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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

| May 11, 2021

Saga Communications 2021 First Quarter Net Revenue Down 15.5%. The 2021 first quarter financial report from Saga Communications reveals net revenue for the period was $22.3 million, a decrease of 15.5% from the same period in 2020. Net income was $758,000, a decline of 75% from the net income of $1.68 million posted in Q1 of 2020 (although Saga was one of the few audio companies to post income and not a loss). Station operating expense decreased $3.3 million to $18.9 million for the quarter compared to the same period in 2020. Station operating income was $4.7 million for the quarter compared to $5.5 million for the first quarter last year.  Free cash flow increased 21.4% to $1.8 million for the quarter. Saga Communication’s balance sheet reflects $56.3 million in cash on hand as of March 31, 2021 and $57.4 million as of May 3, 2021. The company’s total bank debt remained at $10 million as of the end of the first quarter 2021.

KCBS-AM, San Francisco Sports Anchor Steve Bitker Announces Retirement. After 30 years as morning drive sports anchor for Audacy’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco, Steve Bitker is retiring after the May 14 broadcast. After graduating from University of California Berkeley, Bitker served as a news writer for KSFO, San Francisco. He worked in Tokyo for three years as a news/sports anchor for Japan’s only English-language TV station – Japanese Cable Television. After returning to the States, he worked for seven years at KNBR, San Francisco before joining KCBS in April of 1991.

Wendy Bell Off WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh for Now. According to a story by WPXI-TV, talk host Wendy Bell is off the air of St. Barnabas Broadcasting’s WJAS-AM, Pittsburgh and Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck show is airing in its place. Bell was an anchor at WTAE-TV, Pittsburgh until 2016 when she was let go after making racially insensitive comments in the wake of a shooting that left five dead. She hosted a talk show at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and agreed to exit that station after being suspended for suggesting park rangers “shoot on sight” anyone seen defacing park monuments. The story quotes St. Barnabas Health System director of marketing Michele Bradac saying Bell is off the air due to a personnel matter. “Until the company and she resolve their personnel matter, there’s no way to say” when she might return.

Newsmax TV to Launch ‘Cortes & Pellegrino’ Prime Time Show; Produce Town Hall with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. There’s a new prime-time program launching on Newsmax TV this evening (5/11) at 9:00 pm ET starring former presidential advisor, commentator, and financial expert Steve Cortes and former White House correspondent Jenn Pellegrino. About the new “Cortes & Pellegrino” show, Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy says, “We were the only major cable news network to see an overall ratings increase from the fourth quarter of 2020 to the first quarter of 2021, and we did it without a full prime-time. ‘Cortes & Pellegrino’ completes our nightly lineup and will continue our unprecedented growth.” Also at Newsmax, “Spicer & Co” co-hosts Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith will air an exclusive Town Hall with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis tomorrow (5/12) at 6:00 pm ET. The event takes place at The Villages – the 55-plus community in Sumter County, Florida that boasts almost 80,000 residents – and will feature discussions with a live studio audience of American voters. Sean Spicer says, “Governor DeSantis has proved his resolve and confounded his skeptics over the past year, leading his state to excellence in fostering a thriving economy, rolling out the COVID vaccine, and guarding religious liberty. This Town Hall will give Newsmax viewers deeper insight into the reasons why DeSantis is a true governor of the people.”

TALKERS News Notes. This Memorial Day weekend ABC Audio has the special program “Honor, Hope and Healing,” hosted by correspondent Aaron Katersky, available for affiliate stations. The special honors America’s heroes including military members who died in the line of duty, pandemic front-line workers, grieving families, and others affected by last year’s events. The program dives into the significance of Arlington National Cemetery and features interviews with its regular visitors who come to pay respects to their family and friends…..SiriusXM announces the launch of the “Let’s Get After It with Chris Cuomo Podcast” culled from Cuomo’s SiriusXM show on the P.O.T.U.S. channel that airs daily from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. The podcast will be available three times a week and features the opening longform segment from the program as a podcast…..Audacy is partnering with independent podcaster Aaron Lammer on today’s release of the first two episodes of his newest project, “Exit Scam: The Death and Afterlife of Gerald Cotten,” a documentary podcast series exploring the 2018 death of Cotten, the founder of Canadian digital currency platform QuadrigaCx. The first episode is available right now everywhere podcasts are available, while the second episode is available exclusively on Audacy. This unique windowing strategy will allow listeners who want more of this thrilling true crime series to get their fix immediately on Audacy where listeners will get early access to episodes before all other platforms…..Blavity Inc., the diversified digital media company behind “AfroTech,” “21Ninety,” “Travel Noire,” “Shadow and Act,” and “Blavity News,” partners with Charlamagne Tha God’s and iHeartMedia’s The Black Effect Podcast Network to distribute its podcast for Black entrepreneurs and moguls in the making titled, “Black Tech Green Money with Will Lucas.” Lucas is an entrepreneur, content creator, and the brand manager at Black tech digital platform AfroTech, the world’s largest Black tech digital platform. The podcast presents the stories of successful Black entrepreneurs and technologists, as well as actionable advice and wealth-building strategies from a Black perspective…..Audacy’s Cadence13 is partnering with bestselling author, activist, and thought leader Glennon Doyle for her “We Can Do Hard Things,” podcast on which she will share stories of her life and explore topics including love, relationships, parenting, mental health, recovery and more.

