Townsquare Media Q4 Pro Forma Net Revenue Up 9.5%. Reporting 2014 Q4 and full-year financial figures, Townsquare Media announces its pro forma net revenue was $93.7 million – up 9.5% compared to the same quarter a year ago – and for the full year, pro forma net revenue was up 8.4% on income of $384.7 million. While pro forma local advertising net revenue increased 5.6% during Q4, chairman and CEO Steven Price says that “nearly 30% of our 2014 pro forma net revenue was derived from sources other than the sale of terrestrial radio advertising.” He further comments, “Consistent with our January pre-announcement, we are pleased to report fourth quarter pro forma net revenue growth of 9.5% and pro forma adjusted EBITDA growth of 8.6%, with strong growth in each of our operating segments. We are pleased to announce that we have broken out our Live Events business as a separate reportable operating segment and believe this will provide increased transparency to our investors.” The company also explains how the company’s divisions are broken down: “We have two reportable operating segments, which are Local Advertising and Live Events, and report the remainder of our business in an Other Media and Entertainment category. Our Local Advertising segment is composed of broadcast, digital and mobile advertising on our stations, streams, websites and mobile application. Our Live Events segment is composed of a diverse range of live events, which we create, promote and produce, including musical concerts, multi-day music festivals, consumer expositions and trade shows, athletic events, lifestyle events and other forms of entertainment. The Other Media and Entertainment business principally includes digital marketing services, national digital assets and other revenue.”
Kevin Slaten Returns to KXFN, St. Louis Airwaves Today. In a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today by Dan Caesar, it’s reported that notorious St. Louis sports talk personality Kevin Slaten will be on KXFN’s air today (3/16) as the Grand Slam-owned station is being leased by Talkstl.com’s owners. Slaten’s show is currently heard on the digital platform. Caesar writes that Talkstl began the deal over the weekend and began airing Yahoo Sports Radio. He also reports the move is part of a power struggle at Grand Slam that is forcing KXFN to change formats again. Read his piece here.
Programming Quake at WTEM, Washington. According to Dave Hughes’ DCRTV.com, a huge programming maelstrom took place at Red Zebra-owned sports talker WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980” last week that prevented today’s debut of the local “Man Cave” show with Chris Paul and Jason Reid and cost programmer Chuck Sapienza his job. The short version is that Washington Redskins and WTEM owner Dan Snyder doesn’t appreciate former Washington Post writer Reid’s criticism of the Redskins operations and put the kibosh on the show. When Sapienza tried to justify the move, he was dismissed. Read the DCRTV.com report here.
Larry Gifford: Radiodays Europe – Day One.
MILAN – BBC radio is widely considered one of the most innovative media companies in the world, which is the reason BBC radio director Helen Boaden was a good choice to set the tone for Radiodays Europe 2015 in Milan, Italy. In her special Sunday night conference-opening presentation, Boaden laid out one of the big challenges facing radio and offered a road map for those who want to follow.
“You need to understand your company’s space in the digital universe,” Boaden (pictured below during her address) commanded. She encouraged everyone to look at media, telecom, and social media companies and any other company that has entered the space of audio content creation to be sure there is a true understanding of the scale at which we are competing. This is when she referred to Google, Amazon.com, Netflix and Facebook as “the four horseman of the digital apocalypse.” But, she made it clear it’s not just a fight for dollars and ear-space, but for our talent. “We, for the first time, have lost one of our best presenters to Apple.” (She’s referring to DJ Zane Lowe’s recently reported move from London to Cupertino.) She thinks she knows why, too. “What they want is actually the best of radio. Aggregation no longer, they can see, is enough.”
Boaden strongly believes despite the technology changes, at the heart of all good radio is still good storytelling. She oversees what seems like dozens of BBC radio brand extensions each focused on getting fans to listen, watch and share stories.
Listen. Watch. Share.
That is the BBC radio secret: a three-pronged, listener-focused, strategy for every platform. She gave innovative examples the BBC has implemented for each, including pop-up radio stations, animating great radio content, and engaging fans with share-worthy original content. Boaden concluded, “The future of radio relies on you staying close to the audience. Despite how you feel about them sometimes, you can’t sack your audience, but your audience can sack you.”
