Saga Communications Net Revenue for 2015 Flat; Down 2.1% in Q4. Fourth quarter and 2015 full year financial figures have been released by Saga Communications and the company’s net revenue for all of 2015 was $132.9 million (basically flat at -0.9%). Comparing 2015 Q4 net revenue to the same period in 2014, the company was down 2.1% (including political). Saga reports that free cash flow increased 2.9% to $21.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. Gross revenue without political increased 0.7% for the year. Station operating expense decreased 1.2% to $97.3 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations). Operating income decreased $1.9 million. Net income for the year was $13.4 million ($2.29 per fully diluted share).
The Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, Oberlin Prof. Controversy, Netanyahu Cancels White House Visit, U.S. Illegal Immigrant Tally, and Erin Andrews Jury Award Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/7). The activities of the candidates for president and today’s Super Tuesday 2 primaries; the U.S. drone strikes on Islamic State militia; the controversial case of an Oberlin College professor’s Israel-Jewish conspiracy theories; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s abruptly cancelled visit with the White House; a report indicating an estimated 15 million immigrants are in the U.S. illegally; and sports reporter Erin Andrews wins a $55 million jury award in her case against the man who videotaped her and the hotel at which it happen were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michael Harrison Explores a Wide Swath of Media Theory from Cave Painting to Virtual Reality. In the latest episode of the weekly PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” the TALKERS publisher presents a dynamic series of provocative connections casting a wide net from prehistoric cave painting to humanity’s “wiring of the solar system.” Referring back to early technology, music (“Garland to Gaga”) and culture (including his own childhood memories of playing kiddie records on a phonograph), Harrison talks about the extraordinary influence that the smart phone and other modern appliances are having on the modern human nervous system going forward into the digital era. This is a tour de force certain to stimulate Harrison’s following of “media freaks” both inside the industry and beyond. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KOZN, Omaha’s Nick Bahe Returns to Air This Week. Sports talk host Nick Bahe is planning to return to the air on NRG Media’s KOZN, Omaha “1620 The Zone” after being off the air since February 17 to have a tumor removed from his chest. The midday personality called in to his own program yesterday (3/7) to tell listeners that the tumor is benign and he will be back on his show this week. NRG reports that podcast plays of the program tallied close to 17,500. KOZN operations manager Dave Tepper states, “Nick has had an incredibly challenging few months with his health. His ‘Zone’ team and listeners share relief in learning his test results are healthy and that he’ll back entertaining his listeners soon.”
Kinosian: John & Leah Show 1st Year Progress Report. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian recently spoke with Envision Networks-syndicated talk personality John Ziegler about the progress his Sunday evening show is making a year into its national distribution effort. The three-hour show that features co-host Leah Brandon (who also serves as WERC, Birmingham morning news anchor) is currently heard on 22 affiliate stations – 15 of which are in the top 28 markets. Ziegler tells Kinosian, “So far, I am surprised there has not been more of a bandwagon effect. Many stations are missing a fantastic opportunity to get their weekdays started in a strong way with this great reason for people to tune in on Sunday nights. I think this is a real missed opportunity for many stations around the country. We would like to help them take advantage of that opportunity. If every medium market manager saw our ratings success in Louisville, they would be calling Envision immediately because it is a remarkable story.” Ziegler understands the challenges of building a national show but he says he’s confident because he believes in the quality of the show. “There is so much clutter out there. If content means anything, this show will be a huge success because our content is better than [that of anyone else]. We are the only show that together has a male and a female with the expansive and unique backgrounds that Leah Brandon and I have. We are also the only show that can do both hard news and soft news in an informative and an entertaining way. No one else can bridge that gap.” Read more here.