COVID-19, Cheney vs GOP/Influence of Trump, Pipeline Hack, Gaza Strikes, Gates Divorce Controversy, Golden Globes Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/10). The rate of positive COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, vaccine hesitancy, and India’s death toll; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s battle with the GOP over the “stolen election” and Donald Trump’s influence over the party; the hack of the Colonial Pipeline Networks by DarkSide and the effect on gas supplies in the Eastern U.S.; the battle between Israel and Hamas over the potential eviction of Palestinians from Jerusalem; the growing controversy over the divorce of Bill and Melinda Gates and the Jeffery Epstein connection; and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s Golden Globe Awards lose NBC’s broadcast in 2022 over diversity problems were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

| September 3, 2013

armstrongcarriganBoston TV Anchor Kim Carrigan Joins Barry Armstrong on WRKO Program.  “The Financial Exchange with Barry Armstrong” announces the addition of longtime Boston television anchor Kim Carrigan to the program.  Carrigan – who has worked at Boston TV outlets WHDH, WBZ/WSBK and WXFT – becomes co-host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daily program on Entercom‘s news/talk WRKO effective today (9/3).  Armstrong says of Carrigan, “Kim is a tremendous addition to our program.  She brings intellect, a historical perspective, and a woman’s point of view to topics that require constant attention and interpretation.”  Carrigan, an Emmy award-winning television news anchor, has been recognized with numerous other awards, including: an Edward R. Murrow Award for “Best Newscast in a Major Market,” a Quest Award as one of five outstanding women who have achieved success in their quest for excellence from the New England Women Business Owners Association, and a Gabrielle Award.  She was also honored with the President’s Award from the Northeast Arc, the organization’s highest honor, for her work on behalf of individuals with disabilities.

wqxilogoLincoln Financial Media’s WQXI, Atlanta Names Alge Crumpler and JP Peterson AM Hosts.  Lincoln Financial Media announces the permanent replacement for the “Mayhem in the AM” morning show (Steak Shapiro, Chris Dimino, Nick Cellini) fired in late June after joking about ALS-stricken ex-NFLer crumpleralgeSteve Gleason.  Former Atlanta Falcons tight end Alge Crumpler and media pro JP Peterson will host “The Locker Room” beginning September 5.  “790 The Zone” program director Bob Richards says, “We are excited to launch ‘Locker petersonjpRoom.’   The years of insight and experience Alge and JP bring to the table, coupled with a revamped program format, will help set the tone each morning for how listeners digest the world of sports and set the pace for how topics resonate throughout the day.”  Crumpler has served as an analyst for “790 The Zone” and a co-host for Falcons game-day programs on WGCL-TV and WAGA-TV.  Peterson comes to “790 the Zone” from Tampa, where he spent the past 16 years in sports radio and TV.  Peterson anchored and did sideline work for WFLA-TV’s pre-season Bucs coverage and pre-game shows.  He has also done field reporting for NBC’s “Football Night in America” and hosted the Rays’ “Inside Pitch” and “Extra Innings” radio shows.

