FCC Grants Approval of Entercom-CBS Merger. The Federal Communications Commission has issued its decision approving the merger of Entercom and CBS RADIO. “We have reviewed the proposed merger, the applications for its approval, and related comments. We conclude that the applicants are fully qualified and that grant of the Merger Applications and the Trust Applications, subject to the conditions set forth herein, will serve the public interest, convenience, and necessity.” In the 20-page decision, the FCC explains its denial of the Petition to Deny filed by longtime Entercom adversary Edward R. Stolz II (and Deborah J. Niaman). It also reminds Entercom that CBS officers Leslie Moonves and Joseph Ianniello may serve as Temporary Directors for the new corporation for only six months.
Cumulus Media Reports Flat Net Revenue for Third Quarter; WW1 Up 5.5%. Net revenue for the third quarter of 2017 was up just a little over $1 million, resulting in a 0.4% increase from the same period a year ago. For the first nine months of 2017, Cumulus Media’s net revenue was flat at $841 million. President and CEO Mary Berner comments, “As we noted when we announced our preliminary results in October, our strong third quarter performance plainly demonstrates that our operational turnaround plan is working. The entire Cumulus team has shown great commitment to maintaining our momentum. By executing our foundational operating initiatives and continuing to develop growth opportunities, we are confident that we can build on our success despite the challenging industry environment. We are also focused on addressing our excessive debt load on a parallel track to our operational turnaround plan. As previously disclosed, we are working with our advisors to proactively explore a range of alternatives to restructure our balance sheet and we are continuing productive discussions with our creditors. Regardless of the path forward, we have ample cash to operate our business. Our goal remains to reduce our debt so we can focus our time and resources on investments in our people, key technologies, and initiatives that will ultimately drive sustainable, long-term growth.” Cumulus breaks its operations in to two segments, Radio Station Group and Westwood One. The Radio Station Group’s net revenue was down 1.6% while Westwood One was up 5.5% from the same period in 2016. For the first nine months of this year, the Radio Station Group was down 1.3% and Westwood One was up 3% compared to the first nine months of 2016.
Dave Ramsey’s ‘Smart Money’ Live Event in Phoenix. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Dave Ramsey brought his “Smart Money” live event to Phoenix on Tuesday (11/7) where he presented at the sold-out Christ’s Church of the Valley. The program was also streamed live online to attendees across the country. Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate KTAR “News 92.3 FM” to promote the event. Ryan Hatch, vice president of content and operations Bonneville Phoenix, says, “It is no surprise to us that both Dave’s radio show and his events continue to be in high demand. His passion and commitment in helping others is unmatched.” Pictured above (from l-r) are: Ilene Thompson, director of partner and community services; Dave Zadrozny, KTAR sales manager; Paul Ihander, KTAR news director; Ramsey; Becky Kaiser, “Arizona Sports” sales manager; and Connie Drushel, HR director.
PPM Analysis: NFL Flagships. Managing editor Mike Kinosian takes a look at station ratings (6+) based on the latest PPM data from Nielsen Audio for stations that serve as flagships for play-by-play for NFL clubs. Among the comparisons presented in this report are how stations fared from the September PPM survey to the October PPM survey. Kinosian says, “Slightly more than three of every four of these particular NFL flagships (76%) improve between September 2017 – October 2017, with one in 10 holding steady (10%) and the remaining 14% of the sample is down from September.” Looking at year-over-year comparisons, the sample of flagship stations was split about 50-50, with half seeing 6+ ratings increases and the other half seeing declines. Check out Kinosian’s entire report here.
Craig Carton Officially Pleads Not Guilty. Former WFAN, New York morning drive co-host Craig Carton was in federal court in Manhattan yesterday (11/8) at which time he pleaded not guilty to fraud charges. The feds allege that Carton and a partner committed securities and wire fraud when they solicited investors to contribute millions to their concert ticket re-sale business. The feds allege that those investments were made based on the belief that Carton had deals in place to acquire blocks of tickets but that no such deals existed. During a statement to reporters yesterday, Carton said, “The real fact is that my business was licensed by the State of New York to sell tickets. The real fact is that I bought and sold thousands of tickets at arenas no more than a few miles from where I stand right now and had pending deals in place to buy and sell many more. The real fact, that you guys couldn’t possibly know, is that about a week and a half ago the government conceded to my lawyers that I had a legitimate ticket-selling business, and that I’ve been selling tickets for a long time.” Carton resigned from his position with WFAN shortly after being indicted. Read the Bergen Record’s story here.
Scott Fitzgerald MIA from WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. The 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk host at Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte is missing from his show and his bio has been scrubbed from the station website. Today (11/9), former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory sat in with WBT morning host Bo Thompson for the 9:00 am to 10:00 am hour, then weekend host Vince Coakley hosted the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show. There’s no official word from Entercom on permanent plans for the daypart.