Odds & Sods. A joint venture between Salem Radio Network and David Leach’s The Strident Conservative will give a network platform to the latter’s two-minute daily radio commentary. Leach says, “I am delighted to begin this new partnership with the Salem broadcast family. The SC combines poignant and honest opinion, mixed with a touch of sarcasm and satire, in ways that will appeal to listeners who still believe in the America envisioned by our Founding Fathers. I believe we are a perfect fit for the Salem network.”…..Sports talker KLWB, Lafayette, Louisiana is adding Houston Astros baseball to its programming this season. Delta Media Corporation says that will the addition of Astros baseball, it marks the first time in more than 10 years that the Houston club’s games have been heard in Acadiana…..According to Media Monitors, during the last 10 days, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton ran the most spots on the radio with a total of 6,815 ads – 3,738 spots from her campaign, 2,906 spots from her Super PAC Priorities USA ACTION and another 171 spots were purchased by the SEIU COPE (Service Employees International Union); Bernie Sanders was in second place with 4,589 spots (of those, the National Nurses United Patient Protection PAC placed 123 spots and the CWA Working Voices PAC added 68 spots; Ted Cruz was in third place airing 3,024 spots; 979 from his campaign and 2,045 spots by the Keep The Promise I PAC; Donald Trump For President ran 338 spots putting him in fourth place; and Marco Rubio cleared 261 spots, with 208 spots bought by the Super PAC Conservative Solutions and 53 spots by the Cuba Democracy Public Advocacy Corporation…..Dielectric will be at the 2016 NAB Show in Las Vegas in April displaying its purpose-engineered antennas and RF systems for TV and radio broadcasters. There it will display its new low- and high-power antennas to cover all power requirements; and a common case FM combiner that supports channel multiplexing across a lighter infrastructure. Dielectric general manager Keith Pelletier says, “Dielectric has invested significant engineering effort into developing economical antenna and RF solutions for FM broadcasters. Innovations include a panel antenna design for low-power broadcasters that reduces the size of the feed system by half, and a ring-style solution for high-power stations that greatly lowers the costs and complexity of sidemount installations. Inside the transmitter building, we’re returning precious real estate to tenants by eliminating components traditionally associated with the filtering process, while simplifying channel tuning. The result is high-quality engineering with a quicker return on investment for the broadcaster.”
PodcastOne Founder and CEO Norm Pattiz to Moderate ‘The Podcasting Session’ at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations. In a panel discussion designed to serve as one of the informational centerpieces of the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference, PodcastOne founder/CEO Norm Pattiz will serve as moderator. “The Podcast Session” will feature the legendary radio broadcasting visionary and original Westwood One founder along with an all-star array of successful talent and leading-edge executives in the emerging field of podcasting. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We are delighted that Norm Pattiz will guide this extremely important session. He is clearly one of the leading experts, movers and shakers in the rise of podcasting – not just as a medium of communication – but as a mighty extension and new platform for the growth of both advertising and subscription-driven digital broadcasting, journalism and entertainment. That will be the focus of this intense panel discussion. Stand by as we announce the panel members over the coming days.” TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations will take place on Friday, May 20, 2016 on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. It will be the 19th annual installment of the talk radio and talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention. For more information see stories below.
WW1: Nielsen Data Highlights Strengths of NCAA Tourney Radio Audience. Stating its case for the quality of the radio audience for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, Westwood One presents data from Nielsen studies analyzing that group of consumers. The first study analyzed the NCAA listening audience in 48 Portable People Meter markets, examining reach accumulation across the entire NCAA basketball season. The second study of 1,000 college hoops fans titled, “A Day in the Life of an NCAA Fan,” investigates how the March Madness audience follows the tournament across social, video, audio and digital platforms in a variety of locations. WW1’s goal is to show that the NCAA radio audience is a more dedicated audience that its other media counterparts and presents numbers to argue for that. Among the key findings are: NCAA radio listeners are more engaged fans and consume more games on average than the general NCAA basketball audience; 87% of NCAA basketball listeners will follow/watch/listen to the full tournament through the Final, compared with 78% of the overall NCAA basketball audience; and the average number of NCAA tournament games consumed by AM/FM listeners is 12.3, compared to 10.2 for the total NCAA basketball audience. See more from the study here.
Johnson Joins WTEM as PD. More accurately, as of next Monday (2/15), Chris Johnson will again occupy the programming chair at Red Zebra Broadcasting sports outlet WTEM “ESPN 980,” Washington, DC – just as he did from 2005 to 2008. Red Zebra Broadcasting chairman Terry Bateman states, “We are excited to have someone with Chris’ experience and skill to help us build and grow ‘ESPN 980.’ We have a great lineup of talent and great content. We look forward to putting it all together to give our listeners the best sports talk radio in the Washington, DC market.” Most recently, Johnson covered MLB‘s Washington Nationals as a reporter for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. He previously was a producer of NFL and NCAA games for Westwood One; Johnson’s prior connection with WTEM lasted from 1996 – 2008. Down for the third straight ratings period (2.3 – 2.1 – 1.9 -1.6, 6+), “ESPN 980” finishes #20 in the “Holiday” 2015 report, while its format challenger – CBS Radio-owned WJFK-FM “The Fan” – also off for the third successive sweep (2.5 – 2.3 – 2.1 -1.9, 6+) – is #18. The market leader is iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH (5.9 – 6.1 – 7.0 – 12.0, 6+).