Radiodays Europe features Elvis Duran as the conference keynote address today (3/16). Duran and iHeartRadio‘s Dennis Clark will discuss how to create a successful morning show. You can keep up-to-date on the conference by following #rde15 on Twitter.
This special report to TALKERS was filed by Larry Gifford. He is a radio programming consultant and talent coach (www.larrygifford.com) and host of the Radio Stuff Podcast. He can be emailed at email@example.com.
Lew Dickey to Address SXSW Media Conference. At the 2015 South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin this Thursday (3/19), Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey will be featured on a panel discussion during which he’ll speak to attendees about how listeners and artists are benefiting from the integration of broadcast radio and music streaming services. The panel will be moderated by digital news outlet Quartz’s John McDuling, along with fellow panelists Rdio CEO Anthony Bay and Glassnote Entertainment Group president/chief executive officer Daniel Glass. The panel, titled, “The Marriage of Radio & Online Listening,” will address the future for merged relationships between radio and online listening.
Bliss Family Robinson. In this personality profile published today (3/16), TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents the story of lifelong radio pro Dick Robinson – founder of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. From his beginnings at WARE in Ware, Massachusetts in the late 1950s, to his time at WDRC-AM & FM in Hartford, to the founding and building of CSB and beyond, Kinosian paints a colorful picture of this fascinating “radio guy” and the storied business he and his family have built and maintained. Read the entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Concerning the conspicuous absence of college hoops legend John Thompson from Westwood One’s broadcast from the Big East Tournament last week, the syndicator reports he had corrective surgery for a benign twisted intestine and is home recovering well. “Unfortunately, he is unable to travel extensively for the next few weeks, otherwise he would be in his favorite spot — courtside for March Madness.”…..New Hampshire Public Radio’s Virginia Prescott, host of “Word of Mouth,” is being recognized by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation with a Gracie award in the category of Outstanding Host – Entertainment/Information category.
VO VIPs. At the recent VO Atlanta voice-over conference, some of the nation’s top voice-over artists gathered. Pictured here are (from l-r): Chris Corley, Randy Thomas, Mitch Faulkner and Jason Garte. Thomas moderated a panel titled, “The History of Radio Imaging,” featuring Garte, president of The Mix Group and Mix Talent Management; Corley, a top promotional announcer and imaging voice; and Faulkner, imaging voiceover talent and founder of MLMI Creative Services Atlanta.
Salem Media Group Reports Broadcast Sector Flat in Q4 2014; Net Revenue Up 2.3% for All of 2014. The company’s net broadcast revenue was up 2.3% on revenue of $192.9 million for the entire year of 2014. The fourth quarter of 2014, however, was flat on revenue of $48.8 million. However, the company’s digital and publishing arms performed much better with the digital media sector’s revenue increasing 14.7% to $11.7 million from $10.2 million (compared to the same quarter a year ago). Publishing revenue rose 47% to $5.4 million from $3.7 million (compared to Q4 of 2013).
Rob Ellis Exits WIP-FM, Philadelphia. Telling listeners of his final evening show on CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia that he’s leaving the station, Rob Ellis lets on that he was not happy being moved from middays – where he was partnered with Anthony Gargano prior to Gargano’s exit from the station last December – to evenings as Josh Innes was moved up from nights to work with Tony Bruno on the new midday show. He teases that he’ll be seen and heard in the market but was not specific.