cumulus logoDickey: The Network Industry Is an Attractive Vehicle.  Cumulus Media chairman and CEO Lew Dickey tells investors during a conference call this morning that his company sees network radio as an “attractive vehicle” and that “scale is essential for Cumulus to continue to facilitate growth to make the proper investments,” in explaining the deal’s announced last Friday – the company’s acquisition of Dial Global and its shedding of a pack of small- and medium-market stations to Townsquare Media.  The deal alsodickeylew gives Cumulus five stations in Fresno – market #68 – fitting in with the company’s desire to focus on the top 100 markets.  Dickey reiterated last week’s statement about money saved in synergies, “We’re acquiring a leading provider of premium and exclusive content, and it creates an attractive platform for us now for both content creation and distribution and monetization of these various assets.  It’s about $40 million of estimated cost synergies and substantial incremental revenue growth opportunities, which are not being factored in here on the pro forma. It’s deleveraging on the identified cost synergies alone.”  As Dickey explained how the new properties will become part of the larger company, he noted that sports programming – especially the NFL and NCAA play-by-play contracts which have at least several more years on them – were key to the deal and it’s obvious he expects to pull in a lot of revenue from those two properties.  As for how many positions will be eliminated in the above-mentioned “synergies,” Dickey noted it’s not like the Citadel acquisition which was basically 54 “separate” operations.  “This is really one business unit that does essentially the same thing as the business unit that we currently own and operate.  So there are awful a lot of opportunities to — for efficiencies and to combine these efforts and do so in such a way that it’s accretive to growth the same time.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.  Members can read the entire conference call here.

ktth10yrsKTTH, Seattle Celebrates 10 Years as Conservative Talk Outlet.  Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle is spending the day thanking its passionate, engaged conservative listeners by airing “Ten Years Strong,” a celebration of it 10-year anniversary, beginning September 3, 2013.  The station states that David Boze, Michael Medved, Sean Hannity and other KTTH personalities will spotlight their favorite political leaders, movies and conservative moments of the past 10 years. They’ll also reflect on the role of conservative talk radio in a blue state.  Program director Jason Antebi says, “AM 770 KTTH is going 10 years strong because the best talk show hosts in America present values-driven conservative thought in a distinctly civil and intelligent way.  We are so proud to be the exclusive Seattle home to David Boze, Rush Limbaugh, Michael Medved, Sean Hannity, Dave Ramsey and Clyde Lewis.  Here’s to another 10 years!”  Bonneville Seattle VP/GM Carl Gardner adds, “KTTH serves a listening audience which is remarkably committed.  They care deeply about preserving the best of our traditional American values and ways of life. The passion of the listeners is what enables KTTH to be so successful.”

hayworthjdJ.D. Hayworth Exits AM Show at ‘Mighty 1090 AM’ in San Diego.  Former U.S. congressman and talk show host J.D. Hayworth exits the morning drive show at Broadcast Company of the Americas’ sports talk XEPRS, San Diego “Mighty 1090 AM” where he was co-hosting with Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton.  Hamilton remains in mornings with a rotating cast of guests.  Hayworth joined the station earlier this year.  Prior to his foray into full-time sports talk radio, he’d been a news/talk host in Phoenix and had been doing fill-in work at local news/talk stations and on nationally syndicated programs.

weismanstevenDo You Have a Non-Compete Clause?  Depending on what company your work for, in what capacity you serve and in which state you work, a non-competition clause in your contract can greatly affect your ability to move from one employer to the next within a given period of time.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman spells out the basics of what you should know before you sign a contract.  In some situations there may not be anything you can do about it, but at the very least, you should understand exactly what a non-competition clause means to you in that position with that employer.  Read Weisman’s illuminating column here.

lindsleymikeMike Lindsley and Brian Cady Leave Townsquare Media’s Sports Talk WTMM, Albany.  Management at Townsquare Media’s sports talker WTMM, Albany “ESPN 104.5 The Team” is not saying there was a connection between the dismissal of afternoon hosts Mike Lindsley and Brian Cady and their being snookered by a caller pretending to be former New York Yankees outfielder Shane Spencer who said he had experimented with performance enhancing drugs, but the two are out and a new afternoon show is expected to be announced within the next two weeks, according to a report in the Albany Times Union.  Lindsley had an interview lined up with Spencer and was promoting it but it didn’t happen at the exact time it was supposed to.  Pretty soon the imposter called and Lindsley assumed it was the real Shane Spencer.  After it was determined what happened, all parties apologized.  Regardless, new brand manager Armen Williams debuted on the air on Friday, August 30 – a bit prior to his scheduled September 9 start.