Trevor Carey Promoted to Afternoons at ‘PowerTalk 96.7’ in Fresno. Radio pro Trevor Carey had been hosting the afternoon drive show on iHeartMedia’s sister “PowerTalk” brand in the Stockton-Modesto market – “PowerTalk 1360” on KFIV and KWSX – in addition to hosting the 6:00 pm hour on “PowerTalk 96.7” (KALZ-FM and KRZR-AM in Fresno-Visalia). Now, with Christopher Gabriel’s recent exit from the PM drive slot, Carey takes over the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. He’ll also host the 6:00 pm hour on the Stockton-Modesto duo.
New Hampshire Primary/Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 8-12. Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary and the activities of the candidates for president were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the Hillary Clinton email case investigation. Coming in at #3 was the recent financial markets activity and related concerns about a recession followed by the effects of the Syrian civil war at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and it is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Sean Hannity to Speak and Host Breakfast at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations. In what has become an annual talk media industry tradition, Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity will host “Breakfast with Hannity” and preside over the opening keynote discussion at the forthcoming 19th annual installment of the field’s largest, longest-running and most important national convention. In making the announcement, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Sean’s contributions to this storied event, as well as to the industry in general, are incalculable. He has spearheaded discussions about crucial issues attendant to the ratings, consolidation, lowering the demos and free speech, just to scratch the surface. He has provided inspiration and encouragement to new generations of broadcasters coming into the field. When Sean walks in the door at this event, all politics are left outside and he becomes a true statesman of the business offering insight, experience and intelligence about the many issues and challenges we face in common. We are delighted that he will again play such an important role in this conference – especially considering its forward-motion theme of bridging the generations.” Over 60 outstanding speakers will participate in TALKERS 2016, set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
Beasley Broadcast Group 2015 Q4 Net Revenue Up 6.2%. That figure is based on Beasley’s reporting of combined operations – both continuing and discontinued operations – and that’s relative to the 2014 Q4 asset swap with CBS RADIO that saw Beasley exchange five radio stations in the Philadelphia and Miami-Fort Lauderdale markets for 14 CBS stations in the Tampa-St. Petersburg, Charlotte and Philadelphia markets. Net revenue of combined operations for the whole of 2015 was $105.9 million, an increase of 4.4% over 2014. Beasley CEO and chairman George Beasley states, “Throughout 2015 we implemented a broad range of operating, programming, sales and local strategies intended to extract operating and financial synergies from the stations acquired in the 2014 Asset Exchange. I am pleased to report that we achieved our goal of our clusters outperforming the markets that report to Miller Kaplan for the first time in December 2015 and expect this trend to continue in 2016. Success with our integration and profitability initiatives is also reflected in fourth quarter 2015 station operating income of $9 million and an SOI margin of 31.7%, as well as net income of $3.3 million or $0.14 per diluted share.”
CBS RADIO Revenue Dips 5%. Radio is not the primary focus of CBS Corp. but new CBS chairman, president and CEO Les Moonves has always said he likes the radio business – especially its cash flow. Radio is lumped in with CBS Television Stations to make up the Local Broadcasting category, but the company breaks the two apart in these reports and radio’s revenue was down 5% on “continued softness in the radio advertising marketplace and lower political advertising.” The television sector was down 11% compared to the same Q4 period in 2014 – a period that benefitted from mid-term election political spending.