TALKERS/RadioInfo Publisher Michael Harrison Joins Podcast One to Host Weekly Podcast. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison and Norm Pattiz have announced entering into an agreement in which Harrison will host a weekly podcast on Pattiz’ PodcastOne, the leader in advertiser-supported, on-demand digital audio with more than 200 programs downloaded over 120 million times every month. Titled, Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison, the podcast, which officially debuted yesterday (3/10), delivers provocative insights into the digital era’s rapidly evolving technology and the effects of these changes on the human condition. In addition to conducting candid, probing conversations with top contemporary thinkers from the arts, science, business and pop culture worlds, Harrison will share personal experiences and perspectives culled from his long-standing career as one of the most influential media observers and analysts in the broadcasting realm for more than four-and-a-half decades. “Up Close and Far Out has found the perfect platform for distribution and promotion with the leading podcaster, PodcastOne, to deliver illuminating insights and stimulating information to the rapidly growing podcast audience in the most modern and timely way possible,” says Michael Harrison. “It will be a pleasure and valuable opportunity to once again be associated with this innovative company’s extraordinary founder, Norm Pattiz.” This marks the first time that Michael Harrison has agreed to take on a regularly scheduled performance role on a platform outside those under the TALKERS magazine umbrella in more than 20 years and he credits that largely to his confidence in Pattiz. Harrison and Pattiz worked together in the mid-1970s when Pattiz was launching Westwood One and Harrison hosted, wrote and produced one of that company’s earliest groundbreaking offerings, The Great American Radio Show with Michael Harrison. “Michael Harrison’s track record of success in predicting, defining and participating in media trends spans the digital divide and is nothing short of extraordinary — and we are excited to expand that from the newspaper, magazine, radio and television commentaries in which he has become a universally recognized resource to the intimate and unfiltered realm of his own regularly scheduled podcast,” says Norm Pattiz, chairman and CEO of PodcastOne. “Bringing his unique brand of articulate analysis and intelligent conversational skills to the table, Michael Harrison knows how to connect with both the professional media practitioner and educated pop culture consumer on a remarkably high and consistent level.” Harrison adds, “Whereas my work in the industry trades focuses primarily on information directly applicable to professionals in the radio, TV and digital realm, this project will be more aggressively speculative and theoretical — targeted to the hardcore ‘media freaks’ in and beyond the industry.” This unique podcast, Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison, will be available on www.PodcastOne.com, the PodcastOne app, www.talkers.com, www.RadioInfo.com, and iTunes. The podcast can be directly accessed at www.podcastone.com/up-close-and-far-out
Odds & Sods. Another podcaster is added to the program lineup at Dupage Radio’s WCKG, Elmhurst, Illinois (suburban Chicago) as “The Dolly McCarthy Show” joins for weekends. WCKG general manager Matt Dubiel says, “We’re always working on new ways to live up to our mission to be the WGN of the suburbs. Adding Dolly – a suburban mother who is involved in suburban organizations and hosts a show about suburban affairs – makes her show a win-win for everyone…and sure beats crazy, political shout-fests!”…..Mahindra USA and Yahoo Sports Radio are hitting the air with a comprehensive, nationwide marketing partnership to support the continued robust growth of the Mahindra brand and the company’s extensive dealer network. As part of the Yahoo Sports Radio campaign and in appreciation of their service, Mahindra is offering First Responders across America an opportunity to win a Mahindra eMax 22 HST tractor with front-end loader. Any active or retired law enforcement, firefighter or EMT is eligible to enter through Yahoo Sports Radio’s website or www.tributetothebrave.com between March 6 – April 4, 2015.
Cumulus New York Talent to Be Honored with Gracie Awards. Broadcasters from Cumulus Media’s New York stations will be honored with three Gracie Awards from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation during the awards presentation on June 22 at the New York Hilton Hotel. The awards are about recognizing excellence in programming by, for or about women. Capturing Gracie Awards at Cumulus New York are: Rita Cosby, WABC for Outstanding Host-News/Non-Fiction, Local Market Radio; “The Ride Home with Pat Kiernan & Rita Cosby,” WABC New York, for Outstanding Talk Show-News, Local Market Radio; and “NASH Matters with Kelly Ford” featuring the Grace Institute, WNSH “NASH-FM 94.7” for Outstanding Interview Program or Feature, Local Market Radio.
