno and Mayes reunited — they worked together at WPEN-FM, Philadelphia — for a daily sports talk show on April 6 when they joined the Dan Patrick Radio channel on SiriusXM for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET daypart.  The “Into the Night” program SB Nation is presenting is mostly a re-broadcast of the SiriusXM show, however Bruno will customize some segments for the late-night show and there’s also the possibility that Bruno and Mayes will broadcast live for special events and remotes, according to SB Nation’s Brian Schaible.

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  The thirst for news during the coronavirus pandemic has lifted public radio news/talk stations as 79% of those on our panel saw their weekly, 6+ AQH shares rise from the February 2020 survey.  KOPB-FM, Portland and KQED-FM, San Francisco led the group of gainers with increases of 1.7 shares and 1.5 shares, respectively.  Year-over-year comparisons were not quite as impressive with 59% of stations improving.  KNOW-FM, Minneapolis stands out as it added 3.4 shares from the March 2019 survey to the March 2020 survey and climbed from the #9 rank in the market to #1. In addition to KNOW-FM, four other public radio news/talk outlets ranked #1 in their markets in March: WAMU-FM, Washington; KCFR-FM, Denver; KOPB-FM, Portland; and KUT-FM, Austin.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

‘Bogey’ Exits WXYT-FM, Detroit. Evening sports talk personality Kyle Bogenschutz – a.k.a. Bogey, has exited Entercom’s Detroit sports talk outlet WXYT-FM where he co-hosted the evening show with Bob Wojnowski.  According to the Detroit Newsreport, Bogey’s exit was the result of stalled contract talks, not cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Bogey had been with the station since 2014 and had been co-hosting the evening show with Wojo since June of 2017.  His agent tells the News that he’s in conversations with “a couple of people” and believes Bogey will land somewhere soon.

States Begin ‘Re-Opening’ Economy, U.S. Coronavirus Statistics & Projections, Health Care System/Testing Capabilities, China’s Role in Pandemic, Presidential Race/Biden Accusation, and Kim Jong Un Health Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/27). A handful of states court controversy as they begin to ease social distancing restrictions; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll and projections for future cases; the state of the U.S. health care system and the capabilities for testing for COVID-19; the U.S. begins investigating China’s role in the pandemic; the November presidential election and the sexual assault allegation against Joe Biden; and questions about the health status of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

SiriusXM First Quarter Revenue Up 5% Pro Forma. Today (4/28), SiriusXM reported its first quarter 2020 operating and financial results.  It says revenue rose 5% (pro forma) to $2 billion.  Net income for the quarter was $293 million, up from $162 million in the first quarter of 2019.  SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “In the face of the economy hitting the brakes hard in March, SiriusXM’s first quarter results were very strong.  Auto sales, advertising, and customer responses to marketing campaigns all fell swiftly in the second half of March, yet we delivered increasing subscribers, solid revenue growth and 13% adjusted EBITDA growth to a first quarter record of $639 million.  Just as it was a little over a decade ago during the global financial crisis, SiriusXM’s subscriber-based business model is resilient.  We do not know what the shape of a recovery from this current crisis will look like, however, we are confident that our business will continue to generate substantial positive free cash flow.  Once we have a better view of how and when the economy will restart, we plan to resume providing guidance.”

TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix talk show host Larry Gaydos announced to his listeners on Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix yesterday that his mother – already suffering from cancer – succumbed to COVID-19 over the weekend.  Gaydos said she tested positive several weeks ago and suffered no effects until last week when she began to decline quickly…..The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand speculates about possible changes to take place at ESPN Radio in the near future in a column. In it, Marchand wonders about the futures of Dan LeBatard on the radio (his cable TV show is popular), Trey Wingo’s role on the Golic & Wingo morning show, and says Will Cain is all but destined to leave for a gig with FOX News very soon…..Yankees Radio Network play-by-play voice John Sterling is honored with the 2020 Governors’ Award, presented by the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  The Governors’ Award recognizes Sterling’s 60th anniversary as a broadcaster and his 31 years as the radio voice of the New York Yankees.  Sterling says, “Whenever you get an award, it’s wonderful. But when you get an award from your peers, it is even better. I’m very humbled and appreciative to be the recipient of the 2020 Governors’ Award.  I’m thankful to the board for their recognition of my longtime work with the New York Yankees, which is nothing short of a labor of love for me.”…..Cumulus Media announces that it will hold its investors conference call to discuss first quarter 2020 operating results on May 11 at 4:30 pm ET.  Cumulus is the second publicly traded audio company to announce its Q1 call that is expected to address how the coronavirus pandemic – that had fully affected the country by mid-March – impacted its operations.  iHeartMedia will hold a Q1 conference call on May 7.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.   A new three-hour program starring Roula Christie is being launched by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One on May 2.  Titled, “Weekends with Roula,” it is designed for hot AC and CHR stations and targets women 25-54.  Westwood One says the show is “upbeat and motivational as she helps listeners find fun in the madness of juggling work and family.  Roula mixes pop culture and entertainment news with hilarious conversations between her kids and her mom.”  She comments, “I am over the moon at the opportunity to be nationally syndicated with Westwood One for ‘Weekends with Roula!’ I hope to connect with the rest of America the way I have been able to connect with my Greater Houston-area audience. I’m so grateful to my husband, Tasos, and children for providing me with material! I’m so excited!”…..Programming pro Scott Gaines is named operations manager for Alpha Media’s Amarillo, Texas cluster that includes country KGNC-FM, rhythmic CHR KVWE, classic hits KXGL “Eagle 100.5,” and news/talk KGNC-AM.  Gaines will also program KGNC-FM and serve as afternoon drive host.  He was most recently with Cumulus Media in Atlanta as APD and afternoon host at WKHX “New Country 101.5.”

Monday, April 27, 2020

| April 27, 2020

Monday Memo: Freebie-of-the-Year? Commercial broadcasters subsist on advertising by businesses, most-of-which are OUT of business now.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke points to a research report “that recommends specific, tested guidance for crafting messages to convey our clients’ – and our stations’ – concern for listeners in a way that will resonate long after the pandemic passes.”   Read it here.

The U.S. Coronavirus Cases and the Death Toll, Weekend ‘Reopening’ Activities, Presidential Race/Biden Accuser, CCP’s Coronavirus Response, ‘SNL,’ and NFL Draft Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll from the pandemic; the “re-opening” activities taking place in some states; the November presidential election and case of former Joe Biden senate staffer Tara Reade who claims Biden sexually assaulted her in 1993; scrutiny of the Chinese Communist Party’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic; Brad Pitt plays Dr. Tony Fauci on “Saturday Night Live”; and the 2020 NFL Draft were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Seven Simple Steps. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that it’s not easy doing business in this uncertain time.  Yes, audience levels for news/talk are up! But, “you know ad sales are down.  More listeners are tuning in, yet co-workers are getting laid off.  Fear is dominating the content and fear is the most difficult business condition to sell through.  All markets hate fear and uncertainty.  Adapting to this pandemic environment challenges everything we know.”  Read Lapa’s suggestions for helping you adapt here.

Investor Leases XEPRS; Will Launch ‘The Mightier 1090’ This Summer. The San Diego Union Tribune reports that Flagstaff, Arizona ad agency owner Bill Hagen is signing a five-year lease with XEPRS, Rosarito, Mexico owner Interamericana de Radio to operate the station.  The signal – for some 16 years a San Diego sports talk station branded “The Mighty 1090” – stopped airing sports talk after previous lessee Broadcasting Company of the Americas was unable to renegotiate its lease.  Hagen tells the paper that former “Mighty 1090” sports talk host Scott Kaplan will rejoin the station but the soon-to-be-rebranded “The Mightier 1090” will not be 24/7 sports talk.  Hagen says the station will be about “lifestyle.” He has no specific date for launching the format but tells the Union Tribune, “We have a ton of work to do.”

PodcastOne Subscribes to Nielsen’s Podcast Listener Buying Power Service.  Podcasting firm PodcastOne announces that it has entered into a deal with Nielsen to use the ratings giant’s Podcast Listener Buying Power service.  As part of the deal, PodcastOne will “have access to podcast insights spanning 18 genres and numerous listening preferences that can be cross-referenced among a variety of consumer purchase behavior patterns and services usage.” Nielsen says its Podcast Listener Buying Power Service (launched last August) allows clients to see the qualitative profile of their shows using program titles collected from subscribers in order to connect specific types of listeners with advertisers and key brand categories.  PodcastOne EVP of sales Sue McNamara says, “Nielsen represents the addition of another powerful tool to our arsenal of research resources.  With these insights, we’ll be able to use podcast listener analytics to provide ourselves and our clients with information that will accelerate monetization opportunities.  With programming in virtually every content category, this information will provide us invaluable research to communicate our importance to podcast advertisers, as well as our partners.”

