Archive for June, 2021
The Power of Talk Radio Has Never Been Stronger. Sales pro and Howie Carr Radio Network president Kathy Carr writes in a column today that in order to make the title this piece a reality, talk radio sellers must use all the weapons in their arsenal. “We are radio, but we are most effective when we take advantage of all the new technology that is now available to us. As an industry, we need to keep up with all the advanced marketing vehicles and provide them to our clients to increase their business and stay current with the times. We need to supplement the live reads with text messages, social media, and eblasts. The live reads should be synchronized with the blasts and texts. Adding your clients’ ads to your podcasts gives them an added bang for their buck.” Read more here.
Rose Tennent Show Gone from WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh. According to a story at Patch.com, the Rose Tennent program has exited St. Barnabas Broadcasting’s WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh after three months on the air. Westwood One’s “Dan Bongino Show” is now airing in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot formerly occupied by Tennent. Both Tennent – a longtime Pittsburgh radio personality who worked alongside Jim Quinn on “The War Room” morning show on former talk outlet WPGB-FM – and Wendy Bell joined the station in March. Bell, a former KDKA-TV newscaster and former KDKA-AM talk host, exited the station in April and was replaced in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot by Premiere Networks’ Glenn Beck. St. Barnabas Broadcasting has not issued a public statement about the change and it’s unclear what the reason was for the change.
iHeartMedia Pre-Pays $250 Million of Term Loan Facilities. The company announces that its indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary, iHeartCommunications, Inc., is voluntarily prepaying a portion of both its $2.075 million Term Loan and its $447 million Incremental Term Loan, utilizing cash on hand, while concurrently repricing the Incremental Term Loan. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “We are pleased to announce that we will voluntarily pay down $250 million of our Term Loan facilities, demonstrating the encouraging momentum we are seeing across all of our businesses. At iHeart, we are committed to deleveraging and strengthening our balance sheet, reducing interest expense and further increasing our free cash flow while still maintaining ample liquidity. We continue to evaluate all possible opportunities to reduce our cost of capital, and we have taken advantage of the current favorable market conditions to reprice our Incremental Term Loan as well.” The prepayment, which will be applied to the two Term Loan facilities on a pro-rata basis, and the repricing, are each expected to close in mid-July, subject to customary closing conditions.
Bill O’Reilly Programs Hit 250-Station Threshold. The Key Networks nationally syndicated programs featuring Bill O’Reilly hit the 250-station mark in just over two years with the addition of news affiliates including: WRNN-FM, Myrtle Beach; WDAY-AM, Fargo; KLJY-HD3, St. Louis; KDXE-FM, Little Rock; and WBOB-AM, Jacksonville. O’Reilly comments, “We are very pleased with our expanding radio lineup. In this time of political and societal chaos, ‘The O’Reilly Update’ brings clarity and honest reporting. We also have fun with the ‘something you might not know’ segment. Sometimes the good guys actually win and that’s what’s happening with the ‘Update.’” Key Networks offers three O’Reilly programs – “The O’Reilly Update” in middays, “The O’Reilly Update Morning Edition” and “The O’Reilly Update Weekend Edition.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “Two Hundred fifty stations in two years shows that Bill O’Reilly’s popularity remains strong. ‘The O’Reilly Update’ provides commentary unlike anyone in media today. The information is timely, topical and most importantly, sellable as local stations are generating revenue from content that is second to none. For those stations that have not signed up for The O’Reilly Update, the time is now!”
Voting Rights Bill Killed, COVID-19/Delta Variant, Spike in Violent Crime, Critical Race Theory, Employer Woes, Iran Politics/Nuclear Deal, Russian War Games, and NYC Mayoral Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/22). Republicans use the filibuster to block Joe Biden’s For the People Act voting bill; the slowing rate of vaccinations and concerns about a fall/winter rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant; the spike in violent crime and gun violence in America’s urban areas; the pushback against the teaching of “critical race theory” by parents; hospitality industry employers’ desperate need for workers; the election of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as Iran’s president and his refusal to meet with Biden over Iran’s ballistic missile program; Russia’s largest military exercises program since the Cold War; and the New York City mayoral primary race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Kathy Carr
The Howie Carr Radio Network
I still feel that radio, combined with more contemporary marketing methods, continues to be the most effective marketing medium out there today.
The thrill of closing a sale or getting that commission check will never come close to the praise you receive from a client when he tells you how important you have been in growing their business. It just never gets old and is probably the biggest reason I still love being in radio sales.