‘The Bigger Picture’ Celebrates Two Years on Los Angeles Airwaves This Month. The idea for the radio program that would become “The Bigger Picture with Timothy Spangler” began when the host returned to the United States in 2012 after spending 10 years in London. Spangler says that the experience gave him “a platform to learn the ways of the world outside the sterile partisan political debates so common in American media.” He says the concept was simple: a live weekly radio show that would focus on international affairs and global events that would approach the stories and guests with ample amounts of humor, familiar to listeners who had grown up on “The Daily Show” and “Colbert Report.” By avoiding domestic political issues – too often talked to death during the week on traditional AM stations – he hoped to give listeners a refreshingly different radio experience. “The world is a funny place,” according to Spangler, “and we just want to share that with as many people as we can.” Joined by college buddies actor David C Fisher and musician Phillip Sparks, the three UCLA alumni decided to launch the show on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KRLA “AM870 The Answer.” “We were drawn to the heritage of KRLA, which is a station anyone who grew up in LA is familiar with.” Spangler says they kick off the Sunday 10:00 pm show with a news round-up featuring the strangest and most puzzling news stories from around the globe – German grandmothers thwarting bank robberies, Venezuelan grocery stores running out of toilet paper – all are fair game. On a more serious note, each week the BIG story goes in depth on a topic or development that has not yet received the attention it deserves – important stories that mainstream media are unwilling to make time for, says Spangler. He also books top-notch guests to talk about the world’s issues. Some recent guests include: Edward Norton, Stevie Wonder, Jim Kerr from the rock band Simple Minds, Lesley Nicol, who plays “Mrs. Patmore” on PBS‘ “Downton Abbey,” Mathew Rhys, star of FX‘s hit drama, “The Americans,” and Jeff Perry, star of the ABC hit television series, “Scandal,” to name just a few. As for the future of the program, Spangler observes that the content is not local market-specific and clearly lends itself to a national audience. Conversations with syndicators and affiliates are ongoing, and the team hopes to bring “The Bigger Picture” to more and more listeners in the months ahead.
Longtime Albany Talk Personality Don Weeks Dies at 76. Four years after retiring from a 30-year stint as morning drive host at WGY, Albany in 2010, Don Weeks passed away at age 76. The Daily Report of Schenectady wrote that Weeks had been in failing health. He lost his wife Suzanne in December of 2014. “Uncle Don” began hosting the morning show in December of 1980 and earned a Marconi Award in 2005. He started in radio in the Capital Region in 1956.
Hillary Clinton Email Probe, Iran Nukes Deal Controversy, OU Sigma Alpha Epsilon Racism Case, Amnesty Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘Blurred Lines’ Ruling, and Apple Unveils Watch Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/10). The ongoing investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for State Department business; the battle between Congress and President Obama over the proposed Iran nukes deal; the racial tensions ignited at University of Oklahoma after a fraternity is recorded singing a song with racist lyrics; the GOP’s fight against President Obama’s amnesty orders; the potential candidates for president in 2016; a jury sides with the estate of Marvin Gaye in the “Blurred Lines” case; and Apple unveils its soon to be marketed Watch product were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Joyce Kaufman of WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale Receives the TALKERS “Humanitarian of the Year” Award. Today (7/22) marks the sixth business day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with part 1 of the event’s traditional “Talkers Awards Ceremony” emceed by legendary Westwood One talk show host Jim Bohannon and featuring the presentation of the Sharon L. Harrison Memorial Award for Outstanding Community Service by a Radio Broadcaster by Talk Media, Inc. CEO Carole Marks (pictured here at left) to WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale personality Joyce Kaufman (pictured here at right). Kaufman gives a powerful acceptance speech in which she expresses her humble appreciation and encourages her fellow talk show hosts to exercise their radio programs’ full potential as a service to their communities, which she says are becoming increasingly disconnected due in part to the very technology of the modern era. She states, “If not us – who? If we don’t move people from merely talking into actually doing, we are missing the blessing that this platform gives us. If we don’t help the people who deserve our help, we will feed into the notion that we are a dispassionate nation that needs government to take care of us.” View the video of the award presentation here. Coming tomorrow: part 2 of the Talkers Awards Ceremony in which last year’s recipient of the Judy Jarvis Memorial Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Radio Industry by a Woman (also known as the “Woman of the Year” award), Heather Cohen EVP, The Weiss Agency presents the honor to this year’s recipient, Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.
Mancow Sues Maverick Radio Partners. From a story in today’s Chicago Tribune, Chicago-based talk show host Erich “Mancow” Muller is suing Maverick Radio Partners – led by Rodney Rainey – for allegedly trying to defraud him of $50,000 purported to be targeted to radio station investments. The Tribune story relates that Muller was approached by Rainey in December 2011 to be an investor in a project that would acquire a number of radio stations — beginning with WFRE and WFMD in Frederick, Maryland – and that the company had financial backing from Spartacus Partners Group. Based on a verbal deal, Mancow transferred $50,000 to Maverick with the understanding it would be held in escrow until Mancow was provided with documented proof that the additional funding for the station purchases was secured. That never happened and when Mancow sought his money back from Maverick, he alleges he received promises the money was on its way but it was never returned. Mancow is suing Maverick for fraud and breach of contract and is seeking the $50,000, plus interest and attorneys’ fees. See the Tribune story here.