Odds & Sods. WOR, New York’s “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning” spoke on the radio with GOP presidential candidate and fellow New Yorker Donald Trump yesterday morning (2/11). Responding to criticism that he doesn’t have the temperament to be president, Trump told the WOR audience, “as we get closer, you will be shocked at how presidential I will be.”…..Talk host Bill Carroll had been doing an afternoon talk show for Corus-owned news/talk CFMJ, Toronto from Los Angeles while he was still working at iHeartMedia’s KFI (a gig he exited in early January). Now, he’s also leaving the CFMJ show with rumors he’s soon to land at a new station in Canada…..A special edition of the Joan Hamburg show will air on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WABC, New York this weekend as the Big Apple radio host covers New York’s annual Fashion Week. For the second year, Hamburg speaks with New York’s fashion elite in “The Business of Fashion Week” airing on Saturday (2/13) from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ( a special replay will air Sunday night at 9:00 pm). Hamburg speaks with New York Fashion Week founder Fern Mallis, “The Real Housewives of New York City” star Countess Luann de Lesseps, New York style icon Nick Wooster, Harpers Bazaar editor Avril Graham, and Ben Stiller, director and star of the Zoolander films…..AccuWeather appoints Sarah Katt vice president of product development and operations for the AccuWeather Network. She’ll report to John Dokes, general manager of the AccuWeather Network and chief marketing officer of AccuWeather.
Don Imus to Be Honored with the TALKERS 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. The TALKERS editorial board announced today (2/11) that one of the most colorful, controversial, and venerable radio personalities of all time, John Donald Imus Jr. – mononymously known as Imus – has been named the 2016 recipient of the prestigious TALKERS Lifetime Achievement Award. The 75-year-old legend has been heard on radio since 1968 on a variety of heritage stations including WGAR and WHK in Cleveland as well as WNBC and WFAN in New York. He has hosted cable TV shows on MSNBC and more recently Fox Business Channel. He presently hosts his long-running show “Imus in the Morning” on WABC, New York. Imus, author of numerous books and performer on several hit comedy albums, is a complex broadcasting figure known both for being a politically incorrect insult-artist as well as being a humanitarian and philanthropist, particularly in the battle against childhood cancer. Imus has won four NAB Marconi Awards, three for Major Market Personality of the Year in 1990, 1992 and 1997 and one for Network Syndicated Personality in 1994. He inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989 and was named one of the 25 Most Influential People in America by Time magazine in 1997. In 2002, TALKERS magazine ranked Imus as one of the 25 Greatest Radio Talk Show Hosts of all Time. In making the announcement on behalf of the board, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “If Don Imus doesn’t deserve this spoken-word radio award, no one does. His unique position, diversity of styles, capacity for reinvention – not to mention influence on the industry, pop culture and politics – stand out among a rarified handful of bold performers who have made broadcasting history.” The award will be presented to Imus at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention set for Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. It is hoped that he will be in attendance to receive the award personally, despite his challenge with health issues and present home-base in Texas. True to form, the legend tells TALKERS, “My wife thinks I should do this – be gracious and accept your idiotic award.”
Cumulus and Mark Levin Agree to ‘Lifetime Extension.’ Both Westwood One EVP of news/talk Bart Tessler and talk radio star Mark Levin jokingly use the term “lifetime” to describe the new contract extension between the two parties, but nine years seems like a lifetime in the world of radio contracts. Levin says, “I could not be more pleased to extend my radio partnership with Cumulus/Westwood One. For the next nine years — an unprecedented long-term relationship in the broadcasting industry — I am committed to continuing to bring the best possible program, both substantive and entertaining, to my millions of beloved and loyal listeners each and every day.” Tessler adds, “To know that we’ll be working together for so many years is a Mark Levin show primary victory and a big win for affiliates, advertisers, and listeners. Mark’s tenure will now exceed that of a two-term president and that means continued excellence on the air on a nightly basis.” The company says Levin’s show “not only covers the most critical events of the day, but delves into history, economics, philosophy, and the constitution – and continues to be an enormous ratings and revenue winner for Westwood One and for the more than 300 stations that broadcast the show.
Entercom Reports 2015 Net Revenue Up 8%. 2015 was a good year for Entercom. The company reported net revenue for the fourth quarter was $117.7 million – up 16% from the same period a year ago. For the year of 2015 net revenue was $411.4 million, an increase of 8%. These figures include the impact of the transaction with Lincoln Financial Media and the station exchange with Bonneville International Corporation which started in July. But the impressive revenue hike is not just the result of additional signals; president and CEO David Field notes that the company’s stations performed well. “I am pleased to report that Entercom’s performance continued to accelerate into the fourth quarter, capping a very successful 2015…Fourth quarter same-station revenue increased by 5%, excluding political advertising. This marked the second straight quarter of mid-single digit organic growth. We are very well positioned for success in 2016 with an expanded market footprint, strong station ratings growth, and enhanced digital and customer marketing capabilities. Our pacings look strong and we are optimistic about our potential to deliver excellent results for our shareholders in 2016 and the years ahead.”