Emmis to Voluntarily Delist from Nasdaq. The company says in a statement that it plans to voluntarily delist its Class A Common Stock from the Nasdaq Stock Market, and based upon ownership of its shares by fewer than 300 holders of record, deregister its Class A Common Stock and suspend its public reporting obligations.  Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “We’ve undertaken a detailed and thoughtful review of the costs and benefits associated with being a Nasdaq-listed and SEC reporting company.  After careful consideration, our board of directors unanimously decided to voluntarily delist from Nasdaq and deregister with the SEC as we believe the expected savings of more than $1 million per year outweigh the advantages of continuing as a Nasdaq-listed and SEC reporting company.”  After the delisting takes place, Emmis’ Class A Common Stock is eligible for trading on an over-the-counter market, if one or more brokers choose to make a market for the Company’s Class A Common Stock, however, there can be no assurances regarding any such trading.

BIA Advisory: Radio to Take $1.7 Billion Ad Hit Due to COVID-19. Revising its advertising revenue projections for 2020 that were originally laid out in November of last year, BIA Advisory Services now expects the total for all U.S. local advertising across all platforms to be $144.3 billion, down 10.6% from its November 2019 projection of $161.3 billion.  Over the air radio is expected to lose $1.7 billion as it and local television are being hit hard by “decreased ad spend by Leisure and Entertainment, Restaurants and Retail companies, as well as sports cancellations.”  The report goes on to say, “One encouraging element is that political advertising will keep the decrease in both local cable and local OTA television smaller than other media. Other media, without that buffer, will see larger percentage decreases from what BIA originally projected for 2020.”  For radio, political advertising is situational – stations in swing states tend to get more presidential advertising than those in non-swing states.

TALKERS News Notes. Some of the hosts of the New Hampshire-based, nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” talk radio program attended a rally at the state house in Concord to protest the social distancing measures in place.  Hosts including show founder Ian Freeman, Nobody, Vincent, and Captain Kickass were there.  Freeman reports that the local police ignored the event.  He was quoted by the Associated Press in its national coverage, saying, “Even if the virus were 10 times as dangerous as it is, I still wouldn’t stay inside my home.  I’d rather take the risk and be a free person.”…..This Thursday (4/30), a national radiothon will take place to raise funds for Feeding America and its 200-member network of local food banks across the U.S.  It’s called, “Radio Cares: Feeding America Emergency Radiothon,” and is open to any radio station wishing to join……Condolences to the family and friends of WNYC, New York personality Richard Hake, who passed away on Friday (4/24) at age 51 from natural causes.  He as most recently serving as the local host of WNYC’s “Morning Edition.”  He also worked on the national; editions of NPR programs “Weekend Edition” and “All Things Considered.”

Talk Host Wayne Allyn Root Organizes Las Vegas Protest Parade.  Pictured above is Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root thanking participants in Friday’s “Open Nevada, Unleash Prosperity, Save America Patriot Caravan.”  Root organized the parade of vehicles that drove down Las Vegas Boulevard to protest the business shutdowns due to social distancing that has all but shuttered the tourist-reliant economy there.  The Las Vegas Sun estimates 500 cars took part in the event but Root says there were “thousands and thousands of cars!”

PPM Analysis: Rock. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the rock format. In this report, you can see which stations improved from the February survey, how their weekly, 6+ AHQ shares changed from a year ago, and how some of the format’s best performers ranked in their local markets.  See it all here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Philadelphia, “Lady B in the Afternoon” debuts on Radio One’s rhythmic oldies WPPZ-FM “Classix 107.9” today (4/27).   Station program director Jay Dixon says, “Afternoons is where Lady B shines.  Philly radio grew up on Lady B. We’re so happy to have her back in this time slot – bridging music, the community, and people – every weekday.  With her team, DJ Touchtone and Roxi Fab, Lady B is like medicine for the soul.”…..Alpha Media’s country KGNC-FM, Amarillo, Texas adds the “Big D & Bubba” show for mornings, starting today (4/27).  The duo say, “It is such an honor to be given the reigns of such a legendary station!  We appreciate Alpha and their leadership giving us this opportunity.”  The “Big D & Bubba Show” is distributed nationally via a partnership between Silverfish Media and Compass Media Networks…..This Wednesday (4/29) “The iHeartRadio Living Room Concert Series Presented by State Farm” will launch, featuring some of the biggest artists in music.  The series will video stream and broadcast every Wednesday to celebrate the importance of community and being a “good neighbor” through the power of music during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Wednesday’s performance will feature country artist Thomas Rhett.  It will stream on iHeartRadio’s YouTube Channel and broadcast across iHeartRadio stations nationwide at 7:00 pm local time.  iHeartMedia Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes says, “The living room has become the new stage.  Until our live music events return, this is a way for millions of fans to stay connected to their favorite artists, while staying safe at home.  We are excited to partner with State Farm on this new music series.”