Christa Dibiase Named GM of Clark Howard Brands. Accepting the promotion from executive producer of the Clark Howard show to general manager of Clark Howard Brands is Christa Dibiase. Effective immediately, Dibiase will be responsible for overseeing the Clark Howard nationally-syndicated radio show, television products, and all digital products, including ClarkHoward.com and consumer apps. In addition, she will continue to oversee the operation of The Consumer Action Center, a national service outreach that advises the public on money, financial and consumer questions via phone and internet. CMG Atlanta VP/market manager Ben Reed says, “We know Christa was the perfect person to take on this role. She led the radio show to become the most prominent consumer talk show in the country, and has repeatedly demonstrated her leadership abilities. She has been a key collaborative player in our organization over the years, working with radio, digital, television, and newspaper on many successful projects.” Dibiase comments, “I’m grateful for this opportunity to work with Clark and showcase what CMG is all about – collaborating with TV, radio, digital, and newspaper to create and distribute excellent content for our audience. In addition, the assistance provided by the Consumer Action Center is right in line with Clark and CMG’s commitment to serving others in our communities. I’m amazed every day by the 80-plus volunteers who give their time and energy to help others with their consumer dilemmas.”
KVET, Austin Names Sean Adams Midday Personality. Sports talk radio pro Sean Adams lands a daily gig on Clear Channel’s sports talker KVET-AM, Austin “Sports Talk AM 1300 The Zone” where he’ll hold down the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show beginning August 4. In addition to hosting “The Adams Theory,” he’ll also have a prominent role in game day broadcasts for University of Texas football. KVET-AM is the flagship station for radio play-by-play. Adams says, “I’m really excited to join the team at ‘AM 1300 The Zone.’ To cover the Texas Longhorns, and sports in general, on the official Longhorn station — backed by the power of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment — is a tremendous opportunity.”
Dan Patrick Broadcasts Live from KXTG-AM, Portland. The shot of Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV personality Dan Patrick is from the Bing Lounge in Portland where Patrick did his show live for Alpha Media affiliate KXTG-AM “750 The Game” on Friday, July 18. In addition to the live broadcast, Patrick and The Danettes also held a listener meet and greet at Buffalo Wild Wings in Beaverton, Oregon from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm where the crew took pictures and signed autographs. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick says, “We were thrilled to be able to bring Dan and the Danettes to the Pacific Northwest. They took time to genuinely connect with the listeners. This is definitely an experience all of us will remember for a long time.” The sports talk station recently began simulcasting on its new translator K274AR at 102.7 FM in the market.
WPHT, Philadelphia Presents Live Event as Part of Speaker Series. Midday talk show personality Dom Giordano will host WPHT, Philadelphia’s next speaker series event tomorrow evening as he’ll conduct a sit-down interview with former Marine Colonel Tom Manion about his book, Brothers Forever. The interview will take place aboard the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, New Jersey. Manion’s book details the courageous lives of his son, Marine 1st Lieutenant Travis Manion who died in the Al Anbar province of Iraq in 2007 and Travis’ former roommate U.S. Navy Seal Brendan Looney who also perished in battle. Manion will sign copies of his book for attendees.
Hangin’ with the Stars in Lake Tahoe. Pictured here is NBC Sports Radio weekend personality Brian Webber (left) with comic and television star Ray Romano (center) and SNL alum and movie and TV celeb Kevin Nealon (right) at the recent American Century Celebrity Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe. NBC Sports Radio broadcast from the charity tournament on Thursday and Friday and throughout the weekend.
Downing of Flight 17/Russian Responsibility Question, Gaza Strip Violence, Illegal Child Immigrants Crisis, NYPD Choke Hold Death Controversy and Clinton, Inc. Book, and Tony Dungy’s Michael Sam Comments Among Top Stories Yesterday (7/21). The continuing global controversy over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, Russia’s connection to the crash and the United States’ role in determining responsibility; the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and Secretary of State John Kerry’s role in brokering peace; the influx of illegal child immigrants in the Southwest and the larger topic of immigration reform; the death of a New York City man who was put in a choke hold by police; the new Clinton, Inc. book; and Tony Dungy‘s comment he would not have drafted openly gay football player Michael Sam in order to avoid controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.