Round Four of May PPM Survey Results Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s May 2021 PPM sweep has been released for 12 markets: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from these markets. After ballooning by more than four full-shares in April 2021 (5.6 – 9.7, +4.1, 6+), the highest (6+) gain by any station in all 48 PPM markets (March 2021 – April 2021), Good Karma Brands’ WTMJ relinquishes one-half share to 9.2 (6+). Even so, “Wisconsin’s Radio Station” is the solitary mainstream news/talker from these 12 metros to achieve #1 status (May 2021, 6+). Cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WISN “News Talk 1130” forfeits eight-tenths (7.4 – 6.6, fourth to third, 6+). In other head-to-head news/talk battles, iHeartMedia Raleigh’s WTKK “106.1 FM Talk” improves by two-tenths (5.0 – 5.2, seventh to sixth, 6+), while Curtis Media Group-owned WPTF “News Radio 680” gains three-tenths (1.8 – 2.1, #16 to #14, 6+). Nashville’s format share dips a combined seven-tenths: Cumulus Media’s WWTN “Super Talk 99.7” (7.1 – 6.7, third to fourth, 6+) and iHeartMedia-owned WLAC “Talk Radio 1510” 2.2 – 1.9, flat at #17, 6+) drop four-tenths and three-tenths, respectively. At the same that Cumulus Media Providence’s WPRO-AM & WEAN “News Talk 630 AM & 99.7 FM” sheds two-tenths (4.8 – 4.6, sixth to seventh, 6+), cross-town iHeartMedia-owned WHJJ “News Radio 920” improves by that margin (.7 – .9, #21 to #19, 6+). West Palm Beach is a completely mixed bag: iHeartMedia’s WJNO “News Radio 1290” is up one-half share (3.0 – 3.5, ninth to seventh, 6+); cluster-mate WZZR “92.1 Real Radio” surrenders eight-tenths (2.0 – 1.2, #13 to #17, 6+); and Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WFTL “News Talk 850” is flat at 2.0 (steady at #13, 6+). Three Hartford news/talk facilities populate the top 20: Audacy’s WTIC-AM “News Talk 1080” (5.1 – 4.7, -.4, flat at #8, 6+); Red Wolf Broadcasting-owned WDRC-AM “The Talk of Connecticut” (1.0 – .8, -.2, stays at #15); and iHeartMedia’s WPOP “News Radio 1410 AM & 100.9 FM” (unchanged at .2, #18 to #17, 6+). Read Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (and the three previous market groups) here.
Saga Communications Declares A Quarterly Cash Dividend Of $.16 per share. The dividend will be paid in about four weeks (7/16) to shareholders of record on June 30, 2021. It will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet. Including this dividend, Saga Communications will have paid over $72 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend nine years ago (2012). Saga currently intends to pay regular quarterly cash dividends as declared by the board of directors. Going forward, the board may also consider declaring special cash dividends, stock dividends, and stock buybacks.
Media Consultant (and TALKERS columnist) Holland Cooke Ties-the-Knot. Moments after filing this week’s TALKERS Monday Memo column, noted media consultant and TV talk show host Holland Cooke was married to his longtime friend, Sarah Collins. The happy couple is pictured at their private ceremony in Key West, Florida. Ms. Collins is a financial analyst and fellow New Englander.
Audacy Expands Crooked Media Partnership. It does so by carrying “Lovett or Leave It” across Audacy original station Channel Q and the LGBTQ+ Talk Radio Network. The podcast will be heard each Monday from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm on Channel Q stations in 32 markets and via the Audacy app, effective next week (6/28). “Lovett or Leave It” is hosted by former President Barack Obama’s speechwriter Jon Lovett and features guests that include comedians, actors, journalists, activists, and politicians. Audacy executive vice president of programming Jeff Sottolano remarks, “The show’s quick and witty flair for discussing the most relevant topics surrounding today’s political and pop culture landscapes is what differentiates itself; we look forward to welcoming the show to the Channel Q family.” Crooked Media senior vice president of programming Sandy Girard states the podcast is “where Jon Lovett talks about everything from the most pressing political and social issues to what everyone is bingeing on TV, to the latest trends in scientific advancement – all with his incredibly intelligent and hilarious point of view. We’re so excited to expand our partnership with Audacy to bring ‘Lovett or Leave It’ to even more listeners around the country and to kick it off with our special Pride episode ‘Out of The Closets and Into the Streets.’” Popular “Lovett or Leave It” segments include “The Rant Wheel,” where each guest delivers a prepared rant to a hot cultural topic, and “The High Notes,” where listeners share personal anecdotes about finding optimism in these challenging times. Lovett co-founded progressive media company Crooked Media with Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor in 2017. He co-created the NBC-TV comedy “1600 Penn” and wrote speeches for former New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Newsmax Adds Ellis, Gidley. Former senior legal adviser/personal counsel to Donald Trump – Jenna Ellis – and onetime top official