Pending Business: Seven Simple Steps

| April 27, 2020

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp
President

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — This is not easy, this idea of doing business during this uncertain time.

If you sell in the news/talk world the log line is audience levels are up.  Yet you know ad sales are down.  More listeners are tuning in, yet co-workers are getting laid off.  Fear is dominating the content and fear is the most difficult business condition to sell through.  All markets hate fear and uncertainty.  Adapting to this pandemic environment challenges everything we know.  The new normal is a moving target-normal.

Read More

March 2020 PPM Analysis:
Mainstream Rock

| April 27, 2020

By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor
TALKERS

LOS ANGELES — Each month, we review PPM performances of three spoken-word genres and one music-intensive format.

Mainstream rock takes center-stage today in that latter category.

This overview is comprised of PPM-market mainstream rock facilities that rank in the top 20 (6+) in the March 2020 survey period (February 27 through March 25).

Nielsen Audio only releases audience estimates for facilities that subscribe to its services. Owing to that reason, ratings stats in this exclusive analysis are limited to stations that pay Nielsen Audio for its data.

Read More

Monday Memo: Freebie of the Year?

| April 27, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Commercial broadcasters subsist on advertising by businesses, most-of-which are OUT of business now.  But as we watch television, we’re seeing local TV advertisers emulate the pertinent, tasteful way national commercials acknowledge what’s happening, and convey that “we’ve got your back;” or, simply, “Be safe.”  And radio must too.

Read More

Friday, April 24, 2020

| April 24, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place!” looks back at this past week of April 20-24, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist / contributor, “Psychcast-MDedge” podcast;  Glenn Beck, talk show host, Premiere NetworksMichael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; and Bob Flaherty, talk show host, WHMP-AM, Northampton, MA. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL-AM, Alexandria, LA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format.  For those following how all-news and news/talk stations have fared since the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S., it won’t be a surprise that every all-news station in the U.S. saw its weekly, 6+ AQH share go up from the February survey. Comparing the March 2020 and February 2020 surveys, Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and KYW, Philadelphia led the gainers with each rising 1.9 shares.  Taking a look at year-over-year data, 67% of all-news stations were up, 22% were down, and 11% remained steady.  While Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco was the leader here (+3.5 for a 9.9 share and the #1 rank in the market), Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle’s 2.3 share increase pushed it from the #15 rank in 2019 to the #3 rank this year.  Despite the ratings jumps, just two all-news outlets ranked #1 in their respective markets in March – WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and KCBS-AM, San Francisco.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Michael Banks to Lead Connoisseur’s Frederick, Maryland Duo. It’s a return to the general manager position at news/talk WFMD-AM and country WFRE in Frederick, Maryland for Michael Banks.  He led the duo under iHeartMedia’s Aloha Trust that was created to divest of stations it couldn’t own due to ownership cap regulations. Now, Connoisseur Media puts Banks back in the GM chair.  Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw states, “Mike has been the general sales manager of our Long Island operation.  He was a crucial part of our success and today we are excited to promote him into this important position.”  Banks comments, “I’m excited to get back to Frederick.  This is a perfect fit for my family and me.  I look forward to working with a world-class staff and once again becoming a leader in the community.”

RAB’s ‘Business Unusual’ Series Continues on April 29. The RAB announces the next element in its “Business Unusual” initiative – a live video series titled, “Open for Business.”  The RAB says it will bring together broadcasters and advertisers “to discuss proven programs they are leveraging on radio’s platforms during COVID-19.  Each live presentation will feature several broadcasters and/or advertisers sharing success stories in their local markets including marketing promotions, community service programs, and ideas they have executed to drive revenue success for their stations and results for local businesses.”  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber will moderate the event.  Wednesday (4/29, 12:00 noon CT) will be the first live presentation featuring: Darrell Calton, chief executive officer, ILIAD Media Management, LLC; Erik Hellum, chief operations officer, local media, Townsquare Media; Beth Neuhoff, president and CEO, Neuhoff Media; Ron Stone, president and CEO, Adams Radio Group.

