Thursday, November 4, 2021 | TALKERS magazine - talk media trade : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Thursday, November 4, 2021

| November 4, 2021

Dan Bongino Returns to Westwood One Show. Nationally syndicated talk host Dan Bongino returned to his Westwood One radio program after missing the last seven shows due to his standoff with employer Cumulus Media over the company’s vaccine mandate. The Washington Examiner reports that Bongino said he chose to return to his show at the last minute and that required a few concessions on his part, but he told his listeners, “We’re at a stalemate here. We basically have guns to each other’s heads. We’ve been negotiating this for a long time.” In a Twitter post on Wednesday (11/3), Bongino addressed rumors that this is a ploy to get out of his contract – he says it’s not, he could leave any time if he wanted – and chastised other hosts who he says are using this issue to try to get their shows on the radio stations he’s currently on. Bongino is vaccinated and says he’s doing this to protect the rights of his fellow employees.

Cumulus Q3 Net Revenue Climbs 21%. Reporting its financial data from the third quarter of 2021, Cumulus Media says net revenue was $238 million, an increase of 21% over the same period in 2020. The company posted net income of $27.5 million in Q3 of 2021 compared to the net loss of $15.8 million it reported in the third quarter of 2020. Breaking the company’s revenue down by category, spot revenue was $122 million for the quarter – up 12.2% over the same period a year ago – while network revenue was $63.8 million, an increase of 21% over the third quarter of 2020. Digital revenue was $33.3 million, an increase of 67% over the $19.9 million figure reported in Q3 of 2020. Cumulus president and CEO Mary G. Berner says, “Our third quarter results exceeded expectations across the board, despite the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. This performance is yet another strong example of the continuing success of our evolution from a one-dimensional radio company to a multi-dimensional, audio-first media company. We see significant and continued upside potential and multiple drivers of shareholder value, which include additional radio market recovery, several fast-growing digital business lines, attractive free cash flow conversion, a strong balance sheet and liquidity profile, and substantial optionality regarding future capital allocation.”

Urban One Third Quarter Net Revenue Up 21.3%. The 2021 third quarter financial report for Urban One, Inc. reveals the company’s net revenue for the period was approximately $111.5 million, an increase of 21.3% from the same period in 2020. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $49.1 million, an increase of 11.2% from the same period in 2020. The company reports operating income of approximately $34.5 million during Q3 of this year compared to approximately $4 million for the same period in 2020. Net income was approximately $13.9 million compared to the net loss of approximately $12.8 million the company posted in Q3 of 2020. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins, III says, “We had another very strong quarter, driven by double-digit advertising revenue growth in core radio, digital and cable TV. Our digital and national syndication businesses are benefiting from continued high demand from major advertisers for our audience on a national level, and our core radio business, excluding political, increased by approximately 35% year-over-year. Our diversified mix of assets has helped us rebound to Adjusted EBITDA levels that exceed those of 2019, and I now feel comfortable increasing full year guidance to in the $140 to $145 million range, up from the mid $130s. Our Richmond, Virginia, One Casino and Resort project was narrowly defeated in the city referendum on November 2, which was both unexpected and disappointing given the substantial economic benefits we believe the project would have brought to the city. We are considering our next steps and will continue to pursue similar opportunities.”

Saga Communications Third Quarter Net Revenue Rises 17.7%. Net operating revenue for Saga Communications in the third quarter of 2021 was $28.8 million, an increase of 17.7% over the $24.1 million reported during the same period a year ago. Station operating income was $8.5 million for the quarter compared to $6.1 million for the third quarter last year. Saga posted net income of $3.5 million compared to the net loss of $950,000 reported during Q3 of 2020. Saga paid a quarterly dividend of $0.16 per share on October 22, 2021 and reports that it has paid more than $73 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend was paid in 2012. The company’s balance sheet reflects $62.2 million in cash on hand as of September 30, 2021 and $53.5 million as of November 1, 2021. Saga paid off the remaining balance of $10 million in bank debt on October 27, 2021.

Cox Media Group Names Chris Eagan VP of Audience and Operations. Radio programming pro Chris Eagan is promoted to VP of audience and operations for Cox Media Group. In this new role, Eagan will lead the overarching programming strategy, audience development, and multiplatform distribution for CMG Radio. He will also lead the CMG Digital Content team and partnerships to drive innovation for CMG Radio. Eagan was most recently senior director of operations for CMG Atlanta Radio. Eagan has served with CMG since he joined as program director for WEZN, Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2008. CMG SVP-Head of Radio Rob Babin says, “There is nothing we love more than being able to promote internal talent to fill crucial roles such as this one. Chris is an excellent leader who has demonstrated continued success in every role he has held at CMG. He has the unique ability to combine strategic vision, team alignment, and operational execution leading to successful outcomes. His experience partnering across CMG divisions and partners will be a tremendous asset to our team.”