in the Trump White House – J. Hogan Gidley – join Newsmax as on-air television contributors. Newsmax chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy comments, “Jenna Ellis brings a sharp mind and pointed legal commentary and constitutional analysis to the workings of our court system as it works to defend our liberties and freedoms. She is a strong addition to our growing lineup. Few know the media, Washington and the future of the GOP better than Hogan Gidley – we’re glad to have him on Newsmax to offer our viewers his valuable insights.” Ellis opines, “Newsmax consistently gives viewers an independent perspective on the news of the day. I look forward to continuing to be part of their coverage and bringing the truth as Americans strive to have their voices heard.” Gidley adds, “I’m extremely grateful to Mr. Ruddy and Newsmax for this new and exciting opportunity. I will draw from my experiences in public service to provide Newsmax viewers my detailed analysis and unvarnished opinion regarding so many difficult issues facing the American people.” Ellis is special counsel with the Thomas More Society and allied attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. Once the deputy district attorney in Colorado’s Weld County, she hosts a daily podcast, “Just The Truth.” Gidley was deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy White House press secretary in the Trump Administration. In 2020, he joined the Trump re-election campaign as national press secretary. He previously was communications director to Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, senators Elizabeth Dole and Rick Santorum; and was executive director of the South Carolina Republican Party.
Komando To Deliver More Tech Insider Tips. Stemming from an increase in listener demand, Kim Komando will debut a one-minute “Komando Digital Life Tech Tip” in three weeks (7/21). The daily vignette will be offered to stations and streaming services without charge and will carry a 60-second commercial. Komando’s digital insider tips will reportedly include: how to stop robocalls by changing one smartphone setting; ransomware prevention secrets; and the best parental control smartphone apps. Talent management firm Sound Mind’s founder/president Kraig Kitchin comments that Komando – who writes a column for “USA Today” – is “entertaining and helpful; Kim continues to make great radio.” In addition to her weekend three-hour call-in “Kim Komando Show,” which airs on 420 stations (and the American Forces Radio Network) to an estimated 6.5 million listeners, she hosts “Daily Tech Update” seven mornings a week on 389 stations.
TALKERS News Notes: A three-hour CBS Audio Independence Day Special will be available for airing July 2 – 5. Among the topics/guests on the Gil Gross-hosted celebration of America’s Birthday are: Family-safe alternatives to DIY fireworks; behind the scenes of the Capitol Fourth of July Concert with the National Symphony; “The Men Who Lost America” author Andrew O’Shaughnessy on how Great Britain’s bad decision-making helped us win The Revolutionary War; Broadway/TV star Betty Buckley shares her thoughts about “1776, The Musical” reopening with an all-female cast; and Polish General Tadeusz Kosciuszko’s role in winning the war and his attempt to buy Thomas Jefferson’s slaves in order to set them free … Meanwhile, one of three ABC Audio specials to affiliates for use over the July 4th weekend includes ABC News Radio entertainment correspondent Jason Nathanson-hosted “Press Play.” The three-hour special deals with ways Americans are having fun this summer as the country begins to reopen. It explores how people are entertaining themselves through the shows they’re watching, the music they’re listening to, and the activities they’re doing. In addition, “Press Play” highlights America’s most rapidly growing sport—Pickleball—and introduces listeners to some of its biggest fans.
Facebook Establishes Live Audio Rooms. Next steps were revealed yesterday (Monday, 6/21) as Facebook pushes into the social audio and podcasting spaces, taking aim at (among others) Clubhouse, iHeartRadio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Twitter Spaces. Per an Adweek report, the social media platform is “rolling out Live Audio Rooms on iOS for public figures and select Facebook groups in the United States, as well as making select podcasts available to U.S. listeners.” Facebook’s Live Audio Rooms offer a standard set of features. Event hosts appear in profile icons at the top of the screen; listeners appear in the bottom half as smaller icons. There is no limit on the number of listeners allowed in and as many as 50 people are able to speak at once. In addition to live captions, notifications are made when friends or followers join a room. Facebook will use automated technology and human reviewers to moderate content in Live Audio Rooms. According to CNET, “Users who repeatedly violate Facebook’s rules won’t be allowed to create or speak in a Live Audio Room.” Facebook is building new audio tools for creators to develop and launch “Soundbites,” or short-form audio clips that will launch later this year.