Greater Media’s ‘Detroit Sports 105.1’ Moves Baligian, Mazawey & Fellhauer to Mornings. The trio of Sean Baligian, Tom Mazawey and Marc Fellhauer is currently heard in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot on Greater Media’s WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1.” Beginning Tuesday (2/16), they will move to morning drive, replacing ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike. ESPN’s Ryan & Rico will now be heard from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and the afternoon drive show co-hosted by Matt Dery and Drew Sharp will start at 2:00 pm. Station program director Dave Shore says, “We feel this new lineup will give our dedicated motor city sports fans a more local sports experience. We are very grateful to ESPN’s Mike & Mike for their contributions to the station.”
Five iHeartMedia Programmers Boosted. Trading in their titles of senior vice president of programming to become division executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia‘s national programming group are Tony Coles, Steve Geofferies, Andrew Jeffries, Thea Mitchem, and Meg Stevens. Along with fellow division executive vice president of programming Gene Romano, they will report to iHeartMedia national programming group executive vice president and general manager Brad Hardin. According to national programming group president Tom Poleman, “Great programming is the foundation of our stations. We are fortunate to have an amazing group of local program directors leading our brands. The collaboration between local programming and the iHeartMedia national programming group unlocks the unparalleled scale and assets of iHeartMedia, providing us with unmatched resources which benefit each and every one of our stations.” Formerly organized into major and regional market groups, iHM is now comprised of four geographic divisions, each led by a division president. Jeffries and Geofferies are working in the West division with Greg Ashlock; Coles is in the Central with Matt Martin; Mitchem and Stevens in the Northeast with Hartley Adkins; and Romano is teamed with Tom McConnell in the Midwest-Southeast division.
NH Primary Aftermath/Presidential Race, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Record Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, Iran-U.S. Navy Incident, U.S. Afghanistan Forces Strengthened, European Refugee Problems, Zika Virus Concerns, and Beyonce Super Bowl Performance Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The analysis of Tuesday’s New Hampshire presidential primary and the activities of the candidates for president; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; the continuing downward trend in oil prices, the world’s financial markets activity, and concerns about a new recession; Iran’s gloating over the incident with a U.S. Navy patrol; the U.S. increases peacekeeping troops in Afghanistan; the troubles European nations are experiencing dealing with Syrian refugees; concerns about a Zika virus pandemic and reports of cases in 20 U.S. states; and ongoing criticism of Beyonce’s performance at the Super Bowl were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. KEIR, Idaho Falls is expanding its local content. Riverbend Communications general manager Bill Fuerst tells East Idaho News that the station wants to give more voice to its listeners. “Idaho’s Morning News with Dylan Carder” will expand to two hours – airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am – and Mark Richardson will host a new, hour-long afternoon show at 3:00 pm…..Podcasting and audio-video streaming experts StreamGuys are attending “Proclaim 16” – the NRB International Christian Media Convention and Exposition – to share their expertise to assist worship communities extend their reach. StreamGuys says Matt Kellogg (who joined the company from the recently shuttered Live365) will lead the company’s engagements with houses of worship and religious organizations…..ESPN Radio will present radio coverage of the NBA’s 65th All-Star Game on Sunday (2/14) from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. This will be ESPN Radio’s 20th year covering the game. In the booth will be Kevin Calabro and Jon Barry with reporters Marc Stein and Shelley Smith. Marc Kestecher will host the pre-game and halftime coverage with analyst P.J. Carlesimo.