Former Affiliate Sales Reps Sue Cumulus Media and Westwood One. In a suit filed in federal court in New Jersey, Michael J. Capozzoli and Lee Napier allege that TM Studios parent Westwood One and company executives Kirk Stirland and William G. Clancy unlawfully discriminated against them based on their age.  Capozzoli was an affiliate relations rep for TM Studios and Napier was a regional manager for affiliate sales.  The allegations state that beginning in 2016, Stirland stated to Capozzoli his desire to “reinvent TM Studios to attract a younger demographic by hiring younger employees in the sales division.  Stirland became obsessed with hiring young sales employees who he perceived to be ‘hip’ and compared Defendants’ sales employees with those of a competitor (Reel World) that employed younger individuals.”  The complaint goes on to allege the two were treated differently with respect to their compensation despite meeting or exceeding sales goals.  They were both terminated in November 2018.  They are seeking back pay, compensatory damages and more.

The Economy and Lives vs Livelihood Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 20-24. The precarious state of the U.S. economy and the question of saving lives versus preserving the livelihoods of American workers was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the encroachment on civil liberties tied with the federal government’s relief packages.  Coming in at #3 was the presidential race and politics, followed by the state of the country’s health care system at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reports on the spat between WFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa and Twitter user Funhouse that uses the handle @BackAftaThis to critique Francesa.  For years @BackAftaThis has posted audio and video of Francesa, but recently Francesa and Entercom warned @BackAftaThis about its policy regarding use of its content that largely forbids it.  Marchand reports that “Francesa reversed course in a tweet Thursday saying it is now going to be OK.”  However, @BackAftaThis tells Marchand, “I have absolutely no plans to resume posting Mike’s clips.  He let me out of jail and I’m not going back willingly unless I’m compensated handsomely for it.”…..iHeartMedia announces that it will present its first quarter 2020 financial report on May 7.  It will also hold an investors conference call on that day.  iHeartMedia is the first media company heavy with radio assets scheduled to announce financial figures from the quarter that ended with the first few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Antonio, Cox Media Group names Joe Pesh the new co-host of the morning show on country KCYY “Y100,” effective May 6.  Pesh will work alongside current AM co-host Beth Chandler.  He was most recently morning personality on Radio One’s CHR WNOW, Indianapolis.  Cox Media Group San Antonio operations manager Jeff Garrison says, “We are very excited to have Joe join the team here in San Antonio!  We can’t wait to see his talent in action – just one minute speaking with Joe, and you know he is committed to his work, passionate about his audiences, and dedicated to doing his very best every day.”…..Alpha Media’s country KUPL, Portland “98.7 The Bull” adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated “Bobby Bones Show” for morning drive.  The program replaces the “Tony, Jake & Jenn” show.  Both Tony Russell and Jake Byron exited the station earlier this month and Jenn Hays moved to host of the midday show.  Bobby Bones says, “I love Portland. I love the people of Portland. Every time I’m in PDX I beg to be put on the air there.  And finally, I get that chance.”…..In West Palm Beach, iHeartMedia unveils a classic hip hop and R&B format on translator W277CX.  The previous country format heard on the signal was fed by WRLX-HD2.  The new station is branded “Throwback 93.3 FM” and features core artists including: Usher, 50 Cent, Kanye West, Mary J. Blige, Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, Eminem, 2Pac and more.  Air personalities include: “The Bushman Show,” Roxy Romeo, Lady Ray, and others…..Educational Media Foundation names Jim Houser to the newly created position of chief content officer.  The Christian music pro will oversee content for the “K-LOVE” and “Air1” radio networks, which currently broadcast on more than 1,000 signals nationwide.  Additionally, Houser will further develop EMF’s streaming strategy, oversee the upcoming podcast platform, all marketing strategy, and the integration of EMF’s digital assets with its programming initiatives…..Local Media San Diego received approval for the new call letters for KFMB-FM.  The adult hits outlet branded “100.7 BIG FM” now carries the calls KFBG-FM.  LMSD acquired the station from Tegna and part of the deal was giving up the KFMB calls that remain associated with Tegna’s KFMB-TV.  LMSD spun KFMB-AM to iHeartMedia in a deal that has not closed yet and that station will also have to change its calls…..Condolences to the family and friends of Southern California disc jockey and voice over pro Jerry Bishop, who passed away on April 21.  Using the stage name Bill Bishop, he worked at KCBQ, San Diego in 1963, moved to Los Angeles in 1965 and worked at such stations as KLAC, KFI, KKDJ, KIIS and KGIL.  He moved into voice-over work and became known for his work on the syndicated “Judge Judy” show.