TALKERS News Notes. Affiliates of FOX News Radio have Thanksgiving programming in the form of a special show hosted by Brian Kilmeade. The “FOX & Friends” and “Brian Kilmeade Show” host recently published “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans: The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny (Sentinel, 2017) and the program addresses that story. FOX says, “Brian, along with the top experts in history and politics, will give you the play-by-play into how, against all odds, General Andrew Jackson defeated the British from capturing New Orleans in a pivotal battle that helped make America into what she is today.” The special will be available for download on the FOX News Radio affiliate website the week of November 19th…..Entercom Buffalo promotes account executive Adam Haker to the local sales manager position for the cluster that includes news/talk WBEN-AM, sports talker WGR and WWKB, as well as hot AC WTSS “Star 102.5,” CHR WKSE “Kiss 98.5,” alternative WLKK “Alt Buffalo,” and rhythmic oldies WWWS…..Salem Radio Network talk star Hugh Hewitt is pictured at left addressing the Indiana Hospital Association – a gathering of doctors and administrators – at their annual conference on the future of healthcare and the role of hospitals in infrastructure spending. Hewitt originated his SRN show from Indianapolis, then returned to Washington to tape his weekly, Saturday morning program that airs on MSNBC…..This Saturday, CBS RADIO launches the “Eye on Veterans” radio program that aims to provide military veterans and their families with “relevant and useful information about finance, healthcare, and transitioning back into civilian life.” The weekly, two-hour program is produced by CBS RADIO’s ConnectingVets.com, a national, multi-media resource linking military veterans and their families to relevant information, resources, solutions and, most importantly, each other. It will air on CBS News Radio affiliates, including CBS RADIO all-news and news/talk stations WCBS-AM, New York; KNX-AM, Los Angeles; WCCO-AM, Minneapolis; and WTIC-AM, Hartford.
Trump in China, North Korea Nuclear Threats, GOP Tax Reform Plan, Virginia and New Jersey Democrat Governor Victories, Mueller Trump-Russia Investigation, Donna Brazile Clinton Campaign Critique, Texas Church Massacre Aftermath, Twitter’s 280 Character Limit, CMA Awards, Sexual Assault Cases Fallout, Roy Halladay Death, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/8). The presidential trip to China; the rhetoric between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un over North Korea’s nuclear weapons program; the GOP tax reform plan; Democrat victories in the Virginia and New Jersey governor races; Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian agents; the blowback from Democrats against Donna Brazile for her criticism of the Clinton campaign; the aftermath of the Texas church massacre; Twitter ups its character limit to 280; last night’s Country Music Association awards; the expanding number of sexual assault accusations and the effects on careers; former star pitcher Roy Halladay dies in a plane crash; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At iHeartMedia’s Phoenix cluster, Lady La moves from her evening show on hot AC KMXP “MIX 96.9” to the company’s CHR KZZP “104.7 KISS FM” to host the afternoon drive program. Taking over the evening show at KMXP is Reid Spivey, who continues to host weekends on KZZP and serve as music director for both stations…..Premiere Networks announces that Suzette Rodriguez joins “The Johnjay & Rich Show” as a co-host, effective immediately. The syndicated program – hosted by Johnjay Van Es and Rich Berra – is based at KZZP, Phoenix. Rodriguez says, “When I was asked to be a fourth member on ‘The Johnjay and Rich Show,’ I freaked out! I’ve always listened to the show, and everyone I know listens to the show. I’m beyond grateful and excited to join an amazing team. I’m ready to learn from the best and start a new journey.”…..Tomorrow (11/10) at 7:00 pm ET on SiriusXM’s Hits 1 channel, Taylor Swift will perform an exclusive acoustic performance in front of a select group of SiriusXM subscribers in celebration of the release of her sixth studio album, reputation. SiriusXM chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We are delighted to welcome Taylor Swift back to SiriusXM on the day of reputation’s release. A true, one-of-a-kind artist, Taylor will be performing to a special group of SiriusXM listeners in a wonderfully intimate setting. We can’t wait to hear songs from her new album reputation and share this experience with our lucky subscribers.”…..Next Thursday (11/16), iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated urban morning show “The Breakfast Club” – hosted by DJ Envy, Angela Yee and Charlamagne Tha God – will present an all-day radiothon called #Change4Change to benefit The Gathering for Justice, a charity that sponsors movements such as The Women’s March, Justice League NYC and Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp.
Bloomberg and CBS RADIO Partner to Make WNEW-FM, Washington into ‘Bloomberg Radio.’ A new agreement between CBS RADIO and Bloomberg results in the launch of “Bloomberg Radio” on WNEW-FM, Washington. The transition from CBS RADIO-programmed all-news to Bloomberg’s programming means the station will deliver “business and financial news along with non-partisan coverage of politics, policy, power, and influence to Washington, D.C.” The programming will also be heard on WJZ-HD2 at 105.7. In a press statement, Bloomberg says this deal “marks the launch of Bloomberg Radio on its first FM station. Led by Bloomberg’s Washington bureau and the company’s global news operation, Bloomberg 99.1 will draw upon the strength of reporting from 2,400 journalists in 150 news bureaus across 73 countries. Bloomberg News, one of the world’s leading financial news organizations, produces 5,000 stories a day and has received more than 800 awards since it was founded in 1990, including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting.” The station will also air an audio simulcast of Bloomberg TV’s “With All Due Respect” with hosts Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Global head of Bloomberg Television & Radio Al Mayers comments, “As we enter this critical election year, there’s no better time to introduce Bloomberg Radio to Washington. On the heels of recent expansions in Europe and Asia-Pacific, this launch marks an important step in our mission to extend the reach of Bloomberg Radio into the most important regions of the world. We will tap into the deep expertise of our Washington bureau to provide insights and analysis on policy and politics that listeners cannot easily find elsewhere.”
WABC, New York Names Rita Cosby Political Editor. This new title comes with expanded duties for Emmy-winning journalist Rita Cosby at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York. As political editor, Cosby will “cover the 2016 U.S. presidential race and other major political stories, bringing the freshest angles and key newsmakers to WABC Radio, including exclusive interviews with the most important and intriguing candidates.” WABC says Cosby will continue to host her eponymous Sunday morning show and will debut a new weekly election round-up show, “Election Central with Rita Cosby,” on Sunday, December 20, at 7:00 pm. Her first guests will include GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. She’ll oversee a weekly political column for “Election Central,” 77 WABC Radio’s weekly political e-newsletter, and contribute interviews to Westwood One News Network. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “Rita’s vast political experience and unparalleled access to the major political players continue to make her a huge asset to 77 WABC in this expanded position.”
BIA/Kelsey Releases 2016 Local Media and Advertising Predictions. Advertising and marketing research and advisory firm BIA/Kelsey is releasing its predictions about local media advertising for 2016. The company says that this report “contains more than 20 predictions for the year ahead, offering insights for BIA/Kelsey’s key coverage areas, including mobile, social media, online media, search, online video, programmatic advertising, software, print media, small-business marketing, local media sales, broadcast media, publishing and the on-demand economy. As a teaser, the firm offers its Top 10 predictions (the whole report can be purchased) for 2016. The Top 10 highlights selected nuggets on the impact on local media and advertising by millennials, mobile payments, Facebook, Google, data-driven ad sales, yellow pages, ad attribution, programmatic advertising, the on-demand economy and online video. Some of the highlights investigated in the report include predictions that: Millennials will drive the next wave of marketing innovation; data-driven local ad sales becomes the new normal; the march of programmatic continues; and more. See more here.
‘Mike & Mike’ to Be Inducted into NAB Broadcasters Hall of Fame. At the NAB Show Radio Luncheon in Las Vegas next April 19, Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, hosts of ESPN Radio’s daily morning show “Mike & Mike,” will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The program celebrate its 15th anniversary in March of this year. NAB EVP of Radio John David comments, “Golic and Greenberg, with their mix of sports savvy and humor, have been informing and entertaining fans for more than 15 years. The two have seamlessly combined their passion for sports with radio, and we are honored to add them to our distinguished Hall of Fame.”
Michael Medved Discusses His Battle Overcoming Throat Cancer and Other Compelling Issues. Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Networks talk star Michael Medved gets “Up Close and Far Out” with Michael Harrison on the new installment of the hit PodcastOne series posted today (12/15). In a touching, candid conversation, Medved talks about his battle against throat cancer this past year that threatened not only his voice, but his life as well – including how it opened a whole new vista of understanding and appreciation to his thought processes and philosophy. In addition, Medved and Harrison talk about Donald Trump and his impact upon the Republican Party and the conservative movement in America. They also get into a broader conversation about Medved’s alternate career as a movie critic including the role he played in bringing awareness of Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 from Outer Space” to historic infamy as the worst picture of all time. To listen to this not-to-be-missed media freaks’ delight in its entirety please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player boxes located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KGMZ, San Francisco Adds FOX Sports Radio Programming. San Francisco sports talk outlet KGMZ “95.7 The GAME” is adding FOX Sports Radio show to its program schedule. The Entercom sports talker will add the Ben Maller show to its late-night daypart airing from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am as well as “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” airing from 3:00 am to 6:00 am. Additionally, KGMZ is airing FOX Sports Radio weekend programming from personalities including: Anthony Gargano, Lincoln Kennedy, Michael Harmon, Jason McIntyre and others.
2016 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 14-18. The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Tuesday’s GOP primary debate tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the terror threats school districts including New York, Los Angeles, and Houston received. Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State, followed by the U.S.’ refugee and immigration policies at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.