Michael Harrison and Tom Leykis Chat About the Past, Present and Future of Audio Media. Legendary broadcast radio performer and pioneering online radio entrepreneur Tom Leykis joins TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on PodcastOne’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” The two engage in an extensive, one-on-one discussion about Leykis’ colorful career that spanned decades as a talk show host on some of America’s highest-profile radio stations and during which time his on-air persona ranged from outrageous “shock jock” to edgy “progressive” political news/talker. Today, Leykis approaches the fourth anniversary of his successful online radio enterprise, The New Normal – a multifaceted platform upon which he streams his daily, live, listener call-in program, “The Tom Leykis Show,” as well as a podcast for radio talents Gary & Dino. A separate iteration of The New Normal delivers two streaming music channels – pop and rock – personally curated by Leykis. Leykis discusses his leading-edge business model that includes a mix of advertising, subscriptions, merchandising and live events – now generating upwards of $600,000 annual gross revenue. The two venerable pros talk about targeting Millennials, the nature of “authenticity” as it applies to today’s younger demos, the scope of non-traditional revenue and various aspects of media theory as it applies to 21st century communications. To listen to this entire uninterrupted conversation, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Talkers New York 2015 ‘Navigating a Talk Show Hosting Career’ Panel Video Posted Today. One of the most interesting panel discussions of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference (held on June 12) is posted today on Talkers TV. Moderated by WMAL, Washington, DC PD and recently-appointed Cumulus Media corporate PD/talk Bill Hess and introduced by WBAL, Baltimore host Jimmy Mathis — the informative session includes (in alphabetical order): Mandy Connell, host, KHOW, Denver/WHAS, Louisville; McGraw Milhaven, host, KTRS, St. Louis; Larry O’Conner, host WMAL, Washington, DC; Todd Schnitt, WOR, New York/Compass Media Networks; David Webb, host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; and Dan Yorke, host WPRO, Providence. The panel covers a wide variety of issues pertaining to being a professional talk radio host – drawing upon the speakers’ personal experiences — including breaking into the business (each tells his/her own story); working at multiple stations doing separate shows; doing separate local and national shows; performing on both radio and television; simulcasting on multi-media platforms; using social and digital media for brand extension; creating digital-specific content; working productively with sales; dealing with ongoing corporate changes; being entrepreneurial to protect your career and financial options; overcoming challenges faced by women in the business; breaking through listener confusion in a noisy world; keeping it fresh and preventing topic burnout; making due with diminishing support personnel; and negotiating conflicts with management, plus more. To view the video in its entirety, please click here.
Profile: Bold Gold Media Group CEO Vince Benedetto. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a profile of Vince Benedetto, chief executive officer of the 10-year-old radio company Bold Gold Media Group. To say Benedetto is bullish on radio is an understatement. The former U.S. Air Force captain tells Kinosian he can’t believe so many people in the industry are such naysayers about its future. “There is an explosion of audio consumption because it is even easier to consume. It is so strangely un-entrepreneurial to live in a world where audio demand and consumption is exploding, yet so many in our industry act as if it is the end of the world.” Benedetto began building his radio portfolio with the acquisition of four signals in the Catskill Mountains and Pocono Lake Region and grew into the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre market from there. He says, “There are things about radio that other businesses do not have as strengths. One is that you are not warehousing things, so you get to refresh your inventory every day. Radio’s margins are very good and you can get involved in many businesses all at once. If you do it correctly, you learn about many different kinds of businesses. It was exciting to me that I knew radio was about to go through many changes.” Read the entire piece here.
Cumulus Media and Audioboom Announce Partnership. This deal will allow Cumulus to use Audioboom’s SaaS platform for its content across station websites and mobile apps. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey says, “This exciting new partnership marries Cumulus’ and Westwood One’s best-in-class local and national content with Audioboom’s industry-leading technology and distribution capabilities. Radio is America’s number-one reach medium, and as listeners continue to increase their consumption of audio, this partnership allows for new ways for consumers to explore and engage with the radio stations and on-air talent they know and love today. Additionally, from an advertising perspective, the short-form and on-demand digital medium provides a unique and effective way for brands to activate consumers.” As part of the deal, Westwood One will sell the advertising within the digital platform and Audioboom will get a share of the revenue. Audioboom CEO Rob Proctor comments, “This partnership represents a major step-change in our plans for monetization, and as we see the full rollout of our platform across the entire USA, we expect to benefit from a considerable increase in monthly listens and registered users, but also a steady flow of advertising revenues.” The two companies are also expected to collaborate on original audio content to be distributed online.
CBS Launches ‘Small Business Pulse’ Platform. The new digital destination is an aggregation of CBS content that’s designed to target small business owners. Dubbed “CBS Small Business Pulse,” the site is a creation of the CBS Local Digital Media division. President Ezra Kucharz says, “CBS Small Business Pulse brings together the best content from across many CBS divisions plus new, original editorial on the topics that matter most to small business owners. CBS Small Business Pulse will provide the insights and knowledge small business owners need to immediately solve the challenges they face by delivering daily, easily digestible information across myriad topics that can easily be put into action.”
WCMC, Raleigh Conducts Third ‘Fan Town Hall’ with Duke’s Coach K. The event takes place tonight on WRAL-TV, Raleigh with WCMC “99.9 The Fan” personality Joe Ovies joining WRAL-TV’s Jeff Gravley for an hour-long “Fan Town Hall” featuring Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski tonight from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The public is not allowed to attend the event but Gravley and Ovies will sprinkle in questions submitted by the public via social media using #FanTownHall. WCMC-FM programmer Dennis Glasgow says “Capitol Broadcasting continues to give unprecedented access to some of the Triangle’s most accomplished sports figures, and Coach K is no exception. We know how passionate sports fans are in North Carolina, and it’s important to us for the fan base to have social media access so that they can ask questions to the all-time winningest coach in college basketball history.”
Odds & Sods. Two KTSA, San Antonio personalities are being inducted into the San Antonio Radio Hall of Fame this year. Longtime morning drive personality Trey Ware and traffic reporter (and voice/imaging pro) Johnny Shannon will be honored at a ceremony next month…..Longtime KFYI, Phoenix radio personality (and husband and business partner of WestStar Radio Network principal Kim Komando) Barry Young is one of four broadcasters to be enshrined in the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame this fall. Being honored on October 15 along with Young are Bill Buckmaster, Tom Dillon and Maurie Helle…..Entercom is expecting to close on its purchase of the Lincoln Financial Media stations very soon but one programming change taking place is LFM-owned Atlanta sports talk WQXI’s loss of its ESPN affiliation. Dickey Broadcasting-owned WFOM (licensed to suburban Marietta) will become the new ESPN Radio affiliate, effective August 17…..PodcastOne is reporting that the four-week-old Shaquille O’Neal podcast has been holding the #1 spot on the iTunes Sports Charts for the past three weeks. PodcastOne also says the advertising industry is supporting the podcast with Mazda, Vonage, Draft Kings and True Car becoming sponsors.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is now heard on new affiliates KKFT-FM, Reno and KEEL-AM, Shreveport, Louisiana…..The Envision Networks-syndicated “John and Leah Show” with John Ziegler and Leah Brandon adds new affiliates: WNIR-FM, Akron; WNYM, New York; WNTP, Philadelphia; WRGA, Atlanta; WHAS, Louisville; KKFT-FM, Reno; and WMEL-AM, Cocoa Beach, Florida.
Harry Hurley Way Dedicated. Pictured here is WPGG, Atlantic City morning drive personality Harry Hurley (at podium) speaking at the dedication of St. David’s Pl. in Atlantic City as Harry Hurley Way. Hurley tells TALKERS magazine that he took the opportunity to surprise Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian (back row, left) by presenting his honor with the New Jersey Broadcasters Association 2015 Crystal Award for the “Ask The Mayor” program that airs on WPGG.
2016 Presidential Prospects, Fourth of July Terror Threats, Trump’s Pageant Troubles-NYC Contracts Being Reviewed, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, Obama Re-Establishes Cuba Diplomatic Ties, ISIS Atrocities, Greek Debt Crisis/EU Tensions, Jim Carrey Bashes California Vaccine Law, and Global Warming Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1). The candidates for president in 2016; concerns over threats of Fourth of July terror attacks; Donald Trump’s legal issues with the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants and NYC’s review of his contracts; the ongoing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email for State Department business; President Obama re-establishes diplomatic relations with Cuba; the latest reports of barbaric activities from ISIS; the Greek debt problem, its fate in the EU and effects on global financial markets; Jim Carrey blasts California Governor Jerry Brown over vaccine law; and talk about the state of climate change were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
BRADENTON, Fla. — One of the great benefits of attending the recent Talkers New York 2015 conference in New York City was what I call “hall talk.” Between formal sessions and panels it was the chance to meet face-to-face with some of our peers in the halls, in the reception areas, over a plate of tasty delicacies, and discuss the hot sales topics of the day. At this event the subject that kept popping up again and again was political advertising.
Yes, the presidential election is over a year away, but as everybody in talk media knows, national politics is topic A with almost all of the major news stories being related in some way to office-holders, their advocates or opponents. And history shows us that when there is an unusually hot national race, local and regional races are equally as contentious. A good political sales season can turn a so-so sales year into a remarkably profitable one.
WMAL, Washington Tower Site Up for Sale. Perhaps more valuable than the signals and the radio formats themselves, is the real estate upon which sit so many of the towers of America’s heritage AM stations. A report in The Sentinel, says Cumulus Media is now accepting offers on the Bethesda, Maryland site of its WMAL, Washington transmitter through March 12. Local real estate experts tell the paper the 75-acre piece of land in one of the toniest suburbs of DC should fetch “hundreds of millions” of dollars. The brokerage firm CBRE Group, Inc.’s SVP John Sheridan says, “Seventy-five acres in Bethesda. You don’t need to say anything more than that. It is a huge parcel of land with some of the highest income demographics. There’s the potential to build 300 or more homes.” In 2014, Cumulus put the 10-acre parcel of land occupied by KABC and KLOS transmitters in Los Angeles up for sale and that is going to command $125 million.
Beers Becomes Equity Partner, Board Member at Business Rockstars. Saying that his arrival will “bring the attention of the television and media community to the company’s broadcast, mobile and social platforms,” Business Rockstars announces multimedia CEO Thom Beers joins the board of directors for the company as well as making an equity investment in it. Beers is CEO of FremantleMedia North America. He’s a two-time Emmy Award-winning producer who brings 25 years of experience and success to Business Rockstars, producing some of the most recognizable TV shows such as: “American Idol,” “America’s Got Talent,” “The Price is Right” and “Family Feud,” plus multiple shows on the Discovery Channel and the A&E family of networks. Beers joins Steve Lehman, chairman of Business Rockstars and former CEO of Premiere Networks, along with co-founder and president Ken Rutkowski, as well as their recent addition, Andy Schuon, co-founder of REVOLT Media & TV. Beers comments, “People like to follow ‘smart money,’ and my investment is a strong endorsement and recognition of the platform, and partners of Business Rockstars. By leveraging television content and major media relationships, Business Rockstars will surely continue to grow and reach their goals. I’m glad to be part of their bright future.” The company says that Beers’ investment presents much opportunity to Business Rockstars as it plans to align with a major TV company for possible future content. Steve Lehman adds, “Thom Beers is a Rockstar. He is one of the brightest guys in TV today. He’s intuitive, smart and will be a huge asset in helping to expand our TV and Over-the-Top content platform.”
WTKS-FM, Orlando’s Russ Rollins Served Divorce Papers on the Air. The “Monsters in the Morning” program heard on iHeartMedia’s WTKS “Real Radio 104.1” has been headed by ringmaster Russ Rollins since its inception and the show’s cast members have always “lived their lives on the air.” A classic example of that was when Rollins was recently served divorce papers while on the air. Whether Rollins knew about the coming papers or not is in question – the process server indicates Rollins chose the time and place to receive the papers – but the show has posted video of the papers being served on its website and Rollins appears surprised. Although Rollins’ estranged wife claims in the papers that Rollins physically abused her, his attorney tells WFTV-TV, Orlando that the police were called to Rollins’ home at one point but they investigated and have filed no charges.
Triplett Named DOS at Beasley Tampa Bay Cluster. The newly acquired Beasley Media Group Tampa Bay cluster names Steve Triplett director of sales. The cluster consists of: WYUU “92.5 MAX!MA”; WBRN, “BUBBA 98.7”; WQYK, “Tampa Bay’s Country Station 99.5”; WRBQ “Q105”; WLLD “WiLD 94.1”; and WHFS-AM, “Money Talk 1010.” Triplett comes to Beasley from his most recent gig as president and founder of the marketing firm Contact Media Inc.
Odds & Sods. At iHeartMedia’s Des Moines sports talker KXNO, a realignment of personalities takes place with Chris Williams and Ross Peterson being named the afternoon drive team. The new “Morning Rush” show will consist of Heather Burnside and Travis Justice…..Meanwhile, across town at Cumulus Media’s sports talker KBGG “The Champ,” Marty Tirrell and Ken Miller – as has been reported in recent weeks – will reunite to host the afternoon drive program beginning today (2/9). Tirrell and Miller first began working as a team at KXNO in the mid-1990s…..Mark Grote is named host of the pre- and post-game shows for Chicago Cubs broadcasts on all-news WBBM-AM. Grote, who has been with the CBS RADIO Chicago station group since 2002 and is sports anchor on WSCR’s “Mully & Hanley” program, is also expected to appear on sports talk WSCR regularly as a Cubs reporter, according to a story in the Chicago Tribune.