costadinoDino Costa Moves to New SiriusXM Channel.  As reported in the New York Daily News, sports talk host Dino Costa leaves the Mad Dog Radio channel on SiriusXM and will be part of a new sports talk channel on the satellite radio service, reportedly called “SiriusXM Radio Sports Zone 92.”  Costa had been the evening host on the Chris Russo-curated Mad Dog Radio channel.  The Daily News reports the relationship between Russo and Costa may not be as friendly as it once was, possibly leading to the split, although Costa Tweeted his thanks to Russo and his crew for the opportunity to work together.

bergmansandiMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Dick Kozacko of Kozacko Media Services.  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media broker Dick Kozacko of Kozacko Media Services located in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Unlike most of the brokers spotlighted in this popular feature, Kozacko’s background is not directly in broadcasting but rather acquisition management and market research for companies.  He is a graduate of Boston College with an MBA and his experience and education in these areas of business serve him well in today’s station-trading environment.  Kozacko takes a realistic view of the current conditions in the radio deal marketplace stating, “It’s challenging, especially since there are now so many alternatives to radio broadcasting.  If you were driving on a trip, your car radio was your companion.  Then, came eight-tracks, cassettes, and the list goes on with satellite radio, internet, etc.  Buyers have to be creative and think about the future, which is fine.  It would help if more banks returned to the financing area, although we have found more station owners are receptive to ‘terms’ financing.  It would help if the economy could demonstrate stronger and continued growth.” Per the custom of this feature, our spotlighted broker offers several opportunities for displaced station managers and first-time entrants looking to roll up their sleeves and take on an ownership project.  To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

fisherhouselogoDave Ross to Host New Production of Fisher House Foundation’s “The Gift.”  Fisher House Foundation announces it has begun production on the 2013 edition of its award-winning holiday radio program, “The Gift,” which tells the inspiring stories of wounded warriors and veterans who, with the help of their loved ones, have overcome tremendous obstacles to reclaim their lives.  The program, which is available to radio stations to air at both Thanksgiving and Christmas, consists of three self-contained hours of content.  Among those profiled inrossdave “The Gift” are Sergeant Cory Remsburg, an Army Ranger whose successful battle to recover from a serious head wound has made him an inspiration to President Obama; Father Tim Vakoc, a chaplain who was fatally wounded while tending his flock on the front lines of Iraq; and Para-Olympian Brad Snyder, a Navy Lieutenant who was blinded by an IED and used swimming to rebuild his physical and mental strength.  KIRO, Seattle personality Dave Ross hosts this year’s edition of the program.  Stations that air the program will help raise awareness and funds for the non-profit Fisher House, which provides no-cost housing and other support to the families of wounded warriors and veterans while their loved ones recover at military and VA hospitals. The 2012 edition of “The Gift” was carried on 135 news/talk stations and Sirius/XM and helped drive an increase in donations to Fisher House during the final week of 2012.  “Despite the wind down in Afghanistan, our fighting men and women, and their families, continue to make tremendous sacrifices to protect our freedom and security,” says Fisher House President Dave Coker. “While we should keep them in our hearts every day, it’s especially appropriate to honor their gift of service during the holidays.”  Cumulus Media Networks is handling affiliation and distribution on a pro bono basis.  For more information or to sign up for The Gift, contact Ron Rivlin.

stuchellcharlieCondolences.  TALKERS sends condolences to the family and friends of a number of broadcasters who’ve recently passed away: Capital Cities executive Joe Somerset who died in Boston due to complications suffered after a fall at his home several days prior.  Somerset was a mentor to many in the radio business, especially during the “Golden Age” of top 40 radio.  One of his “students” was longtime Cap Cities executive and station owner Curt Hahn who writes about his mentor in a piece you can read here…..Longtime newsman Charlie Stuchell who passed away at age 64 after a battle with cancer.  He was a news and traffic reporter on Bristol Broadcasting’s WXBQ, Bristol, Virginia…..KSCO, Santa Cruz reporter and anchor Don Husing who died on August 29 at age 71.  Station owner Michael Zwerling tells the Santa Cruz Sentinel that Husing had worked for KSCO for 47 years, surviving three ownership changes.  KSCO personality Rosemary Chalmers tells the paper Husing, who had no surviving family, was diabetic and had complained of flu-like symptoms prior to his death.

millerkennelbobKevin in the Kennel.  If you look closely, you can see that KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (l) is broadcasting from a makeshift kennel to raise awareness and funds to support the Canyon County Animal Shelter.  With him is animal lover Bob Holman (r).  Miller invited his listeners to spend some time with him inside the kennel and, as a result, raised more than $11,000 in one day as the shelter takes part in the “Rachael Ray $100,000 Challenge.”