Round Three of October PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s October 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s October 2021 sweep covered September 16 – October 13. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Charlotte, Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM drops eight-tenths for a 3.9 share (6+, weekly AQH share) and falls to the #11 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK-AM/FM, Sacramento remains ranked #1 despite dipping 1.2 shares and finishing with an 8.6 share while sister news/talk KSTE falls two-tenths for a 3.2 share finish and the #13 rank. In Salt Lake City, Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM posts a 9.9 share on the strength of a 1.7 share gain and holds the #1 rank while iHeartMedia’s KNRS-AM/FM adds half a share for a 6.8 share finish and climbs to the #2 rank. And in Columbus, Tegna’s sports talk WBNS-FM rises two full shares to wrap the survey with a 10.1 share and grabs the #1 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the two previous groups) here.

Mayor Glenn Jacobs – Former WWE Champion – is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The mayor of Knox County, Tennessee, Glenn Jacobs is this week’s colorful guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Elected in 2018, he is a first-term Republican mayor and a conservative with libertarian leanings who has played an active role in the heated national debate over COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates. But there’s a lot more to his background than just politics, vaccines and masks, although masks are nothing new to him. Perhaps you know him by his alter ego… as a MASKED 7-foot tall, demonic WWE world heavyweight champion professional wrestler with scary supernatural powers named Kane. Don’t miss this! To listen to the entire podcast, please click here.

TALKERS News Notes. The 2022 NAB Show is scheduled for April 23–27 and the organization says this convention will feature “distinct destinations focused on three main pillars associated with the content lifecycle. Designated ‘Create,’ ‘Connect’ and ‘Capitalize,’ and situated throughout the North Hall, Central Hall and new West Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center, each area offers renewed opportunities for learning, discovery and engagement.” The “Create” section “will focus on content creation from pre-production to post, including the latest tools and advanced workflow options to elevate storytelling.” The “Connect” section “will be a destination to explore content distribution and delivery, from cloud computing to new media infrastructure,” and the “Capitalize” section “will feature next-generation technologies creating new revenue streams and fueling the content economy.” NAB global connections and events EVP and managing director Chris Brown says, “We are reimagining NAB Show to more closely mirror today’s media, entertainment and technology ecosystem in a way that is intuitive and makes it easier for attendees to navigate the event. We are also thrilled to offer new curated experience zones designed to spotlight innovation, stimulate meaningful networking, inspire new ways of thinking and provide premium education, insights and a focus on real-world implementation.”…..The nationally syndicated Todd Starnes radio program adds affiliate stations in three new markets to raise its affiliate total to 120 stations. Now airing the daily Todd Starnes program are: iHeartMedia’s WRVA, Richmond; Delmarva Educational’s WTOD, Toledo; and Pan American Broadcasting’s KDAZ, Albuquerque…..Cumulus Media and Imperative Entertainment dropped the new, 12-part podcast series, “The Agent,” about the remarkable true story of Jack Barsky, the longest-surviving known member of the KGB illegals program operated during the height of the Cold War. Barsky hid in plain sight in America for 10 years, all the while leading dual lives on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. On one fateful day, he was confronted with an impossible choice…..Audacy’s C13Originals announces the launch of the investigative documentary franchise, “Gone South.” Season one is set in a rural and corruption-plagued parish outside New Orleans and explores the unsolved murder of a crusading sex crimes prosecutor named Margaret Coon who was killed in 1987 while jogging with her dog through an exclusive subdivision in St. Tammany Parish. Thirty-four years later, the crime remains unsolved, but not forgotten…..NASCAR will crown four champions this weekend (11/5-7) at Phoenix Raceway and Motor Racing Network will be there. MRN will produce 14 hours of championship quality coverage, including play-by-play for four races over the weekend. MRN president Chris Schwartz says, “The Motor Racing Network team has produced 300-plus hours of content over the 10-month NASCAR season and it’s time to crown a champion. Our producers and on-air talent will get a well-earned break over the next few months before we begin preparations for the 64th annual Daytona 500 in February of 2022.”

Election Results, Fed Eases Stimulus, Supply Chain/Inflation, COP26 Summit, COVID-19, China Military Aggression, and Kyle Rittenhouse Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/3). The results of Tuesday’s elections that saw Republican Glenn Youngkin win the governor’s seat in Virginia and speculation about what it means for the 2022 mid-term elections; the Fed announces it will taper its stimulus program that’s been assisting Americans during the pandemic; the broken supply chain, the spate of thefts from stalled shipping containers and the inflationary effects on retail prices; the COP26 Summit in Glasgow and the debate over combating climate change; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccines for kids and mask & vaccine mandates; China’s military aggression toward Taiwan; and